ROH: Alex Shelley – Made In Detroit

Disc One

Alex Shelley & Jimmy Jacobs vs. The Second City Saints (Ace Steel & Colt Cabana)
“Wrath of the Racket” – Dayton, OH – 8.16.2003

This is Shelley’s second ROH match, debuting two months earlier at “Wrestlerave ‘03.” Shelley and Jacobs do a commendable job against Steel to start, but a chop and back elbow to Steel gives him an opening to tag in Cabana. A dropkick and bite to the forehead from Jacobs lead to him and Shelley taking down Cabana with a double Stroke. Steel blind tags himself in and surprises Shelley with a top rope dropkick which sends Shelley to the floor. The Saints wear Shelley down back inside the ring, focusing on his lower back. Shelley maneuvers them into an impressive neckbreaker/DDT combo and finally tags in Jacobs. Shelley is able to give them both neckbreakers and strikes, with Shelley then aiding him with a double yakuza kick. Jacobs gets press slammed out to the floor when attempting to pin Cabana. Steel pushes Shelley into a German suplex from Cabana, with Shelley landing on his face. Jacobs headscissors Cabana to block a double team from the Saints, but Steel catches him with a super Spinal Shock. Shelley looks for the Shellshock on Cabana. Steel saves Cabana, and then the Saints give him a Colt .45/neckbreaker combo for the pin at 14:19. The focus was absolutely on the Saints, but both Jacobs and Shelley had a really great showing and won over the crowd. Some of the Saints offense looked brutal in a good way, and even though Punk and Cabana are the money tandem of the trio, Steel and Cabana together were really good too. ***¼

Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs
“The Last Stand” – Glen Burnie, MD – 1.29.2004

This is their first singles match in ROH, but they had wrestled over a dozen times before this encounter elsewhere. After trading submissions on the mat, Shelley beat Jacobs to the punch to land a dropkick. Shelley rolled through a snapmare, but a satellite headscissors from Jacobs took him off of his feet, and Jacobs followed that with a knee drop. Although Shelley swung out to the apron to avoid a corner attack, Jacobs managed to give him a neckbreaker. However, when he tried to follow that up with a pescado, Shelley ended up catching him with a gutbuster. Back in the ring, Shelley comes off the top turnbuckle with a knee to Jacobs’ neck for a two count. Jacobs evades a double knee attack in the corner, and then pulls Shelley down from the second rope with a neckbreaker. Jacobs ends a strike exchange with a double underhook facebuster. Shelley ducks a boot and picks up Jacobs for a modified Angle Slam. After a tornado DDT, Shelley misses a twisting splash. Shelley escapes a Shiranui but Jacobs knocks him down with a big boot. Shelley gets his knees up to block a senton and delivers the Shellshock. When Jacobs kicks out, Shelley immediately locks in the Border City Stretch, and Jacobs submits at 12:30. For an audience that was unfamiliar with them, this was the perfect kind of match for Shelley and Jacobs to have. Both of them displayed their technical proficiency and Jacobs portrayed his “Huss” character while building around the story of Shelley whittling away at Jacobs’ neck. Probably not their best singles match, but it was exactly what it needed to be. ***¼

Alex Shelley vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Jack Evans vs. Jimmy Rave vs. MASADA vs. Danny Daniels
“Reborn: Stage One” – St. Paul, MN – 4.23.2004

Shelley and Rave wrestle to a stalemate. Daniels does damage to Jacobs mid-section. Jacobs drop toe holds him into the corner and then takes him down with a flying Frankensteiner and dropkick. MASADA cuts off Jacobs’ dive attempt and swings him into a dropkick from Evans. MASADA takes out Evans with a shoulder breaker. Shelley gamengiri’s MASADA from the floor to cut off his dive attempt, and pulls Rave by his hair into a backbreaker. Rave retaliates with his own backbreaker. Rave, Jacobs, and Evans get the other three in triple submissions until the referee forces them all to break. Everyone attacks MASADA in the corner. Shelley and Jacobs take out Rave and Daniels, and Evans takes out Shelley and Jacobs with a springboard dropkick. Shelley Alabama slams Evans and then gives him a backpack stunner. MASADA gives Shelley a fisherman’s buster onto his knee for two. Rave nails the Doppler Effect on MASADA and Jacobs breaks up his pin attempt. Jacobs nails the Contra Code on Rave and the Eye of the Hurricane on Evans. Daniels bocks the Contra Code with a backbreaker and smashes him with an electric chair driver. Evans tornado kicks Daniels. Evans dives onto MASADA, Rave, and Daniels on the floor. Shelley takes advantage of the ring being clear by locking the Border City Stretch onto Jacobs and getting the submission victory at 11:30. That’s an interesting ending as Jacobs and Shelley were set to team up the following evening. ROH was very much hyping these Six Man Mayhems at the time, and I would say that this match delivered the action fans had come to expect from them. The wrestling was exciting, you got to see some unique offense, and it portrayed some of the people who would be prominently featured in the post-RF ROH era. ***

The “Generation Next” event was supposed to be a showcase card where fans would vote for which wrestlers impressed them most. However, Shelley, along with Jack Evans, Austin Aries, and Roderick Strong hijacked the show. They attacked the Christopher St. Connection, canceling the planned tag team scramble match, and declared themselves a new stable known as Generation Next. The Ring Crew Express, who were also in the scheduled tag team scramble match, tried to stand up to this new foursome and ended up getting beat down. Evans, Aries, and Strong would then beat Special K members Izzy, Dixie, and Angel Dust, pinning all three of them at the same time. Alex Shelley would badmouth Special K on the microphone after the match. Special K member Hydro, the future Jay lethal, would then confront Shelley, leading to a singles match.

Alex Shelley vs. Hydro
“Generation Next” – Philadelphia, PA – 5.22.2004

They start with a wristlock exchange, with Shelley turning Hydro into a modified surfboard. Shelley then key locks his legs and goes for a chinlock. Hydro forward and away from Shelley when Shelley loosens up on the hold. Shelley trips Hydro into a modified parachute stretch. Hydro goes for a Fujiwara armbar but Shelley gets the ropes immediately. Hydro knocks him down with a running back elbow for two. Hydro lays in some strikes against the ropes. Shelley drives Hydro’s neck across his knee, then clotheslines him into a neckbreaker across his knee. Shelley uses a few different submissions to wear down Hydro’s neck. He then comes off the top turnbuckle with a knee strike to the back of Hydro’s neck for two. Hydro blocks the Shellshock with an O’Connor roll. Shelley catches Lethal in the back bridge and goes for the Border City Stretch. Hydro escapes that and another Shellshock attempt and puts Shelley in the Last Chancery. Shelley slips out of the hold. When Lethal goes for a pump-handle slam, Shelley escapes and delivers the Shellshock successfully. He puts on the Border City Stretch for the submission at 7:30. This is a shining example where both guys come out looking better than they did going in. Having these two face off in a singles match instead of a six man tag sends a clear message about Shelley’s standing as the leader of Generation Next, and Hydro as someone poised to break out of Special K at any moment. ***

Generation Next (Alex Shelley, Roderick Strong & Austin Aries) vs. Matt Stryker, John Walters & Jimmy Rave
“World Title Classic” – Dayton, OH – 6.12.2004

Generation Next attacked Stryker before the bell who eventually got saved by Rave and Walters. They powerbomb Evans directly onto the wooden floor, making him a non-factor. Despite Stryker being a bloody mess, he insists on being involved in the match. Shelley and Strong bail to the floor, but Stryker tosses Aries onto them. Shelley and Walters end up exchanging wristlocks, with Walters immediately grabbing the bottom rope when Shelley goes for his legs. Walters gets Strong in a Camel Clutch variation, and he releases the hold when he notices Shelley trying to sneak into the ring. Rave puts Strong in a side headlock. He transitions to a wristlock and tags in Stryker who angrily chops Strong before kicking him between his shoulder blades. Walters jams Strong’s leg across his shoulder. Walters and Rave then focus their offense onto Strong’s left leg. Stryker helps out but is still showing wear from the pre-match attack. Strong throws Rave to the mat by his hair, but Aries is met by a chop from Rave the moment he tags in. Aries stops Rave’s Frankensteiners attempt, and with Shelley and Strong deliver a triple backbreaker. Rave shows a good amount of fighting spirit while Generation Next keep him isolated. Todd Sinclair is extremely incompetent in the amount of triple teaming from Gen Next he misses, as well as missing two tags Rave made to Stryker. Fortunately for Rave, he is able to fight off the three Gen Next members for a third time and tag in Stryker successfully. Stryker’s adrenaline allows for him to explode onto Gen Next, power slamming Aries for a two count. He then German suplexes Shelley thrice and Strong twice, Walters comes in with a back cracker to Strong, and Rave follows that up with a flying Frankensteiner. Aries heads up top, but Stryker cuts him off with a superplex. Walters drops Shelley with a Backpack Stunner. Shelley however sends Walters back first into the barricades while Rave puts Strong in the Crossface back inside the ring. Aries breaks the hold with a 450 splash to Rave’s back. He then puts Raven in the Rings of Saturn which causes Rave to tap at 16:48. The ineptitude of Sinclair was distracting, but not enough to take away from the excellent wrestling. The crowd being hot and this rivalry feeling genuinely intense helped as well. ***½

ROH Pure Championship
Doug Williams vs. Alex Shelley

“Death Before Dishonor II Night 1 – Wauwatosa, WI – 7.23.2004

Six days earlier, Williams won the Pure Championship, defeating Shelley to win the vacant title. This is Williams’ first title defense. Shelley not only does not adhere to the Code of Honor, but stomps on Williams’ hands. Williams retaliates in kind. Williams ties up Shelley’s limbs in the bottom rope, which costs Shelley his first rope break. Shelley makes Williams use his first rope break by applying the Border City Stretch. Shelley snapmares Williams into a back kick and rakes his eyes before giving him a straightjacket neckbreaker. As he holds on and delivers a neckbreak, Williams uses his second rope break. As Shelley comes off of the ropes, Williams rolls him into a half crab. Shelley uses his second rope break and enzuigiri’s Williams. Williams ends a chain wrestling sequence by driving Shelley chest first into the corner. He double arm superplexes Shelley for two. Shelley surprises Williams with Shellshock, but Williams spends his third and final rope break to avoid being pinned. Williams escapes a superplex and hits the Bomb Scare knee drop for two. He tries the Chaos Theory, which Shelley blocks with a Gedo Clutch for two, and then delivers a standing Shiranui. Shelley double stomps the back of Williams’ head. He goes for Shellshock. Williams goes for Chaos Theory. Shelley uses his third and final rope break to escape the waistlock. Williams then successfully pulls off the Chaos Theory for the pin at 16:47. This was not as exciting or unique as their tournament final, but it was thoroughly entertaining and they incorporated the Pure elements wisely. ***¼

Alex Shelley vs. Bryan Danielson
“Glory By Honor III” – Elizabeth, NJ – 9.11.2004

This is a first time singles match, and interestingly, they would meet one week later in the first round of the TPI. Shelley works over Danielson’s arm to start. He snapmares Danielson and dropkicks him in the back of his head. He maneuvers him into the Border City Stretch, and Danielson uses the ropes to escape. Shelley takes an uppercut but then picks Danielson’s leg which results in Danielson rolling to the floor. Shelley gives Danielson a neckbreaker across his knee before skullf*cking back inside the ring. Danielson uses uppercuts and open hand strikes to take control. Shelley kicks out of a back bridge clutch, so Danielson puts him in a Dragon Sleeper out of a surfboard stretch. He aggressively attacks Shelley’s left arm repeatedly before getting two with a double underhook bridging suplex. After doing more damage to the arm he tries the Cattle Mutilation. Shelley scurries to the ropes. Shelley turns over to block a back superplex, but Danielson rolls through and stretches Shelley’s arms behind him. Shelley ducks a rolling forearm and superkicks Danielson. Danielson blocks a suplex, and then Shelley blocks a Cattle Mutilation with a backpack stunner. Danielson comes back with an airplane spin and diving headbutt. As Danielson is peppering Shelley with uppercuts, Shelley blocks one and turns it into the Shellshock. He then applies the Border City Stretch, which Danielson again uses the ropes to escape. Shelley attacks the neck again, but his arm is too hurt to pull off the Golden Gate Swing. He does however block the Cattle Mutilation with the Border City Stretch. Danielson escapes that with a Regalplex, then applies the Cattle Mutilation to get the submission victory at 19:21. These two would go on to have a much better match about a year and half later, but this was an excellent first draft. You had each guy wearing one another down in the hopes of pulling off their submission, and Shelley doing a good job of towing the line between urgency and methodology. Danielson was on his way to a title shot, so this was the right call at the time, but the match also showed just how capable Shelley was of being amongst the top stars not even four months after Generation Next formed. ***¾

At “Final Battle 2004”, CM Punk submitted Alex Shelley in a tag team match. After the match, Aries voiced his displeasure with Shelley focusing on “more important things” (at the time he was appearing in TA), while he worked hard to earn an ROH World Title match against Samoa Joe. In addition to taking the top spot in ROH, he also wants to take Shelley’s spot as the leader of Generation Next. He attacks Shelley, and Strong gives him a backbreaker. Shelley has officially been kicked out of Generation Next. Aries would successfully defeat Samoa Joe for the ROH World Championship in the main event.

At “It All Begins”, Aries gave a speech, saying he will have the greatest ROH title reign by defending the title more times and in more places than Samoa Joe. Alex Shelley says he wants to be Aries’ first title challenger, but he is attacked from behind by Roderick Strong. Strong and Aries beat down Shelley until Colt Cabana, Aries opponent tonight, comes to his aid. Shelley offers Cabana a handshake for helping him, but Cabana says he knows the type of person Shelley is and only saved him because of his match later tonight. Shelley then turns his attention to his opponent for the evening.

Alex Shelley vs. Spanky
“It All Begins” – Cambridge, MA – 1.15.2005

Shelley obeys the Code of Honor for the first time since May 2004, shaking Spanky’s hand at the bell. Shelley keeps a hold of a straightjacket choke. Spanky catches Shelley with a headscissors out of the corney. Shelley takes Spanky down with a toreador and halts him in an arm-capture side headlock. They fight to the ring apron where Shelley gives Spanky a facebuster, and then dives from inside the ring to the outside for a splash. Shelley gets two with a slingshot leg drop. Shelley climbs to the top turnbuckle, and Spanky shoves him out to the floor! Spanky slams Shelley’s left knee into the barricades before doing more damage back inside the ring. Shelley cuts him off with a clothesline. Shelley escapes a Sliced Bread #2 attempt and buys him some rest time with an enzuigiri. After a second enzuigiri, Shelley backslides Spanky for two and then lifts him into a double underhook facebuster. Shelley waterwheel slams Spanky, and then rolls him up into the 2k1 Bomb for two. Spanky plays possum, successfully baiting Shelley into Sliced Bread #2 for a nearfall. Spanky gives Shelley a brainbuster and lands a frog splash for another nearfall. Shelley kicks out after an elbow smash as well. After a superkick he lands Shellshock, but Spanky gets his foot on the bottom rope to stop the pin. Shelley avoids another 2k1 Bomb and uses the ropes to hit Sliced Bread #2 for the pin at 14:46. You had someone turning a new leaf in ROH, with another re-committing themselves to ROH, and both of them wanted to start the year off on the right foot. Shelley withstood a lot of what Spanky had to offer, but a surprise Sliced Bread #2, a move Shelley fully understands the power behind, did him in. This was a whole lot of fun to watch and a great way to kick off ROH’s new year. ***½

Alex Shelley vs. CM Punk
“Third Anniversary Celebration Night 2” – Dayton, OH – 2.25.2005

Punk takes Shelley down out of a handshake and tells Shelley has to do a lot more than a handshake if he wants to make up for everything he did as part of Generation Next. Shelley has the chance for a cheap shot in the corner but does not take it. He holds Punk in a front facelock until Punk makes it to the ropes. Punk takes him down in a courting hold. He and Shelley exchange holds on the canvas. Punk delivers some dropkicks for two. He begins to work over Shelley’s neck and left arm. Punk goes for a crossbody but Shelley catches him with a gut buster. He kicks Punk in the ribs before dropkicking him to the floor. In the ring Shelley stomps on Punk’s back and gives him another gut buster. He applies a chinlock while stretching Punk’s leg. Punk gets on a crossface but Shelley grabs the ropes right away. He kicks Punk in the ribs and applies an abdominal stretch. Punk lands on his feet out of a monkey flip and superkicks Shelley. Pun lands a flying forearm and a leg lariat to Shelley’s neck for two. Shelley locks his hands when Punk goes for the Anaconda Vise. He throws strikes to Punk’s stomach. Punk comes off the second rope but is caught with a spear. Shelley frog splashes onto Punk for two. He tries for the Border City Stretch after a frog splash to Punk’s back, but Punk rolls Shelley onto his shoulders for a two count. Punk sets Shelley up top. He tries bringing him off with a Pepsi Plunge. Shelley looks to counter with a super Manhattan Drop. Punk instead lands on his feet and hits the Shining Wizard for two. Shelley blocks the Pepsi Twist but takes a Samoan Drop. Punk puts on the Anaconda Vise and Shelley gets the ropes to escape. Punk tries the Pepsi Plunge again, but Shelley shoves him down and comes off the top with a double stomp. He then puts Punk in the Border City Stretch! Punk counters into the Anaconda Vise and Shelley taps at 22:00. This may have been a little long, but they filled the time well with adept and engaging wrestling. It was Shelley proving to Punk and the crowd he had turned a new leaf by wrestling cleanly and not taking cheap shots. ***½

Alex Shelley vs. Jack Evans
“Third Anniversary Celebration Pt. 3” – Chicago Ridge, IL – 2.26.2005

Before the match, Shelley admits he acted like a “douchebag” during his Gen Next tenure. He makes an offer for Evans to side with him and join him in taking a new approach to reaching the top of ROH, and Evans slaps him in the face. Shelley does a little chain wrestling before forearming Evans to the floor. Evans goes for a cazadora bulldog, but Shelley bends him back into a modified Dragon Sleeper. Evans kicks Shelley away and rolls him up for two. He tries for a springboard and Shelley sweeps his legs out. He ties up Evans’ legs and puts him in a Bow and Arrow. Evans flips out but gets armdragged into a skullf*ck. Shelley then puts him in a reverse Boston Crab which bends Evans in half. He then bends Evans over his shoulder. Evans armdrags Shelley to the ropes. He misses a Busaiku Knee and falls to the floor. Shelley dives after him with a twisting crossbody. In the ring, Evans catches Shelley with a tornado kick for one. He stretches out Shelley’s arm before getting two with a standing twisting splash. He also lands a twisting quebrada. He puts on a modified headscissors until Shelley gets the ropes. Shelley pops him up for a powerbomb. Evans sweeps out Shelley’s leg to stop a superkick. He drives his knees into Shelley’s chest for two. Shelley catches him with Shellshock. Evans kicks out which surprises Shelley. He tries for a slam. Evans reverses it into a DDT. He misses a 630 splash but lands on his feet. Shelley superkicks him for another two count. Evans recovers and connects with the Busaiku Knee. He then drops Shelley with a fisherman brainbuster off the second rope for two. Evans tries again for the 630 splash but Shelley gets his knees up. He wraps his foot behind Evan’s left knee and hyperextends Evans’ right leg over his shoulder until his foot is almost touching the back of Evans’ head. Evans taps at 13:49. At this point, Evans had only had one other singles match in ROH, so this was a chance for him to showcase what he could do as an individual. Luckily he took the ball and ran with it, and ended up looking really strong by going toe-to-toe with Shelley and kicking out of his biggest moves until being submitted into a loss. Shelley was his usual, proficient self which is in no way a slight. ***

Austin Aries attacks Shelley after the match saying that’s what happens to people who disrespect the champion.

Disc Two

Double Stakes Four Corner Survival Match
Alex Shelley vs. Samoa Joe vs. Colt Cabana vs. Nigel McGuinness

“Stalemate” – Dorchester, MA – 4.16.2005

This is a two fall match. The winner of the first fall earns a future shot at the ROH Pure Championship. The winner and loser of the first fall then leave the other two to wrestle for a shot at the ROH World Championship. Cabana wrestles both McGuiness and Shelley for a significant time, keen to stay in the ring as long as he can. Joe decides to tag himself in when Shelley backs Cabana to the corner. He outwrestles Shelley and then clobbers him in the face with repeated forearm strikes. Cabana does a little damage to Joe, so Joe tags McGuinness in after taking down Cabana with a powerslam. Joe decides to interject when McGuinness tries to bait Cabana in with a headstand, giving McGuinness a running boot and then laying out Cabana with an enzuigiri. Joe further lays out Cabana on the floor with Shelley tagging himself in to wrestle McGuinness. Joe breaks up Shelley’s pin on McGuinness, as he’s interested in the Pure Title shot so he can try to be the first triple crown winner in ROH. After McGuinness takes down Shelley with the Rebound Lariat, they tag in Joe and Cabana. Cabana gets a nearfall after a missile dropkick. McGuinness hesitates when Joe has Cabana in an STF, but does ultimately decide to break the hold. Shelley wipes out McGuinness on the floor with a pescado. Joe puts Cabana in a sleeper choke. Shelley holds onto McGuinness’ leg so that he can’t break up the hold. Cabana passes out at 17:49. Joe has earned the future Pure Championship match, and both he and Cabana are eliminated. Cabana seems unhappy that McGuinness didn’t break up the hold, but McGuinness tries to explain that Shelley prevented him from doing so. Shelley stretches out McGuinness’. McGuinness attacks Shelley’s left bicep. It takes him three times, but McGuinness successfully pulls off the divorce court arm breaker and a short-arm scissors. Shelley counters into the Border City Stretch. McGuinness escapes and dropkicks Shelley in the arm before giving him a hammerlock facebuster. The Tower of London gets him a two count as Shelley is able to get his foot on the bottom rope. Shelley comes back with a tornado DDT and the Shellshock for the pin at 25:29, earning the ROH World Championship match. This achieved putting a couple of interesting title matches on the books in the future, with Joe facing his protege, Jay Lethal, for the Pure Title, and Shelley facing his former Generation Next stablemate, Austin Aries, for the World Title. The wrestling was good, but drawn out, and having Shelley and McGuinness as the final two wasn’t the most exciting pairing. I suppose the ends justify the means. ***

ROH World Championship
Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley

“Manhattan Mayhem”– New York, NY – 5.7.2005

Aries has been champion since 12.26.2004 and this is his thirteenth defense. Shelley breaks a lock-up cleanly in the corner, but since Aries smacks him in the face, Shelley spits in his face. Some intense mat wrestling concludes with Aries nailing a dropkick out of a headscissors. Shelley spots Aries coming off the second rope with a back elbow and catches him with a German suplex. He drives his knees into Aries’ chest in the corner, then punts him in the ribs after he kicks out from a suplex. Shelley also gets two with a slingshot elbow drop. Aries attempts a slingshot elbow in the corner, but Shelley pushes him away and takes him down with a clothesline. Shelley then lands a corkscrew plancha to the floor. Aries uses the ropes to do damage to Shelley’s neck. He lands a slingshot senton and powerdrive elbow combo for two. Shelley blocks a brainbuster with the Golden Gate Swing. Aries comes back with Total Anarchy and locks Shelley in the Last Chancery. He drops his knee onto Shelley’s neck for two. He catches Shelley coming off the ropes with a side slam onto his head, and the pendulum elbow gets another two count. Aries snaps his neck on the top rope before hitting a twisting slingshot press. Shelley then gets his knees up to block a quebrada. Shelley gives him an enzuigiri and turns him inside out with a clothesline. He gets two with a frog splash, then transitions right into the Border City Stretch. Aries breaks right away and fish hooks Shelley’s mouth whilst twisting his neck. Shelley rolls Aries back into the Border City Stretch. Aries bites his wrist to escape. Aries blocks a superkick and strings together a shin breaker and back suplex. With Shelley in the corner, Aries hits the IED twice. A Finlay roll leads to a 450 splash attempt. Shelley moves and hits Shellshock for two. Shelley blocks a crucifix bomb with a TKO. A second Shellshock results in another two count thanks to Aries grabbing the ropes. Aries knees out of a brainbuster attempt. A rolling forearm, a punt to the head and a brainbuster lead to the 450 splash, giving Aries the win at 19:32. I love that not only did Aries work over Shelley’s neck the entire time, but also used the same combination of moves he used to win the title to retain against one of his tougher opponents. The way the match was put together, it was up in the air who would come out on top, and it helped that we had some fans cheering for Shelley too. It actually would’ve made sense for Shelley’s story to have ended with a title win, but regardless, this was a heck of a match. ****

Alex Shelley vs. Roderick Strong
“The Final Showdown” – Dayton, OH – 5.14.2005

Strong scrambles right to the ropes when Shelley goes for his legs. Shelley slaps him in the face when he evades a Border City Stretch. Strong grabs the ropes to escape a potential cross armbreaker and retreats to the floor. Back inside, Shelley and Strong quickly counter one another’s offense, leading to a stalemate. Shelley snaps off a Frankensteiner and then lands a spinwheel kick. He wipes out Strong on the floor with a tope con hilo, then a crossbody back inside the ring. Strong hotshots Shelley on the top rope and big boots him right in the middle of his back. He drops Shelley chest first onto the barricades. In the ring, Shelley surprises Strong with a schoolboy, maneuvering Strong from that into a Border City Stretch. Strong counters into a pin and then a butterfly suplex. Strong ends a strike exchange with a dropkick to a kneeling Shelley. Shelley elbows out of a half-nelson backbreaker, and then counters a suplex from Strong with one of his own. Shelley rolls through a sunset flip and dropkicks Strong in the jaw. A springboard tornado DDT gets Shelley a two count. Strong is able to trap Shelley in the corner, hanging him on the second rope. Strong uses the ropes to deliver a double stomp to Shelley’s back, and then successfully pulls off a half-nelson suplex for two. After a waterwheel slam, Strong hits the Sick Kick for two. Shelley avoids a corner attack and superkicks Strong. Strong kicks out of Shellshock, so Shelley hits it a second time to get the pin at 15:12. Austin Aries and Jack Evans chase Shelley out of the ring after the match. The action in built extremely well, with Shelley and Strong’s knowledge of each other resulting in constant counters and reversals, Shelley utilizing new offense to get the advantage, and Strong damaging Shelley’s back whenever he had the chance. It was really fun to watch and Shelley was absolutely on fire. It’s kind of nuts looking back on this that Generation Next were the good guys. ***¾

Shelley would address the crowd at “The Homecoming” event in July. He says that since December he’s been apologizing to everyone for his actions from when he was a member of “Generation Next”, and those apologies have gotten him absolutely nothing. The only person who has agreed to team with him since then was a lizard boy (Delirious). He can live with his past decisions, but now it is time for him to move onto another key goal of pro wrestling: to make money. He then tells the crowd that he didn’t sell out, but rather, he bought in. The Embassy of Prince Nana, Jimmy Rave, Jade Chung, Fast Eddie, and Killer Kruel come to the ring. Jimmy Rave tells Shelley that he taught him that nice guys finish last, forgives Shelley for all he did when he was in Generation Next, and welcomes him into the Embassy. Given Austin Aries declined joining The Embassy at “Escape From New York”, this is a nice bit of kismet. Shelley’s new stablemate Fast Eddie will partner with him in the upcoming tag match.

Generation Next (Austin Aries & Roderick Strong) vs. The Embassy (Alex Shelley & Fast Eddie)
The Homecoming” – Philadelphia, PA – 7.23.2005

Aries and Strong control Eddie with great ease in the opening portion of the match. It takes both a foot grab from Kruel and an enzuigiri from Shelley from the apron that allows Eddie to get in a fisherman’s buster across his knee on Strong. Shelley and Eddie take great joy pummeling Strong in their half of the ring. Aries does interject to get Strong out of a skullf*ck from Shelley at one point. Strong chops Eddie and tags in Aries. Aries knocks Strong off the apron and drops the powerdrive elbow onto Eddie. Aries goes up top, but Shelley shoves him off the top, sending Aries crashing onto the ropes throat first. Eddie German suplexes him for two, and now it’s Aries who finds himself trapped in the Embassy corner. Strong inserts himself on several occasions due to growing frustrations at Embassy double teaming and choking. Aries Frankensteiner’s Eddie to escape a Doomsday Device, knocks down Shelley with a rolling elbow, and finally tags Strong back in, who delivers backbreakes to both of his opponents. Shelley superkicks Strong before dropping him with the Golden Gate Swing. Eddie capitalizes on that with a moonsault for two. Aries comes in with a slingshot elbow to Shelley after Shelley misses a corner attack. Aries gives both Shelley and Eddie IEDs in opposite corners. Strong Sick Kicks Shelley and then gives him a uranage backbreaker. Aries lands a 450 splash and Eddie breaks up the pin attempt on Shelley. Strong follows Eddie to the floor with a pescado. Rave hits Aries with a steel chair, then a chair assisted Doppler Effect on Aries while referee Todd Sinclair is dealing with Strong and Eddie. Shelley pins Aries at 12:52. It feels like someone should’ve taken notice that there were two tag matches on the show where the good guys avoided a Doomsday Device and then made the hot tag, but I digress. This was action packed, heated, and although Shelley technically was able to finally get a pinfall on Aries, there’s an asterisk next to that victory. This felt like a fresh start for Shelley, who now has direction after months of wandering, and a new issue exists between The Embassy and Generation Next. This would be Eddie’s last match in ROH. ***¼

The Embassy (Alex Shelley, Jimmy Rave & Abyss) vs. Generation Next (Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Matt Sydal)
Redemption” – Dayton, OH – 8.12.2005

Sydal will officially become a member of Generation Next if they win the match. Abyss is a hired gun for The Embassy. This is his first ROH match, although he did appear with Special K back at “The Battle Lines Are Drawn.” Daizee Haze, Sydal’s manager, is in the corner of Generation Next, and Prince Nana is in the corner of the Embassy. Strong stretches Rave’s back out across his knee. He chops Rave, which causes him to tag in Shelley immediately. Strong grabs hold of his arm and tags in Aries. He and Strong give Shelley the Hart Attack for one. Aries connects with a back elbow from the second rope. He then slingshots in with a twisting splash and a quebrada. He fishhooks Shelley’s mouth while applying an arm submission. He tags in Sydal after a Finlay Roll. Sydal comes in with a cannonball leg drop for two. Shelley suplexes Sydal and tags in Abyss. Sydal is able to avoid his offense until Abyss tosses him up in the air. He misses a corner charge and Gen Next all attack Abyss in the corner. Abyss press slams Aries onto Sydal. This allows The Embassy to isolate Sydal in their corner. Sydal legdrops Shelley into the mat and dropkicks Rave out of mid-air as he attempts a crossbody. Aries tags in and gets two on Shelley with the Powerdrive elbow. Abyss low bridges the top rope to bring Aries to the floor and rams his back into the ring and chest into the barricades. Rave and Shelley take turns targeting Aries’ back and midsection in their half of the ring. Todd Sinclair is tied up with the Embassy when Aries makes a tag to Strong, so it doesn’t count. Aries gets another tag after ducking Rave’s Doppler Effect. Shelley takes a few backbreakers while Strong chops up Rave. Abyss is too big for a gut buster, and he ends up German suplexing Strong. Aries and Sydal dropkick Abyss to assist Strong with his own German suplex. Strong then Sick Kicks Abyss to the floor. Sydal hits a standing moonsault onto Shelley. Aries then sends him into the barricades with a Heat-Seeking Missile. Sydal moonsaults onto Abyss on the floor. Rave spears Strong and sets him up for the Rave Clash. Aries puts a stop to it, and Strong gives Rave a half-nelson backbreaker. Aries follows that up with a 450 splash for the pin at 16:52. That was a really energetic, fast-paced match that helped set the tone for the rivalry between the two groups. ***¾

Alex Shelley vs. Austin Aries
“Showdown in Motown” – Detroit, MI – 11.4.2005

Embassy members Prince Nana and Jimmy Rave are in Shelley’s corner, and Jade Chung is in Aries’ corner.. Shelley smacks Aries in the face and then retreats to the floor to avoid retaliation. This only delays the inevitable, as Aries pummels and blows snot on Shelley when he re-enters the ring. Aries’ second elbow off the middle turnbuckle lands successfully. Shelley has more success with a grounded headscissors than most, but Aries ultimately pops out of it and delivers a dropkick. Aries backdrops Shelley onto Nana and Rave and lands the heat-seeking missile onto all three men. Back in the ring, Shelley Complete Shots Aries onto the middle turnbuckle, and double stomps his elbow as Aries uses the ropes to come back to his feet. More damage is done when Aries misses the pendulum elbow. Shelley hammerlocks the arm and drives his knee into Aries’ elbow repeatedly. Rave gets in a cheap shot from the outside in the process of Shelley continuing his attack on Aries’ elbow. Aries escapes a tornado DDT attempt and drops Shelley with a DDT of his own. Aries gets two with a slingshot twisting splash. Shelley connects with an enzuigiri and turns Aries inside out with a clothesline. Aries reverses a pin after taking an Air Raid Crash, but Shelley rolls him into the Border City Stretch mid-ring. Aries counters into a fish hook. His arm is too weak for a brainbuster, but he uses Shelley’s momentum of missed double knees in the corner for a side Russian leg sweep into the buckles. The IED dropkick and inverted Finlay Roll lead to Aries ascending the ropes. Nana shoves Aries off the top. Shelley holds Aries so Nana can attempt to clobber Aries with his crown. Chung low blows Nana to prevent him from doing so. Aries shoves Shelley into Nana, and then O’Connor Rolls Shelley for the pin at 14:38. The story was good, the ending was lame, and overall it was just missing the atmosphere the Manhattan Mayhem match had. It was just another chapter in the Embassy and Generation Next rivalry rather than a standout singles match. ***¼

ROH World Championship
Bryan Danielson vs. Alex Shelley

Arena Warfare” – Philadelphia, PA – 3.11.2006

Danielson has been champion since 9.17.2005 and this is his thirteenth defense. Prince Nana is in Shelley’s corner. The crowd’s pre-match heckling has thrown Shelley off of his game so severely that he gets on the microphone to give them a piece of his mind. Danielson puts him in a double knuckle lock and monkey flips him out of the corner while keeping the knuckle lock applied. The fans chant “boring” as Danielson breaks the lock in the corner. Shelley puts the main instigator in his place. Danielson and Shelley chain wrestle. Shelley bites his finger to break a chinlock. Danielson dropkicks him to the floor. He comes back in with a lock-up. He slaps Danielson in the corner. Danielson responds with some slaps of his own which causes Shelley to retreat. He slaps Shelley when he comes back in. He applies an abdominal stretch. Shelley slaps Danielson and gives him a kneeDT. He puts Danielson in a figure four. This devolves into a strike exchange when Danielson throws forearms to escape. Danielson catches Shelley with a belly-to-belly suplex. He stomps Shelley’s knees into the mat. He gives him a slingshot suplex for two. Danielson applies a surfboard stretch. Shelley powers out of it. Danielson stomps his knees into the mat and gives him several spinning toe holds. He puts on the figure four again. Shelley makes it to the ropes. A diving headbutt gets him two. Shelley blocks a chicken wing. He enzuigiri’s Danielson and gives him a tornado DDT. A series of pin reversals ends with a dropkick from Shelley. He gives Danielson three neckbreakers and then puts his entire body weight onto his neck and shoulders. Nana pulls Danielson to the floor to get in some cheap shots. Shelley misses a suicide dive and lands on Nana instead. Danielson pitches them both into the crowd and dives after them. In the ring he nails Shelley with a top rope dropkick. Shelley ducks an elbow. Shelley goes for Shellshock. Danielson evades and puts on Cattle Mutilation. He tries for a superplex. Shelley shoves him down and gets two with a frog splash. He superkicks Danielson. A brainbuster and 2k1 Bomb are only good enough for a two count. He locks on the Border City Stretch. Shelley rolls his shoulders over and gets two again. He goes for Sliced Bread #2. Danielson instead superplexes him. Nana gets on the apron when Danielson wins a forearm exchange. Shelley kicks him in the groin and hits Shellshock. Danielson kicks out. He reapplies the Border City Stretch. Danielson gets his foot on the ropes. Shelley goes for Sliced Bread #2. Upon impact Danielson puts on Cattle Mutilation. Shortly after he rolls Shelley onto his shoulders and gets the pin at 32:29. That was out of this world awesome and probably the best heel vs. heel match two great wrestlers could muster. Shelley working over Danielson’s neck was very well done. However, what Shelley did not count on, was that Danielson’s proclivity for taking the Sliced Bread allowed for him to have discovered a “counter” and from it was able to pick up the win. Honestly, Shelley’s lack of knowledge in Danielson’s ability to take the move and continue on, as he failed to mention in his backstage promo earlier, makes the story even better. This is easily my favorite singles match from Shelley. Heck, it’s one of my favorites from Danielson too. ****¼

The Embassy (Alex Shelley & Jimmy Rave) & Masato Yoshino vs. Do Fixer (Dragon Kid, Ryo Saito & Genki Horiguchi)
Better Than Our Best” – Chicago, IL – 4.1.2006

The Embassy are coming off of two big tag teams wins the previous two evenings against Bryan Danielson & Delirious and Claudio Castagnoli & Jimmy Yang, en route to a shot at the ROH Tag Team Championship. Do Fixer is coming off a big win against Yoshino and his Blood Generation stablemates in what is considered to be one of the best matches in ROH history the night before. Prince Nana and Daizee Haze are in the Embassy’s corner. They’re so pleased with themselves when Yoshino pegs a roll of toilet paper at the back of Saito’s head, but Do Fixer gets the better of their opposition in all three one-on-one encounters that begin the bout. Saito and Horiguchi give Yoshino the toilet paper treatment right back after their classic Maraha Isappa double team offense. Although Shelley succumbs to triple team offense from Do Fixer, a simple thumb to Horiguchi’s eye shifts the match into his team’s favor. With the fans chanting H-A-G-E for encouragement, Horiguchi escapes a headlock from Shelley and back elbows him away. Saito overhead suplexes Rave while Kid pulls off Deja vu and sucidie dive on Yoshino. Saito and Horiguchi plant Shelley with a wheelbarrow bulldog for two. Shelley blocks Saito’s Fisherman’s Express and gets two after an enzuigiri and brainbuster. Rave wipes out Kid with a spear, gutbuster, and DDT. Do Fixer wipes out Yoshino mid-air with triple dropkicks. Yoshino kicks out of both a super splash from Saito and Jesus Walks from Kid. Rave and Shelley give Saito a spear/clothesline combo, then Rave hits the Doppler Effect. Horiguchi breaks the pin. Kid hits the Dragonrana on Yoshino but Shelley bowls him over. He looks for it again but Yoshino knocks the referee into the ropes. Shelley brings Kid down with a Hamachan Cutter, and Yoshino and Rave follow that up with stereo Lightning Spirals on Kid and Horiguchi. Saito jumps in to break both pin attempts. Horiguchi’s Backslide From Heaven gets two on Rave. Rave clotheslines Horiguchi before planting him with Greetings From Ghana for the pin at 16:16. Wisely, they gave this match some of the Dragon Gate flavor, but didn’t try to recreate the amazing effort of last night. Yoshino’s personality fit in perfectly with the Embassy and the three of them had tremendous chemistry with Do Fixer. A win here also makes the Embassy undefeated during this historic tripleshot, punching their ticket for a tag team title match at the end of the month. ***½

ROH World Tag Team Championship
The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin)

“Good Times, Great Memories” – Chicago, IL – 4.28.2007

This match was set up at “All Star Extravaganza III” when Shelley and Sabin hit the ring after Jay and Mark won the ROH World Tag Team Championship for the fourth time and issued a challenge. Mark was taken out when he suffered a severe concussion doing a shooting star press, leaving Jay alone with the Machine Guns in the ring. With the encouragement of the crowd, Jay accepts the challenge, and is then left laying by Shelley and Sabin. Shelley declares himself and Sabin the future ROH Tag Team Champions. This is not featured on the compilation DVD, but can be found on ROH’s YouTube channel.

The Briscoes have been champions since 3.30.2007 and this is their second defense. The major story here was the Machine Guns focusing their attack on Mark’s neck, knowing their best chance of winning the titles was going after the Briscoes achilles heel. The Briscoes aren’t like any other team though: they’re tough as nails, have that subconscious brotherly connection that senses when the other needs a hand. The Machine Guns had to work very, very hard to make a dent in the champions, and they took every shortcut they could: eye pokes, spitting in their opponents faces, and illegally breaking up pins when needed. Even at their most “comical”, the fans still hated them. Mark hitting the shooting star press on Shelley, then Shelley later hitting the Air Raid Crash on Mark, got the crowd in a legitimate frenzy. We’re talking about people jumping up and down ringside. Mark would pin Shelley after a cut-throat driver, then a super leg drop cut-throat driver combo at 34:30. At the time, these two were the best teams in wrestling, and their amazing tag team wrestling, crisp offense, and bevvy of believable nearfalls made this one of the most memorable and exciting matches in ROH history. To this day it’s considered one of the best matches in the promotions history, probably one of the best MCMG matches ever, and while you can say the same for the Briscoes, it was in some ways “just” another incredible match in a year where they had them almost every ROH show. This is simply two teams at the top of their game putting on an incredible show for an audience that readily and happily ate it up. *****

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