Gregory Shane Helms was born on July 12, 1974 in Smithfield, NC.
Making his pro debut in 1991, Helms joined the Carolina Championship Wrestling Alliance, going by the moniker of Kid Vicious. In August 1992 he got his first taste of gold, pinning the Gemini Kid for the CCWA Lightweight title. Helms remained a reliable and at times spectacular member of cruiserweight rosters around the Carolinas. By 1997 Shane, alongside partner Mike Maverick (known as The Serial Thrillaz) had jumped to the startup OMEGA (Organization of Modern Extreme Grappling Arts) promotion and became the organisation first tag champs.
On January 29, 1999, the Serial Thrillaz defeated the Hardy Boyz for the OMEGA Tag Team title in Wendell, NC. It was to be the match that heralded the calling for Matt and Jeff to make the jump to the big time, but for Helms, the 'Big Three' were still a way away. After runs with the WWO (World Wrestling Organization) Light Heavyweight and SCW (Southern Championship Wrestling) World titles, Helms left the Carolinas and started accepting dates for NWA Worldwide.
Becoming firm friends with Shannon Moore, Helms formed "The Bad Street Boys" with Moore, Joey Matthews and Christian York for NWA Worldwide. Their gimmick was the genesis of Helms' big-time debut persona as Three Count (Helms, Moore and Evan Karagias), who debuted on the December 23, 1999 episode of WCW Thunder. The trio got over well with a combination of impressive aerial moves and killer heel heat due to their 'boy band' gimmick. However, their early storylines were not so hot. Three Count first feuded with comedy performer Norman Smiley before collectively holding the WCW Hardcore Title after a win over Brian Knobbs.
However, there was worse to come. The bookers (and we use the term 'booker' in the loosest possible way, given that we are talking about Vince Russo and Kevin Sullivan) decided that Tank Abbott, dropping his serious shoot-fighting gimmick, would become infatuated with 3 Count, dancing to their entrance music and helping them to victories.
At New Blood Rising, 3 Count defeated the Jung Dragons in a ladder match with a recording contract hanging from the ceiling as the prize. But after being fired by Abbott as his back up singers (no, really), 3 Count turned against him. Finally, the trio had a falling out during a match with the Jung Dragons. Helms and Moore left together.
After a red hot series of matches between Helms and Moore, The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Jamie San) and the two misfits Karagias and Jamie Knoble (including a stellar ladder match at Starrcade 2000, Helms and Moore feuded over the Cruiserweight strap. When WCW ceased operating, Helms was in the thick of the Cruiserweight division.
Defeating Chavo Guerrero Jr. on July 1, 2001 at a WWF house show, Helms became the Cruiserweight champion once more, and then made his WWF TV debut as first 'Gregory Helms', and later to 'Hurricane' Helms. Winning the WWF European Championship from Matt Hardy on August 27th 2001 on WWF Raw Is War, Helms' 'Hurricane' persona began to take shape, as a wannabe superhero obsessed by his hero The Green Lantern (Helms has a real-life admiration for the comic book hero, as witnessed by his Green Lantern tattoo). Becoming more and more entertaining with his almost retro-80's cartoon gimmick, Helms associated with Lance Storm and his 'sidekick' Ivory, not only referring to everyone as 'Citizen' and talking entirely in superhero clichés, but also appearing in a gust of wind. As 'Hurricane' himself would say - "Whassupwitdat?!".