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Mark Henry

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Henry definitely gets a spot on my list. Let me dig up a longish post I made about 2 years ago on another forum in a thread about rating workers:

 

 

an easy thing to ask about mark henry might be "where are the classic matches?" i think this betrays a flawed concept of evaluating wrestling that has been going on basically forever by 'smart' fans. pick a particularly good mark henry match, why not just take the CM Punk match 2 weeks ago on RAW for example. pick some match widely considered to be 'classic', lets say HHH/Taker from last wrestlemania(a match i hold in fairly high regard for the record). can we go through the individual performances of henry, and then the individual performances of taker or trips and say "taker/hhh did ____ better than mark henry"? i dont think you're likely to find many wrestlers who have had matches where you can they were individually more impressive than henry in his particularly good matches.

discounting, say, "better atheleticism" etc. henry doesn't work the 'epic' style matches with lots of near-falls, high-energy counter segments, lengthy builds, etc. and this is why he, and many great wrestlers like him, get the short end of the stick. almost every match i see mark henry in i come away thinking he did something individually impressive. be it consistently selling in a certain way, doing something unique to get over his character and his relation to his opponent in the match, or just a bunch of creative, individual touches that make a moment in a match more interesting. an example that always springs to mind is a Money in the Bank match he was in 2ish years ago. they do an 'everyone climb the ladders' spot, except for henry. henry comes in, stands between the ladders, and pushes them over. now these ladders are easy to push over, smaller guys than henry have pushed over these ladders with minimal effort multiple times in the match. but henry stands between them, tries to push over both over at once, makes a strained face, screams, and slowly builds the momentum/energy to start tipping the ladders. it was a spot made memorable entirely by henry's treatment of it in doing something unique and interesting in how he went about doing it. and most of henry's matches have a couple moments like this.

that impresses me more than working a standard 'epic' style match more or less the same way those matches have been worked before, without doing anything individually interesting or unique in them. smart fans put too much weight on epic, main event style matches in terms of valuing wrestlings and less weight on 'regular' matches, even if a wrestler manages to make them consistently entertaining(something many of the more highly regarded wrestlers on the basis of their epic-style matches arent able to do, jericho comes to mind) and always make sure to do something individually interesting and creative, even if it's low key, instead of phoning it in.

henry i think exemplified this find of wrestler as well as anyone(regal is another, goldust 2009 also a good example) and i think he's possibly the best of them.

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Henry is an underrated big man wrestler in a time when that type of wrestler isn't as appreciated because of the lopsided love for faster paced wrestlers. But comparing him to Vader, One Man Gang, Boss Man, etc., he loses something. He stands out more now because he's a rare breed. I need to think more about Henry. He had a long period of time where he was not very good. In his defense, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm not sure Terry Gordy was better.

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Henry is very very good at the little things, is a great seller and his charisma adds a lot to his matches. I agree that simply having a lot of great long matches isn't the most important criteria, but there are a bunch of wrestlers nominated that do the things Henry does just as well and they do have a longer list of great matches. Let's see how his next 1.5 years play out.

 

I do feel like he's right up there with OMG and Boss Man though.

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an example that always springs to mind is a Money in the Bank match he was in 2ish years ago. they do an 'everyone climb the ladders' spot, except for henry. henry comes in, stands between the ladders, and pushes them over. now these ladders are easy to push over, smaller guys than henry have pushed over these ladders with minimal effort multiple times in the match. but henry stands between them, tries to push over both over at once, makes a strained face, screams, and slowly builds the momentum/energy to start tipping the ladders. it was a spot made memorable entirely by henry's treatment of it in doing something unique and interesting in how he went about doing it. and most of henry's matches have a couple moments like this.

that impresses me more than working a standard 'epic' style match more or less the same way those matches have been worked before, without doing anything individually interesting or unique in them. smart fans put too much weight on epic, main event style matches in terms of valuing wrestlings and less weight on 'regular' matches, even if a wrestler manages to make them consistently entertaining(something many of the more highly regarded wrestlers on the basis of their epic-style matches arent able to do, jericho comes to mind) and always make sure to do something individually interesting and creative, even if it's low key, instead of phoning it in.

 

an example that always springs to mind is a Money in the Bank match he was in 2ish years ago. they do an 'everyone climb the ladders' spot, except for henry. henry comes in, stands between the ladders, and pushes them over. now these ladders are easy to push over, smaller guys than henry have pushed over these ladders with minimal effort multiple times in the match. but henry stands between them, tries to push over both over at once, makes a strained face, screams, and slowly builds the momentum/energy to start tipping the ladders. it was a spot made memorable entirely by henry's treatment of it in doing something unique and interesting in how he went about doing it. and most of henry's matches have a couple moments like this.

that impresses me more than working a standard 'epic' style match more or less the same way those matches have been worked before, without doing anything individually interesting or unique in them. smart fans put too much weight on epic, main event style matches in terms of valuing wrestlings and less weight on 'regular' matches, even if a wrestler manages to make them consistently entertaining(something many of the more highly regarded wrestlers on the basis of their epic-style matches arent able to do, jericho comes to mind) and always make sure to do something individually interesting and creative, even if it's low key, instead of phoning it in.




 

Great point here about Henry doing certain little things differently from the norm and adding a wrinkle with his execution and charisma to make the routine stand out. Somewhat similar to what I appreciate about Taue, who was obviously an all timer but had some very unique aspects to his game that distinguished his game and character. A couple other workers in the past I've noted were similarly unique and I'll have to go back and dig those names up when not watching football since they're not on the top of my head. That being said, it doesn't get Henry anywhere near the top of this kind of list, but will be interesting to see if it finds a place for him towards the bottom.

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One of the most interesting arguments in this thing, to me, is going to be Blackwell vs Henry. Blackwell's much more in your face and Henry is much more subtle.

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Playing Devil's advocate, you could argue it took the better part of a decade to have a good match, and another few years before his Hall of Pain run. How many top 100 contenders take that long to get good?

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That's also pretty underrating the first ten years of Henry's career.

Please point me to what I'm forgetting and I'll give it a second look.

 

I remember him being pretty horrible for a while and only being useful for a quick power spot, being considered a huge bust who they would have cut if not for the contract he had signed, and spending a few stints in OVW in 2002-2003ish for training.

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I've been watching him in the 1998-2000 time period lately. I wouldn't say he's a great worker in that period, but he has flashes where one can see the pieces coming together. It's basically an issue of timing with him, as he's often just a step out of place so that he still takes the bump or hits the big move but it doesn't have as much impact as it should. His tag work with D-Lo Brown is pretty good, and storylines aside he's pretty decent as a singles during his Sexual Chocolate run of this period. The selling though is still rock solid, even this early in his career.

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I've been watching him in the 1998-2000 time period lately. I wouldn't say he's a great worker in that period, but he has flashes where one can see the pieces coming together. It's basically an issue of timing with him, as he's often just a step out of place so that he still takes the bump or hits the big move but it doesn't have as much impact as it should. His tag work with D-Lo Brown is pretty good, and storylines aside he's pretty decent as a singles during his Sexual Chocolate run of this period. The selling though is still rock solid, even this early in his career.

Thanks....I'll snoop around that period. If I like it on rewatching, I can definitely see him in the top 100 as the Hall of Pain period and in is quality big man stuff.

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Check out the Henry vs Goldberg bounty match from Raw in 2003 for an example of good early Henry. Nice sense of urgency to everything he does that you don't immediately associate with his pre-Hall of Pain run.

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I think Henry has the matches especially during the Hall of Pain run. His Orton title win made the MOTY set. His Big Show match with the collapsed ring was one of the most memorable matches I have ever seen live BEFORE the big spot. The Punk RAW match was going to MOTY levels before the DQ. The Cena MITB match proves he can pop numbers. With the exception of the Vader series, I don't think there is a Sting match out there that I enjoy more than the Hall of Pain run (maybe the Regal series but for Regal mainly).

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How high are people going on Mark Henry?

 

I've got lots of love for the big guy and I'm wondering how far I can push him up. I love the way he works as a big man. Amazing in-ring mannerisms and shit talking. Great construction of matches. He's really good at selling just enough as well when the moment calls.

 

On the subject of matches, as Will said above the idea that he doesn't have the matches isn't true. I'd argue that all of these are great:

 

vs Rey, Smackdown 20.1.06

vs Rey, Smackdown 27.1.06

vs Undertaker, Smackdown 10.2.06

vs Rey, Smackdown 23.6.06

vs Matt Hardy, ECW 19.8.08

vs Big Show, MITB 2011

vs Sheamus, Summerslam 2011

vs Sheamus, Smackdown 26.8.11

vs Randy Orton, NOC 2011

vs Randy Orton, HIAC 2011

vs Big Show, Vengeance 2011

vs Big Show, Survivor Series 2011

vs Daniel Bryan, Smackdown 20.1.12

vs CM Punk, Raw 2.4.12

vs John Cena, MITB 2013

w/ Big E vs Real Americans, Raw 16.12.13

 

 

To add to that you got random ass shit like his mini-feuds with Booker T (2003) and Evan Bourne (2009), where they had these cute little 5 minute matches based on trying to knock Henry down. His team with MVP lead to some really good tags vs Jerishow that I kind of want to revisit There's a short match with Punk on ECW in late 2007 that's basically a forerunner to their awesome Raw match years later. And he's a great addition to any kind of gimmick or multi-man match as well, just on account of Being Mark Henry.

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Couple more that should probably be on that list:

 

vs Tajiri (09/05/2002)

vs Daniel Bryan (29/11/2011)

 

The first is obviously more a showcase for Tajiri, but the narrative that Henry wasn't good (or, at the least, showed flashes of being great) early on is kind of dismissed in that match.

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You've said that a thousand times and I still don't entirely know what it means, but it sounds right.

I might write up something like the Orton match and really highlight it for clarity's sake. Or maybe I'll try to find a fancam I haven't seen yet. We'll see.

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I don't get this guy. Amazing promo, great character, but not even close to someone that I would consider for my list. He works a style that I don't care for, which doesn't help, but from a technical standpoint, I still don't see much in the guy as an in-ring performer.

 

Best entrance music in WWE history? That is an argument I could get behind.

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