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.”