WWE book, 2005
As you’re probably aware, Kane released an autobiography recently. Sure, the life story of a WWE wrestler who participated in many if not most of the company’s most ridiculous storylines and wound up mayor of a major county sounds like a good read…
…but you might be disappointed to learn that it’s not actually an autobiography of Kane. It’s an autobiography of Glenn Jacobs…
…including a lengthy, This Things I Believe-style discussion of his political views.
Fear not, because back in 2005, WWE released a biography of the Devil’s Favorite Demon, entitled Journey Into Darkness.
First of all, I’d like to say that you’ve got to hand it to author Michael Chiappetta, who did his best to make a satisfying narrative that explained the extremely inconsistent character of Kane.
And the two biggest inconsistencies of all are:
1. Kane’s horrific burns and scars disappearing one by one until he finally lost his mask altogether and went shirtless.
2. Kane being a monster hidden from society who in WWE learned to become “human”, but who had also attended parties with his lady friend Katie Vick during his young adult years.
With the weighty task of reconciling all these “facts”, here’s the biography the author came up with:
At seven years old, Kane survived a fire where his whole family presumably died. He then bounced around a number of foster homes in Texas. Shortly before graduating from high school, he and Katie Vick got into a car accident, after which he fled into the wilderness and hid for several years. Presumed dead, he eventually took a job as a security guard until he saw his father’s old funeral home apprentice Paul Bearer on WWF TV in 1996. He contacted Bearer, who recruited him to take revenge on his brother Mark (who, he learned, had set the fire and survived). After training in Spain and donning a mask purely for show, Kane arrived in the WWF at Badd Blood 1997, and the rest is history.
The author tries to find a rational explanation for Kane’s various physical scars, such as his weird-ass hairline (“some of the hair was singed off the top of his scalp”)…
…and the burns on his right arm and lower body, but these boyhood disfigurations either healed quickly or were accepted by the surprisingly tolerant residents of Marfa, Texas.
Kane’s weird eye? He was born with two different colored eyes, one blue, one brown. For whatever reason, kids always teased him about this and called him a freak.
Except, that still wouldn’t explain why now he has one blue eye and one white eye. To resolve that issue, the author implied that in the Katie Vick accident, Kane either lost his right eye or was blinded, although the matter is never brought up again.
What about how Kane couldn’t talk until 1999? There was no single event that caused Kane to lose his voice, but instead a string of unlikely and unfortunate occurrences that befell Kane’s throat like Lenny’s eye.
First he suffered bruised vocal cords somehow in the fire. Then he was strangled with a belt by his abusive adoptive mother. Then in high school, a jock bully choked him. Finally, while sparring in Paul Bearer’s basement, he was elbowed in the throat by a journeyman wrestler. His name?
Wait for it…
Gene Snitsky. The narrator doesn’t mention whether he accepted responsibility.
Most importantly, to his face and neck, Kane only ever suffered minor burns bad enough to warrant teasing from his peers (who called him, “lobster-boy”) but not bad enough to warrant wearing a mask.
According to the book, Kane’s mask originally belonged to his father (yes, I know his real father was Paul Bearer, but let’s just call him that for now). The mask was actually a Día de Muertos mask that his dad used in a ritual in Mexico. He’d gone there for research into, I don’t know, death stuff.
Paul Bearer kept Kane under a mask for marketing purposes: “…the fewer people who knew Kane’s scars were not that much worse than a bad sunburn,” Bearer figured, “the better”.
While Kane might not have worn a mask in high school, he did wear a football helmet, as he became the star player of his football team and something of a hometown hero. Much like the real Glenn Jacobs, Kane also played on his high school basketball team. It’s just a shame that he and the head cheerleader, Katie Vick, never got a chance to date.
The narrator’s account of Katie Vick’s death differs from Kane’s onscreen explanation from 2002, in terms of both the timeline of his career and in the aftermath of the accident. Kane claimed that he apologized to Katie Vick’s parents, but the book reveals that not only did everyone believe Kane had died, but that Katie’s dad had already died years earlier. I trust the book here. Have you heard Kane give his side of the story? So insincere.
That doesn’t mean Triple H’s version of the story was 100% accurate, either. All Kane and Katie did was kiss for the first time that day, which wouldn’t explain the… ahem… DNA evidence found on the scene.
What the book lacks in semen, it makes up for in animal bones and human feces, which were discovered in a cave by hikers in a Texas state park during Kane’s time in the wilderness.
And Kane isn’t his real name, despite Paul Bearer and the Undertaker calling him that on WWF TV since day one. Since it was well-known among hardcore fans that his real name is Glenn Jacobs, and that The Undertaker’s real name is Mark Calaway, the author named Kane, “Glen [sic] Jacob Callaway [sic]”. He only took on the name, “Kane” after he supposedly died in the Katie Vick incident.
Why “Kane”? It was his mother’s maiden name, which anyone with online security questions now knows is a bad thing to just advertise to the world.
No wonder he’s so susceptible to identity theft.
As much as the author incorporates WWE canon into the story whenever possible, there are times when the author gets even that wrong. Sure, it’s little things, like how Taker and Bearer split after the urn mishap at King of the Ring 1996 (rather than the betrayal at Summerslam) and that Bret Hart was on TV wrestling that summer…
…but the fact that he gets these verifiable details wrong makes me question whether the rest of his biography of The Big Red Machine is 100% accurate.
It certainly casts doubts on these other key revelations from the book:
-Kane suffers from a hereditary condition where he feels no pain.
-Kane hated Michael Jackson (who, considering the King of Pop’s accident at the Pepsi commercial shoot, ought to have been a kindred spirit).
-Kane’s mother’s side of the family was cursed, leading to the deaths of many people who associated with them, from Kane’s adoptive parents to Katie Vick to, I kid you not, James Dean. Kane later discovered (in 1998, right before splitting with his manager) that Paul Bearer had made the curse up, but not before obtaining a fake passport and other ID under the alias, “James Dean”.
-The Undertaker really did believe that Kane died in the house fire, and he visited his grave with Paul Bearer. Somehow, though, he never questioned why his headstone had only popped up in the family burial plot in 1988 (the year of the Katie Vick accident), or why Paul Bearer covered up the year of his death. Like, literally covered it up. Bearer stood in the way and wouldn’t let Taker read that bit of the headstone.
-Paul Bearer’s real name was Paul Grimm (he changed it while on the run from the law with a young Undertaker)…
…and he was obsessed with ice cream. Paul dreamed of an official Ben & Jerry’s Undertaker ice cream, and later, a Mankind ice cream. That makes CM Punk’s desecration of his ashes all the more despicable in hindsight.
-Kane only fell under Paul Bearer’s spell and turned into a monster because of the “chemicals” Bearer slipped into everything he ate and drank, from ice cream to Gatorade to protein shakes. And when The Undertaker aligned with Paul Bearer to form the Ministry of Darkness? Again, chemicals.
Talk about an evil guy. At least when the British Bulldogs spiked your drink, the worst they’d do was strip you naked, cut up and poop on your clothes, and leave you naked in the snow overnight.
-Wrestling is sometimes predetermined, as Paul Bearer conceded to a skeptical Kane, but it’s usually completely real, and always so whenever the Undertaker had a match.
-Kane had never seen Star Wars, which is the most glaring internal inconsistency in the whole book. The narrator twice mentions Kane having a Darth Vader poster in his childhood room, only for him to stay out of an argument among his high school friends about Star Wars because, as the narrator explicitly states, he hadn’t seen any of the movies. But a few chapters later, he paraphrases Yoda when dared to lift up a car: “There is no try. There is only do.”
-Speaking of inconsistencies, Kane’s height is in constant flux in the book. In his senior year, he was six-foot-five, then six-foot-nine, then down to six-foot-six. At least this part is true to life, as Kane has been billed as 7’1 despite more closely resembling Penn Jillette in stature… and politics…
…and sometimes hair.
-After Kane interfered at Hell in a Cell, The Undertaker confronted him and Paul Bearer backstage like, WTF, bro?
It’s worth noting that the author never invokes the supernatural, despite the mythos surrounding Kane, The Undertaker, and Paul Bearer (who in real life was a mortician on the side).
While the author acknowledges Undertaker’s early wrestling career (with names such as Mean Mark and The Punisher), he didn’t do the same for Kane. Perhaps a detour into dental school would have been a bridge too far?
All things considered, I’m not quite sure who the book’s target audience is. Few adults would invest the time and money into reading a kayfabe book, but there are too many f- and s-words to classify as “Young Adult”.
And worst of all, it’s not even WWE canon: not only is it labeled as “unauthorized” (despite the WWE logo and everything), but WWE started contradicting it soon after its 2005 release.
Remember the mystery of May 19th, and how it turned out to be the date that Kane’s house burned down? In the book, the fire happened on November 7th.
So is Journey Into Darkness worth reading? If you’re a wrestling fan, probably not.
But if you simply want to read a standalone coming-of-age novel about a boy who lives through unspeakable tragedy and manipulation and emerges as his own man…
…then definitely not.