Mark Henry recalls hanging up on Vince McMahon, his original ten-year deal with WWE

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Mark Henry
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via

On professional wrestling being a gamble: “I had no clue that I could even do that. Seriously, like I was a fan and they got wind of the fact that I was a fan. My coach knew a couple of people and said, hey man, this boy wants tickets to a show he’s a big fan. And they were like shit, he should wrestle, he’d made a killing. And Vince McMahon called me one day and I hung up on him. [Why?] I thought it was one of my friends just f—ing around. Dead serious. I was like ‘Yeah, yeah, all right, Wes.’ I thought it was Wes Barnett, who was also a super fan like I was. We lived at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, and neither one of us ever missed Raw. There was no such thing as SmackDown. So my coach and manager called me back and was like, ‘Hey, did you hang up on Vince McMahon? He said you hung up.’ I said ‘That was him for real?’ And he was like yeah, answer the phone! [My coach] was pissed at me. And he called Vince I was like, hey, I apologize. [Vince said] ‘That ain’t the first time I’ve been hung up on.’ So me and Vince had a good relationship.”

On his original 10-year deal with WWE: “Part of it was we don’t want to do all the work training you and getting you ready and then you go sign with the opposition. I’m loyal, I wouldn’t have done that anyway. But nonetheless, he did say that is going to take about three or four years for you to really understand that and get it, then we will still have you on contract for another five or six years to, reap the benefit of being able to draw money and I more than paid for my career.”

On not having a retirement match: “Yeah, my body said, man, f— your plan! My back gave out. It just never allowed me [to compete] and I can probably have surgery. I keep putting it off, because I just want to keep moving around. But eventually I’m gonna have to just get it fixed.”

On struggling to break a steel cage lock: “It was a padlock on it. It wasn’t a door. I mean, I could have jumped up and grabbed the door and just ripped the door off the hinges. They wanted me to pull the chain and break the chain. I had committed to pulling on that chain to break that lock. Jim Ellis was busy. He had so much shit going on. He forgot to take a hacksaw and kind of saw the lock. So Master Lock Mark Henry broke it. He didn’t score it. So he didn’t weaken it enough so I could just pop it. So when I started pulling on it, it wouldn’t go. That’s why it took so long.

“I had to go back and look but it was supposed to be like instantaneous do it and go. It was like three or four minutes maybe longer, I really broke it. But it was a success. We did the business. But that was a case where you saw something real happen in wrestling that probably will never happen again. I would like to do a reenactment and challenge people to go try it, it will humble strong, strong people. Because what did that was Mark Henry, the strongest man in the world lost his shit and had to do it because I was on TV and failure was not an option. So I mean that’s probably the greatest feat of strength you ever seen in wrestling. I could never do that again. My hands hurt for like two weeks.”


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