Wrestlezone’s Kevin Kellam recently interviewed Alex Shelley ahead of his big match against Matt Taven for the Ring Of Honor World Heavyweight Championship at ROH Summer Supercard in Toronto on August 9.
Shelley spoke about taking time off from professional wrestling last year, and how he was careful not to call it a ‘retirement.’ He says his pursuit of a career as a physical therapist was in the works and he was aware of what that would entail, including planning on taking time off for clinical work once his ROH contract expired.
“This was my second four year program so getting into physical therapy I kind of knew what to expect towards the end of it and I signed a two-year contract with Ring Of Honor in July of 2016. Now had things worked out and they did work out in that regard I would be on clinical rotations for almost a year starting in May of 2018 going on for quite awhile so I knew that was going to happen and I knew I was going to step away from wrestling and Ring of Honor knew about it too. That’s why it was a two-year contract, that’s why it was dated the way it was and that’s why things shook out the way they did. It wasn’t necessarily me retiring from wrestling. I was very, very cognizant of not saying that. Not that anybody ever really does anyway even if they do say it, but still, you know, that word to me, if you’re actually going to say that, it implies something and I didn’t want to mislead anybody in that regard. So I knew I was stepping away. That was completely written in ink well before it happened.”
Shelley talked about what inspired him to get into physical therapy in the first place, noting how well the athletes are taken care of in Japan. Shelley said that while he works with everyday people on their injuries, the main goal for his new career is so he could help his friends.
“I did want to be able to help my friends and one of the things I noticed too, I always thought it was really just kind of insane. Like even in TNA, when they were kinda hot on Spike TV, we had doctors backstage, but we didn’t have any athletic trainers. We didn’t have anybody stretching people out or working on them and when I went to New Japan full time they did have that. And that was kind of the turning point for me.”
Shelley added, saying his new field has similarities to wrestling in that you’ll see therapists driving a great distance to work, and while he does like being on the road, he’d ultimately like to try something new.
“Now, some people they have different virtues that they live by and that’s fine. Like some people in my industry that I work in now, physical therapy, they’ll drive an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes to work and they’re okay with that. That’s one way, right? That’s two and a half hours in the car. To me, that does not reflect quality of life but for them that’s okay and some guys love being on the road. They just love being on the road and they love wrestling five days a week and I do to but at the same time I want to try something new.”