Henry O. Godwinn

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Henry O. Godwinn
Canterbury in 1995
Birth nameMark Canterbury
Born (1964-03-16) March 16, 1964 (age 60)[1]
Washington, D.C., U.S.[2]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Henry O. Godwinn
Mark Canterbury
Master Blaster[3]
Shanghai Pierce[1]
Billed height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[3]
Billed weight293 lb (133 kg)[3]
Billed fromAmarillo, Texas
(as Shanghai Pierce)
"Bitters, Arkansas"
(as Henry O. Godwinn)
Trained byGeorge South[1]
The Italian Stallion[1]

Mark Canterbury (born March 16, 1964) is an American retired professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) in the mid to late 1990s under the ring name Henry O. Godwinn.[4] He is also known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling in the early 1990s as Shanghai Pierce.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (1989–1992)[edit]

Canterbury trained under George South and The Italian Stallion before debuting in 1989 under the ring name "Mean" Mark Canterbury. He quickly formed a tag team with Dennis Knight wrestling under the name Tex Slazenger.

World Championship Wrestling (1992–1994)[edit]

In October 1992, the duo began wrestling for World Championship Wrestling,[5] with Canterbury adopting the ring name "Shanghai Pierce". Dusty Rhodes suggested that Canterbury wear a mask because Canterbury's good looks could make him too likable for the heel tag team. They remained with the promotion until 1994, with Pierce forced to unmask on the January 29 edition of WCW Saturday Night after losing to Johnny B. Badd.

World Wrestling Federation (1994–1998)[edit]

Singles competition (1994–1995)[edit]

In November 1994, Canterbury joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where he was renamed "Henry Orpheus Godwinn" (the initials spelling "H.O.G."; his middle name "Orpheus" was never said on television) and given the gimmick of an Arkansan pig farmer who carried a bucket of "slop" to the ring, which he would throw upon his opponents. Canterbury was originally a heel, and assisted the Million Dollar Corporation on several occasions.[6] When the leader of the Corporation, Ted DiBiase, was asked on an episode of WWF Action Zone whether or not Canterbury was a member of the Corporation, DiBiase insulted Canterbury. This inspired Canterbury to turn face by "slopping" DiBiase,[7] and led to a brief feud between Canterbury and Corporation member Sycho Sid.

Godwinn engaged in a feud with the aristocratic Hunter Hearst Helmsley. The feud culminated in December 1995 in an "Arkansas Hog Pen match" that Helmsley won and after which Godwinn tossed Helmsley into the slop.[8]

The Godwinns and Southern Justice (1996–1998)[edit]

In January 1996, Canterbury was reunited with Knight, who had been renamed Phineas I. Godwinn. The duo were portrayed as being cousins (later brothers) and were collectively known as "The Godwinns". The two were faces and were managed by Hillbilly Jim. They began to feud with the Body Donnas with Phineas having a crush on Sunny and signed her as their manager. They would beat the Body Donnas for the WWF Tag Team Championships. Eventually Sunny turned on them costing them their titles. The Godwinns feuded with the now heel Smoking Gunns, in losing efforts. In 1997, the Godwinns began a heel turn dropping Hillbilly Jim as a manager and picking up Uncle Cletus. The Godwinns quickly won the tag titles a second time from The Headbangers and began a heated feud with the Legion of Doom, which saw the team attempt to break Road Warrior Hawk's neck. They eventually dropped the titles to LOD in a match on WWF Monday Night Raw that had LOD's career on the line. Soon after that match they attacked and fired Cletus.

In 1997, in a rematch between The Godwinns and the Legion of Doom, Canterbury cracked his C7 vertebra when he fell on his head after taking the Doomsday Device. He was advised by doctors to rest for fifteen weeks, but returned to the ring in less than eight weeks.[4]

In 1998, Canterbury entered the Brawl for All, a shoot-fighting tournament held by the WWF. He lost in the first round to Bradshaw.[9]

Later that year, the Godwinns dropped their pig farmer gimmicks, now going by their real names and wearing sharp suits under the name "Southern Justice", the bodyguards of Tennessee Lee and Jeff Jarrett.[10] Six months later, Canterbury herniated his C7 vertebra and pinched a spinal nerve, necessitating spinal fusion surgery. This came as a result of him returning to the ring too early after his neck injury. He eventually left the WWF and retired, due to the neck injury suffered in September 1998.[4]

Return to WWE (2006–2007)[edit]

Deep South Wrestling (2006–2007)[edit]

In September 2006, Canterbury wrestled several tryout matches with World Wrestling Entertainment. On September 15, 2006, WWE announced that he had been signed to a contract.[4] He debuted in Deep South Wrestling on November 30 as a tag partner for Ray Gordy. Gordy was known as Cousin Ray and they both reformed The Godwinns. Since both Gordy and Drew Hankinson went to the SmackDown brand, however, Godwinn's role remained uncertain.

On May 19, 2007, the Wrestling Observer reported that Canterbury had been released from his developmental contract.[11]

Survivor Series (2020)[edit]

On November 22, 2020, Canterbury returned to WWE together with Phineas I. Godwinn as The Godwinns, to take part in The Undertaker's retirement ceremony at Survivor Series. Several other members of the Bone Street Krew also appeared to pay tribute.

Independent Circuit (2009–2010)[edit]

After a two-year hiatus from wrestling, Canterbury returned to wrestling as Shanghai Pierce in 2009. He lost to Jimmy Valiant on March 7, 2009, at Bruiser Wrestling Federation in Farmville, Virginia. On July 25, 2010, he teamed with Frank Parker as they lost to Reid Flair and Ricky Morton for SSW WrestleFest 2010 in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Return to Wrestling (2017–2022)[edit]

As Henry O. Godwinn, Canterbury made appearances wrestling for the IWC (International Wrestling Cartel) in the mid-summer of 2021. He wrestled on September 5, 2021, against Chase Gold and Ella Shae with a random tag team partner in Elizabeth, PA at their Unbreakable event.

Personal life[edit]

Canterbury lives in Monroe County, West Virginia, and has two sons, named Shane and Jordan. Jordan was accidentally shot by a high school friend and died on October 31, 2003, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. On November 9, 2011, Canterbury suffered two punctured lungs, thirteen broken ribs and a broken leg in a car accident.

In July 2016, Canterbury was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE.[12] US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant dismissed the case in September 2018.[13]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Henry Godwinn profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
  2. ^ Alvey, Tina (November 29, 2015). "Former pro wrestler reflects on 21-year career". Beckley Register-Herald. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Henry O. Godwinn". Cage Match. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d WWE. "O Henry!". Retrieved April 17, 2007.
  5. ^ Graham Cawthon. "WCW Show Results 1992". Retrieved April 16, 2007. (November, 1992) Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce defeated Ricky Nelson & the Italian Stallion at 4:17 when Slazenger pinned Nelson with a reverse DDT
  6. ^ Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1995". Retrieved April 16, 2007. (June 26, 1995) Lex Luger & Davey Boy Smith defeated Henry Godwinn & Tatanka (w/ Ted Dibiase) at 5:49
  7. ^ Graham Cawthon. "WWF Show Results 1995". Retrieved April 16, 2007. (August 15, 1995) Henry Godwinn pinned AC Conner at 2:20 with the Slop Drop; late in the bout, DiBiase appeared in the aisle; after the match, King Kong Bundy came out and attacked Godwinn from behind and held him for DiBiase to slop but Godwinn moved and accidentally slopped Bundy
  8. ^ prowrestlinghistory.com. "WWF In Your House Results (5)". Retrieved April 16, 2007.
  9. ^ prowrestlinghistory.com. "WWF Brawl For All Tournament". Retrieved April 16, 2007.
  10. ^ Cawthon, Graham. "WWF Show Results 1998". Retrieved April 16, 2007. (June 1, 1998) Jeff Jarrett (w/ Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice) pinned Farooq after hitting him with Lee's belt buckle as Southern Justice distracted the referee; prior to the bout Tennessee Lee introduced the repackaged Godwinns as Southern Justice
  11. ^ "Henry Godwinn released (9)". www.wrestling-news.com. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2007.
  12. ^ "WWE sued in wrestler class action lawsuit featuring Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, Paul 'Mr Wonderful' Orndorff". FoxSports.com. Fox Entertainment Group (21st Century Fox). July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  13. ^ Robinson, Byron (September 22, 2018). "Piledriver: WWE uses 'Hell in a Cell' as springboard to future shows". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  14. ^ "Matches « Henry O. Godwinn « Wrestlers Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". Archived from the original on June 5, 2016.
  15. ^ Henry O. Godwinn Cagematch.net retrieved October 6, 2019

External links[edit]