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Monday, August 8, 2016

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The Underrated: Gregory Helms in 2006

By @MeenHendrix

Gregory Helms is one of the greatest wrestlers to walk the earth period and in my opinion, the real face of Cruiserweight Wrestling. Now that may be a bold statement with guys like Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chavo, Juventud, Rey Mysterio and Psychosis all putting a stamp on that division, but a part of me feels like Helms has been the only constant in that division. Most have transcended the division and even though Helms hasn't, I feel like what he actually has done in the division is enough to warrant legendary status.

What I want to focus on is Gregory Helms' run on Smackdown in 2006. Although I am a big fan of the man they used to call Sugar Shane, I really wasn't the biggest fan of the Hurricane. The comic relief and random skits were very entertaining, but I wasn't always interested in it.

When Hurricane and Rosey broke up, Helms suddenly was given new life. He was a slow grower at first, but he grew nonetheless. His natural charisma on the mic began to shine brighter as a heel during his weak feud with Jerry Lawler. Soon after, he won an open invitational for the Cruiserweight Championship at the Royal Rumble. His first promo on Smackdown showed off his new arrogant attitude stating that no man on the roster could force him into breaking a sweat against them. He started off as a fighting champion. He'd given Nunzio and Scotty 2 Hotty (replacing Kid Kash that week) back to back opportunities to beat him and he defeated both. Then he defeated every Cruiserweight on the roster in a match for the title at No Way Out. Teddy Long tried to force Helms into defending his belt every week, but a broken nose ended that quickly after his first defense against Psychosis.

When he came back, I felt like he was underutilized. This guy was oozing charisma on the mic and all he did was brag about being better than everyone. Yet he was relegated to Velocity his first few weeks back (4-0 on Velocity, 1-0 on PPV and 0-2 on Smackdown). He continued to make due with what he was given though. He participated in a few Champion vs Champion matches, going 0-3 against Benoit (US Champ before Helms's broken nose), Mysterio (World Heavyweight Champion), and Bobby Lashley (New US Champion). His rivalry with Matt Hardy presented us 2 underrated matches at No Mercy and The Great American Bash. To close out the year he entered into a feud with Jimmy Wang Yang, which also gave us a pretty good match at Armageddon.

I have mixed feelings about the year Helms had in 2006. On one hand, he did everything he said he was going to do. He dominated the Cruiserweight Division. Took on all comers and defeated most of them. He had become the longest reigning Cruiserweight Champion in WWE history and that's something to be damn proud of. However, I felt like he could have been so much more. Maybe this was me being naive. He was hot in the ring. Maybe he could have had an angle with him being the first guy to carry the US Title and Cruiserweight Title at the same time. He was damn good enough to move up the card.

He did everything he was asked. He beat every Cruiserweight Teddy Long threw at him and held his own in the ring with top stars in Champion vs Champion matches. He compiled an 18-10 overall record after winning the Cruiserweight Championship and a 5-3 record on PPV. After his horrible match with Lawler, none of his matches registered a star rating below 2.5 with his best outings being his matches with Matt Hardy (3.25 rating in both). He moved up in the PWI top 500 from 153 to 44 at the start of 2007. He wasn't necessarily underutilized, however I feel like he could have done much more in the midcard had WWE used the Cruiserweight Championship as a launching point into the upper midcard.



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