Mark Henry walked out at Double or Nothing 2021 as the newest AEW signing. Having left the WWE not long before, it was a huge shock for a man who was in the WWE Hall of Fame and a legend of the wrestling ring.
The reasons behind Mark Henry leaving WWE point towards a very valid reason for him joining Tony Khan’s promotion and hope to give more of a context at what his role is backstage at AEW.
Why Did Mark Henry Leave WWE?
Mark Henry left the WWE because he had dreams of being an executive and working behind the scenes to help the talent and the show, and wasn’t offered any role by the WWE after his retirement.
The former World Heavyweight Champion retired from in-ring competition in 2017 after Wrestlemania 33, and looked to transition into a backstage role with the WWE.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2018 by long-time friend and rival The Big Show and proceeded to work backstage in an advisory role for the on-screen talent.
However, his role was not what he wanted and his aspiration to make more of a difference in the company was ignored by Vince McMahon and co.
He eventually left WWE after making one last appearance in the Greatest Royal Rumble, and signed for All Elite Wrestling in 2021.
This really put an end to his career and helped him achieving his dream job. He was named a big name signing by AEW and put to work as a commentator and backstage interview in an on-screen role, to compliment his backstage work too.
The Olympian spoke candidly about how he thought he would be in WWE for life but knew it was time to leave due to the company not matching his own aspirations.
The former World Heavyweight Champion revealed he wrote up a plan for what he wanted to do in WWE. He spent months planning what he wanted to do and how it would help the company.
Sadly, Vince McMahon did not agree the proposal and allowed Henry to look for work outside the company, despite the fact he always thought he would work for the WWE for the rest of his life.
Speaking to Chris Jericho, Mark Henry said;
“When I retired, I thought I was going to be an employee of WWE. At some point, I was gonna be somebody that had an influence on the business. I was like, I want to be an executive.
I know enough about this business and every facet of it, and there were people that were in jobs and talent development, and people that were in jobs in talent relations and people in jobs in corporate, that I knew the business better than them. And I had a way of fostering relationships.”
“That’s been the number one thing that I’ve been able to accomplish in my life more than anything else is I foster good relationships with people, and people realize that I’m not a screw up, that I’m going to do stuff that’s going to be well thought out.
And that is going to benefit kids because that’s where my heart is. I want kids to have experiences, and WWE, they were not at a place where they wanted to hire me for that. And I asked. I wrote it up. I spent months putting together a two-year plan of events.”
“I was like, what else can I do? I just had to call and say, ‘Hey man, I’m going to start looking for work because I know what I can do well, and I don’t feel like I’m valued in that capacity.’ And when I got the ‘no’, it didn’t come from Vince [McMahon].
It didn’t come from Brad Blum. It came from Johnny (John Laurinaitis), who was an employee. It’s not his place to tell me ‘no’. If the duties got delegated to somebody that it’s not their job to tell me, then it’s over. You got to know when the door’s being closed?”
Mark Henry has yet to wrestle in AEW and it is unlikely he will step back into the ring again.
He seems happy in retirement and there is very little for him to do in the company, with his time long gone and no more dream matches for him to participate in.
Luckily he can be a huge help backstage and his experience of 25 years of wrestling will be invaluable.
Mark Henry recently confirmed his retirement from the ring, meaning that he will never make his debut wrestling in All Elite Wrestling.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.