Why Alex Shelley Missed Impact Wrestling Hard To Kill 2021

Alex Shelley was replaced by Moose after pulling out of Impact's Hard to Kill 2021 PPV.

Alex Shelley
ROH/Bruno Silveira

Alex Shelley was a notable absentee from 16 January’s Impact Wrestling Hard to Kill 2021 pay-per-view, leaving fellow Motor City Machine Gun Chris Sabin to team with Rich Swann and Moose (Shelley’s official replacement) against The Good Brothers and the invading Kenny Omega in the main event.

The home team lost, with Swann taking the pin. Shelley’s pullout had led to considerable speculation on what, exactly, was going on with the veteran, though he has since addressed everything in a lengthy string of tweets.

Impact’s official reason for Alex’s absence was that he was “unable to travel” to Nashville for the tapings. Shelley rubbished talk of injury, illness, an arrest, and other theories, clarifying that his full-time job as a physical therapy clinician prevented him from making the pay-per-view. Describing wrestling as his “livelihood and passion project,” he said that the volume of patients at his day job had increased, leading to the modification of their COVID-19 mandates making things more restrictive. Thus, he couldn’t travel.

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Shelley added that he respects the decision made by doctors and surgeons at his place of work, but he is unable to travel and wrestle until he has been vaccinated.

The good news? Impact has supported and understood his position, though Shelley’s “hands were tied” when it comes to this situation, as he doesn’t have or want a contract with the promotion. He desperately wants to wrestle, but his clinician work takes precedent, and he doesn't feel right about wrestling unless every possible safety measure is taken.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.