It has to be said. All indications are that Mark Henry's 17-year WWE stint is drawing to a close.
Interestingly, just a few years ago, this news would have been welcomed by many fans.
Indeed, Henry's first 14 years in WWE (he signed a contract in 1996) were filled with terrible matches, stop-start pushes, injuries and some absolutely awful angles. It looked like the Olympic star would never live up to the hype.
But in 2011, something clicked. Henry became a tough-talking monster heel intent on tearing his way through the SmackDown roster on his way to the World Heavyweight Championship.
Suddenly, after being reviled for so long, Henry was gaining praise and acclaim from many fans and journalists for his in-ring and promo work.
It may have been one of the great career turnarounds in wrestling history. In this time of cartoonish gimmicks and lame jokes (John Cena, I'm looking at you), who couldn't appreciate Henry's raw, no-nonsense character?
Sadly, the massive success couldn't last.
Various injuries meant he missed much of 2012. He returned earlier this year to feud with Sheamus, with their program culminating in a decent strap match at last month's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, which Henry lost.
Henry is currently off television again, nursing some ailing injuries. As F4wonline (via Wrestling Inc.com) notes, the former World Heavyweight champion has apparently garnered huge heat over this matter. It seems his exit has scuppered WWE's long-term plans.
Of course, injuries and backstage problems are the main reasons we shouldn't expect to see the star for much longer.
As a character and wrestler, he's never been better, but can his body take it anymore?
And do WWE want to place their trust in someone who can get hurt at any time? Probably not. (This may also explain the company's reluctance to push the equally injury-prone Rey Mysterio.)
Henry turns 42 in a few weeks. He's getting to the age when many wrestlers, unless their names are Sting or Ric Flair, choose to step away from the business.
He has outside ambitions too: He has mentioned in interviews being keen to break into the acting industry and turning down various roles in the past due to WWE obligations. He appears to be more than ready for a future without wrestling.
Indeed, it's easy to see the former weightlifter grow tired of all the politicking and management resentment and leave. It may simply not be worth the hassle to him.
Sad to say, folks, but his time in WWE truly does look to be winding down. Who's to say he will even be back after his current hiatus?
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