Monday 18 November 2013

Corporate Kane

The Kane character is not unfamiliar with reinvention. Over the years he’s been many things. He’s been a mute without a childhood, a magical pyromancer, a sympathetic klutz who accidentally murdered someone on his way to a high school prom, and a self-deprecating comedy performer unafraid of breaking the fourth wall to summarise but a few. ‘The Big Red Machine’ is perhaps the most flexible character the company has ever had.

That opening paragraph should tell you what the focus here is. Corporate Kane. The latest reinvention of the character. I’m a fan of it.

A big reason I like it is that we’re not seeing Glenn Jacobs in a corporate setting, it’s still very much Kane. Jacobs still carries himself like he’s dressed in the black and red singlet, still possesses, exploits even, the intimidating demeanour, and still uses the Kane character’s inflections when he speaks. Plus he’s still being billed as Kane, an incredibly gimmicky name for a completely ungimmicky-looking individual (although see below for more on the look).

What’s so fun about this is that Kane has for years been presented as a psychotic monster. What we’re seeing is a mentally unstable character put into a suit and functioning perfectly normally. It’s good because it shouldn’t work and because it says interesting things about Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Brad Maddox and every other on-screen suit-wearing regular: Kane seems just as well-adjusted as them.

Another reason it works is that Glenn Jacobs has a wonderfully expressive face. He can, as I’ve already mentioned, intimidate, but he’s equally skilled at playing the straight man to a guy like Maddox. There’s something a little Ron Perlman or Ed O’Neill to the performance.

How can you NOT love this?
Losing his trademark red and black singlet could easily have ruined Kane. In WWE a suit is about as generic as it gets (unless you’re the sartorially elegant Vince McMahon or Mark ‘Salmon Pink Jacket’ Henry). Jacobs, and presumably the WWE wardrobe team, have made lovely little touches that play into the Kane character and stop him becoming “just a guy in a suit”. Look no further than the black and red colour coding and the delightful flame-shaped pocket square.

I’m hoping that we eventually see Kane wrestle in these suits. It would show a disregard for convention that has been one of the character’s trademarks and create some interesting and memorable visuals. If any WWE character, past or present, could make wrestling in a suit work, it’s Kane.

This is another triumphant reinvention for a character that was originally thought to have a lifespan of only around six months. Glenn Jacobs continues to make WWE an interesting place. Good on ‘im.

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