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Jim Ross On Signing Mark Henry to a 10 Year Deal, Recalls Reaction Backstage

September 20, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Mark Henry - WWE Hall of Fame

– Jim Ross spoke on Grilling JR about signing Mark Henry back in 1996 to a ten-year deal right out of the gate. Henry was an Olympic weightlifter before he got into wrestling, who still holds world records in several categories. WWE signed him without any training or experience to a ten-year deal for $250,000 a year after he competed in the 1996 Summer Olympics. Ross discussed how talent felt about the deal and how it was a long-term plan on WWE’s part. Highlights and the full podcast are below.

On the reaction backstage to signing Henry to the deal: “Well, there’s always jealousy. That’s what we’re talking about here, is basic jealousy. Insecurity and jealousy. So, I don’t know how you run your business, Conrad. I know it’s successful, but I got a feeling think you don’t put up with a lot of bulls**t. I didn’t have time for [talent’s] insecurities and your jealousy. Go to catering and get a table together, I don’t give a s**t. You know, be an adult.”

On signing Henry to such a big deal: “I saw Mark Henry dunk a basketball at the NBA All-Star game, I believe it was Phoenix. He weighed about 400. He dunked the basketball at 400 pounds. And he came down, he had this great big smile on his face, exuding charisma and personality. So I’m thinking, ‘Well, I don’t know if the big son of a fun has got the aptitude, or the interest whatsoever, but I think he might fit our business real well.’ Then we find out upon further review that he’s trained by Terry Todd. Terry was friendly to the wrestling business. And Mark was also a lifelong fan, growing up in Silsbee, Texas. So Mark was a long-term investment. Ten years might be a little long. But it also worked out, he’s in the Hall of Fame now, and he’s making me proud on his own radio [show] with Dave LeGreca on Sirius XM on Busted Open … and a Hall of Famer. So, that might not have seemed like a good investment in the early goings. And maybe not even in the first five years, to some people. But the pitch was bigger scope, bigger broader picture. He came over, was champion. He was an excellent heel. When he got that last kind of thing going, Mark really found his place. So some guys are just slower to develop than others.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Jim Ross, Mark Henry, Jeremy Thomas