*For the record this article includes no new backstage gossip, no new inside knowledge and no spoilers it is simply the result of personal reflections on existing widely-reported information. Therefore, any suggestions about the WWE locker room are considered speculation and opinion and I do not claim them as facts.*
It is widely reported that Mark Calaway Aka the Undertaker is as much of a Phenom backstage as he is inside the ring. I remember seeing interviews in the run up to Wrestlemania X8 in Toronto where he was described as "locker room leader", a title that he accepted. He is held in extremely high esteem backstage as a company man and someone to aspire to in attitude and ability. A great example of the ongoing respect the Deadman commands from the entire roster can be seen from videos of Ric Flair's farewell on RAW when he joins Ric in the ring after the show had finished. Its a great sight and I encourage those who haven't seen it to check it out. Furthermore, stories emerged last year surrounding CM Punk highlighting what a mistake it is to disagree with the Undertaker on company matters.
However, with the Undertaker's schedule becoming ever lighter and with the recent WWE Draft depriving Smackdown of numerous top tier stars I began wondering who the current weekly "locker room leader" is, who is the man that keeps tabs on the youngsters and helps steer them in the direction of success for themselves and the company. This is a particularly crucial question at this time as Smackdown is currently filled with several potentially huge superstars who are still relatively new and young in the roster, Drew McIntyre, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston, immediately come to mind. These guys are the future of the WWE and thus need dependable, intelligent veterans to guide them to fulfill this potential.
When looking through the roster my attention was immediately grabbed by great wrestlers such as Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy, in-ring veterans who have given their all for this industry and have wrestled for the WWE for many years. I'm sure these individuals are widely admired for their talent and craftsmanship by the youngsters. However, both have had controversial periods with the WWE, with the former being suspended for drugs and the latter having been released for information leaking. Also, it has been rumoured that Rey refused to drop the Intercontinental Championship to Dolph Ziggler when the idea was pitched. Therefore, whilst I hugely respect these guys I do not see them quite filling the Undertaker's proverbial shoes.
Then my thoughts turned to one man, a man whose character was once one of the most feared of all time, a central character in the much-loved Attitude Era and a man who, to my recollection, has had very few, if any, personal controversies to his name and impressively little time sidelined with injuries over the 15 years of service he has given the WWE. That man is Glen Jacobs AKA Kane!
I think we can all agree the character has lost much of its fear factor and vigor and many of its huge fan-base argue that Kane has been mistreated and underutilized over the years and that a run with the title is of utmost importance. However, Glen has been known to comment that he is happy to work within the mid-card to develop the young stars of tomorrow. This is testament to his business-minded attitude and determination to act in the greater interest of the company.
Whilst I understand his fans' unhappiness at his lack of top tier titles, maybe Kane is actually the Face of Smackdown, but simply behinds the scenes. I would imagine that he leads from example much more than through inspirational speeches, he has described himself as a "hermit" outside of the ring. However, over the years it is quite an example he has set and I'm sure his experience and attitude are admired and his opinion sought by many on the roster.
When Calaway is around, Glen has been known to say he is THE man, yet when he is absent I see Glen Jacobs as the man best-placed to, and most-deserving of, stepping up and supporting the locker room.
I used the picture above as I would suggest that Paul Wight (The Big Show) is another man who would have an awful lot of wisdom and experience which would be invaluable to the young stars. I know that if I was in my mid-20s trying to break into the main events and one of these two giants started speaking, I would damn well listen!
Whatever the truth is about the locker room hierarchy, Glen Jacobs (Kane) is certainly one individual who should be admired and congratulated for his long service and commitment to the industry and his part in the "new" Smackdown maybe far more pivotal to its success than his amount of on-air time would suggest.
As always thank for reading and I look forward to feedback and comments.