As noted, WWE confirmed today that Mark Henry will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 34 Weekend in New Orleans. Henry spoke with USA Today's "For The Win" blog at this link. Below are highlights from the interview:
When did you get the call that you were going into the Hall of Fame?
It was a little while back. I was in Los Angeles with the powers that be… it was just an overwhelming feeling, you know? My face got hot. A couple of tears fell, and you felt like, instantly, all of the pain and torment that you put your body through, the sacrifices that you made – they were worth it. It paid it all off.
How did your first conversation with Vince McMahon go?
Well the first conversation I had, I thought it was one of my buddies playing a joke on me and I hung up on him. And my manager at the time called me back and said 'hey, I just had Vince McMahon call you and he said you hung up!' And I was like 'that was Vince McMahon for real!?'
I felt so dumb. Here he is, one of the most influential people in the wrestling industry calls you and you hang up on him thinking it was a joke. Eventually I called back and I said 'hey, I hope you understand, I thought it was somebody playing a joke on me.' And he said 'don't worry about it, I'm glad I could get you back on the phone.' He was like 'I want you to come to Connecticut and see how we do things up here.'
I said 'am I going to get to meet The Undertaker?' You know, I was such a fan, I just wanted to meet everybody. That was really my primary thing for going down there because I wanted to see the stars. I wanted to see the superstars.
When WWE fans are reminiscing about Mark Henry in 20 years, what do you hope they'll remember you for?
I definitely hope they remember the strength element, but more than anything I would say remember the fact that I was not selfish. That I was able to share not only my time, but I taught the future. There's a lot of guys in this business, you can go into that locker room right now and I guarantee you I had an influence on more than half, because I tried to. It was intentional. That is something that I hang my hat on. … I used my celebrity to endorse and help other people [and work with] a lot of the charities. Nobody could ever say Mark Henry said 'no.' Because I tried to help as many people as I could my entire career, and I was happy to do so.
You've said that you aren't fully retired, but we last saw you in the ring at WrestleMania 33. When did you decide it was time to step away?
You know what, I saw a match – and I always study my matches. I always see what I did wrong, what I could do better. I was watching and there were things that I did that weren't up to the standard that I thought they should have been. And a lot of that… I think some of it was age, some of it was the fact that I had some pre-existing injuries that I really couldn't do all the things that I could do. And I didn't want the fans to remember me being injured and being a shell of my former self.
I want people, when they remember me, to think of the Hall of Pain, when I was catching guys, 275 pounds. Picking up Big Show, close to 500 pounds, over my head and driving him through a table. And picking up Kane, 320 pounds and slamming him through tables. And jumping off the top rope to the ring and jumping out of the ring to the floor and splashing Kurt Angle. I wanted people to remember me at my greatest. Around 2015, I started to see my skills diminish. It happens to everybody. Father Time is undefeated. He is gonna win every time, and I saw him catching me.
What's next for Mark Henry? What are some things you'd like to do in the future?
Roddy Piper and The Rock and Batista have set the standard for guys that go into acting, and already I've done a couple things. I've done a show, I'm on a cartoon on Disney [Pickle and Peanut], I'm doing voice acting. I just finished a show on HBO that should come out in June. I have a radio show on SiriusXM 93 on Mondays and Fridays.
I'm staying busy. I never in my career did appearances, like where you go and sign autographs and you do the comic-cons and all of that stuff, because I wanted when I stopped wrestling to go and do that stuff and have it really mean something to somebody, that it hadn't been watered down. So I'm doing some of that stuff now. I'm really enjoying myself, I'm meeting a lot of people that I probably would have never gotten the opportunity to meet.
Source: USA Today