During an interview on Renee Paquette's "Oral Sessions" podcast, WWE Hall Of Famer Mark Henry had a lot to say about his departure from WWE, his future with AEW, and what he hopes to accomplish in his new role.
Henry gave more details about his departure from WWE:
“I talked to Vince, probably about six months ago. I said, ‘I really want to do more. A legends deal is not enough.’ For the usage of my name, I was doing a loan out agreement for them to use and license my name. It was coming up. I didn’t want to resign unless I was going to be working as an employee for all of the benefits, but also, I knew wrestling and I know wrestling in a way that a lot of people don’t because of the trainers that I’ve had, the coaches, and the time spent. I’ve been wrestling for 25 years, and I’ve had the best people the whole time. I didn’t come up on the indie scene, which is no disrespect to the indie scene because I scout and watch the indie scene more than I do mainstream wrestling. We had that conversation, and he said, ‘Well, right it up. What do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I want to do educational programming. I want to do community involvement. I want to be on the writing staff. I want to be an agent.’ He was like, ‘That’s like five jobs.’ I said, ‘But I’ve been doing all of this already for free. Nobody paid me. I’ve done it for like the last 12 years.’ I had to brag on myself for the first time in my career, and I never did that before. I had to lie to get Daniel Bryan here. I brought in Braun Strowman.”
Renee said, ‘Wait. What is the situation with Bryan? Roll that back.”
Henry said, “I saw Daniel Bryan at an indie show in Canada. I was like, ‘Damn, that dude is good.’ I could tell that he was carrying the guy that he was working with. He made his a*s look good. I went back and found him on social media. I reached out to him and said, ‘I saw your match against so and so.’ He said, ‘Thank you. It wasn’t one of my best ones.’ I said, ‘It looked pretty good to me. I want you to come to a camp.’ He said, ‘For who?’, because I didn’t introduce myself. I said, ‘I want you to come to a camp down in Tampa.’ He said, ‘For WWE?’ I said, ‘Yea. I’m Mark Henry.’ He said, ‘No you’re not.’ I said, ‘Yes I am.’ I got his information and I passed it along to Johnny Ace. Johnny said, ‘How big is he?’ I said, ‘He’s like 6 feet, about 200 pounds.’ I lied through my teeth because I knew that they wanted bigger guys. He said, ‘Well, we’ll bring him in.” Once I transferred the information, they started doing all of the scouting. I never touched him again. I never said anything again until he ended up in FCW, and here we are, a Hall of Fame guy. I brought in Rich Swann and Uhaa, Apollo Crews, and there were a bunch of guys. I was mentoring Baron Corbin. I saw Braun Strowman at a Strongman show, and I was like, ‘Your personality is wrestling. You have to quit doing strongman.’ He said, ‘I want to be champion.’ The most money I ever made lifting was under $100,000 in a year, and I was the best in the world. I said, ‘You need to come over to wrestling.’ It took him two and a half years, but he finally called me back and said, ‘Do you think you can still get me into wrestling?’ I said ‘Hell yea.’ I called Vince and said, ‘You remember that monster I was telling you about.’ He said, ‘Yea.’ I said, ‘He’s ready.’ I’ve been doing that. I don’t work in talent relations. I don't work in the whole recruiting process. I didn’t get paid for any of that. I did it because I wanted to, and I love Canyon Semen. Canyon did a really good job. He took me to the Olympics with him. He took me to the World’s Strongest Man Contest. We scouted at the Arnold Classic. All of these places, we went to scout high level talent. I will support him. If he called me tomorrow and said, ‘I need a hookup.’ I know he works for the WWE, but he’s still my brother. I’m going to help him.
Renee said, ‘You have that conversation with Vince, and things aren’t going the way you want them to go with him?”
Henry: “It’s just not going. I wrote it up. He told me to talk to Brad Bloom. I spoke to Brad and had a come to Jesus meeting with him. I said, ‘I’m not going to sign a loan out agreement using my name and I’m not working here. I have to get a job. I have kids.’ They came back. Carano got released, and Johnny took over talent relations again. Johnny called me, and I wasn’t expecting Johnny to call me. I would have expected Brad Bloom or Vince to call me and say, ‘We are still doing cuts, or whatever.’ Something to that effect. I pretty much made up my mind from when Johnny called me that it was them telling me no, and that’s the way it was going to be. It wasn’t going to get better from that point, so I called Tony (Khan). I’ve been friends with Tony for a long time before AEW was even born. Tony is a big wrestling fan, so we would talk wrestling for a while, and then we would talk football. We would talk about football more than anything. I finally got to the point r where if I was ever going to do something in an executive role, or if I was going to be an employee of a wrestling company, I was going to have to leave home. I was going to have to leave WWE, and I considered that to be home for 25 years. A home is not where you are, it’s who’s there, so now I had to leave, and I’m establishing a new home.”
Henry was asked what he thinks is going on with WWE:
“I’m kind of shocked about everything that is happening, because when I look at the product, I think that some people might be disappointed. Talent-wise, morale has to be down. It looks to me like the WWE is breaking everything up, and closing some doors to get everything to be normal for a change. Usually when people break everything up like that, and start moving and closing departments, it’s so they can sell it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t own it. It’s going to be something to look at because you see what happened with Peacock. They had a network and they went to Peacock, and now it's somebody else’s responsibility. They’re taking all of the expenditures out and making it a pretty package to buy and do whatever you want with it.”