The World’s Strongest Man Mark Henry has revealed why his first three years in professional wrestling were “horrible” during a new interview on the AEW Unrestricted podcast.
Speaking with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone, the former WWE Champion would recall his first three years in professional wrestling, recalling the locker room discontent towards him entering the locker room and the reaction to his signing with no experience in the territories.
“As far as making it, the first three years was horrible because, during that time, people thought when the other people came in, you’re trying to take the job,”
“So nobody wanted to teach me anything. They created a developmental system. I was the first developmental wrestler because for everybody else, you learned in the territory. I didn’t have that experience. People hated me for it. They felt like it was my fault for whatever reason, but I’m a hard worker, and I started winning people over and people started teaching me.”
Henry continued, commenting that he had no choice but to succeed in the industry thanks to the three hall of fame worthy wrestling coaches he worked with during his time in wrestling as well as discussing his time in Canada with Owen and Bret Hart alongside current fellow AEW roster member Chris Jericho.
“And it was fortunate enough for me that I ended up in Canada with Owen Hart and Bret Hart, and I met Chris Jericho when he was a young kid. And I started learning from a real famous guy named Leo Burke, one of the best wrestling coaches that you can imagine. The only person that I could even remotely put in the same category with him is the other two guys that trained me, Tom Prichard and Rip Rogers. I got trained by three hall of fame wrestling coaches, and I didn’t have a choice but to succeed if I was willing to put the work in.”
‘The Curator of the Hall of Pain’ concluded by praising his many incredible opponents during his wrestling career, commenting that nobody in wrestling succeeds without the help of somebody across the ring from them and that he doesn’t believe he can take sole credit for the success of his career because of how important so many others have been to it.
“I don’t absorb my success by myself because wrestling is a sport where you need somebody across from you, and I’ve had hundreds of guys that I enhanced and made them look good, and I have some guys that when I was the s**ts, they made me look good. I can’t really take that for myself. This whole hall of fame thing, I feel like it should be my gimmick now because I’ve been in my high school hall of fame, the State Sports hall of fame, the International Sports Hall of Fame, the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, the Cauliflower Alley Club Hall of Fame. I’ve been blessed to be able to be that guy, but it’s just my hard work.”
On the day that it was confirmed that he had signed “multi-year deal” with AEW, Mark Henry reflected on his departure from WWE.
Prior to his surprise appearance at AEW Double or Nothing Mark Henry had spent his entire 25-year wrestling career with WWE.
Henry’s final WWE appearance came at RAW Legends Night in January. Although he hadn’t appeared in the ring since 2018.
Speaking on Busted Open Radio, the man formerly known as Sexual Chocolate, opened up about his decision to leave WWE. Henry said that he had originally wanted a job in the WWE office, something Vince McMahon was initially in favour of.
“My deal was up. It’s not something that was recent. I can go back five or six months and I wanted a position in the [WWE] office. I talked to Vince himself and he said, ‘write it up. You’re somebody I’ll listen to.’ I was told that there was a lot of cleaning house and cuts that were happening and there were a lot to come. I had seen hundreds in the company go. I felt valuable enough that I wasn’t going anywhere. When your deal comes up and the rights come up as to where you’re gonna go next, I wanted to do more. I always want to do more. If I can’t get that opportunity, I have to look for that opportunity somewhere else,”
Henry continued explaining that while he has love and respect for the WWE Chairman he also felt that he was being held back by someone below McMahon in the chain of command.
The former World Champion said that telling McMahon that he wanted to leave wasn’t a negative conversation.
“It wasn’t negative. Vince and I have love for each other. More than love, respect. Me calling him and saying him what need to be said, came from a place of a brother telling his older brother, ‘I’m tired of being in shadows. I feel like someone beneath you is holding me back. if someone is holding me back, I have to go.’ I feel like I was being held back and not getting what I want, and I want to be successful and earn more. [Vince said,] ‘You know everything you need to know. If you feel like you need to go, I don’t necessarily want it, but if you need to go then go. I know you’ll be successful.’ That’s what you want. I’m not going to run from a conversation like that. Nobody will say Mark henry is un-loyal. There were times I was offered more money and didn’t leave. Everything wasn’t perfect, but what family is perfect? I had a good experience and learned a lot. I spent more time in production and the trucks than I did around the ring and in catering. I always had an executive mindset.”
On June 1st AEW confirmed the details of Henry’s deal, revealing that he will work as a broadcaster on their new show Rampage, as well as behind the scenes. In a press release, the company noted that Henry will work as a scout, coach and mentor.
AEW Rampage premieres on Friday, August 13th.