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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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61.

DaDirtiest    

Mark Henry has been wrestling for WWE since 1996 and he has always been a heel (villain), There has been jealousy surrounding him for years because he has been paid a great amount 1 million per year for a 8 year contract to start, or something similar, but it was because of his Olympic credentials. This guy was an Olympic Weightlifting Champion. You are going to have to pay him a ridiculous amount to lose and suppress his shame of doing a worked sport after being a legit champion. I smell that when Henry loses the belt he will go to Raw which isn't booked at all by Hayes.

2200 days ago
62.

DaDirtiest    

This was not a work. Hayes is a redneck who has a reputation of dropping slurs when he's drunk. This time he did it a Wrestlemania, and Henry didn't shrug it off. And he shouldn't have to. This is the guy that admitted after Benoits death that he travels alone because he doesn't trust other people and he doesn't want to be pointed the finger as the black guy in the car and automatically fall into sit if other get caught with unprescribed meds.

2200 days ago
63.

Vin24    

I hate when somebody say 'race wasn't a factor' just because they don't want to believe it to be and when they don't know ALL the details. How can anybody categorically claim that? The fact is that ECW is going to film on the same night as Raw, previously it was shot after Smackdown. Therefore, Kane could had remained the ECW champ and appear on both shows just as he, and champs before him, has done. I don't believe that it is a coincidence that the two things -racial slur then the same man getting the title - happened on the same night. But, any incident of that kind probably would had produce the same result, it avoids legal actions. They would have to be stupid not to see that as an easy way to get rid of the problem, also the last thing the WWE needs is more bad press.

As far as the number of Black world champ, I don't think it's a big deal. In recent years there has not been that many who has been popular enough to win it -other than Lashley (and they didn't like his lack of mic skills, which is now seen as more important than wrestling ability). There has not been [m]any Asian, Hispanic, Mixed race (The Rock probably is the only one) , or even Samoan world champs. I don't care though, as long as the wrestling is high quality I'd watch it ---it being TNA, because WWE is too much of a struggle these days!!!!

2200 days ago
64.

JoeyBsmooth    

What in the world is this about . Mark has worked in teh biz a long time and to devalue this for him is sick.

2200 days ago
65.

Kid Klub    

This is rediculous. This all stems from a comment that Michael Hayes made that nobody has really expressed an opinion on except for Booker T, whom commented that Hayes has always thought of himself as a black man and said black things in a black way.

Mark Henry, as a black champion, helps with the program's black demographic. It increases ratings. In television, everything is about ratings. They gave him the ECW title, because his ring work is not good enough to hold the title on RAW or Smackdown.

Race might play a role, like I explained above, but this isn't journalism. This is jumping to conclusions.

2200 days ago
66.

Kid Klub    

And if the Cryme Tyme gimmick is racist, then so is the entire rap industry.

2200 days ago
67.

anon    

Condisering Michael Hayes was put on a 60 day suspension withoutout for saying he was more of a then him. Michael is the now ex smackdown head writer. Thats why he got the title.

2200 days ago
68.

anon    

my post was messed up. Michael P.S. Hayes who was smackdown head writer said to mark henry at wrestlemania after party that he was more of an N than him. Thats why michael hayes got suspended without pay for 60 days and mark got the title. He felt before it happened that he wasn't being pushed well.

2200 days ago
69.

Mickey    

To poster #51, I just looked it up. Dwayne Johnson IS Canadian on his father's side. Therefore, he is African-Canadian.

And to those using the word "fake." These people are going into the ring, risking their necks (Gregory Helms, a WWE wrestler, has been out for months with e legitimate neck injury). What they do in the ring is not fake, it's scripted. If it was fake, do you think that these people would need medical attention so much? In fact, especially in his rookie year, Mr. Henry was very prone to injury because he never got proper training. When he was in the Olympics, WWE sponsored him. The only reason WWE signed him was because of the publicity of him and fellow 1996 Olympian, Kurt Angle (1996 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling) gave the company (mostly focusing on Angle since Henry pulled out due to an injury), Vince McMahon is notorious for liking the larger wrestlers more than smaller ones. It was his (Henry) size that got him his contract.

Again, TMZ, like every paper tabloid, never checks its facts. Pay-Per-Views and regular TV shows are planned out MONTHS in advance. Mark Henry has had previous runs as a champion in the company.

2200 days ago
70.

Mickey    

To #47, you need to clarify your post/

RAW: Kofi Kingston won the WWE Intercontinental Championship on the same PPV Henry won his title (not mentioned in the article above). Ron Simmons is a retired wrestler and is used in comedy bits.

SMACKDOWN: Alicia Fox was a contestant on what is called a Diva Search contestant (where they hire a professional model via a questionable voting process from the fans). She is playing a Wedding Planner to advance a current storyline.

ECW: WWE believes that the Boogeyman gimmick gets old too quickly, and he is used sparingly (curently on the disabled list). Teddy Long, despite being listed on the roster, is the (storyline) General Manager of the ECW brand, and is not a wrestler. Mr. Long is a former manager and was a referee in both the National Wrestling Alliance and the early days of the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling.

2200 days ago
71.

FATASS KIM IS A RACIST    

this is just another black getting what they want for NO good reason- they play the race card at every chance-and 99% of the time it is just made up bs!! yet-idiots play into it and give them anything they want (even not guilty verdicts ie-o.j., m.jackson. and child rapist r. kelley) now this- this guy is the strongest man in the world? please- he is a FAT PIG that can barely move in the ring- all he does is sweat - he should be happy to have a job- he was a joke before and now he is just another black man using his race to get what he does not desevre- if i was black, i would be mad at idiots like this- when there really is a race issue, no one is going to takle it serious, if this crap keeps up!

2199 days ago
72.

booker t    

wreestling always been outs for blacks ,we need to leave the color alone and look at the inside of the man

2199 days ago
73.

JoeyBsmooth    

People like you prove that racism still is here and strong .

First Mark as won the Title of Word's Strongest Man more than once . Most of his time in WWE he was 17 % body fat , and before he hurt his knees he could dunk as basketball.

Next you want to talk about the few black people that have gotten off, I can write book are white people that have gotten off . I mean good God Stop bringing up OJ. You don't talk about Robert Blake and child rapist you mean like Jerry Lee Louis and Elvis both had relationships with 14 year old girls.

And Mark was not the one the played the race card. The person that called him a ****** was the one that played the race card. Moreover Mark was in the title hunt before this happen , and as been in the hunt off and on for years . And there is not proof even in this article that what happen with Hayes has anything to do with this.

You "sick of this" is the joke.

2198 days ago
74.

Dean    

How often do you see a black man hold any type of serious championship in the WWE? There is no doubt in my mind that Mark Henry has never won a serious championship is because he is black. However, I do not blame the WWE for its decsions. If anyone is to be blamed it is the fans. The majority of WWE fans are white, so the WWE is only doing what they feel will get the most ratings. Never have I saw the WWE fans get excited or happy whenever a black man wins a match, title or not. I feel the best way to see black men win more matches is if the fans send fan mail to the WWE and state your demands. If enough people do this, the WWE is sure to change things up.

2191 days ago
75.

brad    

Mark Henry is fat he doesn't look like a wrestler.

1233 days ago
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