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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon

OWW Wrestler of the Week — Alex Shelley

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, profiles the current X-Division champ. Shelley survived a vicious Four Way Ladder Match to retain his X-title.

On last week’s edition of Impact, Alex Shelley faced off against his tag partner, Chris Sabin, as well as Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed, in defense of his X-Division Title. Shelley proved he was a worthy champion as he overcame the odds to keep his belt. Alex Shelley is this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week.

Early days

Alex Shelley grew up near Detroit, Michigan. His birth name is Patrick Martin. Like many other TNA stars, Martin got his start in Scott D’Amore Border City Wrestling organization. Martin also received tremendous training from Bobo Brown and Joe E. Legend. While looking for a unique name for the rising star, the creative team and Martin looked to alternative sources for his identity. The first name, according to many sources, was a nod to Anthony Burgess’ lead character in A Clockwork Orange. The Shelley last name may have come from Pete Shelley, lead singer of the punk band, The Buzzcocks.

Due to a freak accident, Shelley was sidelined with a shattered jaw. Shelley had been working an outdoor show and the ring was wet. Shelley slipped and hit an unpadded section of the ring apron. Shelley was out of action for six months while his jaw healed. After his rehab, Shelley moved to the IWA and Combat Zone Wrestling. He learned from some of the best independent stars in the business. He came to the attention of Ring of Honor and was offered a contract with the renegade group.

Wrestling with Honor

Shelley’s debut match was a Four Corners Survival Match against B.J. Whitmer, Tony Mamaluke, and Jimmy Jacobs. Shelley’s first big feud was against Jacobs. He would also feud with Matt Stryker.

Shelley’s next move was organizing a stable of stars known as Generation Next. The group included Shelley, Austin Aries (Starr), Roderick Strong and Jack Evans. Their goal was to prove that they were the best and would take out the rest. They feuded with just about everyone in the company. Generation Next started having issues when both Shelley and Aries wanted Samoa Joe’s ROH title. During this time, Shelley also began a nasty feud with C.M. Punk. Shelley had attacked future WWE Hall of Famer, Ricky Steamboat. Punk came to Steamboat’s aid and the fight was on.

The end of Generation Next came when Austin Aries started complaining about Shelley’s time in TNA. Shelley had begun to spend time in both companies. Aries felt that Shelley was dissing Gen-Next by spending so much time with the Jarretts. Shelley was attacked by Strong and Aries and dumped, both as leader and member, of Generation Next.

Shelley turned to Prince Nana’s The Embassy heel faction to aid him in fighting Generation Next. It was during this time that Shelley began to utilize the “Sliced Bread #2” as a finisher. He focused on ROH World Champion, Brian Danielson. He was unsuccessful in his bid to wrest the belt from Danielson.

As TNA ended their alliance with ROH, Alex was forced to stop working for Ring of Honor. He joined with Chris Sabin, full-time, in TNA.

Total Non-stop Alex

Alex Shelley’s first run with TNA ended in 2004, when Shelley became frustrated with then-booker Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes used Shelley less and less, until Shelley finally was not used at all. He worked ROH and other promotions after that until 2005.

When Rhodes left TNA, Shelley returned. Shelley first teamed with Michael Shane (later known as Matt Bentley). They lost to America’s Most Wanted, several times. Shelley focused on the X-Division, only to lose to Samoa Joe. Shelley first major win in TNA was with Sean “X-Pac” Waltman. They teamed to take the Chris Candido Memorial Tag Tournament. Ironically, the other team in the finals was composed of Shocker and Chris Sabin. Shelley was supposed to work with Waltman in a World Tag Title match against Team Canada. Waltman no-showed the event and Shelley ended up in a Handicap match against Eric Young and A-1.

After the fiasco in the tag division, Shelley turned, full-time, to the X-Division. He worked as a heel. Shelley began to bring a camcorder and tripod to ringside. According to Shelley, he wanted to videotape his matches (and others) to become a better wrestler. He was not afraid to use the camera as a weapon against others. He also reunited with Austin Aries/Starr and Roderick Strong, his old Generation Next cohorts. They had a short-lived run before Strong left to return to ROH, full-time.

Paparazzi Productions

The gimmick with the camcorder was stretched to new levels when he was asked by Jeff Jarrett to film several people. Jackie Gayda, Sting and Christian Cage were all targets of the new Paparazzi Productions. Shelley was also taken under the wing of Kevin Nash, during this time. Shelley assisted Nash in a feud against Chris Sabin. Johnny Devine also joined Shelley in the feud against the X-Division. Shelley and Devine would also try their luck in the tag division. The team didn’t last long, as they lost a Triple Chance Tag Team Battle Royal. Shelley also participated in Kevin Nash’s X-Division Invitational Battle Royal. He would come up on the losing end. Shelley would come back to win the Paparazzi Challenge Series, created by Kevin Nash. Shelley was also teamed with Austin Starr in Paparazzi Productions. Shelley took exception to being forced to work with his former Gen-Next partner.

The M-C-M-G

The whole Paparazzi Productions gimmick finally ran its course and Shelley was teamed with fellow Detroit native (and former rival) Chris Sabin. The duo originally tried out the team name of the Murder City Machine Guns. Detroit was , at the time, the murder capital of the US. Marketing felt that a parental backlash might hurt the company, so the name was slightly adjusted. The team adjusted its name to the Motor City Machine Guns. Detroit, a major car manufacturing city, has been known as the Motor City for decades. The name clicked.

Team 3D felt that the X-Division was a useless part of TNA. They decided to eliminate the division. The Guns stepped forward to battle Brother Ray and Brother Devon. In one memorable match, the Guns beat Team 3D with the special stipulation that if Team 3D won, the X-Division was gone. Since the Guns won, Team 3D had to maintain their weight below a designated level. Ray and Devon were kept out of matches if they couldn’t reach their target weight. It turned into an elaborate comedy skit.

Shelley’s old partner, Johnny Devine, aligned with Team 3D in the X-Division feud. The Guns called in “Black Machismo” Jay Lethal to aid them. There were numerous singles, tag and trios matches. The Guns and Lethal came out on top in the majority of the battles.

Extending his reach

Shelley had, earlier in his career, spent some time in Japan. He received training by some of the top Japanese stars. During the summer of 2008, Shelley headed to CMLL (in Mexico) to compete with several other TNA stars in the Grand Prix International. Shelley actually won the tournament with a win over Ultimo Guerrero. Shelley worked several shows between 2005 and 2008 in Europe and Japan.

The Frontline and X-Title

In late October, Kurt Angle joined with Kevin Nash, Sting, Booker T, Sharmell and Scott Steiner to form the Main Event Mafia. Shelley and Sabin were recruited to join the anti-Mafia force, The Frontline. Shelley and Sabin seemed to have issues with the concept, from early on. Shelley and Sabin would feud with various groupings of the Mafia, while also battling Team 3D and Lethal Consequences (Jay Lethal and Consequences Creed).

Shelley ran afoul of Mick Foley. Shelley often showed major disrespect to the Hardcore Legend. Foley got his revenge, thanks to the 2008 Turkey Bowl (held on Thanksgiving). Shelley made it to the finals, only to lose. He balked at the idea of wearing the Turkey Suit but ended up forced to do so.

The X-Division title was declared vacant, after referee Shane Sewell got involved in a battle with then-champion Sheik Abdul Bashir. Sewell cost Bashir to title, which went to Eric Young. Jim Cornette then stripped Young of the title and set up a tournament. Shelley faced his MCMG partner, Chris Sabin, in the finals. Shelley would eventually win the belt. Over the next few weeks, Shelley would defend the title against several top X-Division stars, including Sabin. On the most recent edition of Impact, Shelley, Sabin, Lethal and Creed battled in a Four-Way Ladder Match that Shelley won. The battle was high-risk and very exciting.

In Conclusion:

Alex Shelley has undergone several identity adjustments during his time inside the squared circle. He’s been the biggest of heels and the brightest of faces. He’s competed in top caliber matches against men his size and those double or more his size. He has been a top star in the US, Mexico and Japan. He is the current reigning X-Division champion. His title defense on the most recent edition of Impact proves he’s a top star. It also elevated him to this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week award.

–Jay Shannon
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