One of the most memorable moments in Mark Henry’s career was his heel turn on John Cena after cutting an emotional retirement speech, which had everybody fooled. That moment took place 9 years ago today on WWE RAW.
During a recent interview, Henry explained why the segment worked as well as it did on an episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone.
“It was real that’s why it worked so well because I truly wanted to retire and not wrestle and become more of an executive, and do more coaching, and training and work in support, but they didn’t want me to do that,” Henry revealed. “They wanted me to keep working as talent, so I was basically going to retire anyway, and Vince [McMahon] just talked me out of it. I knew for about four months, but I still prepared like I was retiring that night, and it was one of the more emotional moments in my life because I mourned the death of my career.
“And that’s the way that I looked at it. That’s why I was so emotional. It was over, and when I put the boots on the steps and I walked through the ring, I said everything that I would have said at a retirement. And my kids did cry at that time when I left home. It used to hurt me being on the plane going, I’m gonna miss ballet, I’m gonna miss tap dance recitals I’m gonna miss my kids who are in a band. It was tough. It was easy to draw the emotion of the moment because it was real.”
“I just knew that, at some point, I’m gonna have to shut the waterworks off and focus on doing business with John Cena, and John Cena was standing at ringside. And it was really impromptu,” Henry noted. “It wasn’t something that was planned. John tried to give me the title, and I just told him, ‘No, I don’t deserve to hold that. I never won that. I’m not gonna do it,’ and he just started crying because I had emotionally got to him.
“When I looked over there and I saw him crying, I was like, oh, shoot, this is different. I knew it was different. From the time that a lot left in the tank came out of my mouth to walking in the back, when I got in the back, for the first time in my career, and it was the end of my career, all the wrestlers were in the back waiting on me. It was like walking into a concert crowd.
“You walk off the stage and walk into the people. Everybody was there, and everybody was applauding and clapping, kind of coming up and hugging me. I was like, damn, I would’ve retire A long time ago if I knew I would have gotten everyone’s attention. That will always gonna be one moment in my career that I’ll treasure.”
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