Mark Henry will likely be another of John Cena's victims come Money in the Bank 2013, but putting the WWE Championship around the big man's waist would be a bold and entertaining move.
After Henry duped the world with his fake retirement speech, he slammed Cena to the ground and then slammed the WWE title onto Cena's chest. "That'll be mine soon," Henry said.
It's hard to imagine those words coming true given how predominately WWE has booked Cena over the years, but there's a case to be made that July 14 shouldn't be just another night for the company's golden boy to celebrate and that Henry shouldn't be just another obstacle that Cena overcomes.
Henry's lengthy tenure, popularity and masterful portrayal of a destructive monster are among the reasons making him the WWE champ makes sense.
Better Than a Watch
Much of the credit has to go to his acting skills, but Henry's faux retirement speech worked so well largely because it was a believable scenario. Henry is 42 and beat up. He’s been giving and receiving physical punishment in the WWE since 1996.
Before Henry hangs it up for real, giving him a chance to carry the WWE title would be a sign of gratitude and respect for all that he has done for the company.
After being mostly a midcard talent, Henry blossomed late in his career. Rather than just settle for being good, he worked hard to improve both in the ring and as a talker on his way to becoming great. He is now one of the most compelling performers on the roster.
His work in 2011 against Randy Orton, along with every man he has entered into the Hall of Pain, was his most engrossing stuff to date. He has since maintained that momentum and that air of a monster, now leading him to a collision with Cena.
Awarding Henry the WWE title would provide symmetry to his resume, adding a a third world title to his ECW and World Heavyweight Championship wins. It would be a fitting retirement gift, a way to honor Henry before he wraps up his career.
A Change from Cena
Since John Cena has been with WWE, fans have seen him hold the WWE Championship for over 1,100 days.
Going with Henry over Cena at Money in the Bank is a win for change, for disturbing the status quo and for someone to be an alternative to Cena as champ. A part of why Cena's detractors have despised him so much is his ever-present presence in the WWE title picture.
There are many other deserving men, Henry included, who could hold that title and do its history justice.
Fans now go into WWE main events expecting Cena to win. If you thought Ryback or The Rock had a real shot at him in their recent battles, were you confident enough to put money on it?
The same is true for the outcome of Henry vs. Cena at Money in the Bank. The smart money is on Cena to retain. Having Henry win would be a welcome shock and an emotional experience for the audience.
The way Christian's win over Alberto Del Rio to claim the vacant World Heavyweight Championship was a moving sight, Henry accomplishing this great feat before he goes stomping toward the horizon would be a powerful move on WWE's part.
There's plenty of room on the mountaintop for more than just Cena.
Henry hoisting the WWE title above his head to end the night also adds to the short list of African-Americans who have held a pro wrestling world championship. To put Henry's name in the history books next to Ron Simmons and The Rock is not an act of affirmative action but an affirmation of the man's accomplishments.
In terms of kayfabe, how could The World's Strongest Man and a man so bent on destruction go his entire career without winning the WWE title? It's only logical that his dominance would eventually get him at least a single shot at that belt.
Mark Henry is the next WWE Champion or I will set the entire planet on fire.— Famous TV Corpse (@WWEKatieVick) June 18, 2013
This is all likely a pipe dream, but there is no shortage of reasons to have Henry take Cena's title from him.
When the WWE writers are going over scenarios for Cena vs. Henry at Money in the Bank, they should at least consider letting the hero fall this time.
A giant slayer will eventually take Henry to the ground, but let him continue his rampage and carry the ultimate prize on his well-worn shoulder.