After making the WWE audience believe earlier this year–literally and figuratively–Mark Henry was injured yet again, derailing his momentum and keeping him off television as he recovered from an injury. He’s set to return soon, and if done right, his return can put him back on the path that he created for himself before injury. After incredible July performances, the writers need to devise a way to maintain that momentum. It’s been a while since that promo duped Cena and an arena full of people, but you can be sure that no one has forgotten it. After that promo, eyeballs were glued to segments involving him to see where the segments would go or what dimension of his character Henry would explore. Despite Henry’s lack of television time, he still has the “it” factor that allowed him to deliver back in July. He can thrive and pick back up as a must-see, high-profile wrestler if written back into the storylines the correct way.
When he returns can we get back the mauler and not the smiling face? The weakened, susceptible Henry was a bore to watch and Henry hated playing that guy; he merely did it as a good soldier. “Hall of Pain” Henry delivered great promos, solid matches, and a believable character that fans truly enjoyed. When Mark returns, can he be a badass regularly running afoul of the Establishment while bending frying pans and pulling trucks? Or maybe a tweener who feels entitled to hurt whoever he wants because after 17 years he somehow doesn’t get the respect he deserves? Taking beatings and being left in a heap are facets of being your average face that do not fit Henry well–fans don’t buy it much. Giving beatings and meting out ruthless attacks, are not only character traits that Henry seems to enjoy, but also captivating stuff for the audience. Henry’s more entertaining to watch when he’s being himself and playing the dominant role. Henry needs to be intimidating, cerebral, a little mean, and forceful in his return to re-ignite the buzz he created back in July and August.
There are a variety of ways that he could be brought back to the roster.
-After Monday’s Raw where the faces expressed solidarity, the Big Show was used to mow down another face, and in light of that, Henry could become a subversive presence to the Establishment. He can be brought back in to the fold as the deterrent/remedy to the begrudging enforcer that the Big Show has become in recent weeks. The faces could reason that after seeing Show knock out Miz, they all felt that he could do the same to any of them. They felt that they needed someone to protect them from such an outcome, so instead of ambushing the Big Show, they called on the World’s Strongest Man to match him.
-Or Henry could be the 3rd man involved in the burgeoning 3 on 3 match that will occur between the Shield and Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and an unnamed wrestler. We all know that the 3 on 3 match is in the works, and Henry could inject himself into that match after both feeling outraged about what happened to a Hall of Famer and obligated to do something as a result.
-Henry could even come back in, skirt the huge main storyline and trounce midcard heels, while scaring uppercard heels. He’d do this to gain credibility before putting over a young, underutilized heel who could use the rub–Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett, and Antonio Cesaro would all be great candidates for going over Henry if they pursued this course.
Henry’s return creates a nice problem: how do they reintegrate and energized and motivated vet who’s having a career year? With some thought, they can help Henry continue that upward trajectory and watch him continue to impress.