Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: Sexual Chocolate Mark Henry, Part 1 – WWF, 1998-1999
Like so many other things we’ve looked at, this started so innocently. The Nation and D-Generation X were at each other’s throats. After a street fight the week prior, on the August 24th Raw, the Rock had Chyna in the middle of the ring. After forcing her to her knees, the Rock made like he was going to kiss her. Fortunately for the Rock, he decided he wouldn’t kiss “a piece of trash” like her, and delegated Nation member Mark Henry to do it. As Henry licked his lips in anticipation, Shawn Michaels hit the ring and then hit Mark Henry in the head with a chair.
On September 14th, Henry was in Owen Hart’s corner as Owen challenged HHH to an Intercontinental title match. Finally Chyna hopped up on the apron and kicked a field goal on Owen. Henry climbed up onto the apron to counter the interference, and then X-Pac ran out and jumped onto Henry’s back. Finally Henry challenged X-Pac and Chyna (who he referred to as “my girlfriend”) to a handicap match – which he won, thanks to D’Lo Brown’s assistance.
After attacking Henry on the 27th’s Heat, Chyna was chosen to be the special guest referee for a match between Henry and Faarooq on the next night’s Raw. Henry was dominating the match, but Chyna apparently found something very interesting to watch in the crowd. Hey, maybe there was a fight or something. Anyway, Chyna wound up kicking a field goal on Henry and fast counting Faarooq’s pin. A man then came out and handed Chyna an envelope. She pulled out some papers, read them, then tore them up while glaring at Henry.
On the fifth, D’Lo Brown was taking on X-Pac for the European title. As usual, Mark Henry was out with D’Lo, and Chyna was in X-Pac’s corner. As the match was going on, a man hopped the rail and handed another envelope to Chyna, which drew a grin from Mark Henry. With Chyna distracted, Henry pitched X-Pac back into the ring, which gave D’Lo an easy win – and the title.
Later in the night, Mark Henry took on the Road Dogg. Jerry Lawler was able to retrieve the envelope from Chyna and revealed that Henry was suing Chyna for sexual harassment. Meanwhile, X-Pac managed to kick a field goal and X-Factor Henry to give Road Dogg the win.
The next episode of Raw saw Mark Henry taking on Mankind. Chyna waited until Mankind won to come over and begin demanding what Henry wanted from her, and only got the answer that it was out of Henry’s hands.
That brought us to Judgment Day, where Mark Henry took on the Rock. Henry opened his match with a poem to Chyna, where that he had loved her long before she had her implants. Shockingly, with the help of D’Lo, Henry was able to pin the Rock.
Things got stranger the next night on Raw. Ken Shamrock was taking on X-Pac, when two policemen walked out, presumably to add security. However, they soon showed their true purpose as they arrested Chyna and led her out.
The next week we saw no real progress in the angle, other then discovering that she had been arrested for failure to appear.
Chyna remained missing for a couple of weeks, reappearing on November 16th (where we discovered that her jawline had changed from being in prison). Henry was taking on D’Lo Brown when she appeared. Henry forgot about the match and got rolled up by Val Venis for another win for the Big Valbowski. After the match, Henry grabbed a microphone and made Chyna an offer – have dinner with him, and he’d drop the lawsuit. He then read a poem. Chyna made no reply and just left.
The next week, Mark Henry and D’Lo were taking on the Brood when Chyna appeared again. Henry again was distracted and lost, but it was all right. Chyna agreed to the date, leaving Henry overjoyed.
The 30th we got a dose of WWF HIGH-larity as Henry and Chyna went on their date. The night got off to a rocky start, as Henry insisted that D’Lo come along. D’Lo insisted he wasn’t dressed for it, until Henry gave him a jacket and sunglasses. Then as they approached Henry’s stretch limo, Henry handed D’Lo a chauffeur’s cap. D’Lo was mad, but cooperated.
Mark Henry arrived at Chyna’s hotel and tried to present her a bouquet (she refused) and tried to help her put on her coat (she warned him not to touch her). There was another bump in the road as she recognized D’Lo, but Henry was able to defuse the situation by insisting that it wasn’t D’Lo.
Finally they arrived at the restaurant, and another bump occurred when Chyna discovered that Henry had left the price tag on the bouquet. Apparently, Chyna deserved nothing less than Henry’s $1.99 that he’d spent on the flowers. Henry then went into the restaurant and requested some Perrier (pronounced just like it looks, rhymes with derriere). Chyna corrected him, pointing out that the real pronunciation, and Henry asked for some of that, too, then started singing along with Marvin Gaye.
Later, dinner was finished. Henry read a poem to Chyna, and then proposed a toast. Chyna tossed back her drink in one gulp and reached for the bottle. Henry then pointed out that it was time to dance, and Chyna just shrugged.
After this, we saw them in a bar. As Henry excused himself, three other guys came up and started hitting on Chyna. She decked one of them, and then the returning Henry took out the other two. Chyna grabbed Henry and took off.
The next week, Droz was taking on Mark Henry when Chyna made her way out. Droz held Henry up and offered Chyna a free shot at him. She refused. Droz threw Henry down and asked what was going on, so Chyna popped him instead, giving the win to Henry.
The next week, Henry had a revelation for us all about the end of the date – Chyna asked him to slip into something a bit more comfortable – her bed. Henry bragged about how she’d worn him out, then he and D’Lo defeated Scorpio and Bob Holly.
Things went downhill a week later. D’Lo and Henry were scheduled to go up against the Headbangers. Henry had hooked up with the Pretty Mean Sisters (Jacqueline and Terri Runnels) for a little “warm-up” backstage. The match started, and D’Lo was out there alone. A camera finally cut backstage to reveal Henry chained down with a C-clamp on his crotch while the women whipped him. (Do I detect the hand of Vince Russo?) Henry finally got himself free and ran out to the arena, just in time for D’Lo to get beaten.
On the 28th, Henry had some splainin’ to do. He came out and got down on his knees, begging Chyna to forgive him his weakness. That brought out PMS, who talked about how they liked men on their knees. That infuriated Chyna, who ran out and scared off PMS.
The year opened with Henry taking on Goldust, when Chyna came out with another woman. After Goldust got himself disqualified by using the Shattered Dreams, Chyna had a surprise for Henry – she and her friend would like to help him relax. Henry’s eyes rolled back and he passed out.
The next week, PMS had arranged a match between Mark Henry and his best friend D’Lo. Terri gave Henry a low blow, which brought Chyna and her friend (now named Sammy) out of the back for the rescue.
Anyway, Chyna left the room, and Mark Henry started getting friendly with Sammy. One problem – Sammy had a secret…
The next week Chyna came out to reveal said secret. Just as an added touch, Henry’s mother was in the front row. Chyna demanded Henry tell the truth about the relationship or she’d reveal a secret. Desperately trying to save face, Henry explained that they “hadn’t done the wild thing, hadn’t done the mild thing, hadn’t done anything.” Henry then begged Chyna for the tape.
Chyna, kindhearted soul that she is, refused and rolled the footage. We saw Henry slide up Sammy’s skirt and make a bit of a discovery. To top it off, Sammy pulled off his wig and told Henry, that’s why they called him Sammy! Chyna then “treated” us to the world’s worst Austin Powers impression by rubbing in that “he’s a man, baby!” as Henry rolled to the outside. Mrs. Henry hopped the railing, grabbed Mark by the ear, and dragged him out.
And that was that.
Okay. Back in 1996, Mark Henry was signed by the WWF for a ten-year contract for an enormous amount of money (believed to be about 1 million a year), simply because he was an Olympian. Did I mention he was an Olympian in weightlifting? Anyway, Vince inked this deal without Henry having one day of training.
Anyway, rumors have flown for years that angles like this are McMahon’s way of “encouraging” Henry to quit. Note that’s only rumor, the official WWE position has been that if they wanted to get rid of him, they would cut him.
Looking at this angle, it’s certainly easy to believe that those rumors are true. The whole thing did nothing to get Henry over (who remembers his win over the Rock? I didn’t.), and in fact made him look like a moron for not noticing that Sammy was a man. The entire payoff only made him look like more of a goof.
Despite all that, it did draw a laugh from me, so I guess that something was accomplished.
I’m skipping the “Where are they now” bit this week, because we’re not done yet! Next week we meet Mark Henry’s new love!