Q&A with legendary wrestler Kane
WWE's second-most famous event, Royal Rumble, is taking place in Pittsburgh for the first time. The attraction of the Sunday event at Consol Energy Center is the Rumble match where 30 wrestlers will enter the ring in a battle royal. The winner gets to face the WWE world heavyweight champion at WrestleMania in New Orleans.
Legendary wrestler Kane holds two Rumble records. Eliminating 11 guys in one match, which is the most anyone has ever done, and appearing in 16 Rumble matches, which is more than anyone else has.
I recently spoke to Kane. The full archived interview can be heard on TribLIVE Radio via the podcast section. We talked about the importance of the Rumble match in a superstar's career as well as his own storied career that began with him debuting as The Undertaker's younger brother.
Q: You hold record of eliminations and most appearances. Talk about Royal Rumble and what it does for a career.
A: Royal Rumble is incredibly important event. Winner goes on and gets a title shot at WrestleMania. Royal Rumble can launch careers, which it has in an number of cases. Unfortunately, I've been in the most, I've yet to win one. Came close a couple times. I was in Royal Rumble, I believe in 2000 in New Orleans, was in for 60 minutes and it came down between me and Stone Cold Steve Austin. He hit me with a chair and eliminated me. I often look back and wonder what would have happen if I would have won. Royal Rumble is very important match. Being there live, especially for the fans, is a great experience. Often there is a lot of surprises in Royal Rumble. You never know who is going to show up. It's a great event all the way around for everybody.
Q: I consider the Kane character to have the best backstory and the best debut. From that point on, it's been amazing to watch the evolution. Don't be modest, you've got to know the Kane character is one of the greatest the industry will ever see?
A: I do. I will take a certain amount of credit for that. However, everything we do in this business is a team effort. As you identified, the reason Kane was so successful initially was because he did have the best backstory the business ever had. We told one of the best stories with Kane and The Undertaker ever. It was a tremendous bit of storytelling. It was really epic. I've also had plenty of opportunities along the way and worked with plenty of good people along the way who helped me out quite a bit. Everything we do really is a team effort. I'm where I am, not only because of my own abilities but because a lot of people have believed in me and helped me get where I am.
Q: You debuted in October of 1997 at the Badd Blood pay-per-view during the Hell in a Cell match. It was in St. Louis, which you have a connection to. Relive the debut. Were your nervous?
A: I grew up about an hour and half from St. Louis, so that was a big deal.
I was really nervous, man. This was my one chance to have an enormous impact and one chance to really get on a rocket ship. I understood that more than anyone did. Especially going in and being involved with The Undertaker. Being involved in that match. We have the first Hell in a Cell match between two icons in our industry, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. That was a really big moment. I have never had that kind of opportunity presented to me. I was just hoping to be able to pull it off. I was able to pull it off but then we had the hard work ahead of us to keep it going until that match at WrestleMania.
Q: The Undertaker, Triple H – we see them make random appearances. Would you prefer that kind of schedule where you can always have a match at any time or more of a Shawn Michaels career where you have a definitive last match?
A: I don't know. Luckily, I don't have to think about that at this point quite yet. I'm not sure which I'd prefer. For now, I'd prefer to keep doing my job the best I can and having fun. I still think I can perform at a high level. There are a lot of young guys out there, but I still think rather than me having to keep up with them, they have to keep up with me. As long as I can think that way, we'll let that question answer itself when it comes up.