wrestling / News

Shane Helms Recalls Getting Heat For Trying to Get AJ Styles Hired by WWE in 2002

June 3, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Hurricane AJ Styles 2002

Speaking with Jeffrey Harris for the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast, former WWE Cruiserweight champion and current WWE producer Shane Helms recalled his match with AJ Styles on the January 26th, 2002 episode of Jakked. Helms recalled that he liked Styles and wanted to help him get hired on, but got heat after the match for letting Styles — then an unknown — get so much offense on him. Highlights are below:

On getting heat for giving Styles so much offense in the match: “I definitely tried to get AJ hired. I actually got heat for that match, if you wanna hear a crazy story, because I let AJ do so much. Because I was already an established character, of course AJ was an unknown at the time. But I wanted AJ to get hired, because I thought AJ was fantastic back then. Truth be told, I didn’t think he’d ever — not that I didn’t think – but I mean, I didn’t perceive him to be as big of a star as he got. I mean, no one did other than AJ. But I let him do a lot, I let him do the shooting star [press] and all the brainbusters, and all this stuff. And after the match, I got a little heat for letting him do so much. Me and AJ actually talked about that recently, because he had seen it [the match], because WWE posted that match and he’s rewatched it. And he goes, ‘Yeah, you gave me so much.’ So it’s just you know, it’s a circle of life. I really wanted him to get hired, and I believe they actually did offer him something at the time, but it wasn’t something he wanted to do in terms of moving. He didn’t want to move from Cincinnati, away from his family. But it’s just how crazy the business is because now I get to agent some of his matches and I’m working with him in a different capacity.”

On Styles becoming one of the top stars in the world: “No, not at all [did I think that would happen]. I mean, like I said, I knew there was something special there and I liked AJ as a person and as a talent. And I didn’t know him like all that well, I mean WCW I’m sure we talked and had conversations. And we were friendly, but I didn’t know him super-well. But what I knew of him, I respected and I respected his work for sure.”

On if he sees Styles as one of the best in-ring performers in the world: “Oh yeah. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”

In the full interview, Helms also talks about his thoughts on Jon Moxley’s controversial interview and the debate over scripted promos in WWE, his experiences working with The Rock and Kane as The Hurricane, getting heat over trying to get AJ Styles hired in 2002, his surprise Royal Rumble 2018 appearance, his work behind the scenes for WWE, being at Starrcast and more.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the 411 Wrestling Interview Podcast on 411mania.com and please embed our podcast player or YouTube video.

Introduction (0:00)
On his experience at Starrcast (0:44)
On coming on board WWE as a producer, what his job as a producer entails (1:20)
On getting heat for trying to get AJ Styles signed by WWE in 2002 and Style’s rise to the top of WWE (5:19)
On AEW Double or Nothing and AEW being competition to WWE (7:21)
On the origin and development of the Hurricane character and making the gimmick work (9:34)
On working with Kane and becoming tag team champions with him (12:44)
On his win over the Rock on Raw and whether it’s a career highlight (13:40)
On turning heel on Smackdown, whether he preferred Hurricane or heel Shane Helms (15:30)
On his heat with Shawn Michaels and when they resolved their issues (16:48)
On how fatherhood has changed him (19:58)
On the WWE Performance Center providing a new avenue to be brought up in wrestling and WWE (20:42)
On Ricochet’s potential (22:14)
On Jon Moxley’s criticism about WWE’s creative process and scripted promos vs. unscripted promos (22:51)
On if there’s anything he wanted to do with the Hurricane character that he didn’t get a chance to do (26:56)
On the possibility of another run as the Hurricane (28:11)
On his surprise 2018 Royal Rumble appearance (29:25)
Where to find him on social media (30:50)

You can subscribe and listen to the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast via the above player on Transistor, or on the following platforms:

* Apple Podcasts
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play