Mark Henry made his long awaited return to WWE television, and I must say I am thrilled at what I have seen so far. Henry opened the Hall of Pain in the summer of 2011, and except for the injury that recently sidelined him, nothing was stopping him. He was booked as the monster he should have been, and he was dominating talents like Big Show, Vladimir Kozlov and The Great Khali. Henry was also booked to take out Kane, and then he beat the seemingly unstoppable Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship. If you know me by now, I have said all along that I really want WWE to push a big guy as a monster, and not halt the push for anything, especially a babyface that 'needs' a big win. Brock Lesnar, Kane, Big Show, and many others have had the opportunity, but WWE always seems to end their reign of dominance too early. Mark Henry was and still is in a great position to be that guy, he should go on a huge run that consists of nothing more than him destroying people and picking up wins.
There are people who say Mark Henry is not a star no matter how you push him; I respectfully disagree. Henry never got a chance to be a star for a long time because he never got pushed like one. Henry suffered like other WWE big men (Big Show, Kane, etc) in that they were pushed so far only to become cowardly, lose to a top face, or both. To further my point, Henry was also booked as a joke character for a brief time; see the Mae Young/Baby and 'Sammy' incidents as two prime examples. While I must admit I did find 'Sexual Chocolate' amusing, it ran it's course and I'm glad Henry got on the right track. I don't think I ever doubted Henry's skill or strength, and I first saw his 'main' guy potential when he was booked as Randy Orton's final opponent in a gauntlet match on RAW. Henry turned face in that match, but he really does his best work as a heel. Henry's 'Hall of Pain' run established him as a dominant force that didn't take any crap, and just wanted to hurt people. I may be going out on a limb, but I think he would've gone through Wrestlemania, maybe even longer, with that winning edge if he didn't get injured.
Mark Henry has (in my opinion) been a solid, if not good, worker who has had some good matches and works to his strengths. His title matches with Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan on a November episode of Smackdown, and Big Show were very good. Henry faced CM Punk in a series of matches on RAW which were just as effective and fun to watch. He's totally capable of working good matches with a majority of people, and he is a good champion. Henry can be the guy that would give an upcoming face a big win by pinning him, eventually.
Right now, I think Henry is a strong candidate to win the Elimination Chamber match. This year's match seems to be wide open, with Orton, Henry, Swagger and Jericho all being choices to win, but I see Henry being a slight favorite. Swagger, who is also just returning, is finding his new character, and I don't think we've seen the end of the Ziggler/Jericho feud. In addition to that, I think we get the inevitable Team Hell No feud, and that leaves Orton, who could go anywhere in the next few weeks. If I look at last week's loss to Henry, and this week's Smackdown spoilers, Orton looks to be going in a different direction, and Henry looks like he's being rebuilt as a powerhouse. Like I said, keep building Henry. Have him win the Chamber match, and have him beat Alberto Del Rio at Wrestlemania. Don't even slow him down until Summerslam at the earliest, and lay the groundwork for someone worthy enough to beat him, eventually.
Right now Mark Henry should be pushed into the title program and WWE shouldn't look back. He's getting booed the right way, but this Monday was also evidence that he might also get a face pop too. I don't care if they keep Henry a heel or make him some sort of antihero who just wants to hurt people. The point is he is a good character and he will both benefit himself and the guys around him. If this is truly his last run, go all out and have him truly raise hell. Not only does Henry deserve it for his time put in to WWE, but he really has gotten that much better and transformed himself into a great part of the WWE roster.