For as long as I can remember, WWE announcers have been telling people that they’ve got to see Kane in person to appreciate how big he is.
And they’re right…the dude’s ginormous.
I went eye-to-eye (more like eye-to-chest) with the man they call The Big Red Machine at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. While we sat above the bustling Mattel merchandise kiosk we talked about his impressive, lengthy career, his collection of Kane memorabilia, and the WWE’s youth movement.
Gordon Holmes: Everyone always talks about the Undertaker and his 21 years in the WWE, but you’ve been around for quite some time yourself. What’s been the key to your long… long…
Holmes: There’s the word. Who’s the writer here?
Holmes: What’s the key to THAT in the WWE?
Kane: It’s being able to adapt to changes and also to reinvent yourself. Always being able to do something new. To be able to sort of go with the flow as our business changes. Because it does change and our audience changes.
Holmes: As someone who’s seen a lot in this industry, what advice would you go back and give yourself if you could?
Kane: I think I’d tell myself to have more fun. What we do is hard work. We travel a lot. Of course everybody knows that it’s physically taxing. And we have our other responsibilities; promotional and that sort of thing. I think I’d tell myself to be a little less serious.
Holmes: As I said, you’ve been in the WWE for quite some time. You’ve had quite a few action figures. It seems like they keep getting more and more realistic. Does that freak you out at all?
Kane: No. I think it’s neat to see the process of the figures getting more realistic. And also the different spin the artist uses in the process of making the figurines. You know, they’re all slightly different and have a different look to them.
Holmes: I noticed we’re going to be seeing a classic masked Kane action figure. Does that bring back any bad memories at all?
Kane: (Laughs) No, not at all. In fact I think some of the masked figurines are the best ones. I was just looking at their display of all the different things they’ve done with Rey Mysterio and it’s really impressive.
Holmes: Do you collect Kane memorabilia? Do you have a collection at home?
Kane: Yes…somewhat. This is going to sound sort of weird.
Holmes: Go for it.
Kane: I had some of it displayed at my house and after a while I thought it was really pretentious of me. It’s all boxed away now. There’s just been so much stuff, that it’s boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff at this point.
Holmes: What’s the weirdest piece of Kane merchandise you have?
Kane: Well…I don’t know how much commercial success it had…but there’s the one where you put water into the figure and it would sweat. I don’t know if they appeal to many people, but I thought they were neat.
Holmes: C’mon. Who doesn’t want sweaty wrestler toys?
Kane: Who doesn’t want that, right?
Holmes: You saw some of the legends figures over at the Mattel booth. Are there any legends you’d like to see them do?
Kane: I’m a big fan of Andre the Giant. He’s the ultimate, larger-than-life superstar. So, the more they can do with him the cooler. You know what would be really cool would be a huge one.
Holmes: Would you like to see an Isaac Yankem?
Kane: No. (Laughs)
Holmes: Do you get a chance to participate in the WWE’s charity initiatives?
Kane: Yeah. We do a lot with Make-A-Wish. Those are always bittersweet because it’s awesome to bring joy to somebody’s life. But then you meet these children and some of their stories are just tragic. It’s one of the things that WWE has done that maybe a lot of people don’t know about that we’re very proud of.
Holmes: There seems to be a lot of new talent on the shows these days. Does anyone in particular stand out to you?
Kane: I think there’s a number of guys. I think, even though he’s been around for a little while, that Sheamus is going to do well. I’m a big fan of Daniel Bryan’s. He’s always fighting the odds. It’s one of those deals where whoever emerges and is given an opportunity you hope they’ll be able to carry the ball. You never know.
Holmes: Do you think C.M. Punk has the potential to be the next big thing?
Kane: I don’t know. We’ll see.
Holmes: As a WWE superstar, you’re used to people running around in crazy costumes, so do you feel right at home here at Comic Con?
Kane: A few years ago I was at Comic Con, and I’d gotten up really early to go work out before I did my appearance here. And I’m walking through the streets of San Diego and I’m seeing rebel starship fighters and Princess Leia clones. For a moment I forgot where I was, and I was like, “What in the world is going on!” And some of the costumes are amazing, it’s like they walked off the set of a movie.
Holmes: Now Kane, you just rattled off “Star Wars” characters like you knew what you were talking about. Are you some kind of closet sci-fi fan?
Kane: (Laughs) Everybody’s a “Star Wars” fan, I think.
Holmes: Likely story.
Kane: Actually in our appearance today in the Mattel booth, they had a gigantic figure of Voltron. And I was like “Oh wow!” It’s sort of neat now that some of the retro stuff from when I was a kid has become more popular.
Holmes: You’re a big dude. That Voltron figure’s gotta be around 12-foot tall. Why don’t you just hoist it over your shoulder and take it home with you?
Kane: (Laughs) I don’t know, I don’t think I can get on an airplane with that thing. It’s huge.
Holmes: So, you’ve done everything. Won every championship…well…except for the one she’s got. (Motions over to Kelly Kelly who’s seated a few feet away holding the WWE Divas championship.)
Kane: (Laughs) Yeah, I don’t want that one.
Holmes: Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice. But pink really isn’t your color.
Kane: Yeah, I know.
Holmes: How much longer do you think we’ll see you in the WWE?
Kane: I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t.
Holmes: Do you still enjoy it?
Kane: Yes…sometimes. I enjoy performing, but the travel really does get to you over time. If I can keep it being fun, I’ll keep on doing it.
Note: As we concluded the interview, a representative from Mattel presented Kane with a brand new Voltron action figure.
Watch Kane on WWE Smackdown, Friday Nights on Syfy at 8 p.m. ET.