Stand back: there’s a Hurricane coming through.
Shane Hurricane Helms is the one storm South Florida pro wrestling fans are looking forward to seeing this summer. The former WWE performer is among the media guests appearing at the Florida Supercon from July 4-7 at the Miami Airport Convention Center. Look for the superhero grappler in full-on costume.
“One time at the San Diego Comic-Con I had an appearance as the Hurricane, but people thought I was just someone dressed up as the Hurricane,” Helms said. “Then they saw me out of costume when I was walking the floor and they went, ‘Wait a minute. That was you? I didn’t know. Are you going to put it back on?’ I said to them, ‘No, you missed it.’”
The proud comic book enthusiast is like a kid in a candy store when it comes to these conventions. Helms even has a Green Lantern tattoo, which he got in his mid-20s more than 10 years ago. It’s his love of comics that gave way to the Hurricane’s origins.
“In WWE I used to wear comic book shirts all the time to TV,” Helms said. “Now it’s really cool to be a comic book fan because of the success of all the movies. This was at a time when it necessarily wasn’t cool. It was always cool to us comic fans. We always loved it, but the general population saw the nerds or the geeks and had that type of stuff labeled to it. Nowadays on wrestling there are a lot of stars that are out of the closet comic book fans. I always ask, ‘Where were y’all when I was fighting this battle by myself?’"
Helms enjoyed showcasing obscure comic book characters with his wardrobe. His employer took notice.
“I wore the Black Adam shirt, where really only comic fans knew who Black Adam was,” he said. “That and the Green Lantern tattoo, it kind of evolved from there. WWE knew I loved comics. That was at a time in the business when they were WWF and bought WCW [World Championship Wrestling]. The market was flooded with wrestlers, so it was hard to stand out. The Hurricane character definitely stood out.”
Helms had input on the persona, taking the opportunity and running with it.
“They initially made me a generic costume that was all black with an ‘H’ on the chest,” Helms said. “I was like, ‘Man, if I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this and go all the way with it.’ You can see the evolution of the costume as it got cooler over the years. That was all me. At first I just had face paint. Then I went to a cool mask. Now I have a professional effects studio to make my current mask, which is very Batman-esque.”
When the Hurricane initially came on the scene the entertainer said nobody thought it would catch on the way it did. The experiment paid off. A star and WWE’s resident superhero was born.
“When they came to me and told me what they were going to try to make me, they asked me. It wasn’t like I had to do it,” Helms said.
“I thought it would stand out. We did it for a few weeks or a month to see what would happen. It just really took off. There was a time in WWE when I was one of the top merchandise sellers. When you get royalty checks you can go buy a house with, you know it was working. It worked out pretty well for me.”
Helms’ work with The Rock is looked at fondly, viewed by fans among the most memorable and entertaining segments during his WWE career.
“It was great, and Rocky really pushed for that,” Helms said. “He was a huge fan of the character and the entertainment aspect of the character. We did one promo segment backstage, and that was that was planned. There was nothing planned after that, but just that one backstage segment. It was so well received by not only the fans, but production people. One of the top guys in production said it was one of his favorite segments ever up to that point. We had a little interaction in a battle royal later that night.
“We went and locked up and started going at each other. That kind of snowballed into something else. To this day and I feel like I did a lot of good stuff in my career, it was one of the things fans constantly bring up, my interactions with the Rock. The Rock actually tweeted me a couple of days ago about how fun it was.
“We did those things live. It wasn’t like those things were pre-taped. There was one of them where you see me turn my head because I’m trying not to laugh, but I could get away with my character being goofy like that. So it worked. He was a great guy to work with.”
Much like Batman had Batgirl and Robin, the Hurricane was joined by his own sidekicks Rosey and “Mighty” Molly. Helms said it was WWE’s idea. The two ended up adding another layer to his character.
“It was never my intention for someone else to do my character because that waters it down,” Helms said. “You can’t have two Undertakers or Stone Colds, but they wanted to do that. It was more them doing something with someone they didn’t really have anything for. They didn’t have anything for Molly, so they decided to see what happened. Same thing went for Rosey. Me and Rosey were actually patterned after Charlie and Hurley of ‘Lost’. I always felt I worked better with a straight-type of guy like a Lance Storm, but me and Rosie actually worked extremely well as a tag team. So I enjoyed that.”
As far as the Green Lantern tattoo, Helms was inspired by what the DC hero represented.
“He stood for willpower,” Helms said. “The Green Lantern wasn’t my favorite character of all time by any means, but he stood for willpower. I was a really small kid. I was the smallest kid on the football team. I was the smallest kid on the wrestling team. My first year as a wrestler I wrestled at about 103 pounds was the weight class, very small. In my life and everything coming up, willpower just meant a lot to me. You had to have it.
“That was what stood out to me about the Green Lantern comic. Whenever they did a story that focused on that. That was the Green Lantern stories I looked up to the most. That’s why I got the tattoo. It has stood the test of time. I don’t know what kind of green ink he used, but it’s still as bright green as it was when I got it.”
In addition to taking photos with attendees and signing autographs, Helms also plans to compete in Florida Super Championship Wrestling action with the likes of Cobra Commander, the Joker and more. Whether the match happens or not, the star has his own dream opponent.
“One of the characters I always detested was the DC version of Captain Marvel,” Helms said. “That’s mainly because I never could understand how he could beat Black Adam. There was never a story that made any sense to me how he could beat Black Atom. I wish someone would dress up like him just so I can give him the Vertebreaker [his finishing move] one time.”
With a son and loving girlfriend at home, Helms likes planning his own appearances. However, the 23-year pro doesn’t rule out another run in WWE one day.
“I took my son’s birthday off. I’m taking my birthday off for like the first time ever. I’ll be home for my birthday. I do love making my own schedule,” Helms said. “That said, I would like to finish my career in WWE. After almost 10 years there, that would probably be the best way to end it. I still got a lot of good years left. I was at a WWE show about a month ago. That was the question from office people, production and management was if I was ready to come back.
“Looking at the stage, the ring and the arena, it was my favorite place to work in my career. There is definitely a chance I would go back. Maybe not full time, but I would want to do the house shows, the live events. That is when you have the fun.”
Helms is looking forward to having fun at the Florida Supercon, which has a jam-packed guest list. He hopes to have some time to see some of them during the four days.
“I’m a huge fan of George Takei, and what he does with is life and getting his message out there,” Helms said. “He is a very funny guy. Kevin Smith, I’ve been a huge fan of his, so I would love to meet him. I may go up to Carl (Chandler Riggs of ‘The Walking Dead’) and ask him why he never stays in the house. Why doesn’t he ever stay in the house? Get your #$% in the house.
“I would be interesting in meeting those guys. I was a big fan of Robert Kirkman, the creator of ‘The Walking Dead’. I was a fan of that way before it ever hit TV, and I’m very happy for that guy, and that it’s such a success.”
He likes the conventions because it also gives him a chance to be a fan. More than just a payday, he is there to have a good time with the fellow attendees.
“It’s hard sometimes when you are star, not to say star like I’m Tom Cruise or anything, but when you are a star it’s hard for you just be a fan,” Helms said. “So that’s what I do at these comic conventions. They are paying me to be at a table, but I’ll be sneaking away and my girlfriend would come drag me back to the table. I get really wrapped up that. I think that is what made the character so successful was that other fans could tell I was a fan too. I was a fan not only living my dream, but I was a fan living their dream as well. I just love this. I have never been ashamed of being a fan, marking out or geeking out or anything. The geeks shall inherit the earth.”
• Catch Shane Hurricane Helms, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Sgt. Slaughter, Kevin Sullivan and Greg The Hammer Valentine and wrestling shows along with cast members of The Walking Dead, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Kevin Smith, George Takei, comic writers and artists, voice actors and more at Florida Supercon July 4-7 at the Miami Airport Convention Center, 711 NW 72nd Ave.
Visit www.floridasupercon.com for everything regarding the event.
• Follow Helms on Twitter @ShaneHelmsCom and visit www.ShaneHelms.com.
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.