WWE News: Hurricane on WWE return, facing amputation, Roman Reigns and working with John Cena
What's the story?
While this year's Royal Rumble may have ended in one of the biggest shocks of them all, the return of a certain superhero should not be taken lightly.
Hurricane returned to WWE for one night only during the 30-man elimination match in a return that no-one could have possibly expected.
Well, Gregory "Shane" Helms has opened up to sportingnews.com about how he kept his return a secret, the incredible crowd reaction, being in constant physical pain, working with John Cena and on why Roman Reigns is so special to him in a wonderful tell-all interview.
In case you didn’t know...
Hurricane spent almost ten years with WWE, sandwiched by stints in WCW and TNA, but the huge fan favourite made his triumphant return at this year's Royal Rumble with a cameo appearance which may indeed go down in history as one of the biggest pops for a returning Superstar in Royal Rumble history.
Helms has always been an incredible worker and a great wrestling mind. But WWE unearthed a true gem when they allowed him to bring his comic book obsession to the table and mimic his favourite hero Green Lantern, becoming the first ever superhero to compete in WWE's squared circle!
Hurricane won the European Championship, Hardcore Championship, Cruiserweight Championship on two occasions and had two separate Tag Team Championship reigns with Rosey and Kane respectively in WWE - but his backstage segments as journalist Gregory Helms and his rivalry with The Rock may have sealed his place firmly in the hearts of the WWE Universe.
Hurricane made his surprise return in this year's Men's Royal Rumble Match.
The heart of the matter
Well, in an emotional interview, Hurricane has opened up about his monumental comeback and the lengths he went to in protecting his identity, in true superhero form, to keep his appearance a surprise.
In an age where there's almost no such thing as a surprise, WWE managed to pull off two huge ones in one night. While everyone may have been on Rousey watch, Hurricane slipped under the radar.
The former Cruiserweight Champion recalls weaving through airports to travel from North Carolina to Philadelphia in a hat and hoodie with the collar pulled up to hide his identity. While this may not seem too unusual, his fiancee, Karen Blalock, donned a wig to hide her blonde hair as Helms comments, “She’s 5'10, a beautiful blonde. Sometimes people will see her before they recognize me. She stands out.”
In fact, even WWE treated Helms' return as such that both Helms and Blalock were housed on a luxury bus outside the arena until moments before his appearance at number 21 to conceal the surprise.
It seemed to be all worth it, though, as the WWE Universe erupted at the sight of the superhero.
That reaction kind of caught me off guard. I had never worn that cape in WWE. That cape is kind of inspired by Randy Savage. I have it hooked to my wrist so that I have a full wing span. I planned to spin around in a full circle and let everybody see the whole cape and everything, but I couldn’t hear my music anymore.
In fact, Helms even thought WWE had cut his entrance short to speed up his segment.
I heard "Stand back," and the crowd was so loud that I couldn’t hear my music. I thought they cut it off. In my mind, if they cut it off, that means I have to get my ass in the ring. So that’s why I cut my entrance short.
But the nostalgia was not over there as fans old enough to remember the 2002 Royal Rumble will recall...
Well, this time around, Hurricane set his sights a little lower and only went for one man. Unfortunately, that man was 16-time World Champion, John Cena.
And just like in 2002, it was all Hurricane's idea. Even getting eliminated within 30 seconds.
If I was going to duplicate that spot, it wouldn’t have worked with anybody else. It had to be him. He had some reservations about throwing me out.
The former European Champion praised John Cena hugely for his part in the piece too.
John Cena is still a babyface regardless of how people react to him, so he had some reservations about throwing out the superhero. But talking to him, I said my character thinks he’s King Kong, so he’s going after Godzilla.Then he shook his head and grinned. He was so gracious and went along with it. If he says no, there’s nothing I can do, so I give a lot of credit and respect to John.
While pulling off the chokeslam may have been a minor miracle, it's nothing compared to the miracle of Helms actually being able to run to the ring and take part in the Royal Rumble.
In fact, you could say he's lucky to be alive. In 2011, the 43-year-old needed all of his super-powers to be at their strongest as, one year after being released by WWE, he and Blalock were involved in a motorcycle crash which left Helms with a broken ankle, jaw and nose and in need of over 200 stitches, and Blalock with a broken neck.
Helms underwent ankle reconstruction surgery and needed four plates and 22 screws in his ankle. Not too shabby considering he was facing potential amputation - but no walk in the park for a man who already had four screws and a plate in his neck from spinal fusion surgery four years previous. While making a full recovery, Helms is in constant pain - but has never succumbed to addiction as his consciousness of the possibility means he only takes ibuprofen.
Hurricane returned to wrestling in 2015 but, ever a beacon of positivity, Hurricane said his timeout after the accident wasn't all bad.
I was laid up for six months, and that’s when she got pregnant. So out of this terrible tragedy came the greatest thing of my life.
While Helms had been considered for several Royal Rumbles since, working with TNA meant it was never quite viable, but it seemed to be worth the wait as the reaction of his peers echoed that of the crowd.
Once we were inside the building, the whole roster just ran up to me with open arms. So many people were glad to see me. So many old friends, so many new talents that I’d never met but who were Hurricane fans. It was really cool to get that respect from the newer guys.
Helms singled out one man from the "new school" who he had an immediate bond with, Roman Reigns.
Helms first ever Tag Team Championship run was with Rosey - Reigns’ real-life brother, Matthew Anoa’i, who sadly died of congestive heart failure last April at 47 years old.
Anytime I see him I’m always going to think of Rosey. He was a person I cared about a lot and was really saddened by his passing. I didn’t even see the photographer there. They captured that really good moment, and I just have to thank them for that.
Well, the Hurricane continues to wrestle across the globe.
I’m booked solid. I’ve already got 43 dates in 2018 that I’ve agreed with various companies all over the world, so this is a pretty exciting time.
While Helms doesn't think he'll be a stranger to the WWE Universe, he thinks, if it was, it was the perfect way to bookmark his WWE career.
If that was my last time in a WWE ring, and I don’t think it will be,to have probably the loudest pop of my career, what a way to come full circle.
I won't lie, Hurricane's appearance at number 21 was my favourite part of the full pay-per-view. I'd love to see him back in WWE, but he said it best, what a way to come full circle.
Hurricane was one of the last ever "larger than life" characters I can remember WWE producing, and I'd love to see him back in some role with WWE. While he's an incredible worker, he's an even better wrestling mind and could bring a lot to the table, both inside and outside the ring.
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