The WWE Universe gets to see the real side of ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ Mark Henry, in WWE’s latest documentary, The Mark Henry Story.
WWE has been on a roll with its documentaries over the years and Mark Henry’s didn’t disappoint. We get to know the athlete like never before – showcasing his early career as a powerlifter and showing him to be at the top of his game. What started out as a way to make him stronger for football turned out to be a career for the future champion.
Early on in the documentary, Mark Henry is able to captivate the audience when he addresses his early days as a powerlifter. He wasn’t making any money, so his hometown of Silsbee, Texas came together to help raise money for him so he could train. This brought Henry to tears while expressing how thankful he was for the opportunity.
Mark Henry is shown to be a relatable character outside the ring, as we see how strong his relationship is with his with his mother. He refers to his mum being the one who first bought him his first weights. She is a special woman in his life and someone that will always be a major part of it.
As the documentary progresses on, we see his powerlifting career take him to the Olympic Games and he proves he is the World Strongest Man. However, Henry receives a phone call, which is from none other than Vince McMahon. The first time, Henry hangs up on him thinking it’s a joke but it turns out this is the real deal.
Whilst watching the documentary, you will feel so happy for Henry, as he has worked hard his entire life and to be offered a chance to be a part of the WWE was a massive opportunity for him. It was believed that Henry had signed a deal up to 10 years which was massive for a wrestler during this time.
The documentary carries on showing how tough it was for him to transform from a powerlifter to a professional wrestler. His confident persona was questioned, as his wrestling wasn’t in the same league as he thought it was going to be. After an injury, which sidelined him from wrestling until 1997, he saw some of his first major storylines launched.
Mark Henry was the newest member of the Nation of Domination, which saw him being paired with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Faarooq, D’Lo Brown and The Godfather. This was major for Henry and a chance for him to work with some of the best in the business. Henry comments on his time in the faction as “the best thing to have happened.” Following this, it then started a new storyline with future Hall of Famer, Chyna. One of the things a lot of people comment on about Henry is about his personality and how big it is. This is something the WWE Universe hadn’t seen at that point and Vince McMahon wanted to capitalise upon that.
One of the highlights of his career was when he became Sexual Chocolate – a gimmick that wouldn’t have worked now but did work during the Attitude Era. It was a chance really to emphasise his personality and it was simply Mark Henry being Mark Henry. When looking back at historical, yet funny moments in WWE, a lot of people will always look back at the Mae Young and Mark Henry relationship. Especially when Mae Young gave birth to the hand. Yes, Henry was just as confused as the rest of the WWE Universe at this.
However, a new millennium started and the World Strongest Man was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, the NXT of the time. The former European Champion was struggling with his on-screen persona and worse news struck the athlete, as his mother died. This is where the documentary took a complete turn, as the emotional side to Henry was well and truly shown. He was weak and vulnerable, and it’s because he had lost the person who had supported him since day one. This resulted in him taking time off from the ring but not from working out, he was training and eating.
During this time, he was getting called out because he hadn’t competed for years in powerlifting and people were saying he didn’t deserve the title of World’s Strongest Man. This fuelled something inside of him. He wanted to beat the current World’s Strongest Man at the inaugural, Arnold Classic and show the world that he still had it in him. He informed the boss, Vince McMahon but he told Henry, that there’s no place for a second-place World’s Strongest Man. Whilst watching the documentary, it shows clips of him at the event, and you can see how much it means to him. If he loses, it’s the end of his professional wrestling career. Yet again, Mark Henry proves to his doubters and haters, why he is the World’s Strongest Man, as he wins the title for the second time.
This was the motivation the athlete needed, the resurgence that he needed. He returned to the ring in 2002 with new swagger and confidence. Henry had proved that he is the World’s Strongest Man and he would never be doubted again. His victory went hand in hand with the progression of his career.
2008 saw Mark Henry gain his first championship victory since his return back to the ring in 2002. He won the ECW Championship, and during this time he was managed by Hall of Famer, Tony Atlas. His next major victory was three years later when he won the World Heavyweight Championship, beating Randy Orton to win the championship in 2011. This declared him as a ‘monstrous main event competitor.’
Outside of the ring, Mark Henry was a global ambassador for WWE. He was giving back to the company that made him the wrestler he is today. WWE legends, JBL and Big Show praised him during the documentary for his efforts and contributions to the company.
June 2013 was a historical moment for Mark Henry as he was intending on retiring. He had a chat with Vince McMahon, and he walked out of the office with a new contract signed. This fuelled a storyline with then-WWE Champion, John Cena. He wasn’t retiring just yet…
Following this, we see how much Henry had improved in the ring, and some of his best moments, including a rivalry against The Undertaker, were shown. We then skip to 2018, where he was finally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame (and actually retired for real this time). The actual induction was heartfelt as the first time I watched it, and the added contribution from Henry on the documentary just made it hard to watch. Henry used to put people into the Hall of Pain and now he’s in the Hall of Fame.
I enjoyed every single second of watching this documentary. It opened my eyes to a wrestler who had worked hard since a very young age. Someone who was put his all in every storyline given to him. I feel like I never knew him properly until I watched this documentary.