It might be more than one month until WWE inducts its newest class into the Hall of Fame, but for weeks now, the Hall of Pain has been open for business thanks to the returning Mark Henry.
Announcing his presence with a brutal attack of Rey Mysterio, Henry returned from a nine month absence in grand style. Taking out a top flight talent like Mysterio automatically establishes Henry back into the high ranks of the talent ladder where he had been firmly placed for years.
Henry seems refreshed and healthy after rehabbing his injury, and that news does not bode well for the WWE roster. Big things seem to be looming on the horizon for the 400-pound Texan.
Some forget though that big things were expected from Henry from the start, and he had some minor derailments along the way.
After some time of impressing the world with his unparallelled feats of strength, including two trips to the Olympic Games, The World's Strongest Man was signed to a long term deal by the company in 1996.
After forgettable feuds with Jerry Lawler, Goldust, and a pre-legendary Triple H, Henry joined Farooq’s Nation of Domination, where he had moderate success as the muscle of the group and had a very brief run as the European Champion.
All of this led to a memorable storyline with Mae Young, which culminated in the then-76 year old giving birth to a rubber hand.
Henry went on to dominate the roster in later years, winning both the ECW and World Heavyweight titles, before the aforementioned injury called into question whether or not he would ever be able to return to a wrestling ring.
At 41 years of age, Henry is far from young, but still seems to have plenty of fuel left in the tank.
With Jack Swagger’s recent arrest, the entire World Heavyweight title picture could change at a moments notice.
With a shortage of main event heels ready to step into a program with champion Alberto Del Rio, the burden may fall directly upon Henry’s massive shoulders to pick up the ball and carry it into a WrestleMania contest for the title.
Yes, there are other heels, like Dolph Ziggler and the Big Show that could also step into the spotlight and make a run at Del Rio and his title. Randy Orton could always make his long awaited heel turn and steal the title as well.
But with Henry back in the fold, the company has the opportunity to put a dominant force back at the top.
Del Rio is a refreshing change of pace, a former heel that realized the error of his ways and made a shocking face turn. He is a popular champion, and the crowds are seemingly always behind him at the moment.
But with The Rock as the main champion on Raw, the company has two face champions. Having a vicious heel as the other titleholder would balance out the equation somewhat.
Henry is a proven entity, and there seems to be an element of reality to what he is doing.
It is easy to relate to a monster heel that simply wants to hurt people. Henry has portrayed this character for years, and it is truly what he is good at. It was nice to see him as a face, doing his Sexual Chocolate gimmick. But once he began to take on a serious persona and started dominating the competition, establishing himself as a sincere threat to the rest of the roster.
In any event, push or not, with the path of destruction that Henry has been carving of late, the Hall of Pain may need to undergo an expansion.
And if if he has it his way, that should occur sooner rather than later.