In professional wrestling, long-term storytelling often distinguishes the great from the merely good. WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross echoed this truth on a recent episode of "Grilling JR," where he delved into the intricate storyline of Kane's entry into the WWE universe.
Ross, a seasoned commentator and wrestling connoisseur, shed light on the pivotal role The Undertaker played in successfully introducing and establishing Kane, real name Glenn Jacobs, as a formidable character in the wrestling world.
The saga began with Paul Bearer's ominous warnings about revealing The Undertaker's "deepest, darkest secret." This narrative crescendoed at Badd Blood: In Your House on October 5, 1997, when Kane debuted, dramatically impacting the outcome of the inaugural Hell in a Cell match between his kayfabe brother, The Undertaker, and Shawn Michaels.
The meticulous planning and delayed gratification in Kane's introduction is a testament to WWE's commitment to nuanced storytelling, a trait Ross believes is scarce in modern wrestling. Ross highlighted the deliberate pacing in unveiling Kane, emphasizing that it wasn't a case of "force-feeding" the character to the audience.
This strategic move allowed the storyline to develop organically, making it more engaging and relatable. Undertaker's deep involvement in the creative process was crucial. His willingness to collaborate extensively with WWE's innovative team and openness in sharing the spotlight with Kane was instrumental in the storyline's success.
Unlike many top talents who may guard their position jealously, Undertaker's security in his standing allowed him to support Kane's character development fully.
Undertaker's Creative Impact
Moreover, The Undertaker's influence extended beyond narrative contributions.
He actively shaped Kane's visual presentation and gimmick matches, such as The Inferno Match and The Buried Alive Match, which became synonymous with Kane's character. These creative inputs solidified Kane's image and enriched the WWE's storytelling palette.
WWE's careful management of Kane's appearances in his initial year further exemplified this strategic storytelling. After debuting against Mankind at Survivor Series 1997, Kane was scarcely seen in the ring until No Way Out in February 1998, building anticipation for his WrestleMania 14 showdown with The Undertaker.
The use of special effects, like Undertaker rising from a coffin struck by lightning, added layers of intrigue and spectacle, fitting seamlessly with the supernatural elements of both characters. Jim Ross's insights provide a rare glimpse into the collaborative and thoughtful approach behind one of WWE's most memorable storylines.
It underscores the importance of patience, creativity, and willingness to share the limelight in crafting compelling narratives in professional wrestling. The Undertaker's role in Kane's rise reflects his stature as a performer and his commitment to the art form and his colleagues, setting a standard for storytelling excellence in the wrestling industry.