Ring of Honor: Michael Elgin – Unbreakable

unbreakableelgin

Disc One

We start things off with a “shoot” from Elgin which goes about an hour. In it, he talks about his start in wrestling, why he got into it, what wrestling he admires the most, and how he went from working dark matches in ROH to becoming a mainstay on the roster years later. Elgin is open and frank about his journey and provides some insight into his ROH tenure. He even talks a little bit about PWG and those in Canada who helped him on his path to success. If nothing else, you come away from this shoot having respect for Elgin’s work ethic and can truly appreciate his rise to the top of the company.

Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Elgin
“World’s Greatest” – Dayton, OH – 2.25.2011

Elgin is accompanied by Truth Martini. Elgin shoulder blocks Daniels multiple times in the corner. Elgin slams him down. Elgin uses his powerful strikes to knock Daniels down. Daniels sends Elgin to the floor after kicking him in the face. Daniels hits a baseball slide an Arabian Press to the floor. In the ring, Daniels gives Elgin a seated lariat to the back of his neck. Elgin fires up but gets kicked back down. Martini distracts Daniels long enough for Elgin to give him a Samoan Drop for two. Daniels gives him a few chops but then gets mowed down with a shoulder tackle. Elgin whips Daniels into the corner. Elgin rams Daniels back first into the barricade and applies a Boston Crab on the floor. Elgin breaks and gets into the ring. Daniels gets back at the count of nineteen. Daniels gives Elgin some chops. Elgin grabs Daniels’ arms and stomps him down to the mat. Elgin places Daniels on the top rope and follows up. Daniels swings into a guillotine choke. Elgin breaks and Daniels plants him face first into the second turnbuckle. Daniels knocks him down with a clothesline. Daniels hits another Arabian Press for two. Daniels comes off the top with a crossbody for two. Elgin gives Daniels repeated elbows. He drops Daniels with a pump-handle Falcon Arrow for two. Elgin nails him with a lariat for two. Daniels ducks a rolling clothesline and connects with an enzuigiri. Truth gets on the apron to prevent Daniels from hitting Angel’s Wings. Elgin stampedes Daniels to the corner and hit a spin-out uranage slam for two. Truth gives Elgin some advice from the Book of Truth. Elgin looks for a powerbomb, but Daniels escapes and rolls up Elgin for the pin at 14:54. Elgin has a ton of upside. He’s big and comes off as a legitimate threat to guys like Daniels right away. They had a good back and forth match that made Elgin look good even in losing. This was a good way for Elgin to gain some credibility. **3/4

Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin
“Defy or Deny” – Plymouth, MA – 3.18.2011

Truth Martini accompanies Elgin to the ring. Elgin’s House of Truth partner Roderick Strong defends his World title against Edwards tomorrow night, so Elgin’s goal is to wear Edwards down before his match tomorrow night. Edwards and Elign trade forearms. Edwards’ running boots have no effect. Elgin runs through two chops and shoulder blocks Edwards down with force. Elgin delivers a delayed vertical suplex for two. Edwards takes Elgin to the mat in an STF. Edwards kicks Elgin to the floor. On the floor, Edwards slips off Elgin’s back to avoid a slam and kicks Elgin into the barricade. In the ring Edwards delivers a running kick to the chest for two. Elgin pops-up Edwards into a Samoan drop for two. Elgin drops an elbow for two. Edwards connects with a flying knee strike. Elgin aggressively pushes Edwards to the corner before delivering two backbreakers and a running senton. Elgin sends Edwards to the apron and delivers a forearm. Edwards hits an enzuigiri and goes up top. He hits a nice top rope dropkick. Elgin gets crotched up top and kicked into a tree of woe. Edwards gives Elgin a baseball slide as Elgin hangs upside down. Edwards gives him an enzuigiri and a suplex into a Falcon Arrow for two. Elgin catches Edwards’s attempt at a lungblower and picks him up in a powerbomb position. Edwards rolls forward to send himself and Elgin to the floor with a huracanrana. Edwards moonsaults to the floor, but Elgin catches Edwards and slams him with an Oklahoma Stampede. Edwards gets back into the ring just in time. Elgin knocks Edwards down with a hard lariat for two. Edwards applies the Achilles lock. Truth Martini runs in, and Edwards puts both him and Elgin into stereo Achilles locks. Elgin grabs the ropes to break free. Elgin delivers a spin-out uranange slam for two. Edwards double stomps Elgin’s back. He calls out Roderick’s name before dropping Elgin with a 2k1 Bomb for the pin at 18:05. My only real complaint was that this match went very long and could have benefited with a few minutes shaved off. Otherwise, this was great match with hot action from bell to bell. ***1/2

Michael Elgin vs. El Generico
“Honor Takes Center Stage Day 1” – Atlanta, GA – 4.1.2011

Elgin throws Generico to the corner. Generico throws some chops. Elgin shoulder blocks him down. He goes for a TKO but Generico slips off his shoulders and punches him nine times in the corner. Elgin misses a corner clothesline and gets met with a high crossbody for two. Generico runs the ropes for a swinging DDT. Elgin reverses it into a backbreaker. He drives his knee into Generico’s back and whips him to the corner. Elgin blocks a sunset flip. He tries sitting on Generico’s chest but Generico moves. Elgin absorbs some clotheslines. Generico comes off the top rope with a huracanrana. He hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. He exploder suplexes Elgin into the corner for another two count. Elgin blocks a yakuza kick. Generico blocks the Oklahoma Stampede. Elgin rocks him with a short-arm lariat for two. He tries for a powerbomb. When that fails, he hits the Boss Man Slam. Generico drops down the top rope to send him to the floor. He comes off the apron with a crossbody. Elgin catches him. Generico shoves him into the barricades. He dives through the middle and bottom turnbuckle and DDT’s Elgin onto the floor! A masked man grabs Generico’s leg as he sets up for a yakuza kick. Elgin gives him the spinning powerbomb for the win at 9:13. This was a hot way to open the show and give Elgin a nice win. Granted, it would have meant more if he won clean, but in the end it was still a fun watch. **3/4

Double Danger Scramble Match
Rhett Titus vs. Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Andy Ridge

“Revolution: Canada” – Toronto, ONT – 5.7.2011

This is basically a scramble match where you have to score two pinfalls or submissions to win. The Embassy is in Ciampa’s corner and Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Redwood and Ridge reach a stalemate after a fast exchange. Ciampa dropkicks them both to the floor. He and Titus trade overhand chops. Titus delivers a series of maneuvers to Ciampa’s face. Elgin gets kicked from the apron. He powerslams Titus as Titus slingshots in. Cole kicks out Elgin’s leg and takes him over with a huracanrana and a leaping leg lariat. As Cole goes for a pescado, Ciampa rolls him up for one pin. Redwood rolls him up for two. Redwood log rolls his legs out. Ciampa lariats Redwood down. Titus and Ciampa exchange forearms. Elgin blind tags in. Elgin catches Titus off the second rope with a German suplex. Ciampa and Elgin form a makeshift team to beat down Titus. Ridge helps Titus out by giving Elgin a slingshot ace crusher. He kicks Titus a few times before Titus drops him back first on the top turnbuckle. He slams Ridge neck first across his knee for a pinfall. Titus sends Elgin and Ciampa to the floor. Elgin comes in and eats a boot and clothesline from Titus. Titus gives Elgin a super Sex Factor and rolls into a headscissors takedown on Ciampa. Titus hits a tope con hilo on Elgin and Ciampa. In the ring, Redwood gives Cole a sole butt and an enzugiri. Cole hits an enzugiri of his own. Redwood sends Cole over, and Cole DDT’s Titus on the ring apron. Cole enzuigiri’s Ridge as Redwood pitches him out. Redwood dives onto everyone but Elgin (who came back in the ring). Elgin hits an awesome twisting tope onto everyone. Elgin brings Cole back into the ring. Cole superkicks him to the floor. Ciampa blocks Cole’s superkick. He delivers Project Ciampa 2. Titus flies off the top to break the pin. Titus pins Ciampa and Elgin breaks the pin. Redwood drops Titus with a tornado DDT for two. Ridge superkicks Redwood as he comes off the ropes. Elgin lariats Ridge and eats a superkick from Cole. Cole brings Elgin to the second rope for the Panama Sunrise. Titus and Ciampa break the pin. Elgin powerbombs Ridge onto Ciampa and Titus on the floor. Elgin Alabama Slams Cole and Redwood simultaneously. He pins Cole and Redwood right after each other, getting the win at 14:40. That was a cool finish and a really fun match. Most everyone got a chance to show their stuff, though this was clearly the Michael Elgin show. And why not? He’s Canadian and the fans loved him. This was the usual fun spotfest you’d expect in a match like this. ***1/2

The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. The House of Truth (Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin)
“Tag Team Turmoil 2011” – Richmond, VA – 7.8.2011

Elgins power allows him to easily take Edwards to the corner. Both men exchange forearm shots. Although Edwards wins that exchange, Elgi takes him down with a running shoulder block. Richards and Strong tag in. A little mat exchange ends in a stalemate. Strong breaks a lock-up and tags in Elgin. Elgin sends him to the corner with a forearm. Richards’ shoulder blocks have no effect on Elgin. He does finally knock him and Strong to the floor with dropkicks. Elgin catches Richards’ leg and trips him hard on the ring frame. Strong chops Richards around ringside while also laying in some chops. Strong and Elgin cut the ring in half for a bit. Richards escapes Strong’s grasp and tags in Edwards. He and Strong trade chops. Strong pounds Edwards down in the House of Truth corner. Elgin and Strong continue their assault. Edwards fights back with chops to Elgin. The Wolves light up Elgin with kicks and strikes before knocking him down with stereo back elbows. Elgin absorbs Richards’ kicks and powerslams him. Truth Martini and Strong attack Richards on the floor while Elgin distracts the referee. Richards comes back from Elgin’s attack with a second rope spinwheel kick. Edwards tags in. He and Elgin trade boots. Elgin slams Edwards into the corner. Edwards fights out of a powerbomb attempt. Elgin blocks a Codebreaker. Edwards delivers a superkick and a suplex for one. Edwards hits a quebrada for two. Strong catches Edwards with an enzuigiri from the apron. The House beat down Edwards while Richards looks on from the apron. Edwards superkicks Elgin twice and suplexes Strong into a facebuster. Richards tags in and connects with a top rope dropkick on both Elgin and Strong. Elgin lights up Richards with a forearms. Richards responds with the Damage Reflex for two. Richards lays in a flurry of forearms on the ropes. Richards suplexes Elgin and Strong breaks the pin. Richards rolls Elgin up and suplexes Strong at the same time, pinning both members of the House of Truth for two. Richards puts Elgin in an ankle lock.He breaks and hits a Boss Man Slam. Strong nails Richards with two forearms and a slap. Richards and Strong trade strikes mid-ring. Strong rolls Richards into a superkick for two. Strong hits a uranage backbreaker and an Angle slam for two. Strong knocks Edwards off the apron. Strong gives Richards a gut buster. Elgin lariats him. Strong covers, but Edwards breaks the pin just in time. Richards fights off the HoT to allow him to tag in Edwards. Edwards trades the advantage with Strong. He kicks Elgin off the apron and delivers a flying Codebreaker to Strong for two. Edwards suicide dives onto Elgin to avoid a clothesline from Strong. Edwards blocks a back breaker. He drops Strong with the backpack stunner for two. The Wolves hit the Alarm Clock and a superkick/German suplex combo. Elgin breaks the pin. The Wolves trade rapid fire strikes with the House of Truth. They end up knocking each other down with a series of moves. Elgin slams Richards’ back in the corners. He hits a pump-handle suplex for two. Elgin blasts Richards with a knee strike and powerbombs him. Edwards superkicks Elgin to break his pin. Edwards pitches Strong to the floor and blasts Elgin with chops and strikes. Elgin drops the Wolves with a Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam combo. He pins Richards for two. Richards transitions in an ankle lock. Strong tries to break the hold, but Edwards puts him in an Achilles Lock. Truth Martini jumps in and grabs their hands so that they won’t tap out. The Wolves rid of him with tandem kicks. Both Wolves double stomp Elgin for two. Richards nails Elgin in the head with an enzugiri for two. He then hits a running variation for the pin at 31:28. If you had trimmed this down by 10 minutes, you could have made this match more compact and gotten rid of some of the lulls that occurred. That being said, this was a great main event. The show definitely needed it. This was a star making performance for Elgin, who looked like a complete bad ass hanging in there with Richards and Edwards. All four men really busted their asses and made this crowd come alive. The story may have been disjointed, but then again they followed the typical tag story of isolating the opponent and wearing them down and that works for me. ***3/4

2011 Survival of the Fittest Elimination Match
Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin vs. Roderick Strong

“Survival of the Fittest 2011” – Dayton, OH – 11.18.2011

Edwards and Jay jockey for position. Jay brings Edwards to the corner so that Mark can tag in. Elgin blind tags himself in when Edwards and Mark end up in his corner. Elgin dominates for a bit, but then Mark is able to go strike-for-strike with him. Elgin slams Mark to stop that. Strong tags in, brings Mark to the opposite corner and O’Reilly tags in. Strong brings O’Reilly to Elgin’s corner so that he and Elgin (the House of Truth) can team up on O’Reilly. Elgin tags out to Edwards after O’Reilly gives him a chinbreaker. O’Reilly takes to Edwards’ leg causing Edwards to grab the ropes quickly. O’Reilly and Edwards evade each others’ moves and stand-off. They tag in Jay and Mark. Instead of fighting each other, they clear the apron and fight the other opponents on the floor. O’Reilly foolishly ties to fight them both back in the ring. Meanwhile, the House of Truth beat up Edwards outside the ring. The Briscoes beat O’Reilly silly. Eventually Edwards gets back to the apron and O’Reilly takes down Briscoes with simultaneous dragon screw leg whips. Edwards gets attacked by Strong once he’s tagged in. He and Elgin beat down Edwards bringing O’Reilly in. The Briscoes come back in and give O’Reilly the Redneck Boogie. The Briscoes and the House of Truth get in each others’ faces and start trading shots. Edwards double dropkicks Mark and Strong and O’Reilly double dropkicks Elgin and Jay. This leaves O’Reilly and Strong in the rig. Edwards throws chops while O’Reilly throws kicks. Edwards kicks O’Reilly to one side of the ring. Edwards pescado’s onto Strong. Mark hits a tope con hilo onto Elgin and Jay. O’Reilly tope con hilo’s onto Edwards and Strong. Strong drops O’Reilly back first on the ring frame. Strong fights it out with the Briscoes still outside the ring. Elgin saves his partner by moonsaulting onto everyone. In the ring, Elgin stops O’Reilly’s tornado DDT with a backbreaker. Mark shotgun dropkicks Elgin to the corner. Strong high knees Mark to the floor and Jay boots Strong out. Edwards and Jay boot each other. Edwards and O’Reilly superkick Jay to the mat. Edwards then hits Die Hard on Jay to eliminate him at 18:21. Edwards puts Mark in a Dragon Sleeper right after and he taps out at 18:37.

Strong and Elgin decide to team up on Edwards. Edwards pitches Elgin to the floor and gives Strong a fisherman’s buster. O’Reilly heads to the top rope just as Truth Martini gets on the ring apron. Edwards attacks Martini, which causes the ropes to shake and O’Reilly to fall through the ringside table. Strong and Elgin go back to teaming up against Edwards. Edwards collides them together and schoolboys Strong to pin him at 20:41. A backfist and lariat from Elgin eliminated Edwards at 20:58. This makes Elgin and O’Reilly the final two participants in the match. O’Reilly makes his way back in slowly after recovering from the table incident. Elgin gets in O’Reilly’s face, easily keeping him on the mat at first. O’Reilly blocks a clothesline with a crucifix pin. Elgin picks him up and O’Reilly elbows his way out of the position. He turns Elgin’s powerbomb attempt into a Guilltoine choke. Elgin powers his way out. O’Reilly tornado DDT’s Elgin back into the choke. Davey Richards is now out to motivate his protégé. Elgin finally pops O’Reilly out and hits a uranage slam for two. The crowd is totally behind O’Reilly. O’Reilly manages to counter a powerbomb with a reverse huracanrana. He hits a capture suplex on Elgin for two. He transitions into a cross armbreaker right away. Elgin is able to escape, so O’Reilly sunset flips him for two. Elgin shrugs off O’Reilly’s chest kicks, even spitting in O’Reilly’s direction. Elgin and O’Reilly throw slaps at each other with reckless abandon. O’Reilly throws more chest kicks which do a bit of damage. Elgin mows him down with a lariat for two. Elgin tombstones O’Reilly. O’Reilly gets his foot on the ropes just in the nick of time to stop the count. O’Reilly tries to sunset flip Elgin off the apron. He fails, but is able to suplex him from a seated position. O’Reilly fires up and is able to hit his off the apron dropkick to Elgin in the corner of the barricades. Back in the ring, Elgin catches O’Reilly coming off the ropes. He buckle bombs O’Reilly, then drops him with a spinning powerbomb for the pin at 32:00.

I just saw two stars born in Ring of Honor. The last 12 minutes with O’Reilly and Elgin were absolutely tremendous and rivals the ending of any Survival of the Fittest ending in history. O’Reilly was so incredibly over and motivated to keep fighting that the fans became unglued and couldn’t help but cheer for him. Elgin spoiled their party by winning, but even he got to look like a monster at times. I don’t mind that four eliminations came so quickly together, because they didn’t seem forced or phony and it allowed for a fantastic finish. Even in the early going they did a great job of furthering the Edwards/Richards feud by Edwards accidentally putting O’Reilly through a table. They also teased a tag match that I really want to see. This was great booking and great wrestling coming together to make for an exciting match that was fun to follow. ****

Disc Two

Chris Hero vs. Michael Elgin
“The Homecoming 2012” – Philadelphia, PA – 1.20.2012

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Shane Hagadorn comes out and tells Hero that he is going to keep his eyes on Martini for him. Hero appreciates Hagadorn’s support, but wants to do things tonight by himself. Hagadorn acquiesces. After exchanging arm holds, both Hero and Elgin stand tall when the other goes for a shoulder block. Hero does some flips and risorte’s to show off, ending with a right hand to Elgin’s face. Hero throws some Tracy Smothers offense in the corner. Hero plays around some more, leading to him clotheslining Elgin to the floor. Hero flips out to the floor and does some jumping jacks. Hero goads Elgin into a dropkick through the ropes. In the ring, Hero snapmares Elgin into a senton for two. Hero wins a strike exchange, but Elgin delivers a Bossman Slam. Elgin gets two with a delayed vertical supelx. Elgin forearms Hero in the chest and legdrops him on the apron. Hero fights his way out of a side headlock. Elgin whips Hero to the ropes. Hero flips over and boots Elgin from the apron. Elgin catches Hero’s slingshot attack and delivers a Samoan Drop for two. Elgin fights for a suplex. When that fails he knees Hero in the chest. When Elgin hits the ropes, Hero hits the opposite side and boots him in the side of the head. Hero cracks Elgin with an elbow after taking a chop. A rolling elbow gets him a two count. Hero boots Elgin on the top turnbuckle. Hero brings Elgin down with a cravate buster for two. Elgin blocks a flying elbow in the corner with a belly to belly suplex. Elgin gives him a 2k1 Bomb for a two count. Hero lands a couple flying elbows. Elgin splashes Hero and lariats him for two. Elgin vertically turns Hero into a uranage slam. Hero elbows Elgin and suplexes him out of a cravate. Elgin Saito suplexes Hero in response. Hero is dizzy when he comes to. They both throw punches and chops while looking dazed. Hero delivers another rolling elbow for two. Elgin side steps a moonsault. Hero bicycle kicks and Cyclone Kicks Elgin for two. Elgin blocks a Cyclone Kick. He buckle bombs Hero, then hits a spinning powerbomb for the pin at 14:43. As a long time ROH fan I enjoyed seeing Hero act as a conglomeration of all his previous ROH personas; a little Sweet N’ Sour Inc, mostly Young Knockout Kid, all fun to watch. Elgin looked like he was able to hang with one of ROH’s top guys and this win further solidifies him as a future main eventer. ***1/4

Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly vs. The House of Truth (Roderick Strong & Michael Elgin)
“Underground” – Norfolk, VA – 1.21.2012

The winning team gets an ROH Tag Team Championship match in Cincinatti in February. When O’Reilly fails to take control of Strong, he tags in Richards. Strong circles Richards but then quickly tags in Elgin. Richards kicks him in the chest with little effect. Richards takes him down with a dropkick. Elgin comes back with a belly-to-back suplex. Strong chops and forearms O’Reilly like a madman in the corner. O’Reilly creates some distance before lighting Strong up with some kicks of his own. Richards snapmares Strong into a modified Sharpshooter. Elgin breaks the hold. Strong suplexes Richards before tagging out. Elgin and Richards trade pins. Richards goes for a cross armbreaker. He picks up Richards for a Buckle Bomb. Elgin clotheslines him in the corner. Richards avoid a second one and enzuigiri’s Strong of the apron. He also sends Elgin out and kicks him in the chest. O’Reilly tope con hilo’s onto both House of Truth members. Back in the ring, Elgin eats double chest kicks for two. O’Reilly tries to fight Elgin on his own. Elgin is just too big for him to manage. Because of it, Strong and Elgin are able to trap O’Reilly and wear him down in their corner. After a lengthy (and I do mean lengthy) beat down, O’Reilly finally manages to block a double clothesline, take both men down and tag in Richards. He comes in with a double missile dropkick. He kicks up Elgin against the ropes. Richards hits the Damage Reflex for two. Richards suplexes Strong while cradling Elgin’s legs for two. Richards kicks Elgin before giving him a bridging German suplex. Elgin kicks out. Elgin manages to Samoan Drop Richards while giving O’Reilly a fallaway slam at the same time. Strong tags in. A pair of running forearm and a Saito suplex get him a two count on Richards. Richards fights out of the Death by Roderick. He and Strong trade boots. Strong kicks O’Reilly off the ring apron. He hits the Death by Roderick on Richards for two. He then puts on the Stronghold. Ricchards turns that into an ankle lock while O’Reilly puts Elgin in a front facelock. Elgin suplexes out while Strong rolls Richards up for two. Elgin backfists O’Reilly. Richards knee strikes Elgin. Strong gives Richards. O’Reilly superkicks Strong to leave all four men laying. O’Reilly gives Strong two butterfly suplexes and a DDT. Elgin accidentally knee drops Strong. Richards holds Elgin so that O’Reilly can come off the ring apron with a dropkick. O’Reilly missile dropkicks Strong for two. O’Reilly suplexes Strong for two. Elgin Bossman slams O’Reilly. He follows up with a TKO. Strong superkicks O’Reilly and Richards breaks the cover. O’Reilly has Strong in a Guillotine. Truth Martini breaks it behind the referee’s back. O’Reilly thwarts a second attack and jackknife pins Strong at 29:42. Like most Richards matches, this was unnecessarily long. I mean O’Reilly got beaten down for what seemed like ages. Luckily, the rest of the action was really good and the crowd was hot so I had a lot of fun watching this. Have I mentioned how awesome Roderick Strong is before? ***3/4

Blind Destiny Challenge
Michael Elgin vs. Kyle O’Reilly

“ROH on SBG – Baltimore, MD – 3.10.2012

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Davey Richards is on commentary, because the winner of this match faces him in Ft. Lauderdale at “Showdown in the Sun Day 2.” If Richards retains his title on Night 1, it will be defended against the winner of this match. Elgin blocks a kick and knees O’Reilly a few times in the stomach. O’Reilly evades a corner attack and a German suplex. Elgin however shoulder blocks him down. O’Reilly evades the Oklahoma Stampede. He throws kicks while Elgin throws chops. That turns into forearms. O’Reilly gets Elgin in the cross armbreaker. Elgin escapes but takes some kicks and knees before having his legs sweeped out. Roderick Strong hops onto the apron. The distraction allows Elgin to German suplex O’Reilly. O’Reilly tries a tornado DDT but gets caught with a backbreaker. More strikes are thrown until Elgin nails an enzuigiri. O’Reilly crotches him on the top rope. He pulls off a belly-to-back superplex for two. Elgin fires up from some chest kicks. He tumbles to the apron when O’Reilly evades a charge. He goes for a Sunset Bomb to the floor but Elgin sits down. O’Reilly suplexes him onto the floor. He then dropkicks Elgin from the apron and into the barricades. In the ring O’Reilly hits a top rope dropkick for two. Elgin deadlifts him up. O’Reilly knees out of a vertical suplex. He DDT’s Elgin into a Guillotine. Elgin escapes with a modified uranage. O’Reilly gives him a Regalplex and applies a crossface. He reapplies the Guillotine. Once again Strong hops on the apron. Elgin Buckle Bombs O’Reilly. Richards and Strong come to blows ringside as Elgin hits the Spinning Powerbomb on O’Reilly for the pin at 10:28. It was smart to have Elgin go over Davey’s protégé before facing him on iPPV. Both guys worked really hard and made winning seem like a big deal. The small bit with Strong and Davey took away from some of it, but the match worked in spite of that. **3/4

ROH World Championship
Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin

“Showdown in the Sun Day 2” – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – 3.31.2012

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Richards wastes no time going after Elgin. He takes him off his feet with a dropkick. He kick Elgin off the ring apron and suicide dives after him. Richards kicks him against the barricades. Richards goes up top. Elgin turns things around by clotheslining him back into the ring for two. Elgin drops him with a delayed vertical suplex, also for two. Elgin legdrops him on the ring frame. Richards headbutts Elgin in the corner. Elgin breaks a waistlock and knees Richards in the mid-section. Richards goes for the Damage Reflex but Elgin catches him with a sitout torture rack backbreaker instead. Richards hooks the ropes to block a Saito suplex. Richards gives him a chinbreaker. Elgin responds with a bridging Northern Lights Suplex. He digs his knee into Richards’ back while stretching his arms out. Richards makes it to his feet to relieve the pressure. He slips out of Elgin’s suplex attempt. Richards hits a gamengiri from the apron. He comes in with a top rope dropkick for two. Elgin elbows his way out of a suplex. We get our forearm exchange of the bout. Richards wins it and delivers an exploder suplex. Elgin kicks out. Richards delivers a corner knee strike. Richards manages to give him a superplex. Elgin fires up! He shrugs off Richards’ boots and strikes. He hits a jumping enzuigiri. Richards kicks him in the head and German suplexes him. Elgin fires up but Richards lariats him right down for two. He applies the ankle lock. Elgin gets the ropes and rolls to the floor very quickly. Elgin blocks Richards’ boot from the apron. He gives Richards a fisherman’s suplex on the floor. Elgin then powerbombs him into the barricades! Richards somehow kicks out at two. Elgin hits a corkscrew senton but only gets two with that as well. Elgin brings Richards to the top rope. Richards puts on a kimura to block him from doing anything. He unloads elbows on Elgin’s head and goes for a Sunset Bomb. Elgin fights that off. Richards crotches Elgin on the top rope. It takes some fighting, but Richards manages to deliver a German superplex for two. He immediately puts on the ankle lock again. Elgin again gets the ropes. Elgin absorbs Richards’ chest kicks. Richards throws Kawada kicks at Elgin’s head. Elgin throws some knees. Richards goes back to the chest kicks. Elgin gives him the Chaos Theory for two. A low superkick and a suplex into a Side Effect get two. Elgin puts on the Crossface. Richards crawls to get his foot on the bottom rope. Elgin tries to drag Richards to the top rope. Richards catches him with a dragonscrew leg whip in the ropes. He double stomps Elgin on the ring frame! Back in the ring Richards delivers another double stomp. Elgin kicks out. Richards hits a rolling clothesline. A pump-handle suplex gets two. Elgin ducks a kick and elbows Richards’ neck. He drops Richards with an inverted brainbuster for two. Elgin powerbombs Richards into the corner. He clotheslines Richards in the face. Richards blocks the spinning powerbomb and reapplies the ankle lock. Elgin turns it into the LaBell Lock. Richards turns that into a pin for two. Richards runs at Elgin and eats a knee strike. Elgin hits the spinning powerbomb. Richards kicks out! Elgin puts on a crossface. Richards escapes and puts on the ankle lock again. Richards pulls him into the middle of the ring so he can’t grab the ropes. Elgin rolls out of it. With his leg being two weak to walk, Richards gives him a running knee to the face. Elgin gets to his knees before a one count. Two hard kicks to the head only get Richards a two count! One more roundhouse kick gets Richards the pin at 27:43. That was an absolute war and just the main event to kick this fairly ho hum show into overdrive. For maybe the first time in his reign, Richards almost looked like the underdog with just how overpowering Elgin was. Survival of the Fittest was the start of Elgin breaking out, and this solidified him as a main eventer. Easily the best match of Richards’ title reign so far, Elgin’s best match in ROH and a borderline ROH classic (even if I did not think it was perfect like a lot of people). ****1/2

Adam Cole vs. Michael Elgin
“Border Wars” – Toronto, ONT – 5.12.2012

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. This is a “Rise & Prove” rematch. Elgin shoves Cole to the corner. Cole dropkicks Elgin and gives him a few punches. Elgin easily shoves him off. Cole boots his way out of the corner and dropkicks Elgin from the second rope for a one count. Elgin pops him up, and Cole huracanrana’s him to the floor. Elgin catches Cole’s suicide dive and powerslams him onto the entrance ramp! Cole kicks out back in the ring. Elgin gets another two after multiple stomps. Cole gives him a chinbreaker. Elgin blocks a tornado DDT. Cole shoves him to the corner. Elgin clobbers him with a forearm strike. Elgin waterwheel slams Cole for two. Elgin stretches Cole’s back out across his knee. Cole side steps a splash and rolls up Elgin for two. Elgin fires up when Cole throws his own forearm. Cole ends up giving Elgin a tilt-a-whirl DDT. Cole DDT’s Elgin on the ring apron. Cole splashes Elgin for two back in the ring. Elgin backs Cole to the corner to block a suplex. Elgin gives Cole the Chaos Theory for two. Elgin powers Cole up. Cole cradles Elgin and nails a running knee strike for two. Elgin sends Cole out with a rolling clothesline. Elgin goes to pull Cole back in and eats an enzuigiri. Elgin gamengiri’s Cole as Cole climbs to the top rope. Elgin lifts Cole up into a Falcon Arrow from the second rope. Cole kicks out. Elgin puts on a crossface. Cole rolls out. Elgin blocks a superkick and delivers a forearm. Cole counters a suplex with a brainbuster onto his knee. Elgin kicks out. Cole tries a crossbody and gets caught. The Buckle Bomb and spinning powerbomb gets Elgin the win at 13:54. That started a bit slowly and the crowd seemed relatively quiet to the rest of the show, but this still turned out to be pretty darn good. These two are clearly going to be ROH’s future, so I don’t know how much more I would have Cole lose (it feels like he loses the majority of matches he is in). Elgin however has been built very strongly. ***

Jay Lethal vs. Michael Elgin
“The Nightmare Begins” – Charleston, WV – 6.15.2012

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner. Elgin shakes Lethal’s hand, which does not please Martini. Lethal can’t seem to budge Elgin. Elgin gets angry when Lethal punches him in the face. He shoulder blocks Lethal down. Lethal ends up hip tossing him into a dropkick. Elgin slides to the floor to create some distance. Truth Martini gets on the apron. Referee Paul Turner get in his face, so Martini challenges Turner to a fight. Turner seems game and Martini changes his tune. He bails before any blows can be thrown. Elgin comes back in and gets caught with a boot to the gut. Martini grabs Lethal’s leg. Lethal goes for a back handspring elbow but gets met with a clothesline to the back of the head instead. Elgin puts on an arm hold after whipping Lethal to the corner. Lethal fights out but gets sent to the floor. Martini gets in a few cheap shots. Lethal whips Elgin into the barricades when he comes outside. In the ring however Elgin gives him a neckbreaker. He puts on a rear chinlock. Lethal escapes via chinbreaker. Lethal goes for a springboard move. Martini grabs his ankle. Lethal still manages a sunset flip for a two count. He signals for the Lethal Injection. Elgin thwarts him but eats a superkick. Elgin elbows out of the Lethal Combination. Lethal ducks a backfist. Elgin deadlifts him up for a German suplex. Lethal kicks out. Lethal blocks Elgin’s knee strike. He gives him an enzuigiri and the Lethal Combination. Roderick Strong grabs Lethal’s leg while Martini distracts Turner. Lethal dropkicks Strong off the apron. Elgin backfists Lethal and goes for a powerbomb. Strong runs in. Lethal dropkicks Elgin into him. Lethal gives Elgin the Lethal Injection for the pin at 12:15. I don’t know why the heck Strong ran in at the end. It made no sense whatsoever unless Strong was purposefully screwing his partner. These two actually only had a decent match until that point, maybe because they knew a cheap finish was coming. It was still good, but not the best match they could have had together. The Turner/Martini stuff was weird too. **3/4

The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe) vs. The House of Truth (Michael Elgin & Rhino)
“LivE Strong” – Belle Vernon, PA – 6.30.2012

Turth Martini is in the HoT corner. Elgin resists Mark’s initial attacks. He powerslams Mark for two. Mark kicks him to the corner and Rhino tags in. Mark is able to duck Rhino’s offense. A chin breaker and running knee takes him off his feet. Jay stomps Rhino in the corner. A few jabs and a running clothesline takes Rhino down. Elgin attacks from the apron. Jay kicks him to the floor and tags Mark back in. They send Rhino out with stereo shoulder blocks. Mark comes off the apron with a somersault senton to Rhino. Elgin throws Jay back first into the barricades to turn the tide in his and Rhino’s favor. After being beaten down for a few minutes, Jay is able to send Elgin into a corner with a Complete Shot to the second turnbuckle. Mark flies in with a crossbody. He dropkicks Elgin into the corner. He does the same to Rhino. A suplex to Elgin gets him two. Mark sets up for the Froggy Bow when Truth Martini jumps up. Elgin catches him momentarily. Jay then gives Elgin a side Russian Leg Sweep off the second rope. Mark hits that Froggy Bow and Rhino breaks the cover. Elgin gives The Briscoes waterwheel slams at the same time! Rhino goes for a Gore on Mark. Mark evades the move and rolls up Rhino for two. Jay superkicks him. Elgin blocks the superkick and lariats Jay down. Mark rolls through a Death Valley Driver on Elgin. He goes to attack Rhino and ends up getting Gored for the pin at 12:23. That was just the pick me up the show needed. This had some great power spots and was a lot of fun from start to finish. Elgin never fails to impress. He and Rhino are an awesome power team, and the Briscoes were perfect opponents for them. ***

Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young
“Brew City Beatdown” – Milwaukee, WI – 7.14.2012

They start off mildly, but after they throw forearms, things pick up. Young dropkicks Elgin to the corner. Elgin catches him with a powerslam for a one count. Young flips out of Elgin’s attack. Young slips off his shoulder and rolls him up for two. He huracanrana’s Elgin to the ropes. Elgin forearms Young to the apron. Young tosses Elgin to the floor and follows with a tope con hilo. He gets one with a neckbreaker. He gives Elgin a Finlay roll. He misses the Pee Gee Waja Plunge. Elgin German suplexes him head first into the corner. Elgin legdrops him on the ring apron. Young whips him into the barricades. Elgin takes control back in the ring, clobbering Young repeatedly in the chest. Young does however try a small package, which only makes Elgin angrier. Young throws a couple slaps. Elgin nails him with a rolling elbow. Young knees out of a suplex. Elgin misses a charge to the corner. Young catches him with a backbreaker into a seated lariat. He boots Elgin before hitting a quebrada for two. Elgin clotheslines him in two corners, then drops him with the Boss Man Slam. Young kicks out. Elgin kicks Young as he heads up top. He brings in Young with a superplex from the apron. He powerbombs Young to the corner. Young slips out of another one and drops him with the Angels Wings for two. Elgin clobbers Young with clotheslines to the chest and back. Young Finlay Rolls him again. This time he successfully hits the Pee Gee Waja Plunge for two. Young jumps off the middle rope. Elgin clobbers him with a dropkick. A low running boot and a buckle bomb follow. Elgin gives Young the spinning powerbomb for the pin at 17:42. Remember how I said Tadarius Thomas’ match was a good example on how to bring someone into the company? Scratch that – THIS is how you bring someone in. I was expecting this to be good given Elgin and Young’s familiarity with each other, but I really did not expect Young to get in so much offense. The crowd was also hot for everything since Young was the hometown guy and Elgin wrestles a lot in that area. It would be borderline irresponsible for ROH not to use Young more after this match. ***3/4

Michael Elgin vs. Mike Bennett
“Killer Instinct” – Rahway, NJ – 10.6.2012

Truth Martini is in Elgin’s corner while Maria Kanellis is in Bennett’s corner. Elgin throws a forearm to send Bennett outside. Bennett’s shoulder block attempts are futile. He asks Elgin to hit the ropes. He does and catches Bennett with a powerslam for two. Elgin follows up with a delayed vertical suplex. Bennett shoves Elgin to the floor and misses a pescado. Elgin refrains from being tossed into the barricades. Bennett however is able to give him a spinebuster onto the edge of the ring. He follows up with some strikes in the ring but ends up crotching himself on the second rope. Elgin stomps him down in the corner. Bennett blocks a slam with a neckbreaker. Elgin throws a couple back elbows and drops Bennett onto his stomach. He gets two with a Boss Man Slam. Bennett backs him to the corner to block a spinning powerbomb. Elgin throws repeated clotheslines and a forearm before dropping him with a sidewalk slam. Bennett kicks out. Maria distracts Elgin on the apron. Elgin notices Bennett charging and drops the top rope to send him to the floor. Martini puts the boots to Bennett behind referee Todd Sinclair’s back. Elgin is displeased with this. Bennett puts Maria in his way. Elgin moves her, but this gives Bennett the chance to give Elgin the Box Office Smash on the floor. Elgin makes it in the ring right before the 20 count and kicks out of Bennett’s pin attempt. Bennett tries another Box Office Smash. Elgin elbows his way free and hits an enzuigiri. Bennett catches him with a spinebuster for two. Elgin comes back with a Backfist, a Buckle Bomb, and the spinning powerbomb for the pin at 11:59. This was a solid victory for Elgin heading into his title match with Steen next week. Bennett’s work has gotten better and got the chance to show that off two. This essentially was a nice showcase for two rising stars, with the more important of the two getting the win. **3/4

2012 Survival of the Fittest Qualifying Match
Michael Elgin vs. Rhino

“Survival of the Fittest 2012” – Baltimore, MD – 9.22.2012

Truth Martini comes out with both men. He objects to the match happening and feels that they were purposefully put against each other in a conspiracy. Neither guy is willing to step down from the match. A flurry of punches kicks things off. Rhino throws Elgin to the apron. Elgin boots him and comes back in with a slingshot back elbow. Rhino throws him into the barricades. Roderick Strong emerges from the back. Elgin sends Rhino to the barricades. Martini is displeased to see Strong. Elgin flies back into the ring with a shoulder tackle from the top rope. Rhino delivers a belly-to-belly suplex. He sets up for the Gore. Elgin dodges it and rolls up Rhino for two. Rhino lands a spinebuster. He gets two with a short-arm clothesline. Elgin ducks another clothesline and hits an enzuigiri. Elgin blocks Rhino’s punches while throwing some of his own. He bicycle kicks Rhino before giving him the Boss Man Slam. Rhino kicks out. Elgin gets two with a German suplex. Rhino rams his shoulder into Elgin’s mid-section. He TKO’s Elgin but only gets two. Strong gets on the apron to complain about it only being a three count. Martini comes in and begs Rhino not to Gore Elgin. Rhino positions him on the top rope. Elgin hits his own Gore! Martini is now hanging upside down in the corner. Elgin hits the spinning powerbomb for the pin at 7:50. It was fun watching these two huge teammates fight one another. Martini and Strong added an interesting dynamic that made Elgin’s win seem like an even bigger deal. **3/4

ROH World Championship
Kevin Steen vs. Michael Elgin

“Glory By Honor XI” – Toronto, ONT – 10.13.2012

A mocking Code of Honor offer from Steen turns into a forearm exchange. Each guy remains steadfast from the others shoulder blocks. Elgin gives Steen a Bossman Slam, causing Steen to hit the floor. Elgin follows and ends up being thrown into the barricades. Steen chokes Elgin with a fans Canadian flag. Elgin then sends Steen into the barricades and chokes him with the flag. Back in the ring he impressively gets two with a delayed vertical suplex. Steen counteracts with a rope-assisted DDT and a powerbomb onto the ring apron. He then delivers a frog splash from the apron to the floor. Back in the ring he knees Elgin in the gut and sentons onto his back for two. Elgin gets up an elbow to block a corner attack. He evades an F-Cinq and delivers an enzuigiri. Another forearm exchange ensues. Steen holds the ropes to block a dropkick. He goes for a sharpshooter but Elgin kicks him away. Elgin delivers a rolling forearm to his neck before dropping him with a Blockbuster. Elgin counters a Package Piledriver attempt with an Air Raid Crash for two. Steen gets him down in the corner for a cannonball senton. He crotches Elgin on the top rope. He tries for a belly-to-back superplex and gets elbowed down. Elgin tries a tumbleweed Swanton but Steen gets his knees up. He drops down the top rope when Steen charges and follows him out with a twisting splash. Strong is not pleased at the fans next to him cheering for Elgin. Elgin drags Strong from the crowd, tosses him twice into the barricades, then to the backstage area. Elgin then powerbombs Steen into the ring post! The tumbleweed Swanton connects but Steen still manages to kick out. Elgin goes for another powerbomb. Steen trips him and puts on a sharpshooter. Elgin escapes. He puts on a crossface. Steen gets his foot on the ropes. They fight on the ring apron. Steen wants a sleeper suplex. Elgin instead runs off the apron and tosses both himself and Steen through the ringside table. They make it back in the ring before the twenty count. Steen powerbombs Elgin, almost onto his head, for two. Elgin reapplies the crossface after blocking another F-Cinq attempt. Steen rolls Elgin over for a two count. Elgin deadlifts Steen into a German suplex! Steen kicks out. Elgin holds onto Steen’s head so he can throw multiple knee strikes. Steen sneaks in a Code Breaker, but Elgin lariats him right after that. Elgin gives Steen a Buckle Bomb. Steen explodes out of the corner with a clothesline, leaving both he and Elgin laying on the mat. Elgin throws more knees. In mid-sequence, Steen picks him up for the F-Cinq. He hits hit and gets a two count. Elgin for the third time tries the crossface. Steen makes his way to the ropes. Elgin pulls Steen up. Steen swings around for a sleeper suplex. He drops Elgin with the Package Piledriver. Elgin kicks out! Steen is so angry that he shoves referee Todd Sinclair. Elgin rolls him up for two after Sinclair shoves him back. Steen hits a cannonball senton. However, Elgin catches him in his arms and lifts him up for a powerbomb. He Buckle Bombs Steen again before giving Steen his spinning piledriver for two. Elgin puts Steen up top. Steen is able to fight him off and hit a super Package Piledriver! That’s enough to get him the win at 31:30. That was maybe the fastest half hour I have ever experienced watching a match. Everything here was damn near perfect: the pacing, the emotion, the story, the escalation of moves until the huge climax. The fans and commentators’ excitement was infectious and made for a terrific atmosphere. This definitely rivals Elgin and Richards’ match from “Showdown in the Sun” weekend. Must see stuff. ****1/2

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