WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry was recently a guest on Chris Jericho’s podcast, Talk Is Jericho, where they discussed, among other things, WWE’s most prestigious arena and spiritual home, Madison Square Garden. That is, until Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling take over the arena next WrestleMania season in the first non-WWE wrestling show to take place at the arena, ever. That’s 58 years. Mental. Anyway, Jericho and Henry spoke about their experiences at the arena, with the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ recalling three in particular.
“There are some things that make it special; but, there are also some things that are not so special about it. So, George ‘The Animal’ Steele was standing by a monitor in the back….I was like, ‘Mr. Steele, you want me to get you a chair?’ He was like, ‘Nah nah.’ I said, ‘No no, I’m gonna get you a chair. You don’t need to stand up.’ So I go get these two chairs, two folding chairs. I walk down the hallway and the guy’s like, ‘Woah woah, you gotta stop!’ I was like, ‘Man are you serious?’ He was like, ‘You can’t carry those. You gotta give me that. I’ll get fired.’ I was like, ‘What?’ He was like, ‘No no, you’re not allowed to move furniture in this building. That’s our job. We have to do that. I’ll have to go get somebody. That’s what they do.’ I was like, ‘Get the hell out of here. He’s 50 feet that way.’ The guy stood in front of me with his arms out. He said, ‘Sir, no no.’ He would not let me move those damn folding chairs. Jimmy Korderas came out. He used to put the ring up. He was saying how it was the same thing. They had a guy that came in and put the metal structure up. Then they had to call a group of people to do the carpentry. They would put the boards and carpet on. Then they had to call somebody else to put the ropes on. It takes all day to put together the Garden to do a show because of the union and it sucks.”
On top of this, Henry recounted a harrowing story of when he, Rock ‘The Dwayne’ Johnson and D-Lo Brown attempted to leave the parking lot of MSG:
“We’re in the Nation. Me, The Rock, D-Lo are going – Dwayne of course was like, ‘Hey guys, you gotta pull the car right up to the entrance because if I come out, it’s gonna ridiculous, it’s gonna be a s*** show.’ I say, ‘Alright Rock.’ Me and D-Lo, we go across the street. D-Lo gets hit in the face with a piece of pizza. That was the light of the s*** they were throwing at us. So we get in the car and we whip out of the thing and Dwayne is supposed to run, throw his bag in, get in the backseat and we drive off like we own the place. Dwayne throws his bag in, gets in the car, the window goes out, somebody busted the window out. They started beating the car. They totaled the car with their hands. They totaled a Lincoln Town car with beating on it with their hands. We got back and they said, ‘This car is totaled.’ They had mashed the hood in so much that it broke the carburetor. I don’t know how we made it to the airport. By the grace of God we made it to the airport and the car wouldn’t start after that.”
Apparently the pressure of performing at the Garden affects everyone, even one of the best promos in the history of WWE, The Rock.
“At the Garden is the only time I ever seen him shook. That was the only time I ever saw him not be sure of himself because The Rock was always sure of himself; but, Dwayne got mixed up in The Rock that day. He wasn’t as sure as he had been and I remember looking at D-Lo, ‘Did you see this?’ He’s like, ‘He said that already.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, he said that already.’ He had said something and said the exact same thing right after. I remember coming to the back and he was cussing at himself. I was like, ‘Aww man don’t worry about it. It’s the Garden. Everybody messes up every now and then.’ He was like, ‘I don’t mess up.’ He was so pissed at himself; but, The Garden gets everybody. Nobody’s exempt.”
Jericho then added that Vince McMahon views MSG as a testing ground for what will get over with fans nationally. If this is the majority of the pressure applied to the WWE performers, then hopefully when ROH and NJPW come to the arena in April 2019 the same pressures won’t be affecting those wrestlers. Just the small other pressure of being the only non-WWE show at MSG ever which could potentially change the wrestling landscape. No pressure at all.
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