Before becoming a professional wrestler, Henry was a successful powerlifter as well as weightlifter. He began powerlifting at Silsbee High School, where he became Texas State Champion three times in a row from 1988 to 1990, as well as National High School Champion in 1990, setting teen-age world records in the squat and total. Beginning his weightlifting training in 1990, Mark moved to Austin and won The National Junior Weightlifting Championships in 1991. In 1991 he captured the Junior International title in powerlifting as well. At only 19 years of age, Mark qualified for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, where he placed 10th in the super heavyweight class. More determined than ever to focus on Olympic weightlifting, he began competing in earnest all over the world. He won the U.S. American Open in 1992 and the U.S. Olympic Festival Championships in 1993 and 1994. At the 1995 Pan American Games, Henry won 3 medals in the super heavyweight division—a silver medal in the weightlifting total as well as a gold medal in the snatch and a bronze medal in the clean and jerk. The following year, he became a North America, Central America, Caribbean Islands (NACAC) champion. He was U.S. National Weightlifting Champion in 1993, 1994 and 1996. At the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia Henry was voted team captain of the weightlifting team and made his last public appearance as an Olympic weightlifter—after sustaining a back injury during the competition he finished with a disappointing 14th place. Despite his awesome talent in powerlifting, Henry seldom competed in his senior years due to his focus on weightlifting. In 1995 he easily became ADFPF/USAPL National Powerlifting Champion and World Powerlifting Champion of the World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation, setting world records in the squat, deadlift and Powerlifting Total. By that time, prior to the Olympics 1996, at the young age of 24, Henry was generally considered as the strongest man in the world by most lifting experts for not only holding major all-time powerlifting world records but also the greatest five-lift-total ever achieved in the history of the lifting sports. He made public appearances on TV and in magazines as the "World's Strongest Man", which later also became his nickname as a professional wrestler. During this time, he made connections with Vince McMahon. In 1997, while already a wrestler, he competed one last time as a powerlifter to win the USAPL National Powerlifting Championships again.
In early 1996, at the age of 24, Henry signed a ten-year contract with the WWF. Henry was trained by former Canadian professional wrestlers Stu and Bret Hart and Leo Burke. He made his television wrestling debut in September 1996. In January 1998, Mark Henry joined the stableNation of Domination. After the disbanding of the group, he acquired the moniker "Sexual Chocolate", which led him to participate in controversial angles.
In 2000, Mark Henry was sent to the company's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in Louisville, Kentucky to improve his wrestling skills. In 2001, after his mother died, he left wrestling for a while and decided to compete in the first annual Arnold Strongman Classic in 2002 - a strongman contest designed to find the strongest man on the planet based on brute strength and power. After training on heavy weights for 4 months, Henry won the contest convincingly, out-muscling some of the greatest strength athletes from all over the world, including defending World's Strongest Man contest winner of 2001Svend Karlsen and 2006's World's Strongest ManPhil Pfister, as well as Powerlifting World Champion Andy Bolton. One month later, having proved himself worthy of the moniker "World's Strongest Man" once again, Henry returned to WWE, where he took part of the group "Thuggin' And Buggin' Enterprises" in 2003, a group compiled of African Americans who worked a race angle in which they felt they were victims of racism and were being held down by the "white man".
The following year, Mark Henry tore his quadriceps muscle, and was unable to compete for over a year. Upon his return, he was briefly involved in feuds with Kurt Angle and The Undertaker, before suffering a knee injury. After it healed, he continued to feud with The Undertaker, before being moved to the ECW brand in June 2008, where he had Tony Atlas as a manager. In June 2008, he won the ECW Championship and held it for three months. In 2011, Henry had a resurgence on SmackDown, which led to him winning his first World Heavyweight Championship in September 2011 when he defeated Randy Orton.
Henry was born in Silsbee, Texas. As a child, Henry was a big wrestling fan and André the Giant was his favorite wrestler. While attending a wrestling show in Beaumont, young Henry tried to touch André as he was walking down the aisle, but tripped over the barricade. André picked him up out of the crowd and put him back behind the barricade. Henry played football in high school until his senior year, when he strained ligaments in his wrist during the first game of the year and scored below 700 on the SAT. When Henry was 12 years old, his father, Ernest, died of complications from diabetes. When he was 14 years old, Henry was diagnosed with dyslexia.
By the time Henry was in the fourth grade, he was 5'5" and weighed 225 lb (102 kg). His mother bought a set of weights for him when he was 10 years old. During Henry's freshman year at Silsbee High School, he was already able to squat 600 lb (270 kg), which was well over school record. As an 18-year-old high school senior, Henry was called "the world's strongest teenager" by the Los Angeles Times, and made it into the sidelines in early 1990 for winning the National High School Powerlifting Championships and setting teenage lifting world records in the squat 832 lb (377 kg) and total 2,033 lb (922 kg). By the time Henry finished high school, he was a three-time Texas state champion with state and national records in all four powerlifting categories—the squat at 832 lb (377 kg), bench press at 525 lb (238 kg) and deadlift at 815 lb (370 kg) as well as the total at 2,033 lb (922 kg).
At the Texas high school powerlifting championships in April 1990, Terry Todd, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas at Austin and former weightlifter, spotted Henry and persuaded him to go to Austin after he graduated to train in the Olympic style of weightlifting. In July 1990 at the USPF Senior National Powerlifting Championships, 19-year-old Henry came second only to the legendary 6 time World Powerlifting Champion Kirk Karwoski. While powerlifting relies primarily on brute strength and power, which Henry obviously possessed, Olympic weightlifting is considered more sophisticated, involving more agility, timing, flexibility and technique. There have been few lifters in history who have been able to be successful in both lifting disciplines. Mastering the technique of weightlifting usually takes many years of practicing. But Henry broke four national junior records in weightlifting after only eight months of training. He attempted to compete in powerlifting and weightlifting at the same time, and quite successful at that: In April 1991, he won the United States National Junior Championships; 20 days later he placed fourth at the U.S. Senior National Championships, and finished sixth at the Junior World Weightlifting Championships in Germany two months later. Only few weeks afterwards, he became 1991's International Junior Champion in Powerlifiting as well. In Henry's first year of competing in weightlifting, he broke all three junior (20 and under) American records 12 times, and became the United States' top superheavyweight, surpassing Mario Martinez.
Having reached the pinnacle of weightlifting on a National and continental level, he competed again in powerlifting and shocked the world by winning the ADFPA U.S. National Powerlifting Championships in 1995 with an earthshattering 2314.8 lb raw Powerlifting Total. Despite competing without supportive equipment in contrast to the other competitors, Henry managed to outclass the lifter in second place by an incredible 286 lbs defeating not only 5 time IPF World Powerlifting Champion and 12 time USAPL National Powerlifting ChampionBrad Gillingham, but also America's Strongest Man of 1997 Mark Philippi. In the process he set all-time world records in the raw deadlift at 903.9 lbs (410 kg) and the squat without a squat suit at 948.0 lbs (430 kg) as well as the all-time drug tested raw total at 2314.8 lb (1050 kg). Later that same year in October, he competed in the drug-free Powerlifting World Championships and won again, even though he trained on the powerlifts only sparingly—due his main focus still being on the 2 Olympic lifts. He not only become World Champion by winning the competition but also bettered his previous all-time squat world record to 953.5 lbs (432.5 kg) and his all-time drug tested world record total to 2336.9 lbs (1060 kg).
One year later, with the '96 Olympics already in sight, he became the North America, Central America, Caribbean Islands (NACAC) champion. He earned the right to compete at the Olympics by winning the U.S. National Weightlifting Championships in the Spring of 1996 for a third time. During his victory Henry became Senior US American record holder (1993–1997) in the Snatch at 180.0 kg (396.8 lbs), Clean and jerk at 220.0 kg (485.0 lbs), and Total at 400.0 kg (881.8 lbs), improving all of his three previous personal bests. This 400 kg total, in the opinion of many experts in track field of international lifting—including Dragomir Cioroslan, the '96s coach of the U.S. team—was the highest ever made by an athlete who had never used anabolic steroids—who was lifetime drugfree. By that time, at the age of 24, Henry was generally acknowledged as the strongest man in the world, even by many of the Eastern Block athletes who outrank him in weightlifting. No one in the history of the sports had ever lifted as much as him in the five competitive lifts—the snatch and the clean and jerk in weightlifting—the squat, bench press and deadlift in powerlifting. To this day, his five lift total is still the greatest in history by a fair amount—making him arguably one of the strongest men that ever lived and stamp him, according to lifting statistician Herb Glossbrenner, as history’s greatest lifter.
Henry improved his lifts to 407 lb in the snatch and 507 lb in the clean and jerk during his final eight weeks of preparation for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Henry at 6-foot-4-inches tall and 414 lbs bodyweight, became the largest athlete in Olympic history and was voted captain of the Olympic weightlifting team. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury during the competition and was unable to approach his normal performance level. Due to the injury he had to drop out after his first clean and jerk attempt and finished with a disappointing 14th place. His appearance at the Olympics proved to be his last official competition in Olympic weightlifting, as he retired from weightlifting, vowing never to return unless the sport is "cleaned up" of anabolic steroid use.
Since his career start as a professional wrestler shortly after the Olympics, he broke his leg in the Fall of 1996. But by the summer of the following year he had rehabbed it enough to be able to compete at the USAPL National Powerlifting Championships 1997, where he won the competition to become the U.S National Powerlifting Champion in the super heavyweight class again. He had planned to continue heavy training in powerlifting, although his travel schedule as a professional wrestler with the WWF (now WWE) has made sustained training difficult. Mark’s WWF contract was unique in many ways, allowing him at least three months off each year from wrestling, so he can train for the national and world championships in weightlifting or powerlifting. Barring injury, Mark had originally hoped to return to the platform in late 1998, to lift for many more years, and to eventually squat at least 1100 lbs without a “squat suit” and to deadlift 1000 lbs.
Although in early 1998 he was still able to do five reps in the bench press with 495 lbs, three reps in the squat with 855 lbs (with no suit and no knee wraps), and three reps in the standing press with 405 lbs in training, while traveling with the World Wrestling Federation, he never returned to compete again in official championships in favor of his wrestling career. He weighed 380 lbs at that time, and his right upper arm was measured at 24” by Terry Todd. By basically ending his lifting career at the age of 26, it is probable that he never reached his full physical potential as a professional lifter. Henry remains the youngest man in history to squat more than 900 pounds without a squat suit as well as the youngest to total more than 2,300 pounds raw - he's the only person ever to have accomplished any of these feats at under 25 years of age.
Mark Henry in December 2011.
Personal powerlifting records[edit source | edit]
Powerlifting Competition Records:done in official Powerlifting full meets
Squat - 432.5 kg (953.5 lbs)raw with knee wraps (done on October 29, 1995 WDFPF)
→ former all-time unequipped squat world record for over a decade in SHW class until 2010 (+regardless of weight class until 2007)
→ current WDFPF world record squat in SHW class (+regardless of weight class and equipment) since 1995
→ current drug tested all-time world record squat without a suit in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since 1995
→ currently heaviest walked-out raw squat of all time (without a monolift) regardless of weight class or federation since 1995
When asked in September 2003, who the strongest man in the world is today , Bill Kazmaier, considered by many to be the greatest strongman of all time, stated: "It would have to be Mark Henry.[...] I think he's one of the strongest men in the history of the world, without a doubt."
Professional wrestling career[edit source | edit]
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment / WWE[edit source | edit]
Early career (1996–1997)[edit source | edit]
At the age of 24, Henry made his first appearance on World Wrestling Federation (WWF) programming on the March 11, 1996 episode of Monday Night Raw, where he press slammed Jerry Lawler, who was ridiculing Henry while interviewing him in the ring. After Henry competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics, the WWF signed him to a ten-year contract. Trained by professional wrestler Leo Burke, his first feud in the WWF was with Lawler. At the pay-per-view event, SummerSlam in August 1996, Henry came to the aid of Jake Roberts who was suffering indignity at the hands of Lawler. His first television wrestling match was at In Your House: Mind Games on September 22, 1996, where he defeated Lawler. The feud continued on the live circuit during subsequent weeks. On the November 4 episode of Raw, Henry served as a cornerman for Barry Windham in a match against Goldust. He was set to team with Windham, Marc Mero and Rocky Maivia to take on the team of Lawler, Goldust, Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Crush at Survivor Series, but was replaced by Jake Roberts when he was forced to withdraw from the event due to injury. On the November 17 episode of Superstars, Henry defeated Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Crush and Goldust in a tug of war contest. Henry's career was then stalled as, over the next year, he took time off to heal injuries and engage in further training. In November 1997, he returned to the ring, making his televised return the following month. By the end of the year, he was a regular fixture on WWF programming, defeating Steve Lombardi on the December 15 episode of Raw, and beating The Sultan on the December 27 episode of Shotgun.
Nation of Domination and Sexual Chocolate (1998–2000)[edit source | edit]
After this, Henry turned into a fan favorite, and was seen on television romancing WWF women from Chyna to Mae Young as part of the "Sexual Chocolate" character. He feuded with Viscera during this time, as part of a storyline where Viscera splashed Mae Young while she was carrying Henry's child. Young later gave birth to a hand. Henry was part of various other embarrassing and infamous storylines, including one about him overcoming sex addiction.
Ohio Valley Wrestling and strongman competitions (2000–2001)[edit source | edit]
In 2000, Henry was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) to improve his conditioning and wrestling skills. In OVW, he teamed with Nick Dinsmore to compete in a tournament for the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship in mid-2001. Later that year, Henry's mother passed away, causing him to go on hiatus from wrestling. He felt he had to compete in the "Super Bowl of weight lifting"—the Arnold Strongman Classic—in honor of his mother, who gave him his first weight set when he was a child. Four months prior to the contest, Henry began lifting the heaviest of weights and trained for the first time since 1997 for a major lifting competition. He has never been a professional strongman before, but in the coming contest he was up to face the very best of the best of professional strongman—such as the #1ranked strongman in the world and defending World's Strongest Man competition winner of 2001Svend Karlsen, World's Strongest Man winner of 2006Phil Pfister, World Powerlifting Champion of 2001 and equipped deadlift world record holder Andy Bolton, World Muscle Power Champion and Olympic weightlifting Champion Raimonds Bergmanis and reigning America's Strongest Man of 2001 Brian Schoonveld. Then on 22, February 2002 in Columbus, Ohio the competition, consisting of four events, designed to determine the lifter with the greatest overall body power, began. Henry surprised everybody when he won the first event, setting a world record in the process by lifting the Apollon's Axle three times overhead. Only three man in history had ever been able to press it at all. By deadlifting 885 lbs for 2 reps in the second event and easily pushing a 5.000+lbs Hummer with nearly flat tires in the third event, Henry kept his lead continuously throughout the competition and never gave it up again. In the final "Farmer's Walk"-event Henry quickly carried the roughly 850 lbs of railroad ties up an incline, winning the whole competition convincingly to capture the winning prize—a 75.0000US$Hummer, a vacation cruise and 10.000US$ cash. Since Mark had only trained for 4 months and defeated the crème-de-là-crème of worldwide strongman, who had been practicing for years, his win was a shock for strongman experts worldwide, but remained basically unnoticed by the wrestling audience. Henry proved to be worthy of the title "World's Strongest Man" not only by winning the contest, but also by achieving it in record time. By doing so he was again seen as the legit "strongest man in the world" by many lifting experts for a second time since 1996.
Brand switches (2002–2004)[edit source | edit]
Henry returned to the WWE the next month and was sent to the SmackDown! brand, where he developed an in-ring persona of performing "tests of strength" while other wrestlers took bets on the tests, but the gimmick met with little success. During this time he competed against such superstars as Chris Jericho and Christian. After being used sporadically on WWE (formerly WWF) television during 2002, as he was training for a weightlifting contest, and suffering a knee injury, Henry was sent back to OVW for more training.
In August 2003, Henry returned to WWE television on the Raw roster, where he found some success as a member of "Thuggin' And Buggin' Enterprises," a group of African Americans led by Theodore Long who worked a race angle in which they felt they were victims of racism and were being held down by the "white man". During that time, Henry was involved in a brief program with World Heavyweight ChampionGoldberg when former champion, Triple H, put a bounty on Goldberg. This was followed by a brief rivalry with Shawn Michaels, before he engaged in a rivalry with Booker T. After defeating Booker T twice, once in a street fight and once in a six-man tag team match, he lost to Booker T at the Armageddon pay-per-view in December 2003. At a practice session in OVW in February 2004, Henry tore his quadriceps muscle, and was out for over a year after undergoing surgery. Henry was then utilized by WWE as a public relations figure during his recovery, before returning to OVW to finish out 2005.
Pursuit of the World Heavyweight Championship (2005–2006)[edit source | edit]
Henry in 2006.
During the December 30 episode of SmackDown!, Henry made his return to television, as he interfered in a WWE Tag Team Championship match, joining with MNM (Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro, and Melina), to help them defeat Rey Mysterio and Batista for the championship. A week later on SmackDown!, Henry got in a confrontation with the World Heavyweight Champion, Batista, and went on to interfere in a steel cage match between MNM and the team of Mysterio and Batista, helping MNM to retain their titles. Henry then had another match with Batista at a live event where Batista received a severely torn triceps that required surgery, forcing him to vacate his title. On the January 10, 2006 episode of SmackDown!, Henry was involved in a battle royal for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. He was finally tossed out by Kurt Angle, who won the title.
Henry was defeated by The Undertaker in WrestleMania 22 and Unforgiven.
A week later, Henry received assistance from Daivari, who turned on Angle and announced that he was the manager of Henry. With Daivari at his side, Henry faced Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight title at the 2006 Royal Rumble in January, losing when Angle hit him with a chair (without the referee seeing) and pinned him with a roll-up.
On the March 10 episode of SmackDown!, after putting Kurt Angle through a table with a diving splash, Henry was then challenged to a casket match by The Undertaker at WrestleMania 22. Henry vowed to defeat The Undertaker and end his streak at WrestleMania, but The Undertaker defeated him. Henry had a rematch against The Undertaker on the April 7 episode of SmackDown!. It ended in a no-contest when Daivari introduced his debuting client, The Great Khali. Khali went to the ring and attacked The Undertaker, starting a new feud and ending Henry's.
During the rest of April and May, Henry gained a pinfall victory over the World Heavyweight Champion, Rey Mysterio in a non-title match. Henry entered the King of the Ring tournament, and lost to Bobby Lashley in the first round. He later cost Kurt Angle his World Heavyweight Championship opportunity against Mysterio, when he jumped off the top rope and crushed Angle through a table. Henry was then challenged by Angle to face off at Judgment Day, Henry then sent a "message" to Angle by defeating Paul Burchill. At Judgment Day, Henry defeated Angle by countout. Although winning, Angle got his revenge after the match by hitting Henry with a chair and putting him through a table.
Henry later went on what was referred to as a "path of destruction", causing injuries to numerous superstars. Henry "took out" Chris Benoit and Paul Burchill on this path of destruction, and attacked Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero. These events led up to a feud with the returning Batista, whom Henry had put out of action with a legitimate injury several months beforehand. When Batista returned he and Henry were scheduled to face one another at The Great American Bash in July. Weeks before that event, however, on the July 15, 2006 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, Henry was involved in a six-man tag team match with King Booker and Finlay against Batista, Rey Mysterio, and Bobby Lashley. During the match, Henry was injured, canceling the scheduled match at The Great American Bash, as Henry needed surgery. Doctors later found that Henry completely tore his patella tendon off the bone and split his patella completely in two.
Return from injury and various feuds (2007–2008)[edit source | edit]
Henry returned on the May 11, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, after weeks of vignettes hyping his return. He attacked The Undertaker after a World Heavyweight Championshipsteel cage match with Batista, allowing Edge to take advantage of the situation and use his Money in the Bank contract. Henry then began a short feud with Kane, defeating him in a Lumberjack Match at One Night Stand. Shortly after, Henry made an open challenge to the SmackDown! locker room, which nobody ever accepted. In the coming weeks he faced various jobbers—wrestlers who consistently lose to make their opponents look stronger—and quickly defeated them all. On August 3, he claimed that nobody accepted the open challenge to step into the ring with him because of what he had done to The Undertaker, presenting footage of his assault on The Undertaker. The Undertaker responded over the following weeks, playing various mind games with Henry. Henry finally faced The Undertaker again at Unforgiven in September, losing to him after being given a Last Ride. Following an unscripted backstage interview, Henry burst into tears and fled from the arena. Two weeks later, Henry lost a rematch to The Undertaker after The Undertaker performed a chokeslam on Henry.
In 2011, on the April 25 episode of Raw, Henry was drafted back to SmackDown as part of the 2011 WWE Draft. In the main event of the night, Henry sparked a heel turn for his character when he attacked his teammates, John Cena and Christian. On the May 27 episode of SmackDown, Henry participated in a Triple Threat match against Sheamus and Christian to decide the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship, which was won by Sheamus. On the June 17 episode of SmackDown, Henry was scheduled to face an angry and emotionally unstable Big Show, who warned Henry not to get into the ring; Henry ignored the warning and Big Show assaulted him before the match could begin. This act ignited a feud between the two; Henry attacked Big Show both backstage and during matches while on the July 1 episode of SmackDown, Big Show's music played during Henry's match against Randy Orton, causing Henry to be counted out and costing him a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Henry reacted by destroying the audio equipment and manhandling a technician. Henry faced Big Show in a singles match at Money in the Bank and won. After the match, Henry crushed Show's leg with a chair, (kayfabe) injuring him, an act Henry would later reference as an induction into the "Hall of Pain". Henry did the same to Kane on the next episode of SmackDown, and in the months ahead, Vladimir Kozlov and the Great Khali suffered the same fate.
On the July 29 episode of SmackDown, Henry was informed that he could no longer compete as no one dared to fight him, but Sheamus interrupted, saying that he wasn't afraid of Henry before slapping him. At SummerSlam, Henry defeated Sheamus by count-out after slamming him through a ring barricade. On the August 19 episode of SmackDown, Henry won a 20-man Battle Royal to become the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship to face Randy Orton at Night of Champions, and throughout weeks on SmackDown and Raw, Henry regularly attacked Orton, getting an advantage over him. At Night of Champions, Henry defeated Orton to become World Heavyweight Champion for the first time in his 15 years with WWE. Henry successfully defended the title against Orton at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match.
Mark Henry as World Heavyweight Champion.
On the October 7 episode of Smackdown, Big Show returned and chokeslammed Henry through the announce table, thus earning a title shot against Henry at Vengeance. During the match, Henry superplexed Big Show from the top rope, causing the ring to collapse from the impact and the match to be ruled a no contest. Henry began a feud with the Money in the Bank briefcase holder Daniel Bryan on the November 4 episode of SmackDown, challenging Bryan to a non-title match to prove that Bryan could not become champion. During the match, Big Show knocked out Henry, making him win by disqualification. Show then urged Bryan to cash in his contract, but Henry recovered and attacked both Bryan and Big Show before the match could start. At Survivor Series, Henry retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show after a low blow that disqualified Henry. Angered by Henry's cowardice, Big Show crushed Henry's ankle with a steel chair. On November 25, Henry was knocked out again by Big Show, at which point Bryan cashed in his briefcase for a title match and quickly pinned Henry. However, SmackDown authority figure Theodore Long revealed that Henry was not medically cleared to compete and voided the match, so Henry remained champion and the briefcase was returned to Bryan. Later that night, Bryan won a Fatal-Four Way match to face Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship in a steel cage. On the November 29 of SmackDown, Henry defeated Bryan to retain his championship.
At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Henry lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Big Show in a chairs match. After the match, Henry knocked Big Show out, resulting in Daniel Bryan cashing in his Money in the Bank to win his first World Heavyweight Championship. On the January 20 episode of SmackDown, Bryan retained the championship against Henry in a Lumberjack match after Bryan provoked the lumberjacks to come in and attack them to cause a no contest. At the 2012 Royal Rumble event, Henry faced Bryan and Show in a Triple Threat steel cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship; Bryan escaped the cage to retain the title. On the February 3 episode of SmackDown, Henry was suspended indefinitely (in storyline) by SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, after Henry physically accosted Long as he demanded a one-on-one rematch that night with Bryan. In reality, Henry had suffered a hyper-extended knee the previous week. Henry returned to in-ring action on the February 20 episode of Raw, losing to Sheamus. On the April 2 and 9 episodes of Raw, Henry faced CM Punk for the WWE Championship which he won by count-out and disqualification; as a result, Punk retained his title. On the April 16 episode of Raw, Punk defeated Henry in a no-disqualification, no count-out match to retain the WWE Championship. On May 14, Henry announced he was going under a career-threatening surgery for an injury.
After a nine-month absence, Henry made his return on the February 4, 2013 episode of Raw, brutally attacking Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. Four days later on SmackDown, Henry defeated Randy Orton to earn a spot in the number one contenders' Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship at Elimination Chamber. At the pay-per-view on February 17, Henry eliminated Daniel Bryan and Kane before being eliminated by Randy Orton. After his elimination, Henry attacked the three remaining participants before being escorted out by WWE officials. Henry then began a feud with Ryback after several non-verbal confrontations led to them attacking Drew McIntyre with their finishers, attempting to one-up each other. On the March 15 episode of SmackDown, Henry was defeated by Ryback via disqualification, following interference from The Shield. Afterward, Henry delivered the World's Strongest Slam to Ryback three times in a row. On April 7 at Wrestlemania 29, Henry defeated Ryback in a singles match. Later that month, Henry reignited a feud with Sheamus by repeatedly attacking Sheamus backstage. Henry and Sheamus then challenged each other in tests of strength, but with Sheamus unable to best Henry, he resorted to attacking Henry with Brogue Kicks. After Sheamus (during his match) Brogue Kicked Henry (who was on commentary), Henry snapped and brutally whipped Sheamus with a belt. This led to a strap match on May 19 at Extreme Rules, where Sheamus emerged victorious.
With the loss to Sheamus, Henry declared that he was "going home". After being absent from television due to injuries, Henry used social media to tease his retirement. On the June 17 episode of Raw, Henry returned, interrupting WWE Champion John Cena and delivering an emotional retirement speech, which was revealed as a ruse when Henry gave Cena a World's Strongest Slam after concluding his speech. The segment was highly praised by fans and critics. With Henry stating his intent to challenge for the "only title he's never held", he was granted a WWE Championship match against Cena at Money in the Bank. On July 14 at the pay-per-view, Henry failed in his title challenge against Cena after submitting to the STF. The following night on Raw, Henry cut a promo to congratulate Cena on his win and asked for a rematch for SummerSlam, but was ultimately attacked by The Shield, turning face in the process. Henry continued his face turn the following week, by confronting The Shield and teaming together with The Usos to fend them off. Henry and the Usos would go on to lose to The Shield in two six-man tag team matches, the first on the July 29 episode of Raw, and the second on the August 7 episode of Main Event. On the August 12 episode of Raw, Henry competed in a twenty-man number one contender battle royal for the United States Championship, but was the last man eliminated by Rob Van Dam. After the match, Henry and Van Dam were confronted by The Shield, before the returning Big Show came to their aid. Four days later on SmackDown, Henry, Show, and Van Dam defeated the Shield in a six-man tag team match.
Personal life[edit source | edit]
Henry is the cousin of former Pittsburgh Steelersdefensive endKevin Henry. He has an older brother called Pat. Henry lives in New York with his wife Jana, their son Jacob, and daughter Joanna. He also has a two foot ferret named Pipe. He drives a Hummer that he won in the 2002 Arnold Strongman Classic. Henry comes from a family in which almost all of the men are gigantic, especially his great uncle Chudd, who was 6 ft 7 in, weighed approximately 500 lb, never had a pair of manufactured shoes, and was known as the strongest man in the Piney Woods of East Texas. On September 10, 2012, Henry served as one of the pallbearers for actor Michael Clarke Duncan's funeral.
In wrestling[edit source | edit]
Henry prepares to perform a World's Strongest Slam on John Cena.
Teen-age World Records in the squat at 377.5 kg (832 lbs) and total at 922 kg (2033 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) set in April, 1990 at The National High School Powerlifting Championshipsat at age 18
Teen-age US American Records in the squat at 377.5 kg (832 lbs), bench press 227 kg (501 pounds), dead lift 317.5 kg (700 lbs) and total at 922 kg (2033 lbs) set in April, 1990 at The National High School Powerlifting Championships at age 18
Texas state and US American Teen-age record holder in all four powerlifting categories - the squat at 377.5 kg (832 lbs), bench press at 238 kg (525 lbs) and deadlift at 369.7 kg (815 lbs) as well as the total at 922 kg (2033 lbs) at age 19.
Current Texas state and US American Teen-age record holder in the squat at 425.0 kg (936.75 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since 1991
Current Texas State Collegiate Record holder in the squat at 425.0 kg (936.75 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since 1991 (best in America as well but not registered as such)
Junior Level (20–23 years)
Current Texas State Junior Record holder in the deadlift at 385.6 kg (850.0 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since 1995 (best in America as well but not registered as such)
Senior Level (24+ years)
Current Texas State Record holder in the squat at 433 kg (954 lbs), the deadlift at 410.5 kg (905 lbs) and the total at 1060 kg (2337 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since 1995
Former All-time raw (unequipped) squat World Record holder at 430.0 kg (948.0 lbs) (drug-tested as well as non drug-tested) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) from July 16, 1995 to October 29, 1995
Former All-time raw (unequipped) squat World Record holder at 432.5 kg (953.5 lbs) (drug-tested as well as non drug-tested) in SHW class from October 29, 1995 to June 7, 2010** (+regardless of weight class until November 4, 2007***)
Former All-time raw (unequipped) deadlift World Record holder at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) (drug-tested as well as non drug-tested) in SHW class from July 16, 1995 to May 23, 2010**** (+regardless of weight class until July 4, 2009*****)
Current All-time drug-tested raw (unequipped) squat World Record holder at 432.5 kg (953.5 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since October 29, 1995
Current All-time drug-tested raw (unequipped) deadlift World Record holder at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) in SHW class only since July 16, 1995
Current All-time drug-tested raw (unequipped) Powerlifting Total World Record holder at 1060.0 kg (2336.9 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since October 29, 1995
Current All-time American Record holder in the rawdeadlift at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) (drug-tested as well as non drug-tested) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class) since July 16, 1995
Current American Record holder in the deadlift at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) (drug-tested as well as non drug-tested) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class and equipment) since July 16, 1995
Current All-time US National Championship Record holder in the deadlift at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) (drug-tested as well as non drug-tested) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class and equipment) since July 16, 1995
Current WDFPF World Record holder in the squat at 432.5 kg (953.5 lbs), the deadlift at 392.5 kg (865.3 lbs) and the total at 1060 kg (2336.9 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class and equipment) since October 29, 1995 (categorized as "open equipped", despite performed in singlet&knee sleeves only/without suit)
Current USAPL US American Record holder in the deadlift at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class and equipment) since July 16, 1995
Current US National Championship Record holder in the deadlift at 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) in SHW class (+regardless of weight class and equipment) since July 16, 1995
Special Powerlifting Honors
As an 18-year-old high school senior, Mark is called "The World's Strongest Teen-ager" by the Los Angeles Times in April 1990 for winning The National High School Powerlifting Championships and setting teen-age lifting world records in the squat 832 lb (377 kg) and total 2,033 lb (922 kg).
Mark Henry was voted in the All-time Top 25 All-Mens US Powerlifting Nationals Team in 2007: To commemorate the 25th Anniversary USAPL Mens Nationals, a list of the top 25 powerlifters, who have made the biggest impact on the Mens Nationals, has been created: The "USAPL Silver Anniversary Mens Nationals Team". Mark Henry is the only member with just two wins, but in those two wins he left all speechless. His 903 DL in 95 is still unsurpassed in the USAPL. He also had two 900+ lb. squats. Most impressive is that in two outings his average margin of victory was 179 lbs. and it was done raw.
Mark Henry is the only human in history who has not only squatted more than 900 lbs without a squat suit, but also deadlifted more than 900 lbs raw.
Mark Henry is the only human in history to have squatted more than 900 lbs without a squat suit and deadlifted more than 900 lbs raw in one and the same powerlifting meet.
Mark Henry's 430.0 kg (948.0 lbs) raw squat and 410.0 kg (903.9 lbs) deadlift, done on July 16, 1995 is the highest raw "squat-pull-2-lift-total"(squat+deadlift=1851.9 lbs)ever lifted in a competition. (Andrei Malanichev's 430.0 kg (948.0 lbs) squat and 400.0 kg (881.8 lbs) deadlift = 1829.8 lbs on October 22, 2011 being the 2nd highest ever; Mark Henry's 953.5 lbs squat and 865.3 lbs deadlift = 1818.8 lbs being the 3rd highest, Benedikt Magnusson's 837.75 lbs squat and 975.5 lbs deadlift = 1813.3 lbs being the 4th highest; Malanichev's 992 lbs squat and 815 lbs deadlift = 1808 being the 5th; Don Reinhoudt's 904.5 lbs squat and 885.5 lbs deadlift = 1790.0 lbs being th 6th)
Mark Henry does not only hold the greatest all-time drug-tested raw (unequipped) Powerlifting Total in history at 1060.0 kg (2336.9 lbs), but also the second greatest in history at 1050 kg (2314.8 lbs).
Mark Henry's 432.5 kg (953.5 lbs) unequipped squat is currently the 4th highest squat ever performed without a squat suit in an official competition (open or drug-tested) (stand: 8-26-2012).
Mark Henry's 1060.0 kg (2336.9 lbs) unequipped total is currently the 5th highest total ever lifted without supportive equipment in an official competition (open or drug-tested) (stand: 8-26-2012).
** surpassed by Robert Wilkerson (SHW class) of the United States with a 975 lbs raw squat with knee wraps on June 7, 2010 at the Southern Powerlifting Federation (SPF) Nationals (open competition, not drug-tested) as the all-time raw world record in the SHW class
***surpassed by Sergiy Karnaukhov (308-pound-class) of Ukraine with a 970 lbs raw squat with knee wraps on November 4, 2007 as the all-time raw "regardless of weight class" world record
****surpassed by Andy Bolton (SHW class) of the United Kingdom with a 953 lbs raw deadlift on May 23, 2010 (open competition, not drug-tested) as the all-time raw world record in the SHW class (+regardless of weight class)
*****surpassed by Konstantin Konstantinovs (308-pound-class) of Latvia with a 939 lbs raw deadlift without a belt on July 4, 2009 (drug-tested competition) as the all-time raw "regardless of weight class" world record
Fourth man in history to clean and press the Apollon's Wheel (a non-revolving 365 lb barbell with a 2 inch thick handle) overhead.
First man in history to one-hand clean and push press the "unliftable" Thomas Inch dumbbell (172 lbs; 2.47" diameter handle), writing strength athletics history on June 22, 2002 in New Jersey - Mark was the first man in history, who was able to one-hand clean it from the floor to shoulder's height and then press it to arm's length. Tom Black, who covered the event for the Cyberpump website, called the lift “the best documented feat of all the legendary performances and perhaps the most spectacular feat of strength ever performed.” Though many have tried, only one man in history has yet been able to repeat this feat. The most difficult part is not to one-hand press it, but to clean it from the floor with one hand, because of the grip strength it requires.
Mark Henry is crowned "The Second Strongest Man That Ever Lived" – according to Flex Magazine May, 2008: In a Top Ten List of the strongest men of all time called "Strength in Numbers", published by Flex Magazine, Mark Henry came in second only to the legendary 6 time Arnold Strongman Classic winner Zydrunas Savickas, who was voted #1. Henry was given the honors for his world class performances in powerlifting, weightlifting and strongman despite minimal training and exceptionally young age, as well as for his accomplishment of still holding the highest combined weightlifting/powerlifting total in history to this day. Henry surpasses even all-time great strength legends such as 3 time World's Strongest Man competition winner Bill Kazmaier, legendary Paul Anderson and Louis Cyr as well as 5 time World's Strongest Man winner Mariusz Pudzianowski.
Henry as World Heavyweight Champion.
International Sports Hall of Fame
International Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 2012): Mark Henry is honored as one of the world’s greatest athlete legends in sports history for his extraordinary career as a lifetime drug-free strength prodigy in powerlifting, weightlifting and strongman setting record marks in all three disciplines. He is inducted in 2012 together with fellow hall-of-famers Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cory Everson, Jack LaLanne, James Lorimer and Randy Couture.