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Glen Jacobs Shares His Thoughts On The ‘Isaac Yankem’ Gimmick, How Vince Pitched It To Him, How ‘Kane’ Was Originally A One-Off Gimmick

Glen Jacobs, aka Kane, was a recent guest on Dinner With The King with Jerry Lawler and Glenn Moore.

Jacobs spoke about his portrayal of Isaac Yankem, DDS in WWE as well as getting the Kane role; you can read a few transcribed highlights and listen to the full show below:

(Transcription credit to Bill Pritchard for Wrestlezone.com) 

Jacobs comments on how he got the Isaac Yankem character: 

So, I was working in Smoky Mountain, and Jim Ross was on hiatus at the time from WWE. Jim saw me, [I was] a big guy and he liked me personally, so he actually got me a tryout with Vince. That went really well… I had a match, and within a week and they wanted to sign me to at that time just a developmental contract, or something just to get me under contract. I stayed down here in Knoxville for a few more months, and I flew up to New York and met with Vince—this is a story I tell all of the time—it’s ‘I’m so happy I’m going to WWE, I made it. I’m going to the big leagues.’ I walk into JJ Dillon’s office and have a small talk with JJ, then Vince comes in and Vince asks me if I’ve ever been afraid to go to the dentist.

I said ‘no sir’ and he goes, ‘well, I’ve always had this idea for a wrestling character—a dentist’ and he goes ‘Isaac Yankem’.  Then he says ‘I Yankem’ and does it in that laugh that only he can do. It was one of those things where you’re on top of the world and things are going great, and then they just pull the rug right out from underneath you. You’re tumbling down, because I’m like ‘a wrestling dentist? How’s that going to work?’ No pun intended—I could just never sink my teeth into it.

Everybody had these over the top characters, and I was probably one of the last ones. You had Alex Porteau, [he] was ‘The Pug’, Bill Irwin was the hockey player, The Goon, everybody had these outlandish characters. I was sort of the last of those. And like I said—the character didn’t work, and that’s mainly on me. I didn’t do it very well. It certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying from WWE. I went in and my first match was with Bret Hart, which is a huge deal. It did get my foot in the door; Vince liked me and my work ethic and all of that, so he decided to keep me around.

[Lawler plays audio of Isaac Yankem’s first on-air vignette]

The vignettes were great, but I think the audience was starting to change at this time. You were starting—they wanted something different. They wanted the more serious characters like the “Stone Cold Steve Austins, they wanted the harder edge stuff. At that time, WWE had gone very family-friendly and very PG, and I think our audience was just changing. I think that had a lot to do with it as well, do you know what I mean?

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Jacobs reveals how he got the Kane character: 

In between [playing Isaac Yankem and Kane] we had the ‘fake Diesel’ character. It was a product of a heel turn with [Jim Ross], basically him controlling the show and showing he could make anyone a star. So I had that little stint, and then I was back with [Lawler] in Memphis and they had this idea—they needed someone to have a match, it was actually a pay-per-view match with Undertaker—and initially they were going to hot-shot the whole thing and they needed it to be a one match deal for [Undertaker] to have an opponent. What they came up with was his brother had been burned in the fire, and they put a mask on me and all of that stuff. Vince liked the storyline so much that he didn’t just want to do one match, he thought that he could make it a really good story out of it. Thank goodness he thought that way!