WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry recently spoke with TMZ Sports about Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Title. Henry was asked if it's a big deal for the business that Kofi is the first African-born WWE Champion. The World's Strongest Man said it's very significant because Kofi is inspiring the next generation of young black wrestlers.
"It's very significant," Henry said. "I said it best from Ron Simmons to myself, it was a 15 year period of black champions, with me and Booker T and The Rock and Ron Simmons, in that time-frame. 15 years from now there might be another 2 or 3 black wrestlers that come into the industry and they were inspired by Kofi Kingston.
"So, it's a wonderful thing to have representation and it's also a powerful thing to be able to see somebody that looks like you and have them tell you, first-hand, the struggle and what it took to get there. And I think it'll be balanced and great for the sport of wrestling, not from just a color standpoint but from an exposure standpoint. We need to have our kids exposed to seeing great talents like Kofi Kingston."
Henry was also asked if WWE has a diversity problem.
"I don't think they have a diversity problem," Henry said. "I think they have an alarming rate of guys that turn over and guys don't always get to stay for 24 years like I have. Kofi Kingston has been there for 11 years. It's starting to get there but it takes time, but somebody had to do it. I'm glad that I'm one of those people that have been able to do it. It's becoming more common place. There's a photo that all the African American talents that were at the WWE party, took a picture together. There were like 20 people in this picture. When I came into wrestling there were 3 black people in the company. There is growth, there is a future for the African American in pro wrestling, and I want to be a part of that as much as I can."
Below is the photo that Henry was referring to, posted by JTG and Keith Lee:
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#KofiMania #Wrestlemania #CrymeTyme #CanYouDigItSucka #WorldsStrongestMan #Almighty #ByronSaxton #NewDay #UUDD #CedricAlexander #GoGoACH #StreetProfits #BaskInMyGlory #iAmLimitless I wish I knew all the handles so I could tag everyone. What a time. Congrats are in continued order for Kofi!