He wasn't there for long, but Alex Shelley has nothing but positive things to say about his time in NXT.
In January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic sequestered everyone to their homes, Alex Shelley made a brief pit-stop in NXT as the surprise partner of Kushida in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The two had previously teamed together as Time Splitters in New Japan Pro Wrestling (between 2012-2015), where they were two-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
Shelley recently spoke with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp and shared that not only did he love NXT, but he was blown away by the way in which they treat their performers. Also, though he and Kushida lost in the first round of the tournament to the Grizzled Young Veterans and his run ended there, Shelley admits that things might have played out differently, in terms of him sticking around, had the pandemic not hit.
"I loved it," Shelley began by saying. "I’d rather not discuss whether or not we were going to go forward with this because it just really doesn’t matter in the long run, right? I really liked it. I loved it. They treated their athletes so well, right? They treat their wrestlers like pro athletes. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’ve been in wrestling almost twenty years, which is crazy to say. The amount of care they put into this is just paramount. They really, really tried to take care of these people’s health and that’s something I had never been witness to and I hope it’s a change going forward. I loved teaming with Kushida. I loved the Time Splitters with all my heart. I think things might have been different though, had the pandemic not happened."
In addition to being a wrestler, Shelley is also a physical therapy clinician and admits that, around that time, he had to decide whether to commit to wrestling full time and lose his medical career or take a step back and not make any life-changing decisions. He said the following:
"For me, personally, I really had to take a good hard look at whether or not I wanted to go full bore into wrestling or keep my medical career and I couldn’t do both. I just couldn’t. At the same time anything that was entertainment-related, economically speaking, took a huge hit and is still recovering. Financially and mentally I thought, ‘You know what? If you’re not sure of something, one of the best things you can do is do nothing at all. Just sit out for a little while.’ So I just kind of waited and in doing so, of course, the opportunity for IMPACT came back to work with Sabin, so I got to reform the Machine Guns and I was so happy I did that. But everything’s up in the air now. I have nothing good things to say about NXT or IMPACT. Both amazing."
On September 3, 2021, Shelley wrestled his first match in nine months when he faced Tom Lawlor at the GCW/BLP 3 Cups Stuffed show.
Up next for Shelley is MLW's Opera Cup. He will debut for the promotion on October 2nd at MLW Fightland when he takes on TJP in first-round action.