Jay White Didn’t Take The Blade Runner From Bray Wyatt, But Another Wrestling Legend

Hamish Woodward

Jay White debuted his Blade Runner finishing move in the early days of his New Japan Pro Wrestling debut. The Kiwi star was immediately earmarked as a future star, and once he returned from his excursion in the US he was pushed accordingly.

Not long after Wrestle Kingdom 13, Jay White made history by beating Hiroshi Tanahashi – himself only just coming off winning the title from Kenny Omega – to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship for the first time. With the help of the Blade Runner, he became the first wrestler from New Zealand to hold the prestigious title.

The finishing move is one of the best in AEW – the company Jay White signed for in 2023 – and could see him defeat MJF for the AEW Championship at Full Gear 2023. The itself is a modified STO, although it is not the first time the Blade Runner has been used in wrestling before.

The move was first popularized by Chris Kanyon in the 1990s, being part of his iconic move set that also included The Kanyon Cutter. The late wrestler, who also went by Mortis, innovated a number of wrestling moves, and his iconic Flatliner move has been used over the years by many different wrestlers (including Jay White).

While WWE Superstar Edge, who now also wrestles in AEW as Adam Copeland, adopted the move later on (although it never stuck as a finisher), the move became synonymous with Bray Wyatt later on. After his debut in 2013, Bray Wyatt made the modified-STO his own, naming it the Sister Abigail and using it to win multiple championships in the WWE. Mike Knox and Fandango also adopted the move, with much less success.

A few years later, Jay White debuted The Bladerunner. Many thought that this was a clear reference to Bray Wyatt, given that he was currently using the move at the time. However, as it turns out, this was not the case. While Jay White does an almost-identical copy of the Sister Abigail – minus the head kiss – his inspiration for the move actually came from a legend in a different company – TNA icon Alex Shelley.

Alex Shelley taught Jay White how to use the Blade Runner, a move he has used for decades as “The Shellshock”.

Jay White trained with Alex Shelley for nearly a year, and wrestled his first match in NJPW with him. They trained together in the New Japan Dojo, which is where Shelley taught him how to do The Shellshock (not to be confused with Ryback’s finishing move of the same name), Shelley’s own version of the Sister Abigail, which predated Bray Wyatt by a decade.

During an interview with Fightful in 2019, Jay White revealed all about he origins of the Blade Runner.

“Most people only know it as the Sister Abigail beforehand, so they’re like, ‘oh, he took it from here!’ which is not true at all. I lived with Alex Shelley for the better part of a year. He was my first match in New Japan, we worked together, trained together in the dojo and stuff, so yeah.

The Shellshock, that was his move, so that’s where the origins of that came from. There’s nothing to do with taking it from WWE at all. But you get fans that don’t have the knowledge of that, and they think they do, and try to make comments like that. But that was nothing to do with WWE guys, it was adapted and given to me by Alex Shelley,”

Since debuting in AEW after signing full-time from NJPW, Jay White has used the Blade Runner to great effect. Alongside Juice Robinson in Bullet Club Gold, he defeated FTR in a non-title tag team match, before going on to lose 2-1 in an epic 58-minute match on AEW Collision, securing his teams fall with a pin following a Blade Runner.

While a feud with CM Punk was ultimately cancelled, he has booked himself an even bigger match at AEW Full Gear 2023. Jay White will take on AEW Champion MJF for his title in the main event of the show, although White is currently already in possession of the belt, having stolen it from MJF on AEW Dynamite.

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