From powerlifting to power bombs, he is a household name that inspired and motivated others to follow in his footsteps. Mark Henry has built his career with the mindset of wanting to be an elite athlete, anything less would be a disappointment for him.
“I knew that it was my destiny to create a legacy that would one day out live me,” Henry told SLAM! Wrestling. His efforts were rewarded this year, as he will be the recipient of the Iron Mike Mazurki award from the Cauliflower Alley Club — the top award in professional wrestling, recognizing a wrestler’s standing both in and out of the ring.
Henry said that he couldn’t contain his excitement. “When Brian Blair called me and told me, I couldn’t believe it because I know the value that it holds,” he continued, “I know it’s my peers, and I am grateful that they think that highly of me.” Although most recognize his talent in the squared circle and setting record in weightlifting, most don’t know the beginning of his journey.
The Texas native grew up in a small town with a community that stood behind him and supported his dreams of one day going to the Olympics. “My community put jars in every store, market, school, you name it to help raise money so that I can just train and not have a job,” Henry revealed. The funds they raised that year allowed him to not only get to the 1996 Olympics, but to send his mom to watch her son compete. Henry has already started giving back to the place that gave him so much.
“I have spoken at the Chamber of Commerce dinner at the end of February, and last year I sponsored Little Dribblers, a national basketball tournament,” said Henry. The former champ has also backed some academic scholarships that are given out to the best student athletes and their local high school. Even though he was just doing what he thought he was supposed to do, he understands why he actions have granted him the Iron Mike award. “It’s not only given to someone who’s a stellar athlete, it’s about being able to give back and recognizing other people’s success.” This isn’t the only group where Henry donates his time.
The WWE Hall of Famer (Class of 2018) is currently an ambassador with World Wrestling Entertainment, and helps with international marketing, all the while mentoring and being a part of talent and development. “I help by teaching the new recruits what the company is all about and how to represent it,” he said. With his competing days behind him, he is now enjoying the afterlife of a competitive athlete. This also involves participating in another industry he began preparing for 10 years ago.
“I have a national radio show on Sirius XM called Busted Open, on Tuesdays, Fridays and on Wednesday in a couple of months,” Henry said. With co-hosts Dave LaGreca and Bully Ray, the three discuss sports, wrestling, and pop culture. “I think it’s pretty funny, being guys that are always goofy, we talk about stuff that entertains us.” Henry also disclosed that he’s not camera shy either.
With six movies and a few television shows under his belt, Henry intends on doing similar projects in the near future. In conversation, he said he was about to walk in and read for a part in an upcoming film. This is where his blessings come from. “Opportunity and being prepared for the opportunity is what I live by,” he said.
WWE definitely gave him the chance to be that main event guy. Just this past February, the company premiered a short documentary about Henry’s life, entitled The World’s Strongest Man: The Mark Henry Story. The viewers get to experience his life as a WWE Superstar, and the hardships he had to overcome along the way. It reveals a telling story of Henry having to prove himself as The World’s Strongest Man when most thought he wouldn’t be able to win the competition after years of not training as a powerlifter. In the end, he came out on top. “It’s a hard life, but it’s worth it,” Henry said revealed in the short film.
Coming from a small town with big dreams, Mark Henry is certainly the image of hard work and dedication. Not only did he so to get to where he wanted to be, but he pushed himself even further and opened many doors to opportunities he never thought were possible. These are all the reasons why he made waves in the wrestling and powerlifting industry and is now the recipient of the Cauliflower Alley Club Iron Mike Mazuriki award for 2019.
The Cauliflower Alley Club reunion runs from Mon. April 29-Wed. April 30, in Las Vegas, at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. For more information, see the CAC website, caulifloweralleyclub.org.