Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Performer Analysis: Mark Henry

Born Mark Gordon Henry on June 12, 1971 in Silsbee, Texas. His accomplishments include being the All time World raw Squat record holder (430 kilos), Silver Medalist in Pan-American Games in '92, Olympic team member in '92 & 96, Arnold Classic Strongman winner in 2002, former European champion and most recently, ECW World Champion. He drives a Hummer and has braided hair. His hero is Luke Cage.

1) Innovation- 1/10

World's Strongest Man is not a new concept, it's been done over and over again, and yes, even some of the men who played the character were legitimately "The Strongest Man in the World," as was Henry, yet that time was 14 years ago and I don't think that title fits him any more. His style isn't unique, nor is his character. The only thing interesting he has done that we've never seen before was impregnate an 80 year old woman.

2) Conditioning- 5/10

Henry's a big dude, obviously, with most of his body being comprised of fatty tissue. The guy actually isn't how I would describe overweight, he's just has a wide frame and there is a lot of solid muscle on there. Henry has always been just as big as he is now, and I've never heard of any usage of steroids or muscle enhancers, but he comes from the two sports most known for them which is pro wrestling & power lifting. I know he's a fan of comic books, so maybe that kind of thing isn't very useful to him. Henry's never had to go the distance in a match, maybe 15 minutes but that's his breaking point, as evidenced in Unforgiven 07 with Taker; he completely gassed out. But for his size, he is in good ring shape.

3) Skill- 4/10

When you're a bigger guy, you aren't able to physically do the things most normal sized athletes do in the ring. Henry has decent speed, decent enthusiasm in the ring, a good power-based move set that he can perform well, and that's as much as you could expect from someone. Even his sells are becoming better, giving himself more to a move than most of his career to make it look better. But other elements just aren't there, the facials, ring movement, being able to think on your feet if something goes wrong, it's very unusual for Henry to have a good match unless he's with someone who can work around him. I wonder if being in the same company for the last 12 years has anything to do with not being able to learn more outside the box?

4) Psychology- 4/10

Henry is improving on his selling, particularly with the body part (ex. leg) as evidenced by his recent outing with Matt Hardy. There' s a certain element of psych that comes with being a big man and that's when to go down or how much punishment to take. A lot of WWE big men use it sparingly, implementing it when the writing team gets a hair up their butts about wanting to make a monster and forgetting about it most of the other time. Henry is the same way, sometimes like in his recent run , being the monster you can't take down and earlier times in his career, being just like any other guy. It's not really his fault, but you don't see a lot of the work there. And Henry's face isn't made for much of anything, it's so scrunched up it's hard to get a read on him.

5) Interviews- 5/10

I think Henry is perfectly fine on the mic. He's been given opportunties. The Sexual Chocolate stuff was priceless and showed a lot of range. Even recently he has some unique splits to his personality, such as being a dominant force but still bowing out of matches when he feels like it and other times he can play off his strength and intimidation. He's had several managers throughout his career but I think he's okay without one.

6) Character- 4/10

Henry's mostly played the hulking brute who could just overpower people to a degree of the silent strong type, usually letting a manager speak for him. Pretty standard stuff, as far as heels go. He never really did anything out of the ordinary to garner any additional heat. His "Sexual Chocolate" run as both a face and heel showed Mark's fun loving personality and was probably his most vocal character which got a decent run until it was eventually turned into another bland heel character.

7) Fans- 4/10

As I keep reiterating, fans mostly cared when he was trying to woo the man-beast Chyna back in Attitude era days, by both semi-rooting the big man on and later chastising him for being a jerk and a man whore for old women. Most of his subsequent runs have all been heel and while he's a good guy to root for against an underdog, I think most fans are pretty blase on their hatred towards Henry.

8) Basics- 3/10

He's never really shown an penchant for the ring basics, as far as mat work- i think he can do a side headlock but it probably looks sloppy. He can throw a forearm that's for sure, but I'm not a fan of rope work either, as far as his run but he has a good rebound for a big guy. His bumps are getting better too.

9) Feuds/opponents- 3/10

Besides getting to take on most every big name in the last 8 or so years, Henry really hasn't had many big money programs to speak of. He has been embroiled in several feuds that had some mileage in them, such as Undertaker, D-lo Brown, Chyna, and most recently Matt Hardy. But none of them amounted to much, in the case of all but Matt, most of the feud was settled in badly executed matches and various vignettes.

10) Gutcheck- 6/10

Henry debuted over 12 years ago to not a lot of fanfare. He was immediately taken out of the active roster after his first match and given more training. But, here we are 12 years later and he is still employed with World Wrestling Entertainment. They obviously see something in him, whether it just be his size or talent, either way, he's had a 12 year run so far (more like 9 years, he has been absent a few) and he himself has kept on trucking along, and I think he has improved over the years as a performer. It's got to be hard to keep doing a job for that long when you know you're not great at it, but I think Henry has shown he's got the willingness to keep at it and has put forth a tremendous effort to improve, despite the public opinion about him.

Total Score: 39
Ranking: Jobber
PO: Thumbs Middle

No comments: