I bought a face mask from WWE Shop that looks like Kane's original full face design. Kind of funny in retrospect, now knowing he probably wouldn't even wear his own merch in this case. Shipping took forever, there was some newfangled convoluted payment system and the damn thing only came with one rubber ear adjuster. *1/2, recommendation to avoid.
Anyway, this got me thinking back to the gradual changes in Kane's costume leading to the eventual unmasking. I was watching at the time, but I can't remember when exactly he started showing more skin with the weird mesh panel tank top. I think he kept the full face mask for a while too before switching to the open jawed one he's used ever since (give or take a wig). Do you recall when/why he made the initial change?
Probably had to do with them wanting him to cut more promos and show more facial expressions. End of 2001 I wanna say?