“Hurricane” Shane Helms recently spoke with Raj Giri of WrestlingINC.com. Part two of the interview is below, you can check about part one where he spoke about his time in the business, being there when WWE purchased WCW, his time with WWE, working with The Rock and Steve Austin and much more at this link.
Also, make sure to download Helm’s app Shane Event at iTunes by clicking here.
WrestlingINC: After your feud with The Rock you were packaged with Rosie, the superhero in training. Who’s idea was that?
Helms: That was creative’s idea. That all happened because of the Spike TV move, when TNN became Spike. Spike was going to be the network for men and it was going to be this risque network and they were going to push the envelope on everything. That whole thing was just so we could say sh-t on TV every week. Honestly, as stupid as that sounds. That’s how the whole idea came out. We could say sh-t on TV every week and Spike was going to be cutting edge. As history showed us, Spike wasn’t as cutting edge as they said they were going to be so we started to get some flak for saying sh-t. I don’t know if we even said it too much; we may have said it once or twice.
That was creative’s idea. We were going to be the show Lost – Hurley and Charlie. That was me and Rosie. It was going to be that I was going to have this guy stumbling around and somehow make a superhero out of him. It was cool. It was funny. I had a lot of fun. The hard part was sometimes they would forget that the guy’s a 350 pound Samoan and creative would say, ‘We’ll beat him up [by the heels].’ Dude, this guy will beat your ass if you’re not careful. That was the only tough part, just having to remind creative sometimes. They wanted to do stuff, you know when you’re over as a baby face they try to use you to get cheap heat for heels that can’t get heat themselves. That has a plus and negative connotation to it.
It’s one thing going out and beating up the Hurricane because I’m a little guy, well little by wrestling standards. This is a 350 pound Samoan. He could kill both these guys. You do know that right? That would look a little ridiculous. That was one of the few titles I won that I felt where we deserved it and we really won something when we became tag champions. We were the best team in that company, not that they had a massive interest in tag teams but we deserved it, we worked for it.
When we came to the curtain with those belts the whole locker room was there congratulating us. That never happens anymore; you never see that anymore. Titles have been so diminished in the last decade that it’s just like, ‘Yeah, whatever. Everybody’s going to get a belt at some point.’ We deserved it though. Like I said, when we came through the curtain literally the whole locker room was there congratulating us.
WrestlingINC: It was strange to me that they didn’t more with the cruiserweight title. You look at MMA, you have a lot of huge stars that aren’t heavyweights and light heavyweights.
Helms: That’s just a throwback to the Muscle Mark days. There’s still so many guys in control up there. Muscle Mark is just a name we gave them, they’re just a mark for guys with muscles and sh-t like that. You’re exactly right. Some of the biggest guys in boxing now, Mayweather, Pacquiao…
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.
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.
The talent there wasn’t as high as it should have been. It was kind of like just above an FCW or OVW. They were just bringing new guys all the time. Some of them looked like they still just belonged on the indies. Some of the guys I really liked as people but out there performing it was like, ‘This isn’t good TV.’ I didn’t like being on a show that wasn’t good. I thought the stuff that me and Paul Burchill did was pretty good.
WrestlingINC: You defeated Paul Burchill in the mask versus career match and it seemed like you were off TV at that point, even though you won.
Helms: He came back then in a mask. I can’t even remember what the hell happened. It was something. I wanted to go down to Smackdown. I thought he was going to RAW. I didn’t want to be on RAW; I wanted to be on Smackdown. The fight with [Chris] Jericho happened and I’d already talked to Johnny [Ace]; my contract was up that July anyway. I talked to Johnny and said, ‘I need to step away if I’m going to be on this show.’ I didn’t know what NXT was or how that was going to go down. I just thought I was going to be stuck on ECW for the remainder of my life. I talked about maybe going overseas or something like that, getting a different pace.
WrestlingINC: It seemed like the Jericho thing was just a drunken fight.
Helms: Yeah, it wasn’t even a fight. It was like two drunken guys being idiots. It’s one of those things where it’s not necessarily in the spirit of the law. I got great friends in law enforcement so I’ve asked them, ‘When you see a guy drunk do you have to arrest him?’ ‘No, you don’t have to.’ It’s one of those things where if he’s a danger to himself or some sh-t like that then yeah. If he’s falling down in the street about to get run over, that’s what the laws for. If you get drunk at a bar and you don’t want to drive home so you decide to walk home, they could arrest you for that too. It’s one of those laws that can be abused. I’m not saying it was abused in this case. We were just being idiots – nobody was hurt; nothing really happened. It was just something stupid.
We laughed about it. We didn’t even know we were in trouble. Me and Chris had signed autographs and took pictures with all these cops. We didn’t even know we were arrested really. They all pulled out their cell phones and we were taking pictures with them. I was looking at Chris like, ‘Are we arrested?’ and he’s like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know what the f-ck’s going on.’ It was really silly.
WrestlingINC: Once the details came out it didn’t seem like a big deal at all.
Helms: They tried to blow it up because Matt [Hardy] was there and they said that Matt ran away. No, it was over and everybody left. Nobody was running away; it was just over. I tried to walk to the hotel but I was pretty drunk. I realized I didn’t know where the hell I was at. I would have just kept walking but I was lost.
WrestlingINC: Did that arrest lead to your release from WWE?
Helms: Because TMZ picked it up and tried to make a big deal out of nothing – it was just a lot of bad publicity. It’s a publicly traded company so you can’t have that sort of sh-t going on even though it’s nothing. It’s not something you want your athletes or superstars to be known for. Somebody needed a slap on the wrist and I was the low man on the totem pole. Like I said it kind of worked out. When Johnny called me I could tell he didn’t want to let me go. I’d known him since WCW.
It wasn’t one of those things where I was like, ‘Please don’t do it. I was like okay.’ I’d been there for 10 years at that point. I need to do something else. I didn’t want to quit wrestling. I didn’t ever want to turn my back on wrestling. I wanted to wrestle; I just need to get away from that environment. I was really unhappy on the ECW show. It wasn’t the Varsity team. I don’t want to say I was being held back because I’m on TV and getting opportunities but at the same time I knew I could be doing more.
WrestlingINC: You said you wanted to go to Smackdown. Why is that?
Helms: The politics on RAW were a lot worse than on Smackdown. Smackdown’s always been much better because of certain individuals.
WrestlingINC: Triple H is being put in position to take over the company. Do you think that will be a good or bad thing?
Helms: I think he’s got a great mind for the business. I just don’t think the business is as one dimensional as it used to be, where you can have that one person calling all the shots. You need to have a creative team and it has to be a team of great minds, not just one guy. You raise the bar, you raise the bar. You can’t just lower it back to the standards of the ’80s or whatever.
WrestlingINC: What are your thoughts on TNA?
Helms: I still like TNA. I still watch everything. Follow my Twitter – I talk about TNA when I watch it, WWE. I still like it. It’s just like WWE. There’s some sh-t I like, some sh-t I don’t, some sh-t I don’t understand and some sh-t I think is awesome. I like what they do with the girls. They give the girls a lot more attention than WWE does. At the same time their girls are a little more talented.
WrestlingINC: I know you’re an MMA fan, what are your thoughts on the UFC? I think there’s a lot of things the UFC is doing that wrestling could learn from.
Helms: What MMA is doing – they copied the whole marketing program. Their whole marketing program is modeled after WWE. Dana White and Vince’s relationship is, I think, a lot closer than people realize. I totally agree with you. The titles should mean something way more. That’s one thing I detest, how the titles have diminished. They’re our Oscars, Emmys, Academy Awards. You should only get those if you’re the best in the world.
It was fun being the European champion but I know they gave that belt just to help me get over. I could have gotten over without that. When I was the Cruiserweight champion I deserved that. I was the best cruiserweight in the world. When me and Rosie won those tag team titles, we deserved them at the time. There are just so many guys that get titles and they give them just to help that guy get over. I can see you doing that with the European title but not the world heavyweight title and stuff like that.
WrestlingINC: I remember them changing the world title like 5-6 times in a four month span.
Helms: Yeah the most valuable belt in the MMA right now is Anderson Silva’s belt. That’s the most sought after belt because he held it so long.
WrestlingINC: You got in that bad motorcycle accident last year with your girlfriend. How are you recovering?
Helms: I actually just had my last surgery this past Tuesday. I was back in the gym on Friday.
WrestlingINC: How are you feeling?
Helms: It’s coming back together. I still got a ways to go. I’m still in the big medical boot. I can’t rush it but at the same time I’m ready to get back doing what I do. I had a lot of offers I had to turn down, a lot of money that I lost and stuff like that.
WrestlingINC: Did your girlfriend fully recover?
Helms: She actually didn’t get hurt in the accident. She had got in a wreck a couple weeks before so her injury was from the wreck before. She had the tiniest scratch on the back of her calf. Trust me, it’s my fault and I take full responsibility. I’m not trying to pass the blame on anything. It’s the biggest miracle in the world. I always joked with her, ‘If you’re around me don’t worry. If anything happens it’s going to happen to me.’ That’s always been my joke but luckily she walked out with barely a scratch. She had the wind knocked out of her pretty good.
The witnesses that saw the accident said I reached back and grabbed and tucked her under my arm. When we crashed we went to the side and the motorcycle landed on my foot and she actually bounced off me.
WrestlingINC: It’s wild how that stuff can happen.
Helms: Yeah, I’m thankful every day that nothing happened to her. If anything seriously would have happened to her I wouldn’t have been able to live with that. I mean that. I wouldn’t have been able to live with it.
WrestlingINC: There was the benefit show last year for you. What was that experience like?
Helms: It was really emotional for me. I didn’t know what to expect. It’s a great thing to be admired by your peers and be respected and loved by people like that. It’s even more when it’s people like, if you look at Ric Flair – this is a guy that I looked up to as a kid from North Carolina and tried to be a pro wrestler. To have him go out there and say the things he said, the respect and love they showed me. Him and Mick putting their differences aside just to help me out – I hope that shows fans what kind of person I am. It’s easy to confuse Hurricane with Shane Helms. I hope that shows people who Shane Helms really is and I can inspire people to do that. It was cool. It was so emotional. Mick is really funny; I hope he goes far and continues his comedy career because he’s really funny. It was a great night.
I have to wait until my legal stuff is over and done to do the PSA. If anybody knows anything about the legal system, it’s just dragging on through no fault of my own. If it was up to me this would have already been done. I’m just sitting around waiting for that to happen. The benefit show was awesome. I didn’t want to take the money and put it towards my medical bills. That was why I decided I wanted to do the PSA even though the medical bills are astronomical. I just know the economy sucks and people wanted to help. I’ve done a lot for a lot of people so them willing to help me – I don’t see anything wrong with that. I just felt that maybe instead of taking money for myself I can use it and try to do something to help other people as well. That’s what I wanted to do.
WrestlingINC: So you think you’ll be able to start wrestling again?
Helms: I believe so. I’m actually booked for a show in Manila on February 4th. That’s going to be a real testing thing for me. I’ll see from that. I only have signings and appearances booked. I haven’t taken any matches except for this one. The money was too good to turn down. I’ll see what I can do. Hurting or not, I always did the best I could. I’m just going to try to do that. That’ll be a good gauge though.
WrestlingINC: Do you think you’ll be able to get into the ring on a more regular schedule? Do you think that will happen this year?
Helms: Yeah, I think so – hopefully by midyear. I should be – I’m not going to say 100% – but I think I’ll be good. I think 80% of the Hurricane is better than 100% of other guys, modesty aside.
WrestlingINC: Do you think you’ll be able to come back 100%?
Helms: Yeah, the doctors seem to think so. They reconstructed my foot pretty good. I got four plates and 22 screws.
WrestlingINC: Where do you see yourself ending up ideally?
Helms: I don’t know. I’m still in a contract with Lucha Libre USA. I think they have a great product and I’m hoping they get their TV schedule with MTV. I don’t know if there’s any life left with that network at all. They have a really good product, especially with fans wanting something different. It’s definitely something different. I hope they get their stuff together. I know they got a big tour coming up in March or April. I’ll be making appearances with them still and stuff like that.
I’m looking to get my H2H back up and running. It was a big hit on iTunes. I had 600,000 downloads in four months. iTunes is pretty happy with me. They appreciated that traffic. I was actually starting to get sponsorship offers from that and it was really taking off. Me getting paid to talk sh-t. I want to get back to doing that and get back in the ring a couple times a month. I couldn’t do a full-time schedule anymore I don’t think. I gave 20 years of my life to this business and it took all 20 of them.
WrestlingINC: Did you have anything else you wanted to say to your fans?
Helms: No, man just thanks everybody who follows me and all. I got into it because I loved wrestling and I love entertaining people. Thanks everybody that follows me and my career. Keep doing it. My Twitter is @ShaneHelmsCom. My website is ShaneHelms.com. I keep everything easy to remember. Don’t drink and drive. Please don’t do that.
Once again, make sure to check out part one of the interview where Helms spoke about his time in the business, being there when WWE purchased WCW, his time with WWE, working with The Rock and Steve Austin and much more at this link. Also, make sure to download Helm’s app Shane Event at iTunes by clicking here.