Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Shane Helms
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
On producing the Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville match at WrestleMania 38: “Yeah, and I knew going in there’s gonna be some people they’re gonna hate this. And so I just completely ignored those people from day one. I was like, there’s a certain portion of the audience that is not gonna like this no matter what. So to hell with them. I’m aiming for you know, the audience that I thought would like it. I know being in Gorilla for that your own headset. Just the laughter in Gorilla is popping as loud as anything I’ve ever heard. It’s the most pops I’ve ever seen in Gorilla.”
On the painful elimination at the Royal Rumble: “That hurt so bad. That was the first time and only time, this is a true story, that the referee came and asked me if was I Okay, and I said, No. I thought I broke my back. Like when I hit and I kind of landed on my [back] my heels hit first. It was Bobby Lashley and Big E gorilla pressed me and threw me over. And I kind of hit heels first. And they kind of shot out from underneath me. And I just went down on my tailbone. And I kind of had probably what would be described as a little bruise, you know, probably on my lower spine, something like that. Because like, everything hurt. That was one of the most painful bumps I’ve ever taken in my entire career.”
On being a more serious character: “It wasn’t difficult for me, because I mean, I knew there was going to come a time when it had to happen. You know, everything gets watered down to a degree or hits a low at some point. And Ric Flair really kind of jumpstarted did, because that was you know, doing a lot of stuff with him, And he just one time just pulled me aside and Ric has been so you know, such a mentor to me and in different ways. And, you know, he just pulled me to the side one day, and he’s like, You’re too good for this gimmick.
“And, you know, it wasn’t about like, the gimmick was bad, but I can only go so far. And that company was only going to let me go so far with that gimmick. And I understood that too. And I believed him and it’s just like, you know, I need to go and remind him of who I was before I came here because Sugar Shane is one of the best light heavyweights in the world. And then, you know, that same guy was Hurricane you know, Tom Hanks that did Big. That’s the same Tom Hanks that used to do Philadelphia. But in wrestling, that message wasn’t coming across. You know, so until it was I mean, I did The Hurricane really good. You know, part of his, it was just because I did it really well. And I committed to it, and I got so good at being the funny guy that just became who I was. Yeah, you know, and I wasn’t getting the opportunities to do serious stuff. So it wasn’t it was kind of, it was time for it at that point.”
On interacting with The Rock: “It’s not easy. And all the pressure was on me. You know, people don’t realize that. Like, if I go out there and stink it up with The Rock, he’s still gonna be The Rock. You’re never gonna see me again. Even I mean, even going into the match, you know, people. You know, we were talking a little bit earlier about Logan and Ricochet and who’s the pressure on? Well, as a producer, yes, the pressure is on me I’m gonna get yelled at if this goes sideways. But yeah, with Rocky. I was like, we had all the pressures on me. Because when we have that match, if this match sucks, he’s still gonna be The Rock. He’s still going to WrestleMania against Steve Austin. You won’t see my little if go out there and blow it with The Rock. Then it’s gonna be over for me.”
On advising Nikki ASH: “She came to me and asked me what are my thoughts on it, and they would at different times when I first came in. And I’ve gotten this question a million times, would you ever consider letting somebody else be The Hurricane? Like, that’s an interesting thought, that I become the mentor to the new Hurricane. That was like, you know, hey, if you guys present me something interesting, I will do whatever. You know, I like producing but if you need an on-screen character, if it helps another talent.
“Now, here’s my thing with Nikki. And I will do something with you on-screen if it helps you. I don’t need it to help me and I don’t want to detract from you. Because right now, one of the things against her was that everybody would think of me when they saw her. So now, if you’re trying to fight that it’s not going to help if I show up on screen with her, that’s just going to reinforce it. So, you know, I was trying to help her figure out a way for her to do her own version of this thing that I had done so well. So it was a tough spot for her too. But I supported it from the very beginning. Like whatever you need, I will help you and you know, I gave her advice whenever she asked for it, which, you know, she did a lot which was a good credit to her.”