Former WWE superstar Mark Henry spoke with Steve Austin on The Steve Austin Show about his relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. Henry said that he and McMahon share a solid mutual respect for one another.
"There's a lot of trust and a lot of respect with Vince because was always a straight shooter with me," Henry said. "I've always heard these stories of him double crossing people but he never did that for me. He respected me as a man and he knew I wasn't a punk or be wishy washy. He knew when I walked into his office that there's a level of love and respect that we have for each other other. He's told me he loves me and I told him I love him back and more than anything I respect what I've learned from him.
"A lot of people of power hide knowledge and teaching is the key," Henry preached. "Vince didn't have to teach me the understanding of pro-wrestling but he did. And I provide for my family based off what I learned from this human being. I've had people offer me more money during that time of the wars, but I didn't take it. I was loyal because he was the one who got me into wrestling and that's where I was going to stay. He knew that because I told him…I didn't tell him because I wanted them to up my pay, I told him because I'm not going.
"He knows who I am and we've fought and argued," Henry admitted. "And he's told me, 'Hey, that's not smart.' And I'm like, 'Well, you didn't have to tell me that I wasn't smart' and he said, 'That wouldn't be me being honest.' He's telling you the truth from his perspective. It might not be gentle or coddling but he's telling you his truth. If you feel like he's wrong, then prove it to him. Tell him where he's wrong. He's not going to fire you or b---h and moan at you cause you proved him wrong. Tell him, 'Hey man, you're wrong. This is where you're wrong.' He'll say, 'Oh, let's fix that'. He will resent you if he cannot trust you to be a man of your word in your character. There's a certain level of respect I have for someone who is going to give me the truth and nothing but the truth."
Henry also spoke about his transition to his Hall of Pain character. Henry said that the new character was built from a personal anger within that he did not want to expose publicly. Henry told the story of how Vince McMahon played a practical joke on Henry during a dark match as a means to harness Henry's anger in preparation for the new heel character.
"Vince got me to portray how I really felt," Henry said. "I told him I didn't want to do it because I didn't want people to see me hate because I was basically being what people thought I was anyways. I walk down the street and woman change their purse to the other side and they move to the other side of the street. I'm a human being. I didn't want to be a negative, I wanted to transcend the negative.
"Vince played a practical joke on me to unlock the monster in me," Henry recalls. "I had a match against Sin Cara. The music plays but no Sin Cara. They play the music again, no Sin Cara. I ask the referee and he says he doesn't know. Then they play someone else's music. Then they play Ray Mysterio's music. Then they play Vader's music. Vader's been retired from wrestling for like eight years. Now I'm getting angry because I'm realizing I'm being ribbed. I get the microphone and I start talking about how I hate everybody. Shoot.
"'You bring me out here and embarrass me in front of everybody," Henry remembers saying into the microphone. "It's a dark match. You're probably laughing back there, let's see if you're laughing when I get back there.' I get to Guerrilla and it's a ghost town. I run to Vince's office and he's gone. I called him and cussed his ass out….I said to my wife that I'm done. Vince called me the next week, 'Big Mark, you coming to work?' And I said, 'No, Vince you hurt my feelings. Nobody is allowed to hurt my feelings'. And Vince said, 'That wasn't my intention. I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings. I was trying to get you mad. I was trying to kick you in the ass.' So, I flew to Baltimore for SmackDown and he said, 'I want you to see something.' Calls the guys in the truck and says, 'Play that footage from last week'. And it was me. I don't even recognize. That wasn't me. That was a monster. I was stomping mad. Stomping my feet like a little kid. Never in my life have I done that. That was probably the most mad I'd ever been in my life. Vince said. 'If you can be that guy, you can make a lot of money. Which means the business will be better and we all make a lot of money. I said, 'I can't control that.' And Vince said, 'Yes, you can. I'll help you control it'. And he did. Hall of Pain era. Best four years of my career and it put me in the Hall of Fame."
Mark Henry is currently a host on Busted Open Radio on Sirus XM. Henry held the World Heavyweight Championship before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018.