Mark Henry - tormented by WWE management off and on for the last 13 years. (Wikimedia Commons)
In what has become a weird pattern, Mark Henry has been tormented by WWE management out of the blue and for no good reason again, this time at the Smackdown tapings on Tuesday night. According to Dave Meltzer in his Wednesday news update, Henry was sent out for a dark match at the end of the show but they never sent his opponent out and he waited there like an ignorant fool for over twenty minutes before he stormed backstage:
--WWE played a rib on fans and Mark Henry last night in Des Moines. ... Henry went out for a match with referee Scott James. They played his music over and over as he waited. Then they turned his music off. Henry started yelling at fans for heat waiting for an opponent. Then Tony Chimel, about ten minutes into this, said that they were waiting for Henry's opponent to come out and thanked everyone for their patience. About 15:00 in, Henry is mad. Then they play Hornswoggle's music but he doesn't come out. Then they play Khali's music. You can guess what happened there. Then Vince's music. Henry finally stormed off.
Further details were given in Meltzer's June 2nd subscribers only Wrestling Observer Newsletter. In ridiculous punish the saints for the sins of others logic, the rib on the fans was done because management (i.e Vince McMahon) was mad that they drew such a poor crowd that they had to tarp off over half the building. Well, that'll help them draw better in Des Moines in the future! However, no explanation was given for why Mark Henry was chosen to be the wrestler left hanging in front of the fans and why he wasn't clued in that this was just a rib on the fans expense. Indeed, Henry was so mad at this intentional slight that everyone scattered when he returned to the locker room, he seemed ready to quit the promotion on the spot (which may have been the management's goal) and he shouted at John Laurinaitis wanting to know whose idea it was.
This is far from the first time Mark Henry has been tormented by WWE management. He was signed to a lucrative iron clad ten year guaranteed contract to much fanfare and a significant push after finishing a disappointing fourteenth due to injury in the super heavyweight weightlifting class at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The push soon fizzled, as Henry was ultra green, didn't pick things up quickly and was prone to injury. This bred resentment from WWE management and thinking that they'd never get a return on their investment, they came up with the silly Sexual Chocolate gimmick and started booking him in a series of humiliating angles to embarrass him into quitting the company. First, he was stripped to his boxers, sprayed with whipped cream, blindfolded, gagged, bound and whipped by Jacqueline and Terri Runnels to kick start their Pretty Mean Sisters (P.M.S.) gimmick. Soon after, he unsuccessfully courted Chyna, who got her own back for his philandering ways by setting him up with her friend Sammy, who Henry found out was a transvestite at the most inconvenient moment imaginable. He even had sex therapy sessions where he admitted to losing his virginity at age eight to his sister and a continuing incestuous relationship with her. Then came the piece de resistance, his romance and impregnation of octogenarian Mae Young, which led to the most infamous WWE segment pre Katie Vick where Young gave birth to a hand.
Being unable to shake him off with such shenanigans, they sent him to developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling in the late spring of 2000 to lose weight and he eventually returned to WWE TV in April 2002 a much more competent and well rounded performer, deserving of his spot on the roster. But even then, he's still had to regularly contend with demeaning angles and gimmicks, like the time he threatened to stank Trish Stratus on the January 14th 2004 Raw or being given "The Silverback" moniker on Smackdown in the summer of 2007. Most recently, he seemed to be in the doghouse again when they had Derek Bateman shill Mark Henry perfume on the January 17th 2011 Raw. Mark Henry had to do the voiceover for the mock ad where he claimed that the perfume would arouse hippos, and cause dizziness in pot bellied pigs and hypertension in bees, mosquitos and wasps. That weird angle may have been a message for him to shape up again having bloated back up to 456 pounds. If so, then he took that message to heart, as he quickly shed 60 pounds and it looked like he was going to be rewarded with a renewed push as a heel headliner when he was drafted to Smackdown and turned on John Cena and Christian in the main event of the April 25th episode of Raw. But this latest rib on Mark Henry suggests that won't last.
So why have WWE management tormented Henry again when he got himself back in shape so quickly? Mark Henry has become like Jim Ross, someone management feels compelled to keep round despite harbouring a grudge against him. We've already mentioned the resentment from Henry never fully living up to his potential, but there's more serious backstage infractions that management likely holds against him. He was the person that blew the whistle on the rampant racism within the WWE creative team when he complained to human resources about Smackdown head writer Michael Hayes drunkenly telling him "I'm more of a n****r than you are!" at the WrestleMania 24 after party. Hayes is still the lead writer of Smackdown and obviously won't have forgiven Henry for his sixty day suspension without pay and costing him his lucrative position as a vice president within the company. It probably also didn't escape management's attention that in the aftermath of the Chris Benoit double murder suicide scandal he did an interview with a local Texas newspaper where he said that he drove alone on the road because he was afraid of being caught up in a drug bust thanks to his colleagues bad habits:
If they get caught, then I'd be (considered) guilty, too. If we get pulled over we're both going down.
Mark Henry couldn't be relied upon to stand up for WWE in their time of greatest need and later made a stink about the overt racism that had been tolerated for so long within the company, so of course he's still one of Vince's favourite toys to pull apart and torment.