Mark Henry has recalled how his WWE career got off to a rocky start when he hung up on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon during their first conversation.
Henry first debuted in what was then the World Wrestling Federation in 1996 beginning a twenty-year-plus relationship with the company and McMahon. An Olympic weightlifter, Henry competed at the Barcelona 1992 Games as well as the 1996 Games in Atlanta. For the 1996 Olympics, Henry was named captain of Team USA’s weightlifting team but an injury suffered during the competition effectively ended Henry’s Olympics career.
From there a WWE Hall Of Fame career in professional wrestling awaited The World’s Strongest Man. Speaking to his AEW colleague Brandi Rhodes on A Shot Of Brandi, Henry discussed how he was spotted during his Olympic weightlifting days which led to his incredible wrestling career:
“I transitioned from powerlifting to Olympic weight lifting which is the over-head sports and the ones that are in the Olympics. I caught onto it and in 10 months I qualified for the Olympic team. Of course, after that, the pro wrestling world started to notice me because I used to say all the time that I was a big wrestling fan.”
“Jim Ross had a lot to do with it, but he brought me up to Vince McMahon and Vince wanted to know, ‘Well, how is that going to translate to wrestling? You need to see him and meet him because this guy’s kind of colorful,’ which is short for me being a clown.”
Mark Henry then revealed that he thought he was the victim of a prank during his first conversation with Vince McMahon and hung up on the WWE Chairman:
“The first conversation, I get this call and I think it’s one of my friends joking with me and it’s Vince. I say, ‘Yeah right, Wes,’ and I hang up on him. I get a call back from my coach and my manager and he’s like, ‘Hey, did you hang up on Vince McMahon?’ I was like, ‘That was him for real?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, how about you take his call.’ I was like, ‘Alright, my bad.'”