AEW’s recent signing Mark Henry appeared on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette to talk about his move to AEW and his time in WWE. Henry talked about recruiting several talents to WWE, as well as scouting with Senior Director of Talent Development Canyon Ceman. Through it all Henry was never paid for this extra activity, doing it because he wanted to do so.
“I brought in Rich Swann and Uhaa, Apollo Crews,” Henry said. “There was a bunch of guys. I was mentoring Baron Corbin. I saw Braun Strowman at a strong man show and I was like ‘man your personality is wrestling. You gotta quit doing strong man.’ He said ‘I want to be champion.’ The most money I ever made lifting was under $100 grand in a year. And I was the best in the world. I was like ‘you need to come over to wrestling.’ It took him two and a half years, but he finally called me back and said ‘hey man, you think you can still get me into wrestling?’ I said ‘hell yeah.’ I was like, I called Vince I said ‘hey, remember that monster I told you about? He’s ready.’
“I’ve just been doing that. I don’t work in talent relations, I don’t work in the whole recruiting process. I didn’t get paid for none of that, I did it because I wanted to. And I love Canyon Ceman. Canyon did a really good job. He took me to the Olympics with him, he took me to the World’s Strongest Man contest. We scouted at the Arnold Classic. All of these places we went to scout high level talent. I would support him, if he called me tomorrow and was like ‘hey man, I need a hook up.’ I know he works for WWE, but he’s my brother. I’m going to help him.”
Paquette asked Henry for his thoughts on Strowman, who was released from WWE just a week ago. Henry didn’t understand why WWE would release him and could only speculate as to what led to the release.
“I wouldn’t have let him go,” Henry said. “But you know what? If he wasn’t happy, and he asked them for more grace, more time or more money or something and they didn’t want to pay it, you’ve got to part ways. But I don’t know what the circumstances were with their relationship. With me I knew what that was. With him I don’t know.
“But if I were to speculate, there was an opportunity with him and Brock three years ago, and it never came. During the pandemic he had a little shine, but it wasn’t like if he was to be in that role now. And I don’t know if it was going his direction. Maybe he was the one that was disenchanted. I don’t know, I’d love to ask him.”
On the whole Henry was shocked by all the releases that have taken place in WWE recently and thinks it could be hurting morale backstage. He openly wondered, like many have, if this could be leading to WWE being sold.
“I’m kind of shocked of everything that’s happening,” Henry said. “When I look at the product, I think that some people might be disappointed. Talent wise, morale has got to be down. But it looks to me like WWE is breaking everything up and closing some doors to get everything to be kind of normal for a change. And usually when people break everything up like that and start moving and closing departments, it’s so they can sell it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t own it. It’s going to be something to look at. You see what happened with Peacock, and they (WWE) had a network, and then they went to Peacock. That someone else’s responsibility. They’re taking all of the expenditures out and making it more of a pretty package to buy and do whatever you want to with it.
“I think it’s good from the sense that you might see a talent go ‘wow we can use them in this TV show. Or we can use them in a movie or whatever.’ But it’s going to be who they want to do it, not because you have talent or a certain talent towards something. It’s more geared towards making it comfortable for what’s next, not what is. As far as all the people that are not wrestling people, leave the wrestling to the wrestling people. And the executives and those suits that came in, let them handle the business aspect of wrestling.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription