Shane Helms Talks Final Days Of WCW, WWE Buying WCW, Early WWE Run, Rock & More
WrestlingINC: When you signed with WWE in 2001 were you nervous?
Helms: No, I knew if I could get out of that last Nitro with the Cruiserweight Title, I knew they would bring me up at least to lose the champion. I knew I had a chance to come in as the champion. I thought if anything - a WCW versus WWE - but they would have to have opportunities there so I thought as long as I retained that title, which I did. I thought I had a good chance of going and doing something.
My initial reservations were just about the name brand. I knew because of Shane McMahon that I might lose my name; I might not be able to be called Shane. I was worried because Triple H and Helmsley being so close to Helms. Obviously Helmsley's not his real name but I was worried that I might not get to do that either. That was the only reservation I had. I had full confidence that if they saw me they would like what I could do. I wasn't sure if they watched WCW. You always heard stuff that they did and I heard that Vince liked the 3 Count. I heard that while we were in WCW. I thought if they ever saw me they would see something.
WrestlingINC: So then you came in as "Hollywood" Greg Helms.
Helms: Yeah. I did "Sugar" Shane at the house shows. We did a couple house shows in the loop and it was mainly me, Kidman and Chavo going in three ways or stuff like that, just different tag matches. I know there was one where we kind of mixed it up. It was WCW on one side and WWE. I think it was me and Kidman against Tajiri and X-Pac or something like that. They kept them kind of like that. Once that debuted on TV it was only at TV that day that they told me I couldn't be "Sugar" Shane no more.
WrestlingINC: Did they come up with the Hollywood nickname or was that something you came up with?
Helms: Hell no, that wasn't something I came up with; they came up with it. It only was that first night. I don't think they even called me Hollywood but you could see it on the typetron in the background I believe.
WrestlingINC: You became The Hurricane almost immediately after that, right?
Helms: Oh yeah, on the plane ride home that night I was on the plane writing down every gimmick name I ever used and every one I could even think of. I knew Gregory Helms as a baby face and at that time I was. I need a moniker, I need a handle, I need a gimmick. I had just lost the title so now I got to start from scratch. They took a lot from me. It's really weird when I tell people.
I did have a fear there, that first night when they said, 'You can't be Shane. Since you're not Shane you're not going to do the Sugar thing.' 'Okay.' 'You can't do the Vertaebreaker anymore. They were terrified of that. I kind of did it a couple times later on, which they were just so worried about it that they kind of came down on me a little for doing it. I couldn't do my finishing moves therefore I couldn't use my entrance song because my entrance song was the Vertaebreaker; it was about the move. I'm not going to have the Sugar Babies with me. 'Oh, and you're going to lose the title tonight.' I was like, 'Damn, you just took it all from me.'
WrestlingINC: What was it like being in the locker room there at the beginning? It seemed like WWE lost money with angles left on the table and the WCW invasion was one where I thought they could make a ton of money. They dropped the ball on it.