WWE: Mark Henry Shows the Proper Way to Optimize Heel Persona

Nathan GieseSenior Analyst IISeptember 20, 2011

Dominate and Fierce: New World Heavyweight Champion
Dominate and Fierce: New World Heavyweight Champion

In today's world of the WWE heel, nobody comes close to Mark Henry.  Henry has been on a rampage since officially turning heel on draft night back in May. 

He has taken out the likes of Big Show, Kane, Vladimir Kozlov, Sheamus and now Randy Orton

Henry has become so unstoppable, not even the Viper could stop the World's Strongest Man's reign of terror on his way to claiming his first World Heavyweight Championship in his 15 year career this past Sunday at Night of Champions. 

He's become so powerful that the question is "Can he be stopped?"

Henry plays the role of the heel so well, he's now making his case for the top heel in the WWE.  He's even started to call his trail of carnage "the hall of pain."

Mark Henry's recent run on the heel side of the WWE draws attention to the orgnization's lack of ability to convey a legitimate heel. 

In the past nine months, The Miz, Christian, Alberto Del Rio, R-Truth and Henry are the only heels that have been associated with their respective brand's title picture.  All but Truth have held the title at one point or another but none have been successful.

That's where the underlying assumption comes in with Henry. 

He will either lose the belt in his very next title defense or weasel his way out of competition and run away at the first sign of trouble. 

Luckily, Henry has yet to back down from a challenge in this heel run so the latter seems unlikely. That leaves the former, losing the title very soon.

Of the previous strong heels mentioned before, only Miz had a successful title reign.  Actually, he had four of them during his run with the strap.  However, Christian and Del Rio did not share the same sentiment. 

Christian won the world title twice this Summer and both his title defenses went unsuccessfully, losing to Orton both times. 

Del Rio made it past his first title defense, defeating Rey Mysterio less than 24 hours after cashing in his Money in the Bank to win the WWE title at SummerSlam. His second title defense came against John Cena and we all know how that turned out. 

Henry is the future of future heel triumph
Henry is the future of future heel triumph

What do Christian, Del Rio and Miz all have in common?  They each held the title while acting like a coward the whole time they held it. 

Miz hid behind Alex Riley for all of his title reign, Christian hid behind lawyers to avoid coming face to face with Orton and Del Rio didn't even bother to show up for a week (kayfabe wise) or tried getting other people to do his bidding for him. 

None of those three have been given a mean streak to send fear into their competitors.  They never went out of their way to look for a fight and always took the easy, cheap way out of matches. 

The reason nobody respects any of those three is because they never accomplished anything on their own or in clean fashion.  Henry has become the antithesis of what the norm for heels has become. 

Cowardly acts making the heel seem weak are not ways of behavior for Henry, which makes him more compelling than the rest.  

Unless Henry's title reign is just the company's "thanks for all your years of service," then Henry can become one of the most dominant heels in recent memory. 

This is a golden opportunity to reinvent the stereotype that heels cheat to win, which has become repetitive and a little frustrating. 

If WWE is willing to have Orton lose cleanly for one of the first times in recent history, then maybe the company actually believes in him to carry the torch a little longer than those before him. 

Not only would a long, tumultuous reign for Henry be good for business from a present standpoint, it could signal a significant change in what the heels after Henry might be like. 

Dominant heels are exactly what the WWE needs at this point in time.  Enough of the trickery and deception, physical pain and dominance speaks volumes for what a heel should be.