Since joining AEW, Mark Henry has been open about what led to him deciding to make the move after twenty five years with the WWE. Appearing on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette, Henry went into further detail on the discussions he had with WWE about taking on a backstage role, which ultimately went nowhere.
“It (was) just not going (anywhere),” Henry said. “I wrote it up. He (Vince) told me to talk to Brad Blum. I talked to Brad and I had a come to Jesus (moment) with him. I said ‘look man, I’m not going to sign a loan out agreement using my name and I’m not working here. I’ve got to get a job man, I have kids.’ They came back, Carrano got released and Johnny took over talent relations again, and Johnny called me. And I wasn’t expecting Johnny to call me. I expected Brad Blum or Vince to call me. Johnny said ‘hey, we’re still doing cuts and whatever.’ Something to that effect.
“I had pretty much made up my mind from when Johnny called me that that was them telling me no and that’s the way it was going to be. It wasn’t going to get better from that point. So I called Tony, because I’ve been friends with Tony a long time, before AEW was even born. Tony is a big wrestling fan. So we’d talk wrestling for awhile and then we’d talk football. We’d talk football more than anything. But I finally got to the point where, if I was ever going to do something at an executive role or if I going to be an employee of a wrestling company, I was going to have to leave home. I was going to have to leave WWE. And I considered that to be home for 25 years. A home is not where you are, it’s who’s there. So now I had to leave and I’m establishing a new home.”
Henry took the time to talk about how loyal he’d been to WWE over the years, even through difficult times and contract offers from other promotions. That, and a conversation with his wife, made it easy for him to come to grips with making a move to AEW.
“I had been loyal,” Henry said. “I had companies offer me more money in the early, middle 2000’s. I never went, and Vince knew I didn’t go. And we talked, and Vince knew my loyalty. There were troubles and I never talked about it because it was never pertinent to talk about it. And I had got over whatever troubles there were. But I came to grips with it pretty easily because I knew I did all the right things. I never disrespected him, I never disrespected the business. Like nobody can say bad about Mark, I did it right.
“(I thought) Me leaving means that I’m going to have to re-establish a new legacy. I was wrong because my wife brought up the fact that ‘wrestling is wrestling, regardless of where you are. If you leave, then you just take everything you know and learned and you go share it with those kids.’ And I was like ‘wow. If you’re comfortable with it, I’m comfortable with it.’ And we made the move.”
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