Welcome to the Hall of Pain!

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So, while the biggest sports-related news story over the past week is whether Mayweather used a cheap-shot or not in his fourth round defeat of Victor Ortiz, (Writer’s note: defenders of Ortiz somehow not only ignore the fact that the referee called for the match to continue, and forget the three Balrog style head-butts Mayweather received just minutes before the two perfectly legal punches destroyed Victor’s face. I mean really, leaping off of both feet for a head-butt? I would have instantly disqualified him for that, but I digress–) the biggest story out of the WWE is that after fifteen years of mediocrity, injuries, and woefully terrible gimmicks, Mark Henry finally reached the pinnacle of the WWE, capturing the World Championship in a glorified squash of Randy Orton at Night of Champions.

Yes, all 12 of you who read my stuff knew that it was inevitable that the “LOL OMG MARK HENRY IS THE CHAMP” post was coming from me, but truth be told, I wanted to hold off on writing this until the night after Hell in a Cell, as I will be very surprised if Mark Henry walks out of the cell with the championship over his shoulder. However, when I began coming up with ideas for a new column, there was only one other subject I have something to say about, and that’s Matt Hardy. Ugh.

Depressing articles are something I said to myself that I would never do again after my angry, meltdown like tirade about TNA one year ago literally made some hair in my beard go white. However, the Matt Hardy saga is an issue I’m going to need to address for my own sanity, but I just can’t bring myself to do it right now. BTW, this picture is still funny:

15 Years In The Making
Jamal looks back at the Fifteen years leading up to Mark Henry’s title win

If I had written right here on TWNPNEWS that in 2011, Mark Henry would be the World Champion, right in the comments section I’d get several anonymous posters saying I was an idiot, and Sean Plummer would have immediately changed my username and password so that I would never be able to log into the site again. But here we are, Mark Henry is carrying the Big Gold Belt over his shoulder, and remarkably, the main event picture is so terrible right now in the WWE that people would RATHER see this guy as the champ than Randy Orton or John Cena. Think about that for a second, people. Smackdown and Raw are hemorrhaging viewers at such an alarming rate that they put the title on a guy who might be the second worst worker in the company, squeaking by the Great Khali by the thinnest of margins. Yet, the most cynical of bastards in the Internet Wrestling Community are not only perfectly happy with this, but they’re starting to jump on the Henry Bandwagon.

Already an accomplished weightlifter and the Captain of the Olympic weightlifting team for the Atlanta 1996 games, Mark was quickly swooped up by Vince McMahon, who also at the time attempted to get Kurt Angle, who would at the time, refuse. Mark went on to get one of the most epic contracts in the history of pro-wrestling: Ten years and ten million dollars. Trained by Bret and Stu Hart (which still boggles my fucking mind) as well as Leo Burke, Mark was brought in and groomed in the ring with a feud with Jerry Lawler for several weeks, followed by feuds with midcarders such as Crush, Goldust, and a very skinny Triple H until an injury would put Mark on the shelf. (the first in a common trend) Once Mark returned, he was trapped in mid-card hell for the entirety of 1997 until his eventual heel turn in 1998, where he joined the greatest stable in professional wrestling, the Nation of Domination.

Once the Nation split for good, Mark would tag with D-lo Brown for a few weeks before the WWE went with their very un-original, un-inspiring “tag team split” in which Mark won his first ever singles title, the European Belt. After dropping it to his former partner, WWE seemingly had NOTHING for the poor guy, and, those of us unfortunate to be fans around that time period knows what happened next: The “Sexual Chocolate” era. Mark would become the stereotypical black “Mandingo” who just couldn’t help putting his dick in every woman with a heart-beat. He infamously impregnated Mae Young that would lead to the inexplicable angle where she gave birth to a hand, followed by Chyna tricking him into making out with a transvestite, and finally, Mark Henry admitting he banged his sister on national television. (And you assholes continue to clamor for the return of the Attitude Era. It’s shit like this why I hope it NEVER comes back!)

After storylines in which you HAD to wonder if WWE was trying to make this guy break his contract and quit, WWE sent him to OVW for conditioning in 2000. If any of you know anything about Louisville Kentucky, then you know that it is literally hell on Earth. It is where gimmicks are sent to be put out of their misery, washed, rinsed and repackaged for WWE television. Because of this, Mark Henry went on a hiatus from wrestling for a while to find himself. During his leave of absence, Mark competed in the Arnold Classic, proving that he was, in fact, the World’s strongest man. However, his return to the WWE in 2002 would be more of the same, with Henry lingering in midcard hell with a few flashes of main eventing through-out the years of 2002 – 2008. He would be temporarily raised from midcard status to job to high profile opponents such as Lesnar, Taker and Batista while wrestlers were injured. It was not until 2008 that he would win his next title.

Obviously not on the same level as the World and WWE titles, Mark Henry would pick up the ECW Championship on WWE’s C-Show, and with Tony Atlas as his personal servant, The World’s Strongest Man would run rough-shot over the Land of Extreme until losing his belt in a Championship Scramble to Matt Hardy (Ugh.) Mark would be drafted to Raw, with a completely random face turn, defeating Randy Orton on an episode of Raw. This is where Mark would be saddled with a “Smiling Negro” gimmick that is just out there to have fun. While Mark wasn’t having zany adventures, such as helping Hornswoggle and Macaulay Culkin bury Chavo Guerrero’s career, Mark would team up with MVP to help out WWE’s terrible tag team division. But when MVP got fed up with the E, Mark was once again lost in Midcard Hell. It was around this time that WWE had their annual draft, and Mark found himself being sent to the blue team on Smackdown. It was on that night, that Mark had a very emotional interview with Joey Styles where you can CLEARLY tell he was tired of being looked over:

During the course of the interview, Styles mentioned Mark Henry had dropped a ton of weight, which seemed to cause emotions to boil over inside the World’s Strongest Man. Suddenly, before the camera, fifteen years of frustration came out of the monster in the form of tears. As Mark fought the urge to sob before the WWE Universe, he made the bold statement that he planned to be World Champion by the end of the year. As Mark returned to Smackdown in a rather uneventful way, he would find himself on the wrong side of Big Show’s rage, who was brimming with anger after an attack at the hands of Alberto Del Rio. This beating was the last straw for Mark, who returned to the WWE weeks later with a new attitude and new purpose: To destroy any and every one in his path. Mark had just opened the “Hall of Pain.”

FINALLY. FINALLY the writing team figured out a formula that would work for Mark Henry, proving that an ape with a pen and a blank sheet of paper can create better character development in the WWE. I mean, it took 15 years to realize Mark could kill anyone he wanted?

Funny story: A friend of mine who trained at OVW told me of a time where Paul Heyman, Al Snow and other wrestlers were all coming up with the script for that night’s OVW tapings. During the midst of the planning, Mark slammed his fists on the table and declared “I’M HUNGRY,” which instantly caused Heyman to call for the end of the meeting, because, you never get between a meal and the World’s Hungriest Man. After Mark marched out of the room to get lunch, Al Snow sheepishly turned to Jim and asked a question that was on the mind of everyone in the room: “What would we do if Mark Henry decided to kill us?” Heyman blankly stared at Al, trying to think of an answer before saying “I dunno. Get a gun?” In which Al replied “…and a hell of a lot of bullets.”

It seems WWE creative realized this and put it into action with Mark Henry dominating the entire roster, leading up to Night of Champions. Mark Henry would DESTROY Randy Orton for his first legit World Championship, followed by what might be the best promo he’s ever spit out:

And there we have it. In just three months, Mark Henry went from a man who nobody cared about to the World Champion, with people IWC boarding the bandwagon in droves. Personally, I marked out so hard, I didn’t even care that John Cena won his one hundred eighty fifth world title from Alberto Del Rio and that CM Punk was turned from the “Voice of the Voiceless” to a whiney bitch within two months. HENRY GOT THE BELT!

So, what’s next?

Imagine This. Mark Henry goes on a MASSIVE Vader-like Monster World Title run, destroying Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell and moving on to destroy the returning Big Show and Kane on his way to WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan manages to get his focus back and starts winning matches. This leads both men to WrestleMania, where Bryan challenges the unstoppable monster, taking surviving several minutes of brutal punishment, and eventually overcoming the odds to become the new World Champion on the biggest stage in all of professional wrestling.

What will really happen?

Randy Orton RKO’s and punts Mark Henry at Hell in a Cell to regain the World Title. LOL. Seriously, after what they did to the red hot Punk, I believe WWE can fuck up anything they put their minds to. Oh well. Congrats Mark on your big win. You earned it. That’s it for now. I might be back with an article with my take on Matt Hardy’s very public breakdown, but I dunno. I’ll see y’all around. Peace.