For those that missed the show, this incarnation was much like the previous one between Brock Lesnar and Big Show on the June 12, 2003 edition of SmackDown.
At Vengeance, Big Show climbed to the second rope, where Mark Henry met him with a punch. Henry then climbed to the second rope and hit a superplex, which collapsed the ring entirely.
The real story, though, was not the spot itself but the aftermath of the bout that ended in a no contest. Big Show, too big for a stretcher, was taken away by a mini-cart while Henry was helped up by WWE officials before collapsing again.
Then, in an act that may turn the corner on the entire SmackDown brand, Henry rose to his feet, shoved away any help and walked to the back on his own power; proclaiming that he did not need the help and he was the champion.
Granted, one could say this was merely Henry playing up the mean persona we have seen over this past few months. Shoving officials out of the way and boasting your championship status does not necessarily make him a good guy.
On the other hand, these types of borderline heroic acts usually lead to increased fan respect and likewise a face turn. The crowd predictably applauded Henry’s effort and ability to walk on his power.
Was Henry’s heroic act intentionally done by the WWE to begin a path towards a Mark Henry face turn? I cannot say for sure, but I really hope not.
At this moment, I would be very against a Henry face turn. Not only has SmackDown ratings on SyFy been stellar since Henry’s rise to the top but it has been quite awhile since a heel like Henry felt fresh.
While we have seen the monster heel done countless times over the past few years, it has seemingly been the same people, especially on SmackDown. We have been through the Kane and Big Show dominant months.
Henry, though, is something different. His story is unique in that he literally was a wrestler waiting 15 years to get any measure of respect. Additionally, Henry has a look that cannot be replicated; his facials are off the charts and give the image of a crazed maniac that could and will break you in half.
WWE has done such a great job, in my mind, building Henry for sustained long-term success as a heel. Henry's Hall of Pain gimmick has taken out numerous stars that can slowly work their way back into regular action seeking revenge against Henry.
SmackDown has a number of potential feuds. While we have seen Henry vs. Randy Orton numerous times, I still feel there is life. In addition, we have barely scratched the surface of a potential Henry vs. Sheamus feud.
Maybe it is selfish of me as an older fan who routinely finds the heels more interesting but I do not want to see Henry back to the smiling babyface of his past. He was that on and off for 15 years and frankly he was not interesting in the least.
Today, extra thousands watching SmackDown on a weekly basis (yours truly included) see something different and interesting in Henry.
Do not take that away from us just yet.
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