Dealing with bumps, Henry proves he's hit

RING POSTS

August 17, 2008|By KEVIN ECK

It's fitting that Mark Henry is Extreme Championship Wrestling champion. After all, his 12-year career in WWE has been all about extremes.

During that span, Henry has been given big pushes and he also has fallen out of favor and been sent down to a developmental territory. Along the way, he has portrayed a soft-spoken babyface; the comedic, over-sexed "Sexual Chocolate;" a member of a militant faction; and, currently, a monster heel.

I spoke with Henry, who defends the ECW title against Matt Hardy tonight at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, about his career in a telephone interview.

You've had your share of ups and downs in WWE. What has been your mind-set through all the peaks and valleys, and what drove you to persevere?

I've just matured a lot. I don't just do everything for me no more. I've got a little boy who will be 3 years old in October. I always wanted to increase my notoriety and elevate my legacy, so that when he gets older he'll have a standard to live by and be proud of. I may be one of the very few people on earth that have won a championship in everything they've ever done. I know Earvin Johnson won a high school championship; he won a college championship; and he won a pro championship. I've done the same thing, just in different sports. It's like going from being Tiger Woods to being Roger Federer.

What does it mean to you to be the ECW champion and the top guy on one of the three brands?

It means a lot to me because it means that the show is going to be dictated by me. The main events are going to be judged by how many people watch. If you can't make people tune in, then believe me, you will not be champion long. So far our ratings have been going up. We're consistently around 1.5. ... It's new; it's fresh. They believe the fact that a guy 6-4, 400 pounds is going to beat people's brains out. To take this title out of my hands, it's going to be a real knockdown, bloody fight.

Was the Michael Hayes incident resolved to your satisfaction, and what is your relationship with him?

I have a good relationship with Michael Hayes. Michael Hayes made a mistake; everybody makes mistakes.

kevin.eck@baltsun.com

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