The Motor City Machine Guns’ Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin are synonymous with Impact Wrestling. And that will not be changing anytime soon.
Shelley and Sabin have signed new contracts with Impact, Sports Illustrated has learned. Terms were not revealed, but it signifies that both sides are passionate about the Motor City Machine Guns making more magic inside the Impact ring.
“We still love pro wrestling,” says Shelley. “We’re still excited about it, and we love wrestling for Impact—and that chance to work with the Impact locker room.”
The longest-reigning Impact tag champs in company history, Shelley and Sabin first started teaming together more than a decade and a half ago in Impact in 2007. While they have starred across the globe together, their craft has an extra appeal and charm in Impact.
“Impact is like family to us,” says Sabin. “[Impact president] Scott D’Amore was my trainer. It’s home.”
Shelley and Sabin are seasoned veterans with the ability to capture an audience’s imagination. Their matches are exciting, believable and contain a noticeable joy. Had they never teamed together, both would have had outstanding singles careers—but there is simply no denying the chemistry and strength each time they tag.
Extending their stay with Impact also provides the opportunity to accept third-party bookings. Currently the GCW tag team champs, as well as New Japan Pro-Wrestling Strong openweight tap champs, this new contract allows the Gunns to work for NJPW, Prestige Wrestling, Wrestler Revolver, GameChanger Wrestling or practically anywhere else they would like.
“I love the grassroots of pro wrestling,” says Shelley. “If it’s not the heart of it, it’s at least a big part of the anatomy.”
Shelley is not far removed from stepping away from the industry to pursue a second career in the medical field. Yet he clearly still has a fire and passion for his work, which is especially palpable when teaming with Sabin.
“This is the first full-time pro wrestling contract I’ve signed in almost five years,” says Shelley. “I pursued physical medicine, and earning that degree was something I needed to prove to myself. Once I had that security and that confidence, I wanted to be back in Impact. It has the most familial bond. There are people here that have seen me grow up from a teenager to a grown-ass man. That’s special to me.
“And some of the best in the world are right here. There aren’t better wrestlers on the planet than ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey, Jonathan Gresham, Kushida and Chris Sabin. I could go on and on—Frankie Kazarian, Trey Miguel, Black Taurus. These guys are phenomenal.”
Shelley and Sabin will team together this Friday and Saturday at Impact’s shows in Windsor, Ontario. During Friday’s Sacrifice card, they will partner with New Japan star Kushida in a six-man tag against Josh Alexander, Rich Swann and Kazarian.
“We’ve been around the world, honing our skills, for 20 years,” says Sabin. “We bring a very unique set of skills to wrestling, and it’s pretty special that we can keep doing it here in Impact.
“And it’s pretty cool that people ask us for advice the way we used to ask our heroes. That’s an honor.”
The greatest tag team in Impact history continues their journey, and there will undoubtedly be a chase for a fourth reign as tag champs. Yet their contributions extend considerably deeper, setting an example in and out of the ring and proudly representing professional wrestling.
“Impact fosters an atmosphere where we’re constantly learning and challenging ourselves,” says Shelley. “We’re here for the physicality and the athleticism. And we’re here for the love of the game.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.