During one of their topic-based Fightful Podcasts in 2017, Shane Helms revealed to Sean Ross Sapp how a classic Royal Rumble moments came about.
His most famous turn in the Rumble came in 2002, when he was involved in a spot that came in at number 6 in this WWE Countdown of the Top 10 Royal Rumble Fails.
Helms, portraying the misguided, delusional superhero gimmick of "The Hurricane," entered at number 23. Only two men were currently still in the ring: Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. By the time Hurricane got to the ring, Austin and H were both down, having hit a double clothesline spot seconds earlier. Hurricane waited for Triple H to start to get back to his feet and grabbed him by the throat, then did the same to Austin. He was going to try to chokeslam them both. Unfortunately for the Hurricane, Austin and H looked at each other, decided they'd had enough of this goofball, grabbed him by the back of the neck and tossed him over the top rope together, eliminating him.
This spot has remained one of the most talked about moments in Royal Rumble history, and Sapp asked Helms about it on the podcast.
First Sapp asked him who came up with the idea.
"Oh that was 100% me. As short as it was, that was all my idea," said Helms.
It was unusual at the time for a young performer to call the shots when interacting with two huge stars like Stone Cold and Triple H, so Sapp knew there must be a story behind how this all got set up.
He wasn't wrong.
"Now I know I’m going to be in there with two top guys. THE two top guys in the company. Not just any two, THE two. … Now, also, keep in mind that I’m still a new guy in the company, still fresh-faced … You gotta be tactful when you’re going up and suggested spots with the top two guys in the company, with your monkey ass still a new guy in the company, but I knew it was a good idea.
"I talked to Kurt quite a bit; Kurt Angle was the first guy I went to, because I had an amateur background, nowhere near as extensive as his, but we had that in common and he was a cool guy and he was someone I went to (for advice.) I told him the idea and he popped huge; he was like 'Yeah! Go tell Steve!' I think in my mind I just wanted him to offer to go tell Steve for me, to suggest it for me, and I was like 'dammit.'
"So I go to Austin, and I tell him and he goes 'HAHAHAHA', big pop from him, and he goes “yeah, go run it by Pat (Patterson),” and I’m like DAMN, so now I gotta go tell Pat. … So then I go to Pat Patterson and run it by him. ‘Oh my god, I love it! Crowd go banana!’
"So now I gotta go tell Triple H too. So I go run it for the fourth time, like ‘yeah, here’s the idea, I wanna see what you think,' he’s like 'aw, that’s great, that’s perfect.'
"And that’s over the course of like two hours, because everyone was always busy every time I went to them, they were never just free, so there’s all this anguish, because you don’t want someone to go ‘Who the f*ck do you think you are suggesting such a thing to me?’, you know what I mean? You don’t want it to come off like that.”
When it came time for the Rumble match itself, Helms was nervous. Not about the spot, but about the reaction his still-relatively-new character would get from the crowd.
“All I remember was being at the curtain and being like (prayer hands) 'Please pop when they play my music.'"
And how did Vince McMahon like the spot?
“I came to the back, got the big thumbs up, but even better, the next day, they were watching in catering … and that spot unfolded again, and (Vince) was like 'HAHAHAHA, now that’s good shit!’ But I’ll tell you what I said when I came through the curtain, (after the spot in the Rumble) I looked at him and I said 'I almost had those motherf*ckers.'”
Helms would go on to participate in the 2018 Royal Rumble as well, which you can hear about at this link.
You can watch the full podcast in the video at the top of the page, or click HERE to go right to Helms telling the story.