The story of how Daniel Bryan arrived in WWE and conquered the odds to become a multiple-time world champion is now the stuff of legend. What’s maybe less known is that Mark Henry and a little economical truth-telling that helped get him in the door.
During an appearance on Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast, Mark Henry revealed that he lied to help Daniel Bryan get a look in with WWE.
AEW’s most recent signing described how he was impressed by a match he saw Bryan have in Canada. However, at the time WWE were only really interested in signing bigger athletes, so Henry came up with a solution. He got a little creative with Bryan’s measurements.
“I had to lie to get Daniel Bryan [in WWE]. I saw Daniel Bryan at an Indie show in Canada and was like, ‘Damn, he’s good.’ I could tell he was carrying the guy he was working with and made his ass look good. I went back and found him on social media, reached out, and said, ‘I saw your match against so and so’ and he said, ‘Thanks, it wasn’t one of my best.’ I was like, ‘It was pretty good to me. I want you to come to a camp in Tampa.’ ‘For WWE?’ ‘Yeah, I’m Mark Henry.’ ‘No you’re not.’ I got his information and passed it on to Johnny Ace. Johnny is like, ‘How big is he?’ ‘Oh, he’s like 6-feet, 6’1”, 200 pounds.’ I lied through my teeth because I knew they wanted bigger guys. ‘Well, we’ll bring him in.’ Once I transferred the information, they started doing the scouting and I never said anything until he ended up in FCW and here we are, a Hall of Fame guy,”
The pair went on to feud over the World Heavyweight Championship in late 2011 and early 2012, with Bryan eventually gaining the upper hand.
Elsewhere during the podcast appearance Henry discussed how he helped WWE sign the likes of Rich Swann, Apollo Crews and a certain Braun Strowman.
Henry has spoken in glowing terms about the newly released Strowman, telling TMZ that he would love to bring him to AEW.
While nothing has been said publicly by either party, Henry confirmed that there is “interest on both sides.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan hasn’t been seen inside a WWE ring since being defeated by Roman Reigns on April 30th. The match stipulation meant that Bryan was banished from SmackDown if he lost. However, it later came to light that Bryan’s WWE contract also expired that night.
At time of writing there is no news on whether Bryan has signed a new deal with WWE or will move elsewhere.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.