Shane Helms Talks WWE Departure, Final Talk With Benoit, His Accident & Much More
Helms: If you take Brock [Lesnar] out of MMA, which he is gone now, then the biggest stars are the smaller guys. Georges St-Pierre, Urijah Faber, BJ Penn, Anderson Silva.
WrestlingINC: WWE would always do weird booking things with smaller guys that are over, like with Mysterio. They'd have Big Show just squash him where it didn't really do anything to help either guy since people would expect that anyway. There's just a lost opportunity with a lot of the smaller guys.
Helms: There was so much they could have done with it [cruiserweight title]. My last run with it they were really starting to do some stuff with it. There was a real good run there. At least me, as a champion, I was on TV with my belt every week. That was major because before that most people can't even remember the two or three champions before me. They remember I had it for a year and a half or whatever. It's got to be shown. When I do promos I would always say how I thought that belt was so important and stuff like that. We just needed more talent. We needed more talent than we had because I was just wrestling the same couple of guys all the time. I was suggesting at that time a couple of guys that I thought were really talented in the indies. They don't want to bring anybody except people out of developmental. 'Nobody knows these guys. These are guys that people already know.' It was an uphill battle.
WrestlingINC: They did book you in the Champion vs. Champion match with Chris Benoit.
Helms: I did Champion vs. Champion against him. I did Champion vs. Champion against Rey and against Batista. I was in quite a few of those.
WrestlingINC: Were you close with Benoit?
Helms: Yeah, very close.
WrestlingINC: You were out injured when the whole tragedy happened.
Helms: Yeah. We were locker room close when I was there. We didn't call each on the phone or anything. We were just locker room close and stuff like that. Once my neck broke he was probably the one guy that just called me all the time. He'd been through it and he knew what it was like. We had talked for an hour or so the Thursday before everything happened. I heard different times, Friday or Saturday, but Thursday night we had a couple good conversations. He actually called me twice that night. That's always been weird that I was one of the last that he talked to.
WrestlingINC: Could you sense anything being off?
Helms: No he actually… it's a very weird story. He's one of those guys that doesn't talk a lot but when he starts talking he'll go for an hour once you get him out of that shell. He was just a quiet, reserved guy. We'd been talking about whatever and like I said this conversation was probably an hour or so. Then we got off the phone and he called me right back. He had been putting his son to bed and was saying his prayers with him. I could tell he was kind of choked up. His son liked the Hurricane a lot. Obviously it was a kid friendly gimmick. His son had said, 'Please take care of Hurricane's neck,' and Chris got kind of choked up by that and wanted to call me and tell me. It chokes me up a little reliving our conversation. He's a sweet guy and what happened, happened. To this day I just can't fully wrap my head around it.