BOOK REVIEW: ‘Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics’

Brandon Sears reviews 'Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics', the story of Glenn Jacobs rise through professional wrestling and becoming Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.

Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics is the story of professional wrestler turned mayor of Knox County, Glenn Jacobs.

By: Brandon Sears

The book begins the way most biographies do, the early years.  Jacobs discusses growing up the youngest of three children and his struggle to fit in socially among his peers given his size and introverted nature.  It isn’t until he found his athletic abilities, that he would begin to feel comfortable in his own skin.  His sheer size and explosiveness would lead him to a role as an offensive lineman in college football, but an untimely knee injury would all but end his hopes of a career in the NFL.

After catching an episode of Prime Time Wrestling, Jacobs and a friend decide to give pro wrestling a try.  Training under Missouri wrestler T.C. Rocan, Jacobs would quickly pick up the skill set and make his debut under the name Angus King, billed from Glasgow, Scotland.  Not content with the training schedule under Rocan, Jacobs began asking around for formal classes.  Eventually, he got in touch with Jerry Jarrett, the promoter of USWA.  Rather than getting the training he wanted, Jacobs would bounce between characters like a masked Russian and the Christmas Creature, and he wasn’t exactly getting a steady schedule.  He decided that if he wanted to make it in wrestling, he would need real, legit training.  So he made the decision to head to a school operated by Boris Malenko.

Jacobs would eventually land in the World Wrestling Federation where he would go through a few character changes before settling on playing the role of The Undertaker’s younger brother, Kane.  Jacobs goes through the creation, debut and the first two years of his career as Kane in considerable depth.  Unfortunately, that’s about where things begin to take a bit of a turn.  Jumping around a bit in the timeline before focusing on 2003 (no mention of the dreaded Katie Vick storyline) and the decision to take off his mask, Jacobs lightly touches on his feud with Rob Van Dam and Shane McMahon but it feels glossed over and very much like a “cole’s notes” version of what was going on at the time.

This was about where the book begins to feel like a fluff piece.  There’s really nothing of substance here beyond the early 2000s when it comes to his in-ring career.  Sure, he does speak about Team Hell No and his stint as Corporate Kane, but it’s in a manner where he just writes about what happened on television without any real insight other than being very complimentary about those he worked with at the time.  There’s essentially nothing here from 2004 through to 2012 – nothing about the decision to put the mask back on in 2011, his second world championship run or several of the poor creative decisions made with his character during the bulk of his career.

Given the title of the book, Jacobs also discusses his run for Mayor of Knox County, a race he would ultimately win.  He speaks at length about his libertarian views as well as the current political climate and his overall distaste for socialist policies.  This is when the book feels like something else entirely.  I’m certain this has its audience, but I found it jarring considering his tangents into his political opinions earlier in the book would relate to different points in his career so it felt less like soapboxing.  This feels like a manifesto when he uses political phrases like “upsetting the establishment”, “the elites in Washington” and “fighting wars in places we cannot pronounce”.

Honestly, I came away from this book having learned very little outside of a few funny anecdotes involving travel horror stories and Jacobs’ time before joining up with the World Wrestling Federation.  In an era where there are more wrestling books than ever, I struggle to see how this one would stand out amongst the rest.

Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling and Politics will be released later this week and is available through Amazon.

About Brandon Sears 27 Articles
Insurance broker by day, constant reader and wrestling-watcher by night.