Story By Thomas Fenton
Alex Shelley, a metro Detroit native, began his love affair with wrestling shortly after high school. Alex, real name Patrick Martin, started his training in 2002 under the tutelage of Joe E. Legend, Scott Damore, Brayer Wellington and later Truth Martini. Shelley, started his wrestling career under the ring name of David Decker and was considered a student of the game by his trainers from the very beginning. He honed his craft through hours of film study, much of his inspiration coming from Japanese wrestling tapes at the time. Shelley further honed his craft under the watchful eye of Truth Martini at the House of Truth Wrestling School (hotwrestling.com).
On June 28th, 2003 Alex Shelley would make his Ring of Honor debut; less than two years after beginning his training, a true testament to his work ethic. Appearing on Ring of Honor’s Wrestlerave show. Shelley, would parlay this and future appearances into a prevalent role in both Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) and Ring of Honor (ROH) throughout much of the mid to late 2000’s. Most memorable from that time period were his “Paparazzi Productions,” vignettes with Kevin Nash, arguably some of both individuals' best work.
While a precursory retrospective of Shelley’s career may highlight his work with Kevin Nash, to the majority of wrestling fans his work in the tag team divisions around the world is what truly sets Alex apart. His combined runs with both Chris Sabin, a fellow Michigan native, and an at the time relatively unknown Kushida, helped highlight what tag team wrestling could be.
The first prevalent pairing of Shelley’s career came with the aforementioned Chris Sabin, a man of constant movement who in his own right was looking for a fresh start after a long run in TNA had petered out. The two formed the Motor City Machine Guns and found success everywhere they ventured thanks to their combination of speed, continuity, and innovative technical maneuvers. The Guns would have some of their most memorable programs with the Jackson brothers Nick and Matt, more commonly known today as The Young Bucks™. In arenas from Tokyo to Chicago and back again the four would produce some of the most advanced and thrilling matches of the era, Matt Jackson reflecting, “We have the most chemistry with those guys and have worked with them over 200 times.” To which Chris Saban seconded, “200 plus sounds about right, we just all have this amazing chemistry.” Amazing chemistry however couldn't stop the cycle of wrestling, where familiarity breeds boredom and a longing for something new and unseen. The Guns went their separate ways and Shelley began a new chapter of his prolific tag team career.
In August of 2012 Shelley was teamed with A.J. Kirsch as they unsuccessfully challenged the Forever Hooligans for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. After the match Shelley received a severe beat down from the Hooligans but was rescued by a plucky upstart named, Kushida. This moment of heroism lead to the formation of the two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions the Time Splitters. The two would would stay in the title picture for the better part of the next three years. During their tenure together both men were able to leverage the popularity of their teaming into championship opportunities for singles titles with Shelley challenging for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against Prince Devitt, and Kushida capturing three reigns with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. In 2015 the team would appear in the November 2015 Super Jr. Tag Tournament, Shelley would leave Japan shortly after that and return to Ring of Honor, because as we know wrestling always goes in cycles.
In February of 2016 at the Ring of Honor 14th Anniversary Show, Chris Sabin would turn on his stablemate Christopher Daniels, which allowed a returning Alex Shelley to grab the victory over Daniels. This was the moment the Motor City Machine Guns were officially reborn. The two were immediately thrusted into the Ring of Honor Tag Team title picture, challenging The Addiction several times for the championships. At Death Before Dishonor XV, the Guns would finally recapture the gold as they defeated their old foes The Young Bucks™. Shelley and Sabin would tally a six month reign with the titles before losing them to the seminal Ring of Honor Tag Team the Briscoe Brothers at the Ring of Honor 16th Anniversary Show. Sadly Shelley would be forced into an early an unexpected retirement in July later that year.
Unfortunately Alex Shelley’s bump card has been filled. A man that helped revitalize Tag Team wrestling throughout the 2000’s; after years of Connecticut watering down and comedy pairings trivialized the division world wide. Recurrent injuries have rendered Alex no longer able to actively compete in the sport he has had a love affair with for the majority of his life. From humble beginnings in sweaty gyms in the suburbs of Detroit to the dizzying highs of the Tokyo Dome, Alex Shelley is a man that has to say goodbye but can sleep easy at night knowing he brought an incalculable amount of joy to countless fans around the world during his career thanks to his exacting technical prowess and penchant for perfect tag team matches.