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Bruce Prichard’s Take on Mark Henry’s WWE Journey and Athlete Transitions

Bruce Prichard and Mark Henry
Bruce Prichard and Mark Henry (WWE)

Vince McMahon has always been interested in bringing real athletes into professional wrestling. Before Kurt Angle’s successful transition, WWE took a big chance on Olympic powerlifter Mark Henry, signing him to a 10-year contract worth around $250,000 a year.

On the podcast “Something to Wrestle,” a listener asked Bruce Prichard about a rumor that WWE gave Henry silly gimmicks during the Attitude Era to make him quit and avoid paying his contract. Prichard strongly denied this claim.

Prichard said Mark Henry was really good at entertaining people with funny and surprising acts in wrestling. He thought Henry’s acting and reactions were impressive, so the idea of punishing him by giving him more attention didn’t make sense.

Although Henry became a WWE Hall of Famer later on, his first years in WWE were tough because his training didn’t go as well as expected. Prichard admitted WWE thought about ending Henry’s contract, but they decided to talk to him honestly instead.

Mark Henry and Bruce Prichard
Mark Henry and Bruce Prichard (WWE)

Prichard recounted that WWE once called Henry to Connecticut to have an honest conversation about his performance. They told Henry that if he felt he couldn’t meet their standards, he was free to leave.

However, if he chose to stay, he needed to put in more effort and improve in specific areas to avoid being let go. This direct approach highlighted WWE’s initial dissatisfaction and their willingness to give Henry a chance to prove himself.

Comparatively, WWE’s more recent attempt to integrate an Olympic athlete was less successful. Gable Steveson, a 2020 freestyle wrestling gold medalist, was released by WWE, indicating that not all Olympic athletes find the same level of success in professional wrestling as Mark Henry eventually did.

This underscores the challenges and uncertainties involved in transitioning athletes from other sports into the world of professional wrestling.

Michael Sebastian

Written by Michael Sebastian

Michael is a part time trainer at Kerela Sports Academy, he is a sports enthusiast as well as a big fan of basketball.

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