On today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman welcomed Shane Helms onto the podcast. Helms was furloughed by WWE earlier this year as part of cost-cutting measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he confirmed on the podcast that he is still on furlough.
“Yeah, I guess it’s a furloughing, until I go back. To me, it’s the same thing as being released if I go back or whatever,” Helms stated. “April 15, Tax Day, of course, always sucks but it wasn’t anything that was unexpected for me anyway. Kind of made sense since I was sitting at home doing nothing, but I’ve been podcasting for a long time myself dating all the way back to 2010. I was just having this discussion with a friend of mine. I was live streaming back in 2010.”
In Helms nearly twenty year history with WWE he has been both an in-ring talent and backstage producer. He discussed how his interactions with Vince McMahon have changed over the years and how it differs when Vince deals with talent as opposed to producers.
“My interactions are very similar but just what he expects from a producer is different from talent,” Helms noted. “That was a different, unique challenge for me because as a talent, he wants you to go in there, be bold [and] tell him, ‘hey, this sucks and all of that.’ As a producer, not so much. As a producer, he wants the ‘OK, yes sir! I’ll go try and make this s–t happen.’ I’m still that guy that goes, ‘this sucks.’ That might be why my ass is still furloughed too.
“Just throwing that out of there, being honest about everything, but for him, he still is all about the business. He’s still all about going forward, building the brand. During this whole COVID era, he wasn’t going to sit back and just let things happen, look into the future. He’s just a visionary guy. The hardest-working human beings, at least one of the hardest-working. I don’t know how he doesn’t sleep. It’s just amazing.
“All of those stories are absolutely true, and there were several times back when I had a suggestion and he tweaked it. And I was like, ‘OK, I want to see how that goes,’ and then he would be absolutely correct. It’s real easy, because he is the main guy, to lump all that negativity toward him and not all of his ideas have been good. Nobody has, but still, to this day, there’s still a lot of knowledge there.”
Helms gave an example of an idea of his that was tweaked. He talked about Kofi Kingston’s rise after replacing Mustafa Ali in the SmackDown gauntlet match and heading into Elimination Chamber against WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Helms revealed that he and Bryan had an idea of involving Rowan and the rest of The New Day in that match, but McMahon changed it to only have Bryan and Kingston one-on-one.
“It was on the rise of Kofi. It might have been Elimination Chamber, and it was going to come down to Daniel and Kofi,” Helms recalled. “And I know I had an idea and so did Daniel about involving Rowan [and] New Day to bring up all of these extra added elements to the Elimination Chamber. And Vince was like, ‘no, it needs to come down to them.
“Just them and we were all like – because we had all these other ideas for spots, spots, spots with this guy and that guy and that guy, but then at the end of the night, as it built, what the audience wanted to see was just Kofi and Daniel. And when we came through the back, we were like, ‘he’s absolutely, 100% correct. It was him.’ There’s still a lot of the basics that he grasps. He’s still a big picture guy, and when a lot of us and when I do a progress report, we dissect it show by show by show.”
Helms elaborated more on McMahon being a big-picture thinker. He noted that as someone who has to oversee everything, he’s always going to have a different perspective than others than are focused on just one segment.
“As probably what you guys do on Wrestling Inc. with a show, you’re going to look at RAW. You’re going to look at that episode of RAW, and that’s it, but there’s a much bigger picture,” Helms pointed out. “It’s just like a book. If you dissect every single chapter of a book, there’s going to be some chapters that just aren’t that good. They’re set-up chapters to set up something down the road, but Vince is always a bigger picture guy and sometimes, things that are going to happen on this episode, and he’s like, ‘we’ll fix it later,’ and he’s just that bigger picture guy.
“When you’re focused on that segment and as a producer, whether I have one or two segments on that night, sometimes I would lose focus of what was happening on the other show, but you got to be careful about that because I want this segment to be the best because that’s my segment. When you’re the guy on the top of the mountain and has to look at everything, you’re just going to have a different perspective.”
Shane’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.