Saturday 28 December 2013


At WrestleMania weekend in 2012 Ring of Honor promoted two shows under the banner title of Showdown in the Sun. Night one was headlined by Eddie Edwards and Roderick Strong challenging ROH world champ Davey Richards. It would prove the zenith of the Davey-Eddie-Roddy era of main events. Night two was headlined by Richards defending against Michael Elgin. That would prove the breakout match for Elgin.
Then a member of the House of Truth Elgin had done little except squash expendable talent before SITS. His match with 'The Lone Wolf' showed people that he was capable of so much more than that. It immediately raised his stock amongst fans. He started being given meaningful matches and a long term storyline was begun that would see him split from Truth Martini and the HOT.
The match at Showdown was so good that it could have conceivably worked as a title change. The fans responded incredibly well to the challenger. They not only sensed he was a star coming into his own before their eyes but also that he could be the next major player for the group. The booking throughout the rest of the year backed that up. Elgin did look like a certainty for stardom.
Just another man on the roster
But as time's worn on it's been revealed that this isn't the case. 'Unbreakable' lost to former stablemate Strong when they clashed at the end of 2012. He got the victory in a rematch, fought under two-out-of-three falls rules at the 11th Anniversary Show, but by that point interest in their dispute, not high to begin with, had waned. By the time Elgin dropped Jay Lethal to solidify himself as number one contender to the world strap he was no longer the red hot prospect he had been.
Things could have been so different had Elgin been the man to relieve Kevin Steen of the ROH world championship, in place of long time tag aficionado Jay Briscoe. As the man fans were behind he was the natural successor to the top spot. It seemed like the natural title change, the man who'd seemed to be on course for the top singles title for a year defeating the company's leading man at his peak. That should have been too good to pass up. But it wasn't, because ROH did.
Throughout the rest of 2013 Elgin has had numerous stints as the official number one contender and mounted several unsuccessful challenges. Rather than do the smart thing and switch the strap from Briscoe to Elgin when it was revealed Briscoe would be taking extended leave or moving on completely a tournament was held. Making it to the finals of that only to lose again was a step too far. It's not that Adam Cole wasn't a good choice for champion but everything in the preceding eighteen months had established Elgin was a man on course for the top. After failing to have Elgin be the man to replace Steen and Briscoe, both of which would have been pretty good timing-wise, the tournament was ROH's last chance to deliver on Elgin.
Elgin was once again unsuccessful in challenging for the title at Final Battle 2013. By that point it had become the norm for him to leave title matches without the gold. That he failed to win again simply confirmed how far the man had fallen. The lack of a victory didn’t harm him: it’s not possible for the lack of a championship to harm him anymore.
Elgin has continued to improve as a wrestler throughout the year but in the process become part of the scenery at the top of ROH cards. Instead of slapping the title on him and giving him a lengthy reign to make him look special he's been treated as just another guy. Ultimately this is fine. He's been turned into a star by a combination of his own good wrestling and the booker's good planning. But he could have been so much more with a bit more faith and a willingness to put the company's efforts into creating a new centrepiece attraction. I can't imagine he'd have been the guy to turn ROH into a bigger deal than it is but he could have been bigger than he is.
If and when Elgin wins the world championship now it’s going to be just another run. It’s even possible the fans will turn on him as they’ve turned on other champions in the past, simply because he’s already been floating around the top for a while. He wouldn’t be an undeserving champion, but the chance for him to be a special champion has been and gone. Another instance of poor judgment from Ring of Honor.

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