Mark Henry made his long-awaited return to WWE earlier this week, but is it possible that the World’s Strongest Man’s latest "Hall of Pain" run will be short-lived?
WrestleNewz.com’s Joe Lisnow opines that Henry’s current time in the company might come to an end at WrestleMania 29. His nine-month rehabilitation from surgery, plus the other tolls that injuries have taken on his 41-year-old large body, apparently could mean a WrestleMania match may be his last time in a WWE ring.
The report says that Henry will bull through opponents such as Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara—which he did on Raw last Monday night—as well as Kane and Daniel Bryan.
At this week's SmackDown tapings, Henry defeated Randy Orton to be part of next weekend’s Elimination Chamber in New Orleans. He will be among six men who will fight in the chamber for a World Heavyweight Championship title shot.
Lisnow says the run will then take him to WrestleMania 29, where he would lose and finish his 17-year WWE career.
The report speculates that either the Big Show or Ryback could be Henry’s opponent at April’s WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey. But since Big Show has filled his heel role so convincingly, it appears that Ryback would be the likely candidate to take on the World’s Strongest Man.
The result, according to the report, would be a win-win for both Ryback and Henry:
For Ryback, it gives him a WrestleMania opponent and a much-needed win. It works for both, as one star leaves and the other reaches a new level. The image of Ryback holding the monstrous-sized Henry on his shoulders for Shell Shocked could be mentioned for years.
Henry’s career with WWE has seen him billed as a member of the Nation of Domination, “Sexual Chocolate” and the father of Mae Young’s baby. But he also has seen his share of injuries, including a torn quadriceps muscle that put him on the shelf for more than a year. He also has had numerous problems with his knee.
Henry’s 17 years with WWF/E rank him third in longevity among the current roster, the report says. Only Triple H and the Undertaker have been with the company longer.
From a career standpoint, the period before his surgery ranks as the best of his time with the company.
After turning on John Cena on an episode of Raw, Henry went on a tear where he was hurting opponents right and left. He defeated Randy Orton to win his first-ever WHC title and third title overall with WWE.
But his program with Big Show during that time was probably the best feud of his career.
During a match at 2011’s Vengeance pay-per-view, Henry superplexed Big Show out of the corner and caused the ring to collapse. Later in the year, at TLC, Big Show defeated Henry to capture the WHC title, but Henry later beat him down and cleared the way for Daniel Bryan to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase and pin Big Show for the title.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.