The World Strongest Man is not going to induct someone into his Hall of Pain at WrestleMania. Mark Henry is the one who’s going to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018, as WWE announced today. After a successful career in the ring of more than 20 years, Henry is now working backstage as a talent scout and mentor for many NXT and main roster talents.
Henry started as a professional powerlifter. Considered as a prodigy in high-school, he broke at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. In 1993, he won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1993 Pan-American Games. At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Henry was voted Captain of the Olympic weightlifting team. He competed while suffering from a back injury and, at the same time, caught the eye of WWE officials.
He signed with the company at only 24. Like he stated in a Ride Along episode, the fact WWF signed him to a 10-year contract created some stear in the locker room when he debuted on March 11, 1996 episode of RAW where he press slammed Jerry Lawler, who was ridiculing Henry while interviewing him in the ring. He then helped Jake “The Snake” Roberts at SummerSlam 1996 in his match against Jerry Lawler. His first match took place at In Your House: Mind Games on September 22, 1996 against The King.
After various feuds, Henry joined the Nation of Domination faction with Farooq, The Rock, Kama Mustafa, and D’Lo Brown. He competed in his first-ever WrestleMania, XIV in 1998, in a tag team Battle Royal with D’Lo Brown. After The Nation disbanded, he feuded with The Rock and formed a permanent tag team with Brown, with Ivory as their manager.
In 1999, Henry became the “Sexual Chocolate”, inspired by Eddie Murphy’s part in “Coming to America” movie. He was involved in controversial angles with Chyna, a transvestite and Mae Young. Henry and Young became the happy parents of a hand after Mae Young announced she was pregnant with Henry’s child. At SummerSlam 1999, the sex-addicted wrestler earned his first belt, the European Championship, by defeating Jeff Jarrett with the help of D’Lo Brown.
Henry spent most of the years 2000 and 2001 in OVW, WWF developmental territory to improve his skills and became involved again in powerlifting competitions, like the Arnold Strongman Classic, and professional strongman contests. Henry quickly proved to be worthy of the title “World’s Strongest Man” not only by breaking records, winning contests, but also by achieving them in record time.
Henry returned to the WWE in 2002, he developed an in-ring persona of performing “tests of strength” while other wrestlers took bets on the tests. During this time he feuded with Chris Jericho and Christian. He suffered from a knee injury and came back later in 2003 as a member of “Thuggin’ And Buggin’ Enterprises”, a group of African-Americans led by Theodore Long. He feuded with Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, Booker T. But Henry was injured again, tearing his quadriceps muscle, and was out for more than a year. He started at this time to work as a public relations figure for the company.
In early 2006, he made his return to pursue the World Heavyweight Championship. He was unsuccessful to win it against Batista and Kurt Angle. He started a feud with The Undertaker that led to a casket match at WrestleMania 22. Henry then tried to gain the World Heavyweight Championship from Rey Mysterio and feuded with Kurt Angle again. He then went on a “path of destruction”, causing injuries to numerous superstars, attacking many others. But in mid-2006, Henry was injured again, completely tearing his patella tendon off the bone.
He launched an open challenge when he was back in 2007, that nobody accepted, and then feuded with The Undertaker. They faced at Unforgiven in September and Henry lost again. He emerged a few months later on ECW and defeated Kane and Big Show in a Triple Threat match to capture the ECW Championship in his debut match with the brand. A few weeks later, WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas returned to WWE to act as Henry’s manager but Henry lost the title to Matt Hardy at Unforgiven 2008 a few weeks later.
After feuds with Finlay, CM Punk and Evan Bourne, Mark Henry started to team up with MVP, Evan Bourne and Yoshi Tatsu. He then started to induct his opponent into the “Hall of Pain”, destroying the Big Show, Kane, Vladimir Kozlov and The Great Khali. He finally became World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions 2011, defeating Randy Orton. Henry successfully defended the title against Orton at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match. A few weeks later, the Big Show came back and sought for revenge. At Vengeance 2011, they face off for the title but, during the match, Henry superplexed Big Show from the top rope, causing the ring to collapse from the impact and the match to be ruled a no contest.
At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2011, Henry lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Big Show in a chairs match but Daniel Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank contract just after. The Henry/Bryan/Show feud continued in early 2012, Henry later feuded with CM Punk but was forced to stop again as he was injured again. When back in early 2013, he chased the World Heavyweight Championship again and started a feud with Ryback and later Sheamus.
Henry then teased a retirement to reignite his career and attack John Cena. He would later team with the Usos against The Shield and, since 2013, had feuded with every possible wrestler on the locker room, Dean Ambrose, Curtis Axel, Ryback, Damien Sandow, Rusev, The Big Show, Roman Reigns, Neville, Titus O’Neill, Primo and Epico, or Braun Strowman.
He performed his last match at WrestleMania 33 last year, taking part of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He also appeared on RAW 25 episode earlier this year. Henry transitioned into a talent scout and mentor, helping to prepare competitors like Braun Strowman, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews and Bianca Belair for the rigors of the squared circle.
Henry’s career is a real travel in time as he’s been such a huge part of the history of WWE. Despite his many injuries, he was involved in feuds with some of the greatest wrestlers that has been with the company in the last 20 years. On Friday, April 6, in New Orleans during WrestleMania 34 Week, Mark Henry will live a World Strongest moment in New Orleans when he becomes a Hall of Famer, alongside Goldberg, Ivory, Jeff Jarrett, Hillbilly Jim and The Dudley Boyz, during the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.