How Daniel Bryan Helped Shape Glenn Jacobs’s Political Philosophy

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Split image of Glenn Jacobs as WWE's Kane and Knox County Mayor

Glenn Jacobs, the mayor of Knox County, Tenn., is better known to audiences around America as WWE’s masked monster “Kane.” 

It was during his traveling with WWE that Jacobs, a staunch libertarian, formed a close bond with Daniel Bryan, the roster’s most outspoken leftist. Jacobs has made mutual understanding the core of his political philosophy and enjoyed exchanging countless ideas in political discussions and debates with Bryan.

“Bryan and I are on such opposite ends of the political spectrum,” said Jacobs, a Republican. “But we respect each other as human beings and value each other’s opinions, so we had conversations and learned from each other. I learned a lot from Bryan, even if we didn’t always agree.”

Jacobs’s dark, sinister character had an incredible run, primarily thanks to Jacobs’ versatility in the ring and his ability to showcase different parts of his personality in the character, but he was able to showcase an entirely new piece of his personality when working alongside Bryan in Team Hell No.

“Working with Bryan was probably the most fun I had in my entire wrestling career,” said Jacobs. “That was because I was working with Daniel Bryan. I can’t say enough about the guy and his talent. Kane was a very dark, serious character, but Daniel Bryan changed all that. That was such a refreshing change for me.

“If you told people in 1999 that Kane was going eventually going to be in some of the funniest segments of the show, they wouldn’t have believed you. I was able to show off a side of Kane that wasn’t so dark, and that was all due to Bryan.”

Jacobs, between fulfilling his duties as mayor, is still making time to watch his friend Bryan Danielson and believes that the top can’t-miss story in pro wrestling is currently between Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt.

“It’s going to be extremely entertaining,” said Jacobs. “Bray Wyatt is doing a tremendous job with ‘The Fiend’ character, he’s one of the hottest things in WWE. And what can I say about Bryan? He’s the consummate professional and a tremendous performer. That is going to be such a great story.”

Jacobs released his new book, Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics, last month. The autobiography details his journey into politics, as well as stories from nearly three decades in pro wrestling.

“It’s all about my life, so there is a significant amount of wrestling in the book that will make WWE fans happy,” said Jacobs. “It was really fun to write, especially the stories of wrestling and traveling, and there is some really good stuff from my career.

“The ‘Attitude Era’ is one of the most memorable times in all of WWE’s history. I was right in the middle of all that, so I have a perspective on a lot of the events and individuals involved. I hope it’s a very entertaining read.”

Jacobs last appeared on Raw when the show visited Knoxville in September (both as himself and as Kane) and briefly emerged as the new 24/7 Champion, but his return ended with an attack from The Fiend. Away from wrestling, he is making the most of each day as the Mayor of Knox County.

“I love working in our community and I’m enjoying it more than I ever dreamed,” said Jacobs. “There are difficult parts, but that happens with every job, and I’m so happy to be able to serve our community.

“Local politics is vitally important. We watch all the drama from Washington, D.C., but so much of the work is done at the state and local level. I think we can make some of the biggest impact at the local level. You’re much more in tune with the community, and I love that and find it extremely rewarding.”

Jacobs posts a new video every week providing the community with an update on projects both big and small in Knox County, and he takes pride in representing a stark alternative from the national political scene.

“Right now, the national scene, it’s brutal,” said Jacobs. “The current nature of politics begins with what we disagree on, but I prefer to start with the areas we agree upon and concentrate on that as our starting point. I have my principles and beliefs, and sometimes I have to disagree, but a lot of times we’re all trying to get to the same place but our solutions might be different.

“I don’t think it does us any good to scream at people in the media, but national politics has become completely divisive. It’s all about partisan politics, and that doesn’t do us any good. That’s why I prefer working at the state level, where people judge you on the results and not the rhetoric.”

Even with a schedule spinning with seemingly reckless abandon as mayor, Jacobs expressed gratitude to those who still warmly recall the hell, fire, and brimstone of his WWE career.

“It took me a long time to understand how special a role it is to do what we do,” said Jacobs. “Early in my career, I took that for granted. But I have learned, first-hand, how special it is. People walk up to me and thank me for providing years of entertainment. How do I respond to that? You’re thanking me? I loved every moment of it. And impacting people’s lives is one of the best parts of being a WWE superstar. That’s the coolest thing in the world.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.