He was a monster.
Standing 6’4", and tipping the scales at 412 pounds, he was a machine whose thirst for destruction caused him to embark on a path of destruction the likes of which WWE had not seen since the rise of Brock Lesnar. Though mercy was asked, none was given, as no one was safe from his wrath.
He was Mark Henry, "The World’s Strongest Man," and he was unstoppable.
But, that was then, this is now.
Considering where he was just a little over a year ago, it’s hard to believe that Henry is in the spot he now finds himself in. He’s headed to the first ever Royal Rumble steel cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship, and he is not the favorite.
In fact, in many ways, he’s not even on the radar.
All of the drama surrounding the World Heavyweight Title is currently focused on Big Show and the man who now holds the gold, Daniel Bryan.
The spot involving Bryan’s girl A.J. has been the catalyst for Show to be on the defensive, a position he’s not very familiar with. This is especially true considering that the diminutive Bryan is the man on the offensive. To say that the situation has become a little surreal is a big understatement.
The spot with Show slamming into A.J. like a Mack truck looked good. In fact, it looked very good.
While most of us realize the possibility that Bryan asked her to sacrifice herself may come out, it’s still an interestingly bizarre storyline that we now see developing.
Bryan is turning heel. We see that. We get that.
Michael Cole, however, who is a heel himself, still hates Bryan, despite how arrogant, and how crooked, he’s becoming.
Add to this the fact that Bryan now shockingly talks down to Big Show, without worrying about any repercussions, though most heels would back down from such a confrontation. So, in this way, he comes off more like a babyface who is afraid of no one.
Now I am confused.
So, we now come back to Henry. Where exactly does the "Hall of Pain" inductor fit in amongst this Bryan vs. Big Show feud?
He doesn’t. So, why is he in it?
He could possibly slide in the back door, steal the pin and the championship. Nice, quick, easy. Show and Bryan are left to hash it out, and Henry reestablishes himself as the alpha male on SmackDown.
But, nothing’s that easy, right?
I have to say that I, for one, miss the monster. When Henry was the world champion, he was on a run that most fans never expected to see. Defying the odds as the one WWE Superstar who physically should have been given more, but never was, Henry was suddenly thrust into the role of top dog with the second-most important title in the company.
While he did have his critics, as most workers generally do, a good portion of fans loved what WWE was doing with him. Though hesitant at first, in a “looks too good to be true” scenario, they eventually let go of the notion that perhaps his push would not last, and settled in for the long haul.
Henry was here to stay, end of story.
Fast forward to December 18th of last year. Henry has an ankle injury that causes him to drop the belt, and now he’s on the outside looking in. He’s a very different type of character than what he was. He’s strong, but his words are empty. He no longer looks like the unstoppable animal he once was.
He now looks, once again, very human.
However, mad respect goes to Henry for working through the injury. He could have taken a break, get off his feet while his ankle heals and then come back when he was ready. But, Henry is old school, and old-school guys don’t sit at home and collect a paycheck while their spot slips away from them.
Henry has earned his place, and he has earned the right to get it back. That, in my mind, includes his spot as one of the biggest heels in the company, possibly even another run with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Henry needs his edge back. Here’s hoping it happens soon.