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Mark Henry -- Color Him WWE Champ

6/30/2008 8:40 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

When does being hit with racial slurs improve your career? For WWE wrestler Mark Henry, it may have happened last night on PPV.

In April, the WWE suspended writer Michael Hayes for 60 days for telling Henry, "I'm more n***** than you are." Last night -- and one week after Hayes was reinstated -- the twelve-year WWE vet and former Olympian finally got his big moment by winning the company's ECW world title.

That's where the controversy starts.

There's buzz around wrestling blogs that the 400 lb. wrestler that calls himself "The World's Strongest Man" would never have been in line for a title if the racial controversy didn't exist.

The company has only had three other African-American world champions in its entire history. Anyone 'memba The Rock?

WWE hasn't returned our call for comment.
For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
76 COMMENTS

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46.

Dan    

I wonder who came up with Mark Herny's old gimmick of "Sexual Chocolate"?

2271 days ago
47.

Kara    

TMZ
this particular title reign may or may not have resulted from the said incident with Michael PS Hayes, but your slander regarding the title histories of the WWE is incorrect and it is far too easy to prove you wrong.

World Titles also include Tag Team titles of which African Americans have hugely participated and multiple times, not to mention all of the other title reigns that have been held by African Americans as I have listed below. This list does not even cover other minority groups that have huge influence in wrestling that have nothing to do with race, culture or color, such as Latino (generally), Mexican (specifically), Samoan, Native American etc.

Next time get your facts right before you sling muck against a form of entertainment that has a lot of passionate fans including myself (26 years plus!)
World Heavyweight Title
Booker T – x 1

ECW World Title
Bobby Lashley x 2
Mark Henry x 1

Intercontinental Title
Ahmed Johnson –x 1
The Godfather x 1
D-Lo Brown x 1
Kofi Kingston x 1

US Championship Title
Orlando Jordan x 1
Booker T x 3
Bobby Lashley x 1
MVP x 1

World Tag Team Title
Tony Atlas & Rocky Johnson x 1
The Acolytes / APA (1 African American member) x 3
The Dudley Boys (1 African American member) x 6
Booker T & Goldust (1 African American member) x 1
Booker T & Rob Van Dam (1 African American member) x 1

WWE Tag Teams Title
The Dudley Boys (1 African American member) x 1
MVP & Matt Hardy (1 African American member) x 1

Women’s Title
Jacqueline x 1
Jazz x 1

Hardcore Title
Booker T x 2

Cruiserweight Title
Jacqueline x 1

European Title
D-Lo Brown x 4
Mark Henry x 1

2271 days ago
48.

kuribo    

Let's face it though, the WWE has been hot for this guy for 12 years now. Hell, I remember when he was an untested rookie and they signed him to a 10 year contract. (Which he promptly justified by breaking his leg during an Irish Whip of all things) Seriously, you don't spend 12 years developing a wrestler, and sticking by a guy who can't work a decent match unless you've got big plans for him. Clearly he was going to be groomed for a title of some sort down the line, even if it wasn't going to be today.

2271 days ago
49.

MG    

Umm please name the 10 to 20 CURRENT Black Wrestlers that work for WWE. Please! I'll wait..........

2271 days ago
50.

King of Kings    

ECW title is garbage, nobody watches ECW on Tuesday nights, it is almost more of a punishment to win the title. Anyways Mark Henry is a jobber and could not draw flies to a flea market.

2271 days ago
51.

Palinmacattack!!!    

RACISIM IS EVERYWHERE IN THIS CASE ONLY THE PPL FROM THE WWE CAN CONFIRM THAT. VINCE EQUALLY OFFENEDS EVERYONE. HE'S ABOUT THAT OLE MIGHTY DOLLAR.

2271 days ago
52.

holy moley    

I dont understand why we as a society bother with the black and white lamas of old or new. Why should we be concerned of the destined flight path of black or white animals dont care what there fur is. Why should we. It just doesnt make sense. Let them fly..let them be free....let them be black or white or brown or kind of a yellowish with a tint of grey.

2271 days ago
53.

Rick Roll    

They clearly mentioned, World Champions. So the list of other titles with African-American title holders is not a complaint to be used to your advantage. Three World Champions have been African-American before Mark Henry. TMZ wrote the truth, get over it.

2271 days ago
54.

darkjedi    

ok number 40 you wanted a list of current black wrestlers in wwe here you go

from raw
Kofi Kingston
JTG
Shad
ron simmons
d-lo brown
Layla

smackdown
Big Daddy V
Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP)
Shelton Benjamin
Alicia Fox(wedding planner)

ECW
Mark Henry
Boogeyman
Elijah Burke
Theodore Long

there is a list of 15 for you and that is not counting florida training camp the wrestlers there

2271 days ago
55.

AD Jones    

Race was a factor. Anyone who actively keeps up with WWE knows that Mark Henry was primarily jobber fodder until his problem with Hayes became exposed. He hasn't beaten one big name since his return in 2004 except for Rey Mysterio and even that went nowhere.

Henry won the ECW title because WWE is paranoid and wants to show that blacks can succeed in their business. It's so obvious to anyone who is over 10 years old.

Yes, yes... wrestling is fake (thanks to all the idiots who keep repeating it), but tell that to Gregory Helms. I'm sure his FAKE broken neck is doing just fine.

2271 days ago
56.

hates stupid people and what they say about wrestling    

People wrestling is scripted and this was probably planed for months

2271 days ago
57.

CORY HARRIS    

WWE IS FULL OF CRAP BUT THEY WAS NOT THE ONLY RACIST COMPANY DUHHHHHHH N.W.A DO YOU REMEMBER RON SIMMONS WAS CHAMPION FOR A WEEK AND BOOKER T. BECAME CHAMPION BECAUSE WWE A.K.A WWF CAME UP WITH (THE ROCK) WHICH THEY REALLY DIDN'T HAVE A CHOICE BECAUSE BEING REALLY HONEST WITH THIS STATEMENT HE HAD THE LOOK,THE WORDS AND WHITE WOMEN LOVE THE HELL OUT OF HIM. T.M.Z STAY ON THEM BECAUSE OF THIS BECAUSE AFRICAN AMERICAND CAREERS IN THE WWE IS SHORT OR A SIDE SHOW OF STUPIDITY FOR THEM LIKE SOME MONKEY (YES I SAID IT BECAUSE I'M AS BLACK AS THEY COME) AND THE THE RECORD THE DUM ASS WHO SAYS THE ROCK WASNT BLACK BUT CANADIAN (WRONG!!!!!) HIS DAD ROCKY JOHNSON WHICH IS BLACK AND HIS MOM IS SAMOAN. IN THE GREAT U.S.A IF YOU HAVE 1/10 OF BLACK YOUR 100% BLACK LIKE ITS A SICKNESS OR SOMETHING.(GIVE ME A BREAK). TMZ DON'T LET UP ON THIS BECAUSE IT NEEDS TO COME OUT. JOHN CENA WILL PASS RICK FLAIRS IN TITLES BEFORE HE IS 30 AND A BLACK WRESTLER MIGHT NOT BECOME WORLD CHAMP IN A 20 YEAR CAREER. DONT LET UP ON THIS BECAUSE THIS IS A STORY.

2271 days ago
58.

MadmanJack    

It's quite likely that his race was a factor, considering the sudden connecting last night of the lower-midcard team Cryme Tyme with the number-one draw on RAW, John Cena, along with the win for Jamaican wrestler Kofi Kingston of the Intercontinental title (the second belt on RAW) and rehiring of semi-retired wrestler D'Lo Brown (best known for accidentally paralyzing fellow WWF wrestler Darren Drozdov about nine years ago with a randomly botched powerbomb). But what bugs me so much about it is the fact that throughout Mark Henry's 12-year career, he was an utterly heatless wonder for the first 9, because his entire gimmick seems to be that he's big and powerful, and ... that's kinda it. He had the Sexual Chocolate thing going for a while, which worked for a while as a smooth-ladies'-man type of thing, but they blew THAT idea with the Sammi angle (if you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll only say it was unbelievably stupid and tasteless).
But seriously, if they want to push people who are black, just for the sake of pushing people that are black, they may as well finally start pushing Shelton Benjamin for real. The man can do things in the ring that will shock the most jaded fan, he can actually tell a story in the ring while doing it, and he has a decent amount of charisma on the mic when he has something to say. And you can't even SAY 'well he's too small to be a Heavyweight champ' anymore, because if RAW champ CM Punk is more than 200 pounds, I'm shocked.
(And yes, I KNOW the words are scripted and the matches are pre-determined. So's CSI. What's your point?)

2271 days ago
59.

mia    

BIG SHOW SHOULDA WON

2271 days ago
60.

Canoe    

Here's a quote from former WWE wrestler Booker T(5-tine WCW world Champion, 1-Time WWE World Heavyweight Champion) on Micheal Hayes. I don't think that this was a race thing with Henry getting the ECW title, a title which really isn't considered a "real" world title

"I never had any problems with Michael Hayes. I feel like that issue was just one person not knowing the other. I’ve known Michael for many, many years... and Michael always thought he was black. He was always saying black things in a black way. I think that whatever happened up there was taken out of context and has been blown way out of proportion and they’re feeling it right now in so many different ways, and this is just one of them. And they always say – you reap what you sow."

2270 days ago
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