Mark Henry has described the pain he experienced when he ended a twenty-plus-year relationship with WWE to head to the land of All Elite Wrestling.
WWE Hall Of Famer Mark Henry stunned the wrestling world when he debuted for AEW at Double Or Nothing 2021, being announced as one of the broadcast team for the new AEW Rampage show on Friday nights.
Speaking to fellow AEW star Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, The World’s Strongest Man revealed that he was as surprised as anyone about the turn in events as he thought he’d walk away from wrestling as a WWE lifer:
“When I retired, I thought I was going to be an employee of WWE. At some point, I was gonna be somebody that had an influence on the business. I was like, I want to be an executive. I know enough about this business and every facet of it, and there were people that were in jobs and talent development, and people that were in jobs in talent relations and people in jobs in corporate, that I knew the business better than them. And I had a way of fostering relationships.”
“That’s been the number one thing that I’ve been able to accomplish in my life more than anything else is I foster good relationships with people, and people realize that I’m not a screw up, that I’m going to do stuff that’s going to be well thought out. And that is going to benefit kids because that’s where my heart is. I want kids to have experiences, and WWE, they were not at a place where they wanted to hire me for that. And I asked. I wrote it up. I spent months putting together a two-year plan of events.”
After writing up his proposals, Henry revealed he was given a no to his plans but he didn’t hear this directly from WWE Chairman Vince McMahon:
“I was like, what else can I do? I just had to call and say, ‘Hey man, I’m going to start looking for work because I know what I can do well, and I don’t feel like I’m valued in that capacity.’ And when I got the ‘no’, it didn’t come from Vince [McMahon]. It didn’t come from Brad Blum. It came from Johnny (John Laurinaitis), who was an employee. It’s not his place to tell me ‘no’. If the duties got delegated to somebody that it’s not their job to tell me, then it’s over. You got to know when the door’s being closed?”
Henry then described the pain in not seeing people he considers family now he and the company have gone their separate ways:
“It felt like a divorce. It was painful. I love the people over there. Man, just the thought of not seeing people like [Tony] Chimel, and Sean Sellman and the production office, it hurt me. Them people like family to me and not to mention people in the office and the talent. They’re like our brothers, but if I can’t work there, I got two kids. They go to private school, costs a lot of money. I’m only 50. I can’t get my retirement and tax-sheltered annuity until I’m 53. I have to work until at least I’m 53 before I get my money.”
Although AEW might not have been in the original plans of Mark Henry, he admits he is taking great delight in dishing out advice to younger talent:
“I feel a lot of joy in talking to Darby Allin, and talking to [Powerhouse] Hobbs and mentoring him and Dante [Martin] and all these people that have come up to me.”
“They came to me and was like, ‘Man, just tell me what you see.’ That’s the beauty of this business. People who are already over, but everybody wants to be more over, and I’m gonna do everything I can while I’m here to get those people to be you. You’re gonna have some competition in the next two to three years, you watch.”