Bring Back Masked Kane- You're Joking, Right?
by, 07-22-2011 at 08:21 PM (7905 Views)
I'm pretty gosh darn tired of something, folks. Every time I read anything having to do with Kane, with what's wrong with the E, masked wrestlers in general, monster heels, fire, necrophilia, the 90's, breakfast cereal, the color red, whatever, there's some yahoo talking about putting the mask back on Kane. Here's why it's not the right move.
First of all: not going to happen. Absolutely not, for two reasons. They'd have to light his ass on fire, man! In this oft bemoaned PG era that is not going to happen. I would love to see it, but let's be real. Reason two: CODY RHODES. What's his gimmick? Oh yeah: horrible accident, for which he blames another wrestler, ruined his face and now he wears a mask. Sound familiar? Think we should have two of those on the same show? I don't. Now on to the less obvious stuff.
There's no fucking mystery. He's not a faceless terror anymore. He's a classic wrestler who people have grown up with. He's also a smart guy in real life and maybe he'd like to be able to emote with his face. Maybe he's 44 years old and doesn't really need to be wearing a whole bodysuit and hot smelly mask anymore. The other thing is, it's kind of hard to get him totally heel. Like Austin, like Rock, like CM Punk. People are gonna cheer him no matter what. You've got to have a really hot shit babyface to make Kane a heel again. It's going to happen eventually because Kane is a character that must go out on the losing end as a villain. The monster vanquished one last time. Give the rub to some up-and-comer.
Yes, we knew he was Isaac Yankem. We could see him unmasked online. But not everyone did, and even if you did he was still that faceless monster when he was on screen. Plus one of the major elements of the mystique of the mask is agelessness. Well, Glenn Jacobs is not ageless, and even though he's in great shape, he's still 40+ and he looks like it. Picture him in the old school costume with his middle aged body. Not quite as scary as his debut, wherein JR said he looked to be carved from stone.
He's been unmasked for so long now, too, that the character has evolved. The silent, unpredictable fury that was the monster Kane has been replaced by a cerebral, well spoken, and still 7 feet and 300+ lbs. thank you very much, Kane. Good thing too, because this is, as I've said before (you probably didn't read it, but that's OK), this is the dawning of a new Era. That means they've got a lot of young bucks on the roster and this is significant for a couple of reasons. Number one, they doesn't all talk so goods, know what I mean? You gotta have established guys who can talk, brother. Kane fits that description to a T. Number two, this new generation is a smaller one, like that of HBK and Bret Hart and the like. What's a really good way to put somebody on the next level? You turn him heel. He starts acting really vicious and he beats up someone who's really over. What's good way to put somebody small on the next level? Put him over a monster.
So let's take Slater and Gabriel for example. It's perfect, really. Same crop. Just broke up their tag-team. Obviously they're about to feud and Slater's gonna stay heel and Gabriel's gonna turn face. One of them is gonna get over real big and the other one not so much. So let's say that the other one goes to work Kane to try and get over. Gabriel is going to be a heartthrob sort of guy. Ladies already scream when he's out there. Well, can you really see the men booing Kane for beating up some pretty boy? He's gonna have to take some stiff shots (and dish them out) and rough bumps and display some solid storytelling and earn that respect. He's gonna have to show some toughness and some serious mic skills like Jericho did in his feud with Kane that culminated in a last man standing match at, I don't know, Armageddon or something. Early 2000's. Simply put: Kane isn't going to get any heat for his in-ring work and Gabriel probably isn't going over with the stick. Gabriel has to bring it in the matches and Kane has to use his acting ability to piss off the crowd. Good thing he has a face and a voice, huh?
Now say Gabriel gets the better end of their feud and Slater has to work Kane to get over. Well, Bret Hart was saying something on that Legends of Wrestling roundtable about him and Stone Cold in their legendary Mania match. He said that moment when he had him in the Sharpshooter and the blood was pouring down, that's when the audience fell for him. They saw this badass, this bully, you know, this bad dude just in agony, in such a vulnerable place. He said it broke the crowd's heart.
So now back to the future. Slater is going to fucking cheat and play mind games and do all this dirty shit to get the best of Kane, and with his face exposed, the man can do some heart-breaking selling. There's the parallel. Your heart breaks for this big scary monster who's been reduced to a pile of rubble by this brash young bastard. Except here the goal isn't to make you love Kane. You already do. The goal is heat for Slater.
Let's not forget, too, that Kane has done some great shit that wouldn't be possible without the mask. Like when Edge had abducted Paul Bearer and Kane was saying "Please just give me my father back!" It was so human and it made you feel for him and blurred the face/heel line which in my opinion is quite often a good thing. Shades of gray feel more real than black and white. So if he had tried that with a scary mask on and talking with a voice box, where would be the pathos? OK, scratch that. That would be a great moment. But the guy had to lose the mask in order to grow as a character. When you're as talented and as smart as Glenn Jacobs is I'm sure it's really frustrating to have to play the "Big Red Retard," as King was so fond of calling him, night in and night out.
BOTTOM LINE: Show some fucking respect to Glenn Jacobs and the work that he's doing right now. Stop demanding the masked Kane back.