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Shane Helms – “Very Few Big Guys Are Really Given Opportunities”

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Shane Helms believes that there’s been too much of a shift in wrestling from big guys to much smaller, speaking as a guest on VOC Nation’s Talkin’ Sass he discussed the change in wrestling, his infamous chokeslam gimmick and more.

The former Hurricane explains what he sees happening in modern day wrestling:

There’s definitely been a shift. Almost an overcorrection, because I think we’ve alienated some of the bigger guys in the audience. Wrestling used to be a lot of tough guys that liked wrestling because they understood how tough it was. I think we’ve lost some of those. For so many years it was a big man’s business and no small guys were going to be successful; a lot of that was political.

He’s not wrong, wrestlers of the past were portrayed as ‘larger-than-life athletes’, we had Andre The Giant, Hulk Hogan, Giant Gonzalez and many more household names who were the star attractions.

Helms continues, pointing out that there are still the big guys in the business, but there’s been a shift in who is getting the opportunities in wrestling. Concluding that he’d like to see a balance one day between the big and smaller guys, something he admits has “always been a battle in pro wrestling”.

There’s been a correction for that, but now it’s almost an overcorrection because now there’s very few big guys that are really given (good) opportunities. Because if they go out there and be a big guy, they’re looked down upon if they don’t bump silly for every teeny tiny guy that comes around. Hopefully one day we’ll find a nice little balance where everybody is equally represented; that’s always been a battle in pro wrestling.

In the interview, Shane Helms also discusses his infamous chokeslam ‘finisher’ and how it was more than just a passing gimmick for him. Importantly he highlights that regardless of the wrestlers size, the moves needed to be believable – singling out Rey Mysterio as a prime example of that.

When I go do shows, people want to see the chokeslam – from me. Because of the character of the Hurricane. Once I chokeslammed the Rock, I’m chokeslamming everybody, that’s just how it is. If you take the character out, somebody my size should not be chokeslamming anybody that big. Sometimes it’s hard for me to kind of educate people on that because they go, ‘well you chokeslammed Billy Gunn.’ I go, ‘yes, I understand that, but once you get over the rules kind of change a little bit.’ The rules are different for Rey Misterio. He’s super small, but we’re all going to bump our (butts) off for Rey Misterio, that’s just how it is.

The chokeslam would go on to be The Hurricane’s signature move, attempting to land it on almost every opponent from Kane to The Rock. The first man to ‘receive’ the dreaded Helms chokeslam was in fact The Big Show. Helms explains that he was booked in a match with Show and Johnny Ace (aka John Laurinaitis) was the booker. Helms suggested the chokeslam and the rest, as we now know, is history.

It started with the Big Show…Johnny Ace was the agent for that match. He wanted Paul to gorilla press me, throw me, and (have me) land on the top rope on my feet…I wasn’t sure I could do that; actually I’m pretty positive that I can’t. I was like ‘Johnny wherever he throws me I’m going to land, I can’t really fly’… so I (was) trying to get out of doing that spot (and I said) ‘what if I drop behind and I try to chokeslam (Big Show)?’ And I only came up with that because I’m trying not to get dropped on that damn turnbuckle… If Big Show didn’t like the idea it wouldn’t have happened…his expression of it is what gets it over.

Being one of the smaller wrestlers of his time, Helms wanted to show that the smaller talent can ‘go’ with the larger. His Hurricane character was a superhero so that allowed that gimmick to pull off moves such as the chokeslam on much larger wrestlers.

We haven’t see Hurricane in a match since his surprise entry in the 2018 Royal Rumble where he entered at No.21 but was quickly eliminated by John Cena. Shane Helms has also attempted to grab the WWE 24/7 title from R-Truth in July 2019, but to no avail. His last wrestling appearance was on AEW in November 2020 during the Elite Deletion match, where he appeared as both The Hurricane and Gregory Helms to support Matt Hardy against Sammy Guevara.