Never before has a leather belt been such a lethal weapon.
Anyone who watched Monday night’s Raw episode saw Mark Henry go absolutely wild in attacking Sheamus. Right after Sheamus defeated Wade Barrett, Henry entered the ring armed with a leather belt and appeared to whip Sheamus into oblivion.
WWE.com posted photos of Sheamus after the attack. His back was covered with large dark welts. He later took to Twitter to react:
Of course the belt marks look even worse against Sheamus’ pasty white skin. But anyone who watched the whipping could not help but think that, while pro wrestling is staged, the lashes had to have hurt quite a lot.
And that leads to the question; did Henry go too far with the belt-whipping?
If he did, then it was done in the name of realism.
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross wrote on his latest JRsBBQ blog that any time a leather strap is involved, the participants usually have to go beyond the limit in order to make it appear real:
One has to swing for the fences with a leather strap for the integrity of the bout. The most sadistic guys that wielded a strap in my memory were the Freebirds who might have just liked the pain...just a little too much.
Ross said after witnessing the Raw show, Henry “is one of the most intimidating and legit beasts in all of WWE and he ‘feels’ it without question.”
The extreme beating took place shortly after it was announced that Sheamus and Henry would meet at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view later this month in St. Louis. When Henry stayed at ringside for Sheamus’ match with Barrett, everyone knew that something was going to happen.
Did they expect to see the extent of the whipping? Probably not.
Did Sheamus expect it? To an extent, probably.
He knew going in that the angle would have Henry seeking “retaliation” for all the humiliation Sheamus had inflicted upon him in previous weeks. He fully expected that Henry would go after him with a strap of some type.
It’s my guess that the Celtic Warrior may not have expected Henry to be as aggressive as he was. And Henry did a good job of selling his anger while doling out the punishment.
Maybe a bit too good. Adrenaline sometimes kicks in when you get caught in the moment.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about piquing the interest of the fans to open their wallets and pay to see how this feud ends.
By then, maybe the Great White will not be so black and blue.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.