Shane 'Hurricane' Helms: A close-up interview
Former WWE Tag Team and Hardcore Champion and WCW Hardcore and Cruiserweight Champion Shane Helms joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday Night. In a nearly 25 minute interview, he discussed his recent birthday and how it led to his engagement, what type of wrestling he grew up watching, who were his favorite wrestlers, his use of comedy is wrestling and his career as a whole and much more. Here are some highlights:
Growing up, what type of wrestling he watched:
“Yeah, I was; I can’t recall ever seeing a cage. I’d seen a bunch of cage matches but I don’t think I ever saw a War Games cage though. The closest arena to me in Raleigh-Durham was the Dorton Arena, the big arena here, so we’d see a lot of The Great American Bashes and stuff like that in Durham, especially they did the 28 defenses in a month,or something like that. It might have been 25, but the 25 defenses in a month at the Great American Bashes; I had seen a bunch of the NWA stuff.
I didn’t see any of the WWF until I was in high school. Yeah, it was all NWA, World Class out of Texas you know like the Von Erichs. Then, on ESPN, we started to get some of old school AWA stuff but not like the really good AWA either; you know, the year or two when it started to go downhill, a year or two before it really went downhill. But it wasn’t until I got into high school that I started to watch WWF and that was when Macho Man was on his rise.”
Who were his favourites growing up:
“At first, I was, like many kids, a babyface guy; (Ricky) Steamboat and (Jay) Youngblood were like my first favourites. Then you go into the Rock N’ Roll express; I’ve always been a tag-team guy; always loved the tag teams. Also, Dusty (Rhodes), Magnum TA, but the Horsemen, like a lot of guys, turned a lot of guys into heel fans. I always told my friend that Tully (Blanchard) was the heel of the Horsemen; people always say Ole (Anderson), but once they brought in (Lex) Luger, Tully was the heel.
Tully was the one like everyone hated; there were still a lot of people that liked (Ric) Flair, and Luger came in and he was like the big muscle man so a lot of guys still liked him; technically a lot of people still liked him. Even Arn (Anderson), Arn did all these cool moves that no other heels are doing; cool moves like the spinebuster, DDT, gordbusters. He was doing high spots when no other heels were doing things like that, but Tully, Tully was always the sneaky guy. I always appreciated Tully’s work as a heel because he always worked to be the one guy everyone hated.”
His early use of social media:
“I was the first TV guy to jump into social media, before anybody else was. I was introducing guys to MySpace when they didn’t know what it was. I was the very first pro wrestler on Twitter; as far as a TV guy, there might have been an Indy guy I didn’t know that might have been on there, but of the TV personalities, I was the first one on there and I was trying to show WWE what it was.
At one time, I had my MySpace page linked off my WWE account profile; this is how old school I went back with it. Then, of course, everyone went onto Facebook and at that time WWE had made their WWE Universe site, which was like a MySpace or Facebook type thing, so they wanted us all to be on there. But then twitter came up and I told them ‘Man, this thing is going to be hot’ and it’s just ironic that they wouldn’t believe me and now you can’t watch one match without Twitter being mentioned four or five times, or the app.”
His use of comedy in wrestling and how it affected his career and perception:
“Comedy is really hard. When I went from Hurricane to Gregory, or The Hurricane to Gregory Helms, and all of a sudden I’m having like the best matches on the card every night again; I came back one time and Arn Anderson was like ‘Darn kid, I forgot how good you were’ and it was a compliment, but at the same time, it’s a testament to how I was perceived. And in a business where perception can be reality, that was a very telling story. But comedy is just a very underrated thing, a very under-appreciated thing. The same Tom Hanks that was in Big is the same Tom Hanks that was in Philadelphia; it’s the same guy.
So, even though I was the Hurricane, I was just playing a role; the same guy that did all that crazy stuff as Sugar Shane had all those great matches as Gregory Helms. So, it was just a telling story because I heard ‘Man, why didn’t you wrestling like that when you were the Hurricane?’, because fans didn’t want to see it. As the Hurricane, the wanted to see the comedy; they wanted the pose, the chokeslam, the eye poke and the ‘gaga’. And even though I’m supposed to be the one out there telling the story, it is a give and take with the fans; that’s what they wanted to see from the Hurricane, and so it was kind of my job to entertain them; that’s what they paid to see me do so that’s what I gave them.”