Shane Helms Talks WWE Departure, Final Talk With Benoit, His Accident & Much More
WrestlingINC: How bad was your neck? Did you fully recover from it?
Helms: I had a couple fractures. It was broke for like four months before we even diagnosed what it was. Sometimes when you get a spinal injury you don't feel it where it hurts. My back was aching and my arms would ache. I had all these different aches and we would go and get x-rays and sh-t and it looks fine. My damage was more to my spinal cord. Dr. Youngblood did all of us and said mine was one of the worst he'd ever seen. My spinal cord was almost going to be severed. When you sever your spinal cord you wither die or you're paralyzed.
WrestlingINC: So it seems like they caught it right on time.
Helms: Yeah. Once they found out how bad it was I couldn't even do a story. There was no storyline where somebody attacks me in the back or sh-t like that. They couldn't risk me getting hit at all. They were worried about the plane flight to Texas; they were worried about that - turbulence and landing. It was pretty scary.
WrestlingINC: You were out for over a year, right?
Helms: 18 months because I didn't have just bone damage. So many guys had just the bone damage. I had the spinal and nerve damage. Nerves heal so slowly. They heal slower than like anything else in the body. It just took forever to get it right. With every beat of your heart, my elbows would be on fire. That was like months after the surgery. It was a very painful thing to deal with.
WrestlingINC: Do you feel you came back at the right time?
Helms: I still needed time to recalibrate. I told them too. I came back; I was doing the backstage sh-t and I was like, 'Let me know a month in advance so I can go and bump.' I couldn't just go and be bumping every week in a ring for a match that may or may not happen, fresh off a neck surgery, not fresh but relatively fresh. I can't just go back and bump for no reason. I only got so many bumps left in me. I asked them to give me a month's notice or so and let me get my head right before you put me back in the ring. They told me at like 3 o'clock that day. I hadn't been in a match in 18 months and at 3 o'clock that afternoon I had to somehow put it all back together and get ready.
WrestlingINC: It seems like when people come back too early from a surgery, it diminishes the return.
Helms: I wish I had a chance to do a couple house show loops to get back ready. It's amazing that sometimes creative and the office forget how hard this stuff can be. If it was easy everybody would go out there and be great. Obviously you can watch any product and tell that not everybody's great. It's hard to be great. You can't just throw a guy, regardless of who it is, whether it was Ric Flair or some of the greatest in all time. If they haven't done sh-t in 18 months you can't just go and throw them out there. You might get something good - and my return was decent. It wasn't bad. It was just one of those things where the office sometimes forgets how hard this sh-t is.
WrestlingINC: You were part of the ECW brand. What were your thoughts on that?
Helms: I wasn't a fan of it. I thought it was something that had ran its course. Like I said earlier if you watch a show and none of the guys that you like are on the show anymore, it's not really the same show. It was ECW only in name. It wasn't the spirit of ECW. There was nothing extreme about it at all. All of us were handcuffed because it was filmed before Smackdown. They don't want us to go out there and steal the show because you had another hour and a half television to record after this. You can't go out there and just tear the house down on ECW every time because you still got to record Smackdown. We were all really handcuffed.