alex shelley

Alex Shelley Wins Or Learns, Explains Decision To Sign With IMPACT Wrestling

Alex Shelley explains his decision to ink a new deal with IMPACT Wrestling.

On Friday, June 9, Alex Shelley will challenge Steve Maclin for the IMPACT World Championship. This match marks only the second time ever in Shelley’s IMPACT/TNA career that he’s received a shot at the world title. The first shot occurred last August when he faced Josh Alexander for the IMPACT World Championship at Emergence. Shelley ended up losing the contest — something Steve Maclin has now used as ammunition heading into their title match at Against All Odds.

Speaking with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard, Shelley responded to Maclin’s claim that he “dropped the ball” in his previous pursuit of the title.

“Yeah. It’s like you got beat by the best, arguably, no shame in that. It’d be shameful if I got beat, then that was it, and never heard from me again, perhaps, but that wasn’t the case. So I take the philosophy that I don’t lose, I win or I learn. And Josh [Alexander] is incredible. Josh is a one-in-a-generation talent. But Steve is welcome to have his perspective. By all means, when you’re covered in that much plasma,” Shelley said, referencing Maclin’s post-match look after Under Siege, “you’ve earned the right to say whatever you want. That stated, I don’t necessarily think that losing to Josh Alexander means that I dropped the ball again. I think that’s a hyperbole.”

Back in March, Alex Shelley and his tag team partner, Chris Sabin, revealed they each had signed new contracts with IMPACT Wrestling. This was Shelley’s first full-time contract in nearly five years. Shelley went on to explain why now was the right time to ink an official deal again.

“For years, I had this idea that I was going to be dependent on wrestling. If wrestling wasn’t there, then I would have nothing. And it took a long, long time and it took a lot of education,” Shelley said. “I’ve got two bachelor’s degrees and part of a master’s. I had to, for my sanity, exist in the real world for a period of time. I wanted that, and I did that. And when I first decided to come back to wrestling, I thought, ‘Well, I’ve got a pretty good degree. I’ve got a good job in medicine. I’ll just dab on it and see how it goes.’ And then eventually, if you really enjoy something and you’re good at it, you tend to start to want to do it more. I think that’s a normal response, right? That happened.”

“Eventually I started to realize, ‘Man. Okay. Maybe this is something I’m better at than I thought I was.’ Because now that I’ve got this monkey off my back in terms of this feeling of inadequacy, in terms of existing in the real world, now that that has been taken care of and I know full well I can exist and I’ve got this self-efficacy as far as being like a complete person, I can devote myself to wrestling and really love it, right? It felt like there was less pressure in a lot of ways. Now I can be very open with it.”

“And as I went through that process, I started wrestling more and more and more. Eventually, it got to the point where I think, despite how good I am at other things in life and despite what I’ve set myself up for with these contingency plans, I’m probably supposed to be doing this. If I really look at why I exist and what I can do the most good with, and how many lives I can touch with wrestling, it far outweighs anything else I could potentially do. And I can do a lot of other things.”

As Alex Shelley continued to weigh his options, he wanted to ensure that he wouldn’t have any regrets. Through his experience in the medical field, Shelley saw firsthand that life isn’t always predictable. It may sway one way, and then go off in a completely different direction. With that mentality in mind, Shelley wanted to take the dive back into wrestling as soon as he could. So, he rejoined the company that provided him with so much love.

“I started to realize, ‘I think I should probably go back to wrestling full time,’ because working in physical medicine like I did, I would see people who literally would have everything. Their life would be what they would call perfect. And it changes one car accident, one slip and fall, one tumor that gets discovered, one crush injury at work, and their lives are forever altered. Even though their life was perfect, there may have been something that they wished they had done. Therefore, I realized life is unpredictable,” Shelley said.

“I can’t assume that, ‘Okay, well, I did this and wrestling is always going to be there.’ No, you’ve only got now as far as throwing yourself into something. That mentality, I’ve had that now for probably over a year. I signed my contract about two months ago, but as precarious as I could be with like trying to manage it and make a very educated decision, but wrestling is constantly changing anyway. IMPACT seemed like the right place at the right time.”

“I love that company very much. So, signing a contract with them, that was the first contract I put my name to since probably 2016 when I signed with Ring of Honor for two years. I’m very happy to do that. I’m very, very grateful that I can wrestle as much as I do at the level I do against people I do for a company that I love.”

Watch our full interview with Alex Shelley below:

RELATED: Chris Sabin Celebrates 20 Years In IMPACT Wrestling