There are some wrestlers who fans seem to take for granted in the WWE because they have been around and doing their job for so long. Kane is most definitely a guy who fits that description, but he deserves more recognition and respect now that he is the last of his kind within the company.
The Kane character debuted in the WWE in 1997 and if you don't take part-timers like The Undertaker, Triple H and The Rock into account, Kane is the only guy left standing in the WWE 15 years later. Kane is 45 years old, but he continues to work a full schedule and gives it his all night in and night out.
Most guys in the wrestling business are capable of excelling in one particular role, but the great ones are able to get over in any situation. Glenn Jacobs, who plays Kane, was saddled with some awful gimmicks early in his career, namely Isaac Yankem DDS and Fake Diesel, but he took the Kane character and ran with it.
He started off as a dominant, unstoppable heel monster and he has been that throughout much of his career. With that said, though, Kane has truly been a jack of all trades. Not only has he been a heel monster, but he has maintained the monster role and been a face, and he has even gone the comedic route as a face, just like he is doing right now.
In a lot of ways, I consider Kane to be the renaissance man of WWE. Taking a wrestler out of his comfort zone and asking him to do something different often results in disaster, but Kane has done so many different things over the course of his 15-year WWE career that he has to be considered one of the all-time greats.
The only other current WWE superstars who have shown the ability to thrive in varying roles like Kane are CM Punk and Kane's new tag-team partner, Daniel Bryan. Punk has been great as both a face and a heel over the course of his WWE career, while Bryan went from a smiley, somewhat boring face to a hilarious, psychotic heel.
I don't believe that either of them have even come close to matching Kane in that regard, though. Kane's original gimmick was one that could have easily pigeonholed him for the remainder of his career, but he somehow managed to evolve and become whatever the creative team needed him to be at certain points in time.
Kane's current work in particular may be the most impressive of his career. He was brought back under his mask last year with the intention of him going back to his roots as a monster heel, but he ultimately fell flat because of a muddled, unsuccessful feud with John Cena. Kane could have easily packed it in after that, but like the chameleon that he is, Kane underwent yet another career transformation.
His involvement with A.J. humanized him to some degree and then things truly took off when he began feuding with Bryan. It was a rivalry at first and still is to some degree, but Kane and Bryan have slowly begun to find some common ground through the side-splitting anger management classes and now their tag-team matches together.
Kane and Bryan defeated Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the Tag Team Championships at Night of Champions, so it would seem as though the WWE is committed to their comedy act for the long haul. This version of Kane certainly couldn't have been anything close to what the WWE brass envisioned back in 1997, but for whatever reason, it works.
Not only is Kane a proverbial Swiss army knife for the WWE thanks to his incredible versatility, but he may be the only guy on the roster who can be a believable monster heel when called upon. Kane is a rare breed that is close to extinction in the WWE, so we ought to enjoy him while he's still competing at a high level.