Shane ‘Hurricane’ Helms has spoken about his forgotten match with AJ Styles in WWF in 2002 and how he tried to get the then upstart hired by the company.
While AJ Styles’ official WWE debut came at the 2016 Royal Rumble when he entered third to confront then WWE Champion, Roman Reigns, it wasn’t his first time with the company as he partook in a one-and-done in 2002 following a very short run with World Championship Wrestling.
As an up-and-coming name, AJ Styles battled The Hurricane on the January 26, 2002, WWF Jakked and impressed with his high-flying and technical ability which would eventually earn him a permanent place in TNA. Though The Hurricane prevailed, it wasn’t the name of the superhero that was on everybody’s lips.
Now, Shane Helms has opened up about that match nineteen years ago in response to a clip of the bout a Twitter user posted on social media. Taking to his hurri-keyboard, Helms stated that following that bout, he tried to do everything he could in order to get the company to sign Styles:
“I did everything in my power to get J hired at a time when WWE didn’t know about him. Even got heart for letting an ‘unknown’ do too much. I knew he was good even back then. And now he’s one of the best in the world. Incredible journey.”
I did everything in my power to get AJ hired at a time when WWE didn’t know about him. Even got heat for letting an “unknown” do too much. I knew he was good even back then. And now he’s one of the best in the world. Incredible journey. https://t.co/hIk2KkMLcL
— Hurricane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) January 28, 2021
While Styles would not receive a WWE contract offer following the impressive showing, he would travel the world and make a name for himself as one the greatest performers in the history of the industry. When he did finally return to WWE, it was as a much more valuable commodity that became the face of the company several months later.
In an interesting history note, the January 26, 2002, WWF Jakked didn’t just feature just one future WWE Champion, but three, as both Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton competed in Dark Matches defeating Rico Constantino and Ron Waterman respectively.