Has anyone in the history of professional wrestling ever gone from mid-level heel to huge babyface to biggest heel on the roster in one night?
Mark Henry shocked the world when the 42-year-old super heavyweight threw a World's Strongest Slam on WWE Champion John Cena in the middle of a heartfelt retirement speech. In what was easily one of the best promos on Raw since CM Punk dropped his epic pipebomb, Mark Henry immediately entered into a feud with John Cena for the WWE Championship.
By the time Raw went off the air, the match was made.
John Cena will face Mark Henry for the WWE Championship at WWE's Money in the Bank pay-per-view on July 14 in Philadelphia.
But what about CM Punk? Or Daniel Bryan? Or Randy Orton, Sheamus and Ryback? The list goes on. Why does a 42-year-old giant get to feud for the WWE's most prestigious championship over all of the other guys on the roster who have legitimate arguments to be in the title picture?
Mark Henry deserves it.
Not only does he deserve a title shot, he deserves to win the belt.
Mark Henry has more than paid his dues. The former Olympic powerlifter has been in the WWE since 1996. He started out in the Nation of Domination and would become the controversial "Sexual Chocolate" when the Nation disbanded. A few years later he joined "Thuggin' and Buggin' Enterprises," another controversial angle focusing on race. At one point Henry even had now infamous "relations" with WWE's 90-year-old Diva, Mae Young.
Henry would continue to work his way through the WWE; bouncing to ECW, flipping between face and heel, competing in singles and tag teams and dealing with a ton of injuries.
In over 15 years of service to the WWE Henry has held just three titles. He's held the WWF European Championship, the ECW Championship and, most recently, the World Heavyweight Championship. In comparison, look at The Miz. The Awesome One has only been a WWE Superstar since 2006. He's won 10 titles.
Mark Henry has done it all for the WWE. He's been just about every character in the book, ranging from an intense, race-focused enforcer of a stable, to Mae Young's boy toy, to Hall of Pain inductor. Henry has been a comedy act, a face, a heel and a monster. He's paid his dues and he deserves to dethrone Cena as the WWE Champion at Money in the Bank.
More importantly, is there anyone more deserving of becoming the first ever African-American WWE Champion? Mark Henry has given his heart and soul to this business. If anyone deserves to earn the honor of being WWE's first African-American Champion, it's him.
While the retirement speech was all a clever ruse, I think we all know there was a little truth behind it.
Henry isn't young any more. He's over 40 and he's had a lot of injuries. The rest of his WWE career most likely won't be tallied in years, but months. The World's Strongest Man doesn't have many more World's Strongest Slams left in the tank. If the WWE wants to send off one of its most consistent wrestlers in the company's history appropriately, they need to give him a fond farewell.
Nothing would make riding off into the sunset easier for Henry than riding off with the WWE Championship around his waist.