Hurricane Shane Helms has spent most of the last two years as a WWE producer. However, he was part of the group that was furloughed by the company in April only to return to that producer role in late November.
But during that time he was unemployed, Helms made a surprise appearance in AEW to help out his longtime friend Matt Hardy. Helms made a cameo at Full Gear in early November in which he reprised both his Hurricane and Gregory Helms personas. Helms discussed making that AEW appearance during an interview with Back Sports Page.
"Well, I mean, I've worked with Matt Hardy. We've known each other for a long time, so it was standard fare as far for working with him. We were just glad that we could pull this off carrying this deletion of storyline between three companies," said Helms. "You know, I was the producer on the first deletion that they did in TNA. And so, then we got to do a little bit of the cinematic stuff in WWE as well. And then, to continue that story in AEW was something we thought would be pretty unique.
"So, it was a lot of fun and a lot of the people in production on the AEW staff, I had known as well. I knew some of them, even from my WCW days. So, I'm one of those people I've kind of been around. So even though I show up, I'm not really the new kid, cause everybody kind of knows me anyway."
Helms has had a number of backstage roles since he stopped competing full-time. He was an agent for TNA/Impact from 2015-17 and then had a stint as a producer in ROH in 2018. He then joined WWE the following year as a backstage producer and currently works with talent in putting together matches and storylines.
For someone who was a wrestler for so long, Helms was asked if it was difficult transitioning into this backstage role.
"No, because I've always helped people anyway. No, I've always helped people when – like even in WWE sometimes – my first one there I would help agent dark matches. Cause some of the dark matches they didn't… there was no hands-on agenting back then. For some of the local talent stuff like that, I had already done little things like that. And then, and whatever the year was when I was an agent at TNA, I had torn my ACL and that's how that came about because I wasn't physically active at the time," revealed Helms. "They needed agents and apparently my name kept coming up and cause I was doing Omega at the time too, in North Carolina, and we really kind of changed the face of the indie scene in North Carolina with… I was just wanted guys to watch what I do at my show.
"I'm not trying to run any of these little companies out of business. I just want you to be better, you know, watch what we do, be better. Here's how you do it. And it really improved the whole landscape of North Carolina. And there are companies that learned from it and really started booming. I've always kind of had a good reputation in the business, you know, I had my moments for sure but overall my reputation is pretty solid. So, they brought me in as an agent. They offered me a job the first weekend. And I said, let me see if I'm actually gonna like this first. I said, no, at first, not no, but let's just pump the brakes.
"I came back for a couple more tapings and I really enjoyed it. You know, I really enjoy it. At the end it kind of fast forwarded. I got back active in the indie scene wrestling. They brought me up to the PC and WWE called me, wanting me to come down to train at the PC as a coach. And I was like, okay, that, wasn't what I wanted to do. I always wanted to be a producer, but I actually enjoyed coaching a lot more than I thought I would cause I didn't when I was younger. I just didn't have the patience to train people. You know? You gotta have a lot of patience to do that. Cause the people that don't pick it up right away, I just get frustrated with, you know, cause for me it wasn't difficult, you know? And I think when you got… that's why Michael Jordan isn't a good owner because basketball was so easy for him. He doesn't understand that it's not easy for everybody, you know? And so, when I was younger trying to help train and people here and there, I wasn't good. But I got a little bit more patience in my older age and then the coaching thing led to the producer gig. I really enjoyed that and I was having a blast until COVID hit and we all got furloughed. Okay."
Helms' most infamous gimmick was as The Hurricane. That character would have fit right in during the early 90s but it debuted right at the end of The Attitude Era. Still though, Helms took the character and ran with it as he made it one of the most entertaining gimmicks out there.
Helms' ability to be creative is one of the reasons for the gimmick's success and he was asked how important it is for wrestlers to have creative freedom.
"I think it's very important, but the flip side is that some wrestlers aren't creative and they think they are, and therein lies your problem. You always hear this conversation about scripted promos, like there's this, you know, really kind of like thought processes. Great. And the problem if he has it or not… everybody's not good at doing promos. You guys have been to indie shows and you've seen some of these promos, Jesus Christ! That was terrible, you know? And even in WWE and a couple of live events, we will let the people down," admitted Helms.
"I just go into and cut a little promo and give them that free reign. And it was like, Jesus Christ! I was frightened, so not everybody's good at it. And you got to experiment with these talents to figure out which ones are good, which ones can you give bullet points and they can go and make it their own and make it better because there are people that can do that, but not everyone can.
"And you know, when those scripts are turned in, when those writers turn in those scripts to Vince McMahon, they can't have these big gaps of blank pages where a promo is supposed to be. Cause Vince is going to go, 'What is this?' He's going to say, whatever he wants. Vince is going to go, 'What are you talking about? What is the promo going to be about?' You know? So, they kind of have to script something. They've got to write something on the paper, and then if the talent is good enough, they can make it their own. But generally, if the talent isn't good enough, or they're saying something random that doesn't have anything to do with anything, or it might get the company in trouble [then it's scripted]."