It’s been almost 20 years since legendary pro wrestling stable D-Generation X mocked their rivals in the Nation of Domination during a skit on Monday Night Raw. The skit saw wrestler Sean “X-Pac” Waltman impersonate Nation member Mark Henry as “Mizark Henry” while wearing blackface and playing off racist stereotypes. It’s worth noting that, in the feud, D-Generation X were considered the “good guys.”
Speaking with Uproxx about the twentieth anniversary of DC, Waltman named the blackface skit as the one thing he regrets about his run:
“Actually the only thing that I can honestly say I really regret now is the blackface thing. I did not understand. Here’s the thing: I consider myself pretty well, for somebody that didn’t go to high school, pretty well educated. I know a lot of things, but I never saw an actual minstrel show, blackface thing. Recently, I saw something about it and I was horrified, horrified at how mean-spirited all that stuff was. I look at it way different now.”
Waltman goes on to discuss the concern he had prior to the event and talking about it with his opponents (a story corroborated by the Nation members on a recent episode of WWE’s Table For 3):
I don’t remember if it was you or someone else, talking about how D-Generation X and the Nation of Domination guys were going over it backstage and they were giving you tips on how to impersonate them before that segment.
Or is that not entirely accurate?
No. Not entirely accurate, but they were just fine with it. If you watch Table for 3 with Godfather, Mark Henry, and Ron Simmons, Mark even says, “Oh, you know, X-Pac even came back, didn’t want to do it because he was afraid of backlash and all that.” I did. I was not happy about doing that. Everyone will tell you that.
When you guys were going over it with them, did they know you were gonna be in blackface at that point?
You were backstage in blackface talking to them about it?
Kind of. Yeah. There’s no confusion there on what was going on.
As an industry, pro wrestling has a long history of exploiting racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia to work crowds, so it’s no surprise that pro wrestlers like Mark Henry would be more permissive of blatantly offensive material. However, that’s not to say that Henry has never drawn a line in the sand. In a 2014 Huffington Post Live appearance, Henry said he shut down WWE’s short-lived “Silverback” gimmick:
“A lot of people remember the Silverback thing. Honestly, I could not do it. I told them: ‘I can’t do that. I got two little black kids at home.'”