WWE fans across multiple generations got to witness the dominance of Kane and the pure fear he put into his opponents' eyes whether it was feuding with The Undertaker, removing his mask to reveal his true self or joining the likes of The Authority as a heel.
The pro wrestler who went through “hellfire and brimstone” to become one of the top competitors in the industry recently spoke to Fox News Digital about the origins of his character as his “Biography: WWE Legends” episode is set to air Sunday on A&E at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
When asked who he would put on his Mount Rushmore of WWE stars, the former wrestler now known as Knox County, Tennessee, Mayor Glenn Jacobs said it was difficult to name the four best.
Instead, he named four wrestlers who defined an era in the business.
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“That’s a hard question because I was incredibly fortunate to be in the ring with so many great superstars, Hall of Famers from different generations. And so it’s hard for me to say who’s the best because it may change depending on the day of the week or the circumstances,” Jacobs explained.
“If you were going to ask me, though, who were like the face of professional wrestling in WWE in their eras? I would say, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and John Cena. Because I think those are the ones that define each of those eras.”
Flair was stylin’ and profilin’ as champion in the National Wrestling Alliance, World Championship Wrestling and in WWE. He won multiple championships across several promotions and was among the first to transcend sports entertainment.
Hogan was very similar because he was a bona fide babyface in the early days of his time with WWF and WWE and was known for slamming Andre the Giant and telling kids to eat their vegetables, “brother.” He famously joined WCW and convinced fans to join the New World Order faction, which set the wrestling world on fire in the 1990s.
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Austin’s emergence in the Attitude Era of wrestling helped WWE win the Monday Night Wars against WCW. His attitude made him one of the top competitors in the industry. His battles with Vince McMahon on television were extremely raw, and it translated into a ratings bonanza.
Love him or hate him, Cena came onto the scene extremely hot as a wannabe rapper who would dress down his opponents on the mic. He turned that ability into multiple championship runs.
Jacobs said there were a few people he thought were top performers in the current generation’s WWE. Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre and Seth Rollins just to name a few.
“You know, Roman Reigns, of course. I think he’s the face of the company,” Jacobs told Fox News Digital. “I think he’s a tremendous performer, and he’s another guy that’s been able to really reinvent himself and the character now with The Bloodline and him kinda being the cool, very under-spoken guy, I think is great.
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“Drew McIntyre is tremendous. And what’s great about Drew is, kinda like my own story, he came into WWE and had a run. Probably wasn’t quite what he wanted and left and then came back and is now just top of his game.
“I’m a huge Seth Rollins fan. I’ve always thought that Seth Rollins is much like Shawn Michaels and that he can go out there and do anything. And I don’t like saying that, though, because … I don’t like comparing people to anyone else. And I think that he’s leaving a legacy that should be remembered just as Seth Rollins. I think there’s a number of great performers, and I think the company’s in really good hands.”
Even while balancing his mayoral duties, Jacobs said he still follows wrestling closely.
“I’m a big fan of the wrestling industry and all the changes that you saw through the 20th century. The consolidation of WWE and the entire business with Vince McMahon, cable TV, pay-per-view, then the internet and the WWE Network, competitors along the way,” he said.
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“I always feel that competition makes everybody better. The Monday Night Wars were awesome, except if you were a participant and you were thinking, ‘If we lose, we’re going to lose our jobs.’ So this is not as great as anyone on the outside thinks it is, and it’s just neat to see the changes.
“And then to see everybody adapt to new and different environments and to see new characters come along and another generation of very passionate individuals who go out there and put their bodies on the line to entertain the fans. I think it’s just amazing.”