Kane was much happier removing his mask than some of his fans.
When many fans look back at Kane’s storied career, they consider his first run as the masked character as his prime. As the silent masked monster, Kane was seen as an absolute beast that terrified everyone from curtain-jerkers to main-eventers.
But after he unmasked in 2003, his career was seen to take a downward turn. His mystique was gone, his larger-than-life aura was diminished, and he found himself in even controversial storylines (the Lita/Matt Hardy baby storyline, his feuds with the Great Khali and Big Daddy V, the fake Kane in 2006, putting his brother in a ‘vegetative state’, etc.)
However, the man himself actually embraced the unmasking with gusto. Speaking with PWMania.com’s Scott Mitchell in an exclusive interview, Kane explained that the unmasking was for more than just visual shock. To him, it marked an opportunity to switch from being a Michael Myers-type monster to a Hannibal Lector-type monster.
“I was pumped about it. It was a change. I felt that Kane had gotten rather stale. The mask while it was a great asset because it provided a mystique and mystery that nobody else had, and also because we use our face a lot to show people emotion which is what WWE is all about and getting the audience to feel what you feel, I couldn’t do that they way I wanted to because of the mask and felt I was pretty limited. I was excited to do it.
It was a different character. Kane went from being this physical monster that didn’t talk and the most emotion you got from him was a head tilt, which was very ambiguous and it meant that something bad was about to happen to somebody, to Kane now being a psychological monster. He went from being a Michael Myers to a Hannibal Lecter. To me, that’s more terrifying.
Now you have a big, huge guy who is all messed up on the inside although he looked normal on the outside. The scars were on the inside and his psyche. To me, that’s much more terrifying than a masked dude running around. I was excited about it.
I didn’t know it would do what it did and that it would be a completely different character. It was almost like debuting and starting all over again, except at a much higher level because you had all this history behind you.”
Kane’s last high-profile match was at Crown Jewel 2018 in which he and his brother The Undertaker took on Triple H and Shawn Michaels. He also had a brief appearance in the 2021 Royal Rumble match.
h/t PWMania for the transcription