Former WWE Superstar/Producer Shane Helms is the guest this week on Tommy Dreamer’s “House of Hardcore” podcast.
Among several things discussed, Helms shared an interesting story on his WWE debut during the invasion. Helms said the following about how he was originally going to be Hollywood Helms:
“Nobody had a more challenging and inauspicious debut than I had in WWE. What happened to me on that day in terms of the creative and where I was at mentally. Just the fact I didn’t go home and give up that night. I get there and I’m going to skip over the Bagwell story as everybody knows that. I had an incident with Bagwell at the WWE training center in Connecticut before any of us made TV. That happened. We were doing house shows. They let me know they had no heat with me and everybody stood by my version of the story. It’s still in my head that it happened. I got to TV and they haven’t talked to me about anything creative whatsoever.
I was Sugar Shane on all the house shows. I’m thinking, will they change my name because of Shane McMahon? I had an idea they might, but nobody said anything. They didn’t say anything about the girls. They didn’t bring in the Sugar Babies with me. I was barely over in WCW. I was having a good run with the Sugar Shane thing. When they brought me into WWE, I wasn’t over to the WWE audience at all so they were not going to pay a bunch of money to bring in some girls to come out with me. We all know about the Booker T-Buff Bagwell story which was the debut of WCW and it didn’t go quite the way they planned. There were a lot of different reasons for that.
They looked at the WCW roster they had and they decided me and Billy Kidman will have the best match. That’s a compliment to us. What was supposed to happen was I was supposed to be established on TV with Chavo. They were to establish me as the Cruiserweight Champion. I was eventually going to lose it to Billy Kidman in Atlanta, WCW’s home base. We had a show there in a couple weeks. They were going to give him the belt anyway. Billy Kidman was a bigger star at that time. Because of how not well received Booker T-Buff Bagwell match was, they decided to shotgun my whole angle and put the title on Billy Kidman that first night. They wanted WCW to put out a good match. They wanted to get some talk behind WCW to get this invasion going.
My first night, the first day, I’m told specifically, I can’t be Sugar Shane anymore. I can’t be Shane and therefore I can’t be Sugar. I can’t do the Vertebreaker. I can’t have my entrance song which is the Vertebreaker. I’m not going to have the girls and I’m going to lose the cruiserweight title. As Stephanie was telling me this, she could see it in my face. I’m so glad I was dealing with her and not some of the other producers who really didn’t give a sh*t. She was really consoling and calming. She said, I know it sounds like a lot but we like you and you will be ok. It’s just what we are doing tonight. Also, they wanted me to call me Gregory Helms. They wanted me to be Hollywood Helms. I didn’t want to be that. I’m afraid if I say no, I might get heat. I said I’m really not a fan of that. I don’t have any power or any stroke whatsoever but I don’t want to be Hollywood Helms. When you hear me talk, nothing about Hollywood springs to your mind. Plus, there’s a guy that was just called Hollywood not too long ago and he was one of the biggest stars to ever have done this. I don’t want to follow that.
If you Youtube the match, you can still see on my Titantron it says Hollywood or has some cityscape of Hollywood, CA. On the flight home that night, I’m sitting with a notepad and was writing down all the names I used back in the day working indies. I was going to come up with a list of names I was going to present to them the next week because it can’t be Gregory Helms. I decided to be Hurricane Helms because I was the Hurricane Kid back in ‘92 or something like that, maybe early’93, but that was used briefly. So Hurricane Helms is what I wanted to be. The next week at TV, I get there super early. I saw Stephanie because she was the one I was communicating with the most. I told her I got a name, Hurricane Helms. She said, you really don’t want to be Gregory, do you? I said, no. Gregory is my shoot first name but I’ve never gone by it. I’ve gone by Shane, my middle name, and said I don’t think it has a hook. She had the look that said, hmm, he’s not quite the dumbass we might have thought he was. They went to the production meeting and a couple hours later, Vince walked down the hall and said, Hurricane Helms. I like it.”