At age 45 — far past the age when most of his peers have left the ring for good — Knoxville-area resident Glenn Jacobs isn't ready to give up.
"I have a few more years to go," Jacobs, better know to fans as the monstrous Kane, said during a recent phone interview in which his cell phone reception was crackling.
"I really don't have a specific game plan in mind. I'm still having fun. I'm still having a good time."
After 17 years with World Wrestling Entertainment, Jacobs is now one of the longest-running performers on the big-time professional circuit, a venue that spawned the careers of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and John Cena among others.
Jacobs, who lives in Jefferson County, has made a few moves out of the ring. He starred in the 2006 horror flick "See No Evil," had a cameo in the big-screen comedy "MacGruber" and even showed up in an episode of "Smallville."
But he's more content to keep his hold firmly on his pro-wrestling career. On Sunday night, he'll be in the spotlight for the "Raw vs. Smackdown" non-televised event at the Knoxville Coliseum.
The show begins at 6 p.m. Tickets, ranging from $15 to $95, may be purchased at knoxvilletickets.com.
"As long as I can keep getting in the ring, I want to keep it up," he said of his career.
There's no reason to think that will change anytime soon.
"I've become more and more involved in the creative process of telling the stories," Jacobs said.
Then there's the other advantages. "We get to go around the world and see different places," he said. "Granted we don't get to spend a lot of time there.
"This year we went to Russia for the first time. We went to China for the first time. We went to the United Arab Emirates. It's pretty cool to go around and see different things and cultures."
He's come a long way from his days at Smoky Mountain Wrestling, based in the Knoxville area, where he was known in the ring primarily as the Unabomb. Together with Al Snow back then, the two held the tag team belt and gathered quite a following.
In 1995, he made his debut on "Raw" as Dr. Isaac Yankem, who was supposed to be Jerry Lawler's private dentist.
Presently, he is the co-holder of the WWE Tag Team Championship belt with Daniel Bryan as part of Team Hell No. "We're a tag team that really doesn't work that well together," Jacobs said.
"The (verbal jabs) in between us are quite entertaining. It's a bit more lighthearted than I usually have (in a storyline). It's fun to do and different than what I have done in the past."
Kane has also gone through another transformation. For years he merely grunted and wore a mask over what fans were told was a badly burned face. Then, in recent years, Kane lost the mask and cut his long locks.
His intimidating look was enough to set the tone for his matches.
Now, in another turn, Kane has gone back to wearing a mask and his long hair is back.
All this is done to keep the character fresh.
"I've been doing this for a while, and people have come to respect that," he said. "I am also the last of my generation who works (in the ring) pretty much full time.
"I am always surprising people in doing things they didn't think I could. I like being able to still do that after all these years."
Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@Telebuddy.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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