Alex Shelley recently named Daniel Garcia and Wheeler Yuta as the future of professional wrestling.
In an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Shelley spoke highly of both men; he’ll share the ring with the two young stars at upcoming Beyond Wrestling and IWTV shows, respectively, and the 38-year-old went on to describe how these two matches will allow him to keep proving himself.
“These guys are the future of pro wrestling,” Shelley said. “I consider myself very lucky to share a ring with them.”
Shelley has had successful runs with major promotions, like IMPACT Wrestling and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, in the past. But after he recently parted ways with IMPACT, he is happy to be back on the independent scene, where he can work with promising competitors like Garcia and Yuta. While he wouldn’t be against working for another big company, he enjoys independent wrestling at a foundational level.
“Right now, the independents are where I want to be,” Shelley said. “That’s not to say I wouldn’t go back to a big company. AEW looks amazing. I had a great experience in WWE/NXT, Impact is doing some great stuff and so is Ring of Honor. I miss New Japan so dearly. But I very much enjoy independent wrestling on a grassroots level.”
Having a firm backup plan in place helps, so Shelley has previously focused on his education; this pursuit now gives him even more freedom to wrestle to his heart’s content, and he feels a “special kind of joy” through his current run on the independents.
“When I was growing up in this industry, I saw how dog-eat-dog it was, and I learned I needed a contingency plan,” said Shelley. “That was hard because I love pro wrestling so much. I’d pursued my education so I had a backup plan, and I promised myself I would never wrestle because I needed to, but rather only because I loved it. I’ve kept that promise. Wrestling Garcia and Yuta, these are matches I want. I’ve found a special kind of joy and energy grinding on the independents.”
Shelley recently explained what his status with IMPACT Wrestling and MLW is; read his full explanation here.