WWE’s World Strongest Man, Mark Henry recently spoke to The Times of India about the possibility of retiring from wrestling and about growing the sport in India possibly.
You were present at the Special Olympics held in Los Angeles earlier this year. And now you have interacted with these special athletes once again in India. What is it that you attain from them as a person and a professional?
It is an awesome opportunity to just be around them. It is more about being something that I want to do and not something that I’m supposed to do. The innocence and warmth with which they meet and greet you without knowing who you are professionally is heart-melting. Having achieved whatever they have, teaches you how one can succeed with sheer hard work despite limitations. It’s a good feeling to be in their company.
Weighing more than 100 kilos by your fourth grade, you were a different kid while growing up. How difficult was it dealing with all the teasing and what lessons did you learn?
I was an unusually big kid for my age and did not know how to express myself after being targeted as the odd one out. I thus landed myself in trouble for reacting aggressively. But with time, I succeeded as an athlete and people started respecting me. The more you shine, the more positively people start looking at you.
Many WWE superstars have visited India before you. Did you hear any stories from them and make plans for your trip?
Actually no. I did not speak to them for the trip. I’d rather have my own experiences. All I know is that there are a lot of people in India and I would love to give back the love that they give to us as professionals.
You are a foodie and Indian food has been known globally for its delicacies. Any special dishes that you are looking forward to?
My day started with a traditional Indian breakfast. And as soon as I am done with this interview, I am set to dig into some butter chicken (laughs).
WWE has recently recruited two athletes from India. With just one recognised name in the form of The Great Khali in the industry in all these years, do you think their future is bright?
Indian wrestlers definitely have a place in the industry. I really hope that the future beholds the best for those two. In fact, one of the reasons why I’m in India is to motivate potential athletes to pick up sports entertainment as a career. With the right amount of exposure, you never know what wonders kids can do.
You have had an illustrious career as a sports entertainer. Are there any unfulfilled wishes, either personally or professionally?
Well, I’ve done it all; won several championships. My ambition now is to be a part of finding the future talent of wrestling and open up the sport to countries like India.
WWE’s premier annual event WrestleMania will be hosted in your home territory of Texas next year. Into the last year of your contract, will we see the last of you there?
I may retire next year. It may be the swansong of my wrestling career; but definitely not the end of Mark Henry!