“‘Opinions are like arseholes: we’ve all got one.”
Hi, my name is Ben. I’m thirty-eight and have been a wrestling fan since 1990. In that time, I have become a bit of an opinionated “so and so” and love nothing better than a good argument/debate.
This column is a safe place where all opinions are welcomed and as long as it’s balanced and well-thought through where we can talk. In this column, I am going to be sharing some of my feelings on a particular subject which may fly in the face of the general opinions. These feeling can be described as “unpopular opinions” or “hot takes.” This first column is a bit more fact-based, but truth be told, I will probably be a lot more opinionated going forward. I welcome any and all feedback as well as taking some of your own opinions.
Coming out of the gate, I am going to be discussing a man who had a 20-year full-time career. This man is also a Hall of Famer, thanks to an appeal he gave to a deceased wrestler’s wife, who gave one of the most heartfelt speeches of recent memory. Back in 2017, this man also finished at #57 in Place To Be Nation’s Greatest Wrestler Ever Project and is in some circles revered. The first unpopular opinion is: “The World’s Strongest Man” Mark Henry
Henry is a man where I feel a 6-month period hides away 19 years of at best, mediocrity. I will declare that I loved the Hall Of Pain run from June 2011-Jan 2012. In that period, he had some great character work as well as good matches against the likes of Sheamus, Christian, Randy Orton and Big Show. I’m also a fan of the Cena feud and then match at Money In The Bank 2013 (the salmon suit beatdown is one of my favourite segments in recent memory).
Having discussed the good, I better discuss the bad, although this may take a while. A man who, thanks to his Olympic pedigree got a nice big 10-year contract, makes you struggle to think of many good moments in that time span. The things you do remember are a random PPV win over The Rock and romantic trysts with an 80-year-old and a transvestite. He also had an injury record that would have probably got 95% of the roster fired. There were also the awful strongman feats in 2002 and the racism angle with Teddy Long in 2003.
I’m not sure if it was the length of contract or the money he was being paid as to why the company kept giving him chance after chance. A run as a top heel on Smackdown including a WrestleMania match with The Undertaker in 2006 was met with indifference after a run of terrible, boring matches. The run in ECW wasn’t too bad but that was pretty much thanks to Matt Hardy making him look passable. He then drifted along aimlessly on Raw and Smackdown until 2011 where after 15 years it clicked into place. However, from 2012 – onward, apart from the Cena feud, it all just fell away again as age and injuries finally caught up with him.
In the aforementioned, GWWE he did finish 57th. That might not sound too bad but right below wrestlers such as Cesaro, JBL and Diesel. My opinion is for a guy to have that length of service I am expecting a bit more than a 6-month period of excellence. I just don’t see what others see in him and just because he has been around for a long time doesn’t mean you can’t question what happened in those first 15 years to even get us to 2011. I’m not saying I hate the guy, but I really just don’t get it. Sorry, just because someone is popular doesn’t make them good (case in point: Ed Sheeran).
Like I said earlier, I welcome all feedback, suggestions and ideas. My e-mail address is email@example.com (yes, how 90s am I?!) and you can find me on Twitter @benl1981.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and does not reflect the opinion of Place To Be Nation.