Sit Down Series: Shane Helms

Shane Helms is the hero that wrestling deserves, whether it be in the ring, behind the scenes or at the commentary table. Also well-known as The Hurricane, Shane Helms has solidified himself as one of the most popular and entertaining wrestlers with a notable career in WCW and WWE. In 2015 alone, he has debuted as a commentator for Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore and has now joined TNA in a behind the scenes role. I sat down with the longest reigning, most entertaining, record breaking, history making Cruiserweight Champion of all time for an unforgettably fun interview covering the past, present and future.

Alex Obert: Before starting in TNA, you recently did commentary at House of Hardcore 8. How was that set up?

Shane Helms: I’ve been great friends with Tommy Dreamer for a long time. I did commentary on a couple other iPPVs recently and I guess evidently, I was pretty good at it. (laughs) I did it a couple times in WWE as well, select matches for whatever feud I was in at that point in time. So Tommy gave me a chance and once he heard it back after the show, he loved it. He sprung the opportunity on me to be the commentator there going forward, I guess.

Alex Obert: What did you think of the matches that night?

Shane Helms: Loved it. Fantastic. I love exciting and great wrestling anyway, but I love not being able to predict what’s gonna go on. Unpredictability brings excitement. It was always great when you knew Mike Tyson was gonna kick somebody’s ass but when Buster Douglas beat his ass, that was also exciting. You need that in a business. I think some of the stuff we see on TV is very predictable. House of Hardcore is doing something very different. I’m just gonna do whatever Tommy says. I’m a fan of his vision. We have similar mindsets on what we like and what we wanna get out of wrestling. I’m gonna back his plan, he’s always backed me.

Alex Obert: And the surprise of the night, Rey Mysterio.

Shane Helms: The crowd loved it. But now Tommy’s gotta keep doing that! (laughs)

Alex Obert: Speaking of commentary, there’s now an open spot at the commentary booth on Impact Wrestling.

Shane Helms: My phone blew up once that happened. A lot of people just assumed it was gonna be me, but I have no idea. They hired me as an agent/producer. I’m very excited about that. I did really well on my first trip in, so I’m excited about doing that and seeing how far I can go with that. But if they want me to do commentary, apparently I’m pretty good at talking shit, so I’ll be happy to do it.

Alex Obert: Your good friends, The Hardys, recently became tag team champions in TNA for the very first time. That must mean a lot to you.

Shane Helms: It was great to see. Obviously I’ve known Matt and Jeff for a long time, we’ve been great friends for a long time. I might be partial, but I think they’re one of the greatest tag teams ever in history of the business, regardless of companies. I think having them as the TNA World Tag Team Champions sets TNA’s tag team division head and shoulders above anybody else’s.

Alex Obert: What do you think about the roster of TNA right now?

Shane Helms: I think their roster’s amazing. They have a great in-ring product. I’m a fan of great wrestling. People that follow me on Twitter know that if it’s good, I’ll put it over and if it’s bad, I’ll say something about it. I try not to get nasty, I do it in a roasting type form and at least try to be funny about it. But if it’s not good, I’ll tell you it’s not good . If it’s good, I’ll say that too . I think the talent roster’s pretty deep right now.

Alex Obert: You and Lashley were in WWE at the same time and now he’s made a resurgence in TNA. What are your thoughts on that?

Shane Helms: He’s way better now as a pro wrestler than he ever was in WWE. He was good there too, but he’s elevated his game so much better now. It’s really good to see. Physically, he’s one of the most intimidating human beings you can ever see on the planet. He’s great, man. I’m a big fan of what he’s done in TNA so far.

Alex Obert: When you were in WWE, were you keeping an eye on TNA?

Shane Helms: Yeah, I’ve always watched everything. I’m a huge wrestling fan. I’m not really just a company fan. I feel like fans sometimes feel like they need to belong to a team, TNA or WWE.why can’t you just like both? Same thing with comics, do you like Marvel or DC? I like them both. I don’t feel a need to not like one just because I like the other. And I don’t get why fans do that.

Alex Obert: Who is a newer wrestler that’s on your radar now?

Shane Helms: I see a bright future for Bram. I think EC3 is one of the best heels in the business. They’ve got some good stuff going on in TNA.

Alex Obert: You’ve had a lot of changes with your hair throughout the years. What was it like when you had to walk around in public for several years with green hair?

Shane Helms: That’s actually why I started wearing the do-rag all the time. It was green 24/7, so it was what it was. If you’re gonna wear green hair, you’ve just gotta expect that people are gonna stare at a green-haired guy. It’s nothing that ever bothered me. If I wanted to be incognito, I’d put on the do-rag. That’s where the do-rag came from. A lot of people thought that I was losing my hair and shit and that’s why I was doing that Hogan bandana thing. No, I just covered up the green hair sometimes.

Alex Obert: What led to you wearing it in the ring as Gregory Helms?

Shane Helms: I thought I looked like a prick. I’m one of these crazy guys that thinks heels should be booed. I would try to do things that would make people not like me.

Alex Obert: And how about the black trenchcoat?

Shane Helms: Everybody always asks me where I got a sleeveless trenchcoat. The secret was that I bought a trenchcoat and I cut the sleeves off. (laughs)

Alex Obert: When I first discovered you on TV, you came out of nowhere on RAW and won the tag titles with Kane. How was that set up?

Shane Helms: I actually got a call the night before that I was coming to RAW. I had no idea what was going on because I was on Smackdown. I got a call and they asked me how I felt about coming to RAW. And I was like, “Whatever you guys want. I’m having a great time on Smackdown, but I’ve always been a team player. Whatever you guys need, I’ll be there.” So I got there and me and Kane are gonna go for the tag team straps that night, we walked out as champions. For me, there was no preplanning or anything. It just happened.

Alex Obert: Do you still keep in touch with your former tag team partner, Rosey?

Shane Helms: Oh yeah, all the time. He’s a great human being. We had a lot of fun. I don’t know if we got a lot of help getting that gimmick over, but we got it over ourselves. We worked really hard to get it over. Me and Rosey winning the tag titles is probably my favorite championship win of my career. We got over and they had to make us champions. A lot of times, they give guys belts just to get ’em over and they don’t really deserve ’em. I don’t like that. I like when people earn the championships. They are our Grammys, they are our Oscars and it shouldn’t be just anybody as champion. We deserved it. When we came through the curtain that night, almost all the whole locker room was at gorilla to congratulate us. It was a big moment for us.

Alex Obert: Back when you were teaming with him, did you meet a young Roman Reigns?

Shane Helms: I think I did. Even when I first saw Roman, I knew he reminded me of somebody, but I couldn’t remember who. And then it just came to me that that was Rosey’s brother. He looked identical in the face, but Rosey’s obviously mad he’s a little bit bigger. Still, they look a lot alike.

Alex Obert: In 2004, you faced Ric Flair on RAW and it happened to be on your birthday. Was that intentional? I thought they gave you that match for your birthday.

Shane Helms: I don’t remember that being on my birthday. That’s awesome that it was though. Flair always liked me and we always had a great time working together. We had a couple really good matches on house shows. Stuff like that happens on the house shows, it’s good. A lot of times, it’ll transfer to TV.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite house show matches?

Shane Helms: One was me and Rosey against Flair and Batista in St. Louis. Flair was so over there, but he managed to turn the crowd like a real heel should. We had a really good time. One of my favorites was me and Chavo as heels in Manchester, England against William Regal and Dave Taylor. They had to be babyfaces and they just did all this old school babyface stuff. It was fantastic and the crowd ate it up. Of course we had to beat the shit out of each other because those guys get heavy-handed. Me and Chavo were giving it back. We just had a blast.

Alex Obert: I recall that you teamed with Rey Mysterio on house shows in 2002 prior to his official debut on Smackdown.

Shane Helms: Yeah, that was to introduce Rey to the WWE audience. When we did the invasion angle, one of the main reasons it didn’t work as well as we wanted was that a lot of the WWE fans didn’t know who the WCW guys work. I was already The Hurricane and they were teaming Rey with me to introduce him to the WWE audience. It worked out well for him, one of the most popular wrestlers ever. I can’t say enough good things about Rey Mysterio.

Alex Obert: Who would you say delivered the most painful chops in the ring?

Shane Helms: Benoit was probably the worst. I know Haku chopped me one time and I think my heart stopped. But Benoit was pretty brutal.

Alex Obert: When Steve-O made an appearance on RAW in 2006, he said that you were his favorite wrestler. It felt so random that his response was “I like Shane…from the Cruiserweight Division.” Did you meet him prior to that or something?

Shane Helms: Yeah, we actually met at the last Nitro down in Panama Beach. He had some kind of show and he brought us on stage. He did some of his crazy Jackass stuff. I know me, Kanyon and Kidman grabbed Wee Man and they wanted us to throw him into the crowd. (laughs) So we grabbed his ass and threw him out into the crowd, they caught him. We hung out and they were always real cool. We stayed in touch and that was real funny, I didn’t even know he was gonna say that. Some people thought he meant Shane McMahon, but he definitely meant me.

Alex Obert: For years and years, you’ve utilized the internet and various websites before most other wrestlers did. Was that mean to you?

Shane Helms: It would mean a lot more guys gave me credit for the idea. (laughs) I’ve always been an internet guy. I had a website back when it was just message board type things. I’ve had a website forever. On the indies, it was just a way to promote myself. No other guys were really doing this, so I was really using it to promote myself and stuff like that. Then once I got in WWE and WCW and didn’t need to be promoted as much, it was just a way to stay in touch with fans and let them know that I appreciate all the support. I don’t shill myself all the time. If you watch my Twitter, it’s not constantly about my appearances and stuff. I try to be funny about different things and talk about all kinds of shit. I try to have fun with it.

Alex Obert: What did you think of YouShoot?

Shane Helms: It was interesting. I think that’s one of the more unique interviews I ever got. I’m not a big fan of going out there and just burying people and doing crazy shit just to get extra DVD sales. If I really don’t like somebody, I’m not gonna make up some angle to sell a couple DVDs or anything like that. If people want me to say bad things, I just really don’t have a lot of bad things to say about people.

Alex Obert: Since you are a Carolina guy, I have to get your thoughts on a couple of places. First off, South of the Border.

Shane Helms: It’s on the way to the beach. Anytime we go to Myrtle Beach, we’ve gotta stop there a little bit. You used to not be able to get fireworks in North Carolina, so South of the Border was where everybody went to get their fireworks for the Fourth of July.

Alex Obert: Bojangles.

Shane Helms: Love the Bojangles! I got one about a mile and a half away from my house.

Alex Obert: What’s your order when you go there?

Shane Helms: Filet Egg and Cheese Biscuit.

Alex Obert: And they have their famous Bo-Berry Biscuits.

Shane Helms: The Bo-Berry Biscuits, they’ve got the sweet potato pie and they’ve got some good sweet tea, man.

Alex Obert: And how about JR? Have you been there?

Shane Helms: Yeah, I live maybe four miles from there. I’m not a smoker, so it’s not a place I really spend a lot of time in. (laughs)

Alex Obert: Can you fill readers in on Headlocked?

Shane Helms: Headlocked is a comic about how tough the wrestling industry can be not only to break into, but to be successful in. When the creator Mike Kingston talked to me about it, at first, I wasn’t sure how good it was gonna be, but then I read it and I realized this guy’s really done his research. And he really loves wrestling too, he’s not just trying to capitalize on the popularity of wrestling. He loves wrestling, he loves comics and he’s combined his two loves into one book. It’s fantastic. If you’re a wrestling fan that reads books, you need to add this one to your collection.

Alex Obert: Will the world ever see an autobiography from Shane Helms?

Shane Helms: I’ve actually had offers to do it, but it’s nothing I’ve ever took ’em up on. Maybe one day I will. I actually get tired of talking about myself sometimes. (laughs) Doing a book, you’re going to have to talk about yourself for a couple months on the road. I think that will be tough for me. I’m not that in love with myself that I could do that for a couple months in a row.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite wrestling autobiographies?

Shane Helms: Freddie Blassie’s is up there. That one is just so good. I loved Mick Foley’s. I loved Matt and Jeff’s. I loved Ric Flair’s. Jericho’s is good. So many good ones.

Alex Obert: Freddie Blassie was on RAW less than a month before he passed away and this is while you were on the roster. Did you run into him?

Shane Helms: Yeah, I met Freddie. I’m a big fan of the stuff he did out in California and stuff like that. If you never read that book, you need to pick that one up. That one was really good. We were doing a pay per view in London and I wanted to sleep on the plane, but I started reading his book. It was so good that I could not put it down. I stayed awake that whole flight. So instead of being rested for this pay per view, I’m just completely exhausted going into it. I have to blame Freddie Blassie for his book being so good.

Alex Obert: In closing, I wanted to get your final thoughts on your future with TNA.

Shane Helms: I think the company’s in a good direction right now. Ever since they’ve been on Destination America, you can see the product’s really stepped up. I think the guys are all excited there. It’s more of a laid back, low-key environment. Everybody just wants to succeed and help other people. It looks really bright right now. You’ve got Kurt Angle as your world champion, one of the legit best wrestlers of any style that there’s ever been in the history of the planet. That says something. And you’ve got one of the best have teams ever in Matt and Jeff. And their women’s division is the best women’s division in wrestling. They’re hitting on all cylinders right now and I think it’s going to just continue to get better. I’ll do my best to make it better and better.

Alex Obert: Big things ahead! I’d love to thank you so much for your time.

Shane Helms: Thank you, brother!

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