Mark Henry was in Australia last week on a media tour and The Bugg Report had the chance to speak to Mark about all things WWE and about the 2019 WWE LIVE Tour. Mark is a former World Heavyweight Champion; ECW Champion; European Champion and the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame Inductee. Mark also holds the incredible distinction of having been a World’s Champion in three sports: Powerlifting, Strongman and Wrestling.
I started off by asking Mark about the WWE now and the differences he sees in the business nowadays:
“The main change is that there are more people who come from developmental wrestling that are at the top. I was the first developmental wrestler and then The Rock came and moved in with me but the company didn’t expect for us to be heard from for three years, they wanted us to just go and learn. When I started, guys hated me for coming in and being trained to wrestle because they thought that you should start on the independent circuit and work your way up. But that way is no more, if you want to see nostalgia then you should go on the WWE Network because you’re not going to see it like that anymore. These days it doesn’t matter if you’re the best looking, the best wrestler or the best entertainer, the people who will succeed will be the best combination of all three.”
Mark was keen to point out that the mindset of the talent these days needs to be all about how they can make the product better because that is what ultimately makes the business thrive. I asked him if he thought that the storytelling aspect of the business had taken a back seat to the entertainment through matches however Mark was adamant that it will never not be about storytelling:
“You have to captivate people, you gotta take over. Sometimes its big vs small, good vs evil or fast vs slow but at the end of the day you gotta make people jump up out of their seat because they are so happy that you won. That’s storytelling.”
Ensuring that the talent is always improving their craft is a key to the success of the WWE and this is an area that Mark is passionate about as well as with talent development. As an ambassador for the WWE Mark sends a lot of time looking for the people who can own the room when they arrive because as he says, they can work on looks and skills later but they can’t teach ‘something extra’ that some talent has.
“Dusty Rhodes said it the best, “I have wined and dined with kings and queens and I’ve slept in alleys and dined on pork and beans.” That mentality is what makes wrestlers wrestlers and that’s why The Rock is The Rock and John Cena is John Cena because they own the room. When Buddy Murphy comes back home he’s not going to let anybody on this card beat him, and I don’t mean wins and losses, I mean that when he walks into that area it’s going to explode.”
It is interesting to see which wrestlers become the mega stars like The Rock, John Cena and Seth Rollins and what makes them different and I asked Mark about this. He pointed out that it really evolves and that someone like Seth (Rollins) is just hyper-competitive and at the end of the day these guys are wrestling and that they are paid to wrestle and their careers don’t last forever. Mark himself sees that his 20+ year career in wrestling was probably too long and took a toll on his body.
“If you look at the card you realise that 80% of the card is young people and that is what the WWE is now, it’s a family oriented show and that’s what having young people does. The WWE is building the future of pro wrestling. I think that with the three shows we have the potential to see a breakout person like a John Cena and in my option I believe that Charlotte Flair is the best wrestler in the world, so it’s not just the guys. I think that Charlotte will tear it up here in Australia.”
Talking to Mark about the hectic schedule of the WWE these days and it is clear that he sees the regular programming of shows throughout the week as a positive development for wrestling fans.
“I call wrestling on SiriusXM on a show called Busted Open which plays here in Australia now and if you look at the shows that are available it is heaven for wrestling fans. I think that now more that any time we ever had is tailor made for the fans so you need more people (wrestlers) because you have more shows. You just can’t expect this card (the card for WWE LIVE in Australia) to perform all these shows all year long.”
WWE LIVE returns to Australia
This October WWE LIVE returns to Australia with a jam-packed card of WWE Superstars set to wrestle at events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The 2019 WWE LIVE Tour will be hosted by TEG Dainty and presented by 2K to promote their launch of WWE 2K20.
President & CEO of TEG Dainty, Paul Dainty said “After the thrilling WWE Super Show-Down at the iconic MCG in Melbourne last year where more than 70,000 fans witnessed one of the biggest sports and entertainment events of the decade, Australia is ecstatic to welcome back WWE LIVE for three live events this October.
“We are excited to return to Australia where the passionate WWE Universe can once again see their favourite WWE Superstars live,” said John Brody, WWE Executive Vice President Global Sales & Head of International. “Our fans can look forward to experiencing another action-packed night of family-friendly entertainment that will create life-long memories.”
For the full card that has been announced for WWE LIVE Australia visit: tegdainty.com
For tickets to WWE LIVE Australia visit: premier.ticketek.com.au