Knox County mayoral candidate Kane returned to WWE SmackDown Live last night, reuniting with his old Team Hell No tag team partner and crowd-favorite wrestler Daniel Bryan to fight off a beatdown by SmackDown Live tag team champions The Bludgeon Brothers. As Kane recently secured the Republican nomination in his mayoral race, this dramatic turn of events begs the question: has Kane also switched sides politically?
Throughout the primary campaign, Kane spent months giving speeches talking about his "sick and depraved acts" and claiming to "delight in terror, delight in pain." It's hard not to compare Kane's actions to those of another WWE superstar who transitioned into a successful political career: Donald Trump.
Trump, a Republican, frequently brags about his accomplishments, even if some might consider those accomplishments "sick and depraved," such as separating children from their parents at the border. But despite his current stance on immigration, before Trump was elected president, he himself hired undocumented immigrants to work on construction projects.
Additionally, before becoming involved in politics, Trump spent the years between 2001 and 2009 — the time when he had his most successful WWE run — as a registered Democrat. Trump was even, shockingly, a proponent of the socialist philosophy on redistribution of wealth, seizing money from WWE's billionaire owner Vince McMahon and giving it away to attendees of Monday Night Raw's Fan Appreciation Night. Once cheered as part of the main event of WrestleMania 23, Trump's popularity has plummeted since becoming a Republican, with disapproval ratings higher than 50% (though granted, he still does better than Roman Reigns).
It could be argued, from a pro wrestling perspective, that Trump made "a heel turn" between WrestleMania 23 and becoming president, just as Kane made a "face turn" last night when he saved Daniel Bryan and was showered with adoration by the arena crowd. Does it not then stand to reason that Kane, another pro wrestler turned politician, would also change his political alignment at the same time he switched from heel to face? Does that not then mean that Kane, the Republican nominee for Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, is now a Democrat? What will Kane's political ally, Libertarian Senator Rand Paul, think of that?
Kane will face fellow Democrat Linda Haney in the general election in November. Before then, he'll team with Daniel Bryan to take on the Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at WWE's Extreme Rules PPV in July.