wrestling / Columns

Top 7 Mark Henry Matches

October 27, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Mark Henry Randy Orton

In case you were wondering, we do take requests around here for Top 7 columns. I’m partial to submissions received via e-mail, as there’s just something so old school about it to me. Back in the days before we had a comment section & social media was a thing, the only way I knew what people were thinking about what I was writing was when I got e-mail. Most of the e-mails were pretty nice before people got to know me.

I recently got a message from Kevin with an interesting suggestion.

Hey man, love the column. Could a fun one be Top 7 Mark Henry matches? Thanks!

It absolutely could be! We’ve never talked enough Mark Henry around the 411, even during his heyday we were often distracted by other things. It took a long time for Henry to find himself as a sports entertainer, but once he did, he became one of the biggest badass heels in recent memory. Nobody had better in-ring trash talk than Mark Henry once he started inducting people into the Hall of Pain. He was the GOAT at that and I can’t be told otherwise.

Mark wasn’t in a ton of five or six star matches, but he had plenty of outstanding performances that told magnificent stories. Here are seven of them…

7. Mark Henry vs. Rey Mysterio (Friday Night SmackDown 5/5/06)

Rey’s World Championship reign in 2006 was an odd piece of business. It was decided that the best way to get Mysterio over on a main event level would be to have monsters beat the crap out of him on TV every week in non-title matches. Shockingly, it didn’t really work and Rey’s first title run didn’t lead to any more of significance in the future.

One thing I remember, however, was Mark putting on one of the first performances I had seen where it looked like he was putting things together. He still had that Sexual Chocolate stank on him for years afterward…when they initially tried to push him as a serious heel in 2003 people had a tough time buying it. Finally, enough time had passed where people could forget about Mae Young & the hand for a minute while witnessing Mark Henry bring the pain to somebody.

6. Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton (Night of Champions 2011)

After fifteen years under contract with WWE, Mark Henry finally reached the top of the mountain & won a world heavyweight championship. Prior to that, a European Championship reign in 1999 & a run with the ECW Championship in 2009 were Mark’s only titles in WWE. Orton seemed more motivated than usual during this one, which I assume was because he liked Mark and wanted to give him a match deserving of a big championship change. I’d definitely say it was better than when Orton dropped the title to Jinder Mahal. (One thing you can’t say about Randy Orton: he won’t put people over.)

Even with Henry dominating of late, people had a hard time believing he would beat Orton & win the championship. Once it happened, the crowd popped huge while many folks were in shock. It wound up being the biggest victory in Mark Henry’s career, leading to three months as World Heavyweight Champion.

5. Mark Henry vs. Daniel Bryan (Friday Night SmackDown 11/29/11)

The good news for Daniel Bryan: he had the Money in the Bank briefcase. The bad news? Mark Henry was the World Heavyweight Champion. Many expected D-Bry to be the first man to fail on a cash-in attempt, and honestly it would have made some sense in this instance. Fortunately, Bryan didn’t need to use his briefcase here, as Henry was already enraged enough at Bryan to grant him a title match without needing to use the briefcase.

That being said, things didn’t particularly go well for Bryan here. He got some hope spots, but this was mainly a display of Mark Henry using his strength in a steel cage against an overmatched, yet never saying die, opponent. They were able to tease Bryan’s escape & a Henry leg issue for it to mean something when Henry hit the World’s Strongest Slam off the ropes.

4. Mark Henry vs. Big Show (Vengeance 2011)

Show was put out of action by Mizark at Money in the Bank, and after a few months off came back in time for this PPV. It was a pretty decent match, with both guys hitting their finishers & some other cool moves without being able to get the duke. I’d also say it was one of the few times a No Contest was an acceptable finish for a championship match. The ring imploded. What can ya do?

They needed to get a truck to take Show out of there while Henry was punching EMTs trying to help him. A matchup that didn’t look too great on paper ended up going pretty smoothly.

3. Mark Henry vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show (Royal Rumble 2012)

I’m a little partial to this one because I was in attendance for it and was ridiculously happy to see Daniel Bryan, a guy I’d seen wrestling at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds with 450 other fans, defending the World Heavyweight Championship against two of the biggest men in the sport in a large arena. If you don’t get excited for stuff like that, you don’t have a pulse. I was very excited to root Bryan on and see him retain his championship.

Right beside me was Andy Critchell, a man who will love this column because he loves Mark Henry as much as anybody. Seeing Mark live was a dream come true for him. Mark put up a good fight in a fun match that got the Rumble event off to a hot start.

2. Mark Henry vs. John Cena (Money in the Bank 2013)

This has to make the list not just because of the match itself, which was good, but the angle leading up to it. Henry got everybody buying into his retirement speech, even though it seemed a bit odd that he would interrupt a John Cena promo to do it. Surely Mark was setting up some shenanigans, but he laid it on real thick. It went on long enough to where we thought it was over, then Henry laid Cena out with the World’s Strongest Slam and informed us that there was still gas left in the tank. It was incredible.

It’s a shame Cena & Henry didn’t cross paths a few years earlier, as I think Cena vs. Henry from 2009 might have actually gotten a decent star rating. If not from Meltzer, somebody.

1. Mark Henry vs. CM Punk (Monday Night Raw 4/16/12)

This three-week feud kind of flew under the radar because WWE had a lot of things they were pushing at this point. Brock Lesnar just came back to feud with John Cena. Sheamus needed to get over. Fans were chanting for Daniel Bryan. Hell, Punk’s main feud at this point was with Chris Jericho. Mark Henry was thrown in Punk’s general direction because Punk had the unmitigated gall to call John Laurnitas a toolbox. Punk & Henry had matches on three straight episodes of Raw in April 2012. The first one was a bit marred by the Raw After Mania crowd being obsessed with Bryan, and Jericho’s post-match attack. The second was a brief flurry of angry offense from Punk to get disqualified and establish his anger with Jericho.

Then they went to London and got some time to work. Punk delivered his best top-rope elbow of all time, with the assistance of a steel chair. Maybe he needed that all along. I feel like what we really needed at some point in this time period was a real Punk/Henry trilogy, not a TV special. There was good chemistry there that was explored a little, but not to its full potential. Punk had a legendary trilogy with Samoa Joe in ROH. There’s no doubt in my mind that he could have done the same with Mark Henry in WWE if the opportunity was there.

Want to see your idea for a Top 7 column explored to its full potential? E-mail me at [email protected], or hit me up on Twitter @stevecook84, or mention it down in that comment section!

article topics :

Mark Henry, WWE, Steve Cook