Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman spoke with Alex Shelley at last weekend's ROH Summer Supercard event where Shelley was in the main event against ROH World Champion Matt Taven. During the interview, Shelley touched on his desire to wrestle for NJPW again, which NJPW stars he's had his fingerprints on, and his thoughts on Jay White's big push in NJPW at an early age.
After stepping away from wrestling last year, Shelley returned to Ring of Honor last month to resume in-ring action. ROH has a well known partnership with NJPW and Shelley was asked if wrestling for NJPW was something he wanted to do again down the road.
"I would love to, and one of the things that made me want to come back to Ring of Honor—and it was a multi-factorial decision, no doubt about it—it was a relationship with New Japan, if I'm being transparent," Shelley said. "I consider myself a friend of New Japan, and I hope New Japan does, too."
Shelley then noted that some fans may not realize it, but thanks to the time he spent with Jay White and Kazuchika Okada earlier on in their careers, some of his fingerprints are on their current gimmicks.
"I've had these interesting relationships with some of [New Japan Pro Wrestling's] top stars over the years," Shelley revealed. "Where I've lived with, or hosted, or helped train a handful of them with their current gimmicks, to some extent. And my fingerprints are on their roster, I just don't think a lot of people would ever examine it that closely. It's not me taking credit, let's clear that up. Because they did the work. I can help them as much as I possibly can, but ultimately it's them. I'm not in there having the matches for them, I'm not with them doing the media appearances, it's their hard work and their credit.
"I did have Jay White live with me for about a year and a half. He lived with me in Detroit when he did his excursion in Ring of Honor. Okada and I were very, very, close. When he first got sent to Orlando for TNA, many years ago, I e-mailed the office and said, 'Look, I know this guy'—because I'd actually wrestled him before he got into New Japan—'If you need somebody to take care him, I'm your guy.' I would help him as much as I could, being a stranger in a strange land, that's hard."
Going back to Jay White, Shelley was asked what he thought about NJPW giving the 26-year old such a big push early on in his career. White has already been a IWGP US Champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
"I can't think of somebody who worked harder," Shelley responded. "This guy would literally cook his dinner in my kitchen and then eat dinner while watching whatever matches. He really put the time in and put the work in. He deserves every iota of it. He loves pro wrestling, he's one of my best friends, like my little brother."
White being the leader of Bullet Club, Shelley was asked if the two are so close, would he ever consider joining up with the stable.
"I think that's his call, I don't know," Shelley said. "But working with Jay, most certainly, yes, absolutely I am! Jay White's Bullet Club? Yeah, of course, it'd be foolish not to."
You can check out the full interview in the video above.
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