Holy shit! Alex Shelley did it. He defied the doubters to win the Impact World Championship for the first time in his career in the main event of Against All Odds (June 9, 2023).
Shelley took on reigning champion Steve Maclin. The style was Shelley’s technical mat skills against Maclin’s rugged offense. Drama picked up when Shelley locked in the figure-four. Maclin inched backward toward the corner to break free. In the process, he stripped off the middle turnbuckle pad. Foreshadowing!
The match progressed with Maclin surging for a Busaiku knee, a brainbuster, and a diving headbutt. Shelley showed heart to kick out on the cover. He regrouped for a sliced bread on the floor using the ring post as a launching pad.
The action kicked up to a higher notch with Maclin countering the Shell Shock into the KIA DDT finisher. 1, 2, Shelley placed his foot on the ropes for the break.
Shelley rallied for an avalanche sliced bread. Maclin kicked out.
Shelley went to finish with the Shell Shock, but Maclin escaped and drove Shelley backward into the exposed turnbuckle. Maclin crushed a piledriver. Shelley kicked out!
Maclin set up Shelley in the Tree of Woe and charged for a spear. Shelley pulled up, and Maclin collided into the naked steel. Shelley went to finish again, but that led to a sophisticated struggle dancing through counter positions. Shelley gained the edge with an STO. Maclin landed face-first into the exposed turnbuckle. Shelley capitalized with a superkick and the Shell Shock to win the world title.
Damn. Impact pulled a heck of swerve on that result. Pretty much everybody assumed this was a filler title defense for Maclin to establish his reign. In terms of unexpected title changes, that has to be the upset of the year so far. As for the match itself, it was a dandy in hindsight. They worked false finishes well. My biggest question was if Impact could make me believe in Shelley. They built up to the moment step by step pulling me in then pulled the trigger. I couldn’t believe it, pure shock in a positive way. This is a match that Shelley fans must watch.
Congratulations to Alex Shelley as new Impact world champion.