The many faces of Glenn Jacobs

Craig Wilson

To those familiar only with the current WWE product, the name Glenn Jacobs is synonymous only with ‘the big red machine’ Kane, but in fact he is in his 21st year as a professional wrestling that has seen him compete in the USWA, Smokey Mountain Wrestling and, since 1995, the WWF/E.

Of course, such a lengthy career in most fields would include both highlights and lowlights and that is the same for Jacobs’ wrestling career. From the highs achieved during his stint as Kane to the lows during the run as Lawler’s dentist and the Fake Diesel. Few can doubt, however, that Jacobs is a shoe-in as a future induction into the WWE Hall of Fame when he eventually hangs up his mask.

A Christmas gift to the USWA

Some photos just don't need captions: Yup, this is Glenn Jacobs dressed up as a Christmas Tree

Some photos just don’t need captions: Yup, this is Glenn Jacobs dressed up as a Christmas Tree

A walking Christmas tree gimmick. Yup, that’s right. And not even the worst gimmick he had in his career. This run with the USWA, and in this get-up, was fairly short lived and ended with a defeat at the hands of Jerry ‘the King’ Lawler, a man Jacobs would encounter a few years further down the line.

Early tag team success

Despite the bland attire he was clad in, Jacobs had an interesting stint in Smoky Mountain Wrestling and was one half of the SMW Tag Team Champions with the criminally underrated Al Snow: a duo that had a chemistry that is so lacking in modern tag team wrestling. The team wrestled under the name The Dynamic Duo and feuded with SMW mainstays The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express – whom they defeated for the SMW tag team titles as well as, amongst others, The Headbangers and The Thugs – Tony Anthony and Tracy Smothers – who defeated Snow & Unabomb for the belts.

The demonic dentist

Jacobs’ loss to Lawler in the USWA wasn’t the last he’d see of the King of Memphis wrestling as he’d make his debut in the WWF as, of all

A dentist gimmick: Not likely to lead to Wrestling greatness

A dentist gimmick: Not likely to lead to Wrestling greatness

things, Lawler’s dentist. In June 1995, he was introduced to WWF fans as Dr. Isaac Yankem DDS, The King’s private dentist, and engaged in a feud with his long-time opponent Bret Hart, the man Lawler brought Yankem in to rid the WWF of.

After a lengthy two year feud with Hart, Lawler was shown visiting his dentist who it transpired was a former wrestler. This began the storyline and saw a series of vignettes air from Yankem’s surgery where he treated various patients as Lawler quizzed them on who their favourite and least favourite wrestlers were.

It was perhaps his match with Hart at the 1995 Summerslam that saw his character get the most exposure, despite the DQ loss at the event. However, despite a reasonable start his push began to diminish and he soon became a jobber to various stars including, as seen in the video below, The Undertaker.

Doomed as Fake Diesel but success as Doomsday

The, thankfully, short-lived Fake Diesel gimmick

The, thankfully, short-lived Fake Diesel gimmick

If wrestling fans found the dentist gimmick silly, worse was to follow. In September 1996, Jim Ross introduced Rick Bognar as “Razor Ramon” and Glenn Jacobs as “Diesel” as part of a storyline mocking the departure of former employees Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, and also as an attempt to turn Ross into a heel.

The Jim Ross heel turn proved unpopular and was dropped almost immediately, and despite receiving a WWF Tag Team Championship match against Owen Hart and The British Bulldog at the In Your House 12: It’s Time pay-per-view, the gimmick’s television lifespan lasted only until the 1997 Royal Rumble, where, despite both competing, neither achieved much success in the match.

Whilst wrestling fans, particularly those that watched the WWF’s rival the WCW, were hot for both Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in their “invasion” angle of the WCW, the crowd reaction to the two stars brought in to replace them couldn’t have been more different. A strange, strange gimmick clearly just there to show wrestling fans who owned the Razor and Diesel gimmicks. That said, few cared as Hall & Nash became two of the hottest properties in wrestling whilst Jacobs and Bognar achieved minimal success as their replacements.

After this unremarkable stint with the WWF, Jacobs returned to the USWA but this time minus the Christmas tree outfit and instead as Doomsday, under the tutelage of Dutch Mantell – Zeb Culter to some. Here, he has a measure of success and as well as facing Cactus Jack in WWC in Puerto Rico, in the video below, he defeated Harry Del Rios for the USWA Heavyweight Champion and would hold on to the belt until September 1997 when he dropped it to Steven Dunn – one half of former WWF tag team Well Dunn – as he embarked upon a return to the WWF.

From Hell Fire and Brimstone

This return to the WWF yielded much greater results for Jacobs in a role that he maintains to this day; Kane. After a memorable entrance, at Badd Blood, where he attacked his storyline brother The Undertaker during his Hell in a Cell match against Shawn Michaels, costing ‘taker the match and entering a feud with the man his manager, and storyline Father, Paul Bearer had previously managed.

The tag team champions hug it out

The tag team champions hug it out

Of course, his whole 16 years – to date – with the WWE hasn’t all been highlights. Few will forget the Katie Vick storyline anytime soon nor, really, any of his other storylines involving divas. However, just as I had begun to think that the recent re-masking of him was the last throw of the dice that was starting to quickly become stale, his tag team combination with Daniel Bryan as Team Hell No has brought life, and crucially, importance to the tag team division.

When Jacobs debuted as Isaac Yankem or when he was repackaged as Fake Diesel; few, including himself, would have anticipated a career in the WWE of the longevity that he has achieved. However, few can argue against the merits of an eventual induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. After all, Jacobs has amassed a total of sixteen championship accolades during his WWE career including: World Heavyweight Championship three times; the WWF Championship once, the ECW Championship, and the World Heavyweight Championship once; making him the first person ever to hold all three WWE world titles.

In addition, he is also a two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, a one-time WWE Hardcore Champion, and a ten-time Tag Team Champion; winning the WCW World Tag Team Championship once (with The Undertaker), the World Tag Team Champion ten times (twice with Mankind, X-Pac, and The Undertaker; and once with Daniel Bryan, The Hurricane, Rob Van Dam, and The Big Show). Jacobs is the third Grand Slam Champion in WWE history. In addition to championships, he is a one-time Money in the Bank winner. He also became the quickest man to cash in the briefcase. Kane also currently holds four records in the Royal Rumble, most eliminations in a single rumble with 11, most consecutive appearances in the Royal Rumble match with 12 from 1999 to 2010, most total appearances with 14, and the quickest elimination of another competitor at 1.8 seconds.

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3 thoughts on “The many faces of Glenn Jacobs

  1. Jacobs to me is one of the best examples of a decent worker who had the size and charisma that Vince likes, so he got gimmick after gimmick until one stuck. Granted, he plays Kane (particularly during the early run) well, but I still wince when I think of him beating Steve Austin for the WWE Title just months after Austin first won it. The fact the Jacobs is a Libertarian commentator outside of wrestling makes for an interesting juxtaposition with his wrestling character. Regardless of your political views, it’s nice to see a pro wrestler speaking intelligently in public on other topics.

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  2. Absolutely about the gimmick after gimmick. He’s done very well to get the success he has with the role. Particularly at the moment. I hadn’t quite appreciated how involved Jacobs was outside of wrestling, agree though. Quite the contrast with his ring character.

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  3. Pingback: The many faces of Charles Wright | Ring the Damn Bell

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