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.
In October 1992, the duo began wrestling for World Championship Wrestling, 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.
In mid-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. 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, 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.
In 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. Eventually she 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 April 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.
In 1998, Canterbury entered the Brawl for All, a shoot-fighting tournament held by the WWF. He lost in the first round to Bradshaw.
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. 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 1997.
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. 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.
Canterbury 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, Mark 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 is litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE.Finishing moves
Slop Drop / Problem Solver (Reverse DDT)
Diving knee drop
Standing wheelbarrow facebuster
With Cousin Ray
Country Thunder (Pumphandle slam by Godwinn followed by a diving splash by Ray)
With Phineas I. Godwinn
Double Slop Drop (Double inverted DDT)
International Championship Wrestling Alliance
ICWA Tag Team Championship (1 Time) – with Crash The Terminator
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI ranked him #106 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1996
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Worst Tag Team (1996, 1997) with Phineas I. Godwinn
World Wrestling Federation
WWF Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Phineas I. Godwinn
Slammy Award (1 time)
Most Smelliest (1994) – Tied with Duke Droese