mark henry
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Mark Henry Talks Making His Way Up To The WWE W/ No Real Developmental System In Place & Ponders A WWE GM Role

mark henry
Photo by: Evans Vestal Ward/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Darren Paltrowitz interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry for both Sportskeeda and The Hype Magazine. Henry opened up about his budding acting career, goals he has left to accomplish in professional wrestling, and much more. Highlights appear below:

On How Long It Took To Film Risky Biz:

It was over the course of two days, we shot one day in L.A. in the studio where we tested the strength mechanics. Then we went back a few weeks later outside of Santa Barbara where we shot the competition under the big top.

On His Acting Goals:

Being around a lot of the comic-book writers and artists, at the Comic Cons… I admire those people. I’m kind of a comic-book, cartoon nerd. So when I see the shows, I kind of have an idea when I read a character, who they are. I try to become that character in the voice world. You can make the ugliest face that you want, be animated, and they’ll adapt to it being like you and that that’s something that I love and I hope to do a lot more of.

On What Roles He’d Like To Play & Whether They Will Be Similar To His WWE World’s Strongest Man Gimmick:

I’d love to play against type. I’d love to be a schoolteacher. I’d love to be a nurse. I’d love to be a doctor or a mailman or anybody. Any character that is what the world is, I want to be one of those people, like just a guy walking down the street that hops up with a briefcase and then the adventure starts. Whatever it is, I want to be prepared for it.

On Being Selective With Movie Roles:

You know what? It depends on the role. I see a lot of roles as being type and I don’t want to just be a bouncer or musclehead. That character has no depth, it’s not going anywhere, he’s not involved in something from an intricate point. I could see myself doing that but it’d have to be a special case.

On What Got Him Interested In Broadcasting:

Well I’ve always been a fan of sports-talk radio and even in college I wanted to move down the radio… I just got to the point that I listened to so much sports-talk radio, the ability to analyze the sport means you know the sport, but you’re also prepped for the sport.

That was something that I wanted to do specially with SiriusXM because they had the show Busted Open. I was actually one of the first callers when the show aired, the debut show, I was a guest-caller. Now here we are 10 years later, I’m a host. It was very premeditated.

On His WWE Ambassador Role:

Well, the direct work with the WWE is that I deal with the charities, all the corporate events, all the pay-per-views. We have an international marketing department as well as our local national department. I work with both the talent development side, as we go hunt down great athletes from different places in the world in different sports, and we try to convert them to be professional wrestlers and make them professional wrestlers, male and female. I work with that department too. So there are two different departments where I’m doing a lot of a lot of work.

On His Current Training Regimen:

I just had knee surgery so I could get 100 percent before the beginning of the year, and my regimen is usually five days a week. I swim, I bike and I do light weights. I don’t do heavy lifting anymore. I try to do as much per body part, 50 to 75 reps, and then go to the next exercise. It’s cross-training. But not cross-fit!

On Coming Up In The WWE With No Developmental System In Place:

There was no such thing as the developmental system. When I came into wrestling they picked the best wrestlers from different territories, and Vince [McMahon] said that he wanted to cultivate his own talent the way that they wanted to do business, and I was the first one.

They had a warehouse that was half-empty and they put a ring in there and hired a wrestling coach and I was the first student. We went to warehouse every day, me and him, until The Rock came. Then The Rock moved in with me and he and I trained for about a year and then we both went to the Memphis territory for Jerry Lawler and worked for that territory.

But there was no system. It was like, “We’re gonna train Mark Henry and The Rock, they’re gonna be our first two guys.” It’s funny that he first two guys ended up as Hall Of Fame guys.

On Whether Using His Real Name Was His Own Decision:

Yes it was, because I was somebody. I worked really really hard to become the world champion in powerlifting. I worked really hard to be a seven-time national champion in Olympic weightlifting and a gold medalist in the Pan Am Championships and a gold medalist in the Olympic trials. I won everything except for the world championships and the Olympics.

So only two competitions eluded me and I went to strongman, which is a completely different sport, and became world champion in strongman. Being the only person to ever do that, why would I give up the name that I created for myself? Not a lot of people can say, “Hey, you can pick out any strongman in any era, and combine all their numbers, and Mark Henry is higher.” So I had to be Mark Henry.

His Current Wrestling Related Goals:

The only thing that I can see right now is I’ve never got to be the General Manager [of a WWE program]. I never got to be the guy that made the matches. The guy that said, “Listen you’re a great wrestler, but this is what we’re going to do. I call the shots. You just do what I tell you and everything will be fine.” I never got to be that guy.

As far as being WWE Champion, I never got to be WWE Champion, but that’s just a brand thing. The time that I was champion, I was on Raw. I ended up being the World Heavyweight Champion and being the ECW Champion. So I’ll take it all day long and twice on Sunday.

On Advice For Kids:

My whole life I’ve tried to live where kids would be proud and follow my lead. You can’t tell people what to do if you’re a failure, and I’ve had a lot of success in multiple fields. And I think two of the biggest realms of my success have been my relationships with people that had no idea that I existed. Once people meet me in-person, and they have an experience with me, they’re like, “Man that dude is like solid. Where have you been all my life?”

I’ve never been shy. My mother wasn’t shy. She was gregarious and full of energy and I’m just like a male replica of her I like to have good times, but in having a good time, you have to be responsible and you’ve got to lead by example so people will be able to follow you. They know I’m going down the right path because I’ve never been in trouble before, and that’s kind of what I preach to kids.

I want kids to shoot their shot. A lot of kids are shy and a lot of kids are unexposed. They don’t know that certain worlds exist, and I want to be able to bring to light those worlds so that these kids have more opportunities than I had.

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