Let’s talk a little about Kane. Alright? Good
To do that we need to first talk about The Undertaker
The Undertaker debuted in the WWF in 1990 at Survivor Series, and is generally cited as the greatest marriage of gimmick and performer in the history of professional wrestling. There’s only one real piece of evidence in support of this, and it’s as subjective as it is reliably accurate: no one but the man Mark Calloway could pull of that Undertaker business.
For every successful, long-term gimmick in the WWE, there are tons of failed characters, even with the same wrestler. Even “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, by most accounts the most popular wrestler ever, was a kind of pseudo-Ric Flair knock off for a while named “Stunning” Steve Austin (in WCW) and The Ringmaster (in WWE). Ultimately, the most successful gimmicks are the ones that stop being outlandish characters and start being uncomplicated and sort of self-evident: The Rock’s character is that he’s The Rock. Same with John Cena, same with Triple H, and believe it or not, the most likely response you’re going to get to the question “what is The Undertaker’s gimmick” is “he’s The Undertaker.”
So the Undertaker strode into the WWF in 1990 and reigned supreme even into the industry’s less fantastic (which is not to say that it wasn’t a good era, just less based on fantastic elements then say, the Hulk Hogan 80s) era.
In 1997, in order to engineer a feud, the WWF introduced Kane, The Undertaker’s Brother. There’s a term in videogames where two characters are essentially the same thing just with slightly different color schemes (“palette swap” in case you’re interested or still reading) and initially Kane was not much more than that. The character evolved as it became popular with the fans, though (industry terminology for becoming popular with the fans: “getting over”), and his back story was subsequently changed in several ways. He went from being horribly scarred in a fire to being simply psychologically scarred (this was done so that he could wrestle without a mask), the WWE de-emphasized his ability to control fire, and he went from being mute to being able to speak with the aid of a device, to being able to speak freely (his first words? Thanks for asking. “Suck it,” the popular D-Generation X catchphrase).
Kane’s character has at times been diabolically evil and uncompromisingly just, but his ultimate downfall is that he’s not a truly stand alone character; he’ll always be mentioned alongside The Undertaker. In a lot of ways, that’s not a bad thing; ‘Taker’s got a pretty legitimate claim on one of the handful of “best of all time” handles you can toss out, he’s got longevity and is (reputedly) a class act. There are far worse trailers to be hitched up to forever.
That said, the WWE is a strange universe, where objectively gigantic men go to stop being novelties (Vince’s WWE is so high on big men that even the most physically impressive giants stroll out to a sentiment that’s essentially “oh another giant freak of nature…yawn”).
Kane’s success, and by any measure his career has been a success, is therefore more an impressive ability on his end to transcend the limitations of his size and association to one particular wrestler, and connect with the crowd (which by now you’ve learned is called “getting over”).
The appeal of Kane is, ultimately, of his own creation. He has managed to engineer his own coolness, something that the most popular wrestlers are able to do and the other ones simply are not.
Kane’s ‘Mania opponent, on the other hand, is Randy Orton, whose coolness is manufactured by the WWE and is stuffed down the throats of the audience. (The beauty of being a wrestling fan is that as subjective as my opinion is, it’s no less right than that of someone who likes Randy Orton).
For a while, Orton went by the moniker “The Legend Killer,” which was kind of a meta-gimmick that both played with his status as a Legacy, and saw him get the best of older WWE Superstars. His continued annihilation of the gimmick-dependant superstars of old was both a means of getting Orton over and a symbol of the new wave of WWE characters, who are mostly plainclothes muscleheads. Every time Randy Orton beat up a Jake “The Snake” Roberts or a “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, it was as if the WWE was saying “this is the future, suckers, who cares if it’s not particularly talented or charismatic?”
Ultimately, though, Orton’s got whatever “it” is, and he’s forged a path largely by dominating heavy-handed “character” wrestlers, like Kane.
In short, this is the exact kind of match that the gimmickless Orton (in fact it’s a stretch to even call him a character, really) would win.
I don’t much care for Orton, and I like Kane a lot. Will the WWE give me two dissatisfying match experiences right in a row?
Turns out, no. Kane is allowed to win in a match that lasts a respectable amount of time. It is wonderful.
 “Gimmick,” another industry term referring generally to the confluence of characteristics and ideas and speaking patterns and clothing that make up a character’s “character,” in the case of the Undertaker it’s the weird mystique surrounding his quote unquote lord of darkness/deadman persona (between 2002 and 2004, however, he inexplicably changed his gimmick to an uber-patriotic biker, but he was so popular by that time that no one cared).
 Notable examples: Mark Calloway (The Undertaker) was once a part of a tag team called “The Skyscrapers,” whose gimmick was simply that they were quite tall. Current WWE Wunderkind Dolph Ziggler has had stints as both a male cheerleader and a golf caddy. Glenn Jacobs, who portrays Kane, was once…wait for it…an evil dentist (Dr. Isaac Yankem, in case you were wondering).
 It’s best to think of pro wrestlers’ histories as fluid, changing things that don’t always remain even or consistent but still contribute in some way to the essence of the fictional characters, like the setting of “Hamlet” from stage to stage.
 Nowhere is the proverbial “it” that superstars have and lesser stars don’t have more real. Not sports, not music. It’s also worth pointing out that Glen Jacobs (who portrays Kane) has a degree in English from a respected liberal arts college and at one point hosted a Libertarian talk-radio show.
 Orton’s father and grandfather are both former professional wrestlers.
 Again, just my opinion.
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