DVD Release Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
MATCH #1: Michael Elgin vs. Christopher Daniels, World’s Greatest, 2.25.11
Elgin is accompanied by Truth Martini. He overpowers the TV champion right away, ramming him into the corner and driving his shoulder into the midsection. Daniels survives the initial onslaught and sends Elgin to the floor. The champ hits a baseball slide dropkick and the Arabian Press, much to the crowd’s delight. Daniels throws Elgin into the ring post. Back in the ring Daniels hits a missile dropkick and a running forearm in the corner. Now Daniels is in complete control, unloading with jabs and a Northern Lariat for a one-count. Martini interferes, allowing Elgin to catch Daniels in a Samoan Drop for two. Elgin wears Daniels out now with strikes and slams, focusing on the back. He tosses Daniels to the floor and rams him into the barricade, and then locks on the Boston Crab. Back in the ring, Elgin continues to dominate. After many minutes of abuse Daniels comes back and tries a tornado DDT but Elgin blocks it and tries to lawn dart Daniels into the buckles. Daniels perseveres though and counters the counter, hitting the Stroke right into the turnbuckles. Now Daniels is on fire, unleashing flying forearms and a series of headbutts. He hits a low dropkick and curb stomps him into the canvas. Daniels hits the Arabian Press and gets two. He goes up top and hits a cross body block but only gets two. Elgin comes back with some forearms and a leg cradle Falcon Arrow for a near-fall. He follows up with a big lariat but once again it only gets two. Daniels comes back and calls for the Angel’s Wings but Martini gets up on the apron to distract him. Elgin hits his own version of the Oklahoma Stampede but then pauses to get advice from the Book of Truth. He goes for a powerbomb but Daniels counters with a cradle to get the win at 14:54. That was pretty solid but they could have tightened it up a little bit and probably would have gotten a better crowd reaction. I think Elgin is a good addition to the roster.
MATCH #2: Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards, Defy or Deny, 3.18.11
They lock up intensely to start and Edwards backs Elgin into a corner and gives him a clean break. It doesn’t take long for the two tough guys to start slugging at each other. Elgin wins that battle by running through two straight chops and knocking Edwards down with a shoulderblock. He follows up with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Edwards fights back and locks Elgin in an STF. Elgin makes it to the ropes and rolls to the apron, so Edwards kicks him hard across the back and then drills him with a baseball slide. Edwards follows Elgin to the floor and whips him into the barricade. Back in the ring Edwards hits a hard knee strike to the chest for two. Elgin fights back with an elevated Samoan Drop and gets a two-count. He stomps away and hits an elbow drop for another two. Elgin is firmly in control now. Edwards strikes back with a flying knee and both men are down. The Wolf unloads with chops but Elgin fires back with the Roots Clotheslines. Edwards comes back with more chops, and then Elgin rams him back into the turnbuckle. Elgin is in control again, hitting a senton for two. Edwards fights back with a solid kick to the head and then goes up top. He lands the missile dropkick and then traps Elgin on the top turnbuckle and ties him into the Tree of Woe for a dropkick to the face. Edwards hits more strikes and an inside out suplex for two. He goes up to the second rope for a Codebreaker but Elgin catches him and powerbombs Edwards to the floor and the both tumble down. Elgin hits an Oklahoma Stampede on the floor! That was awesome. Edwards barely makes it back into the ring before the count of 20. Elgin blasts him with a lariat but again it only gets two. He goes for a powerbomb but Edwards turns it into the Achilles Lock. Truth Martini interferes and Edwards locks both Elgin and Martini in simultaneous Achilles Locks! Elgin reaches the ropes. Edwards hits a superkick but Elgin comes right back with a powerslam into a uranage for two. Elgin goes for a top rope powerbomb but Edwards knocks him down and hits a double stomp, a running knee strike, and the 2K1 Bomb to get the pin at 18:04. They could have trimmed a few minutes but Elgin looked really good and it’s nice to see new guys getting the chance to shine and delivering.
MATCH #3: Michael Elgin vs. El Generico, Honor Takes Center Stage Chapter 1, 4.1.11
Elgin immediately shows off his power and Generico has to fight back with his quickness. Generico goes up top and hits a high cross body for barely a two-count. He tries a tornado DDT but Elgin counters with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Generico attempts to fight back but Elgin continually overpowers him. Finally Generico is able to catch Elgin with a shoulder to the gut. Generico then goes up top and hits a nice leaping rana. He follows up with a Blue Thunder Driver for a near-fall. Generico hits an exploder suplex into the turnbuckles for another two-count. He tries the running Yakuza kick but Elgin catches him and tries the Oklahoma Stampede. Generico slips out of that but Elgin clobbers him with a clothesline for two. Elgin hits a Black Hole Slam for a two-count. He throws Generico from pillar to post, but then charges and Generico pulls down the top rope sending Elgin to the floor. Generico tries a dive but Elgin moves out of the way. Instead Generico dives off the apron and Elgin catches him! Elgin tries a lawn dart but Generico slips out and throws Elgin into the barricade. Generico then hits the swinging DDT through the turnbuckles, which is such a badass maneuver. Back in the ring Generico sets up for the running Yakuza Kick but a masked man comes out and grabs his leg. That gives Elgin the chance to hit the Spiral Bomb and score the pin at 9:13. That was a terrific (though a bit short) power versus speed match. These two make great opponents.
MATCH #4: Double Danger Scramble Match – Michael Elgin vs. Rhett Titus vs. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Adam Cole vs. Grizzly Redwood vs. Andy “Right Leg” Ridge, ROH Revolution Canada, 5.7.11
Basically this is a scramble but you have to get two victories to be the winner. Lucha rules apply. Naturally the offense comes fast and furious in the early going, with everyone trying to establish their dominance. Ciampa is the first one to score a win with a schoolboy rollup on Cole. The powerhouses Ciampa and Elgin get a lot of the offense in but the other four also get chances to shine. Titus scores a pinfall with the Zack Attack on Ridge. Cole actually hits a Super Canadian Destroyer on Elgin, which gets a huge pop but the pin is broken up by Titus and Ciampa. The crowd chants “this is awesome.” Elgin actually picks up both Cole and Redwood for a simultaneous Alabama Slam and pins both of them in succession to win the match at 14:39. When I first heard this match announced I thought it seemed needlessly complicated, but rules aside this was a super fun match and one of the best Six Man Mayhem-type matches I’ve seen in years.
MATCH #5: Michael Elgin & Roderick Strong vs. The American Wolves, Tag Team Turmoil 2011, 7.8.11
The House of Truth is accompanied by Truth Martini, of course. Elgin and Edwards start the match. They try to out-power each for a bit and appear evenly matched, so they make tags. Richards and Strong are quite familiar with each other, and have fought numerous times over the years. Even so, both teams are cautious in the early going, especially in regards to Elgin, who has only faced Edwards once and Richards never. The House of Truth takes advantage of Richards on the floor, and then continues the abuse in the ring. The back and forth continues, as both Wolves challenge Elgin but he continues to fight back and keep pace with them. House of Truth is able to isolate on Edwards for quite a while and wear him down with hard strikes, submission holds, and suplexes. Finally Richards gets the hot tag and the World Champion is on fire. Neither Strong nor Elgin can stop Richards at this point, as he just destroys both guys with kicks. Finally Strong fights back and starts hitting backbreakers. The House of Truth hits a sweet gutbuster/lariat combination on Richards and Edwards has to break up the pin. Edwards gets the tag back in and he trades vicious chops with Strong in the corner. Ouch. Edwards wipes Elgin out with a dive to the floor, and then hits Strong with the Die Hard for two. The action is getting ridiculously fast at this point. All four men are in the ring, and Elgin pairs off with Richards while Strong and Edwards do battle. The crowd is juicing on it. Everyone knocks someone out and all four men are down. Elgin and Richards are the first two men up to battle and Elgin uses his power to dominate. Referee Todd Sinclair has lost all control of this one. Elgin hits the Wolves with a simultaneous Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam, which can be described in words as I just did, despite Kevin Kelly’s claims. Richards comes right back and locks Elgin in the Ankle Lock and Edwards locks Strong in the Achilles Lock. Martini gets in the ring to physically stop his men from tapping out and he gets blasted with simultaneous kicks to the head. The Wolves throw Strong to the floor and then hit successive double stomps to Elgin’s back off the top rope but the Unbreakable one kicks out! Richards then hits a knockout kick and Elgin kicks out again! One more kick finally puts Elgin down at 31:27. They certainly went out of their way to make Elgin look good and there’s nothing wrong with that. The match was a little bit long but they wanted a big epic tag team match to main event “Tag Team Turmoil 2011” so it makes sense. It was pretty hot most of the way through, especially the second half. I enjoyed that more than I thought I would.
MATCH #6: SOTF 2011 Finals – Michael Elgin vs. Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Kyle O’Reilly vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong, Survival of the Fittest 2011, 11.18.11
There is a trophy on hand for the winner. The House of Truth is accompanied by Truth Martini. This is O’Reilly’s first appearance in this match, Jay’s second time, Mark’s third time, Elgin’s first time, Strong’s fourth time, and Edwards’ second time. Both Strong and Edwards are former winners. Other winners, for the curious type, are Bryan Danielson, Delirious, Chris Hero, and Tyler Black.
Edwards and Jay start the match. Jay and Mark work together to keep Edwards on the mat. Elgin gets tagged in and immediately shows off his power. Strong and O’Reilly tag in, and the House of Truth work together. Edwards tags in, and there’s still some tension between him and O’Reilly. They go back and forth a bit and then the Briscoes get tagged in. They choose to attack everyone else rather than fight each other. I seriously love these guys. The match resettles with the Briscoes wearing down O’Reilly. Fortunately for O’Reilly he’s able to survive long enough to make a tag to Edwards. The referee loses control as all six men get in the ring. The two tag teams get rid of the other two guys and they duke it out. The other guys make it back in with a pair of missile dropkicks, and that leaves Edwards and O’Reilly in the ring. Everyone spills to the floor and there’s some awkward brawling going on. Elgin of all people takes everyone out with a moonsault from the top rope. Everyone starts making their way back in the ring and offense is coming from everywhere. Edwards traps Jay in the Die Hard to score the first elimination at 18:21. He then quickly grabs Mark in the Dragon Sleeper and both Briscoes are gone at 18:36. The House of Truth focuses on Edwards while O’Reilly gets a rest. Edwards comes back and O’Reilly goes to the top rope. Meanwhile, Martini jumps up on the apron, and when Edwards kicks him down he pulls the rope and O’Reilly crashes through the timekeeper’s table! After some miscommunication between Elgin and Strong, Edwards is able to trap Strong in a schoolboy rollup to eliminate him at 20:41. Elgin then blasts Edwards with a lariat to eliminate last year’s winner at 20:57.
Now we’re down to Michael Elgin versus Kyle O’Reilly for a future shot at the ROH World Championship, currently held by Davey Richards. Elgin is in much better shape and bullies O’Reilly with his strength. O’Reilly valiantly fights back and is able to lock on a guillotine choke. Elgin powers his way out of it. The persistent O’Reilly finally hits a tornado DDT and goes back to the guillotine choke as Davey Richards has shown up at ringside. Elgin once again powers his way out with a side slam but O’Reilly kicks out at two. He goes for the spinning powerbomb but O’Reilly hits a revere rana and a Regalplex for a very close near-fall. O’Reilly puts on the cross armbreaker but Elgin powers out of that too. The adrenaline is flowing through both men as they rise to their feet and go nose to nose. They trade strikes and Elgin wins that battle with a lariat for a two-count. Elgin hits a Rikishi Driver but O’Reilly is able to get his foot on the bottom rope. They take it to the floor, where O’Reilly hits a belly-to-back suplex. O’Reilly follows up with the awesome running dropkick off the apron and the crowd is collectively hard for him. Back in the ring O’Reilly goes for a rana off the top rope but Elgin catches him and hits a Buckle Bomb. Elgin follows with the spinning sitout powerbomb to become the Fittest at 32:00. The eliminations came together very quickly but I like how they were structured, and the action was great from bell to bell. It’s good to see two new faces going at it in the end, and I think both Elgin and O’Reilly’s stock soared with their performances here. This was good stuff.
MATCH #7: Michael Elgin vs. Chris Hero, The Homecoming 2012, 1.20.12
Elgin is accompanied by Truth Martini. Before the match can begin, Shane Hagadorn comes out to ringside and tells Hero that he’s here for him. Hagadorn pleads with Hero to allow him to be his manager again. Hero appreciates their past, but he wants to wrestle tonight on his own. They start off by trying to win man-game with each other and Hero shows off some of his agility from the Sweet N Sour days. Hero unloads with some chops and assorted strikes. They spill to the floor and Hero stays in control with some kicks. Back in the ring Hero hits a senton for two. Elgin comes back with a Boss Man Slam and starts going to work. He uses his impressive power and thwarts Hero’s comeback attempts, including catching Hero in a springboard with a Samoan Drop for two. Finally Hero catches Elgin with a big boot to the face and both men are down. Back on their feet they trade chops and Hero wins the battle and continues with strikes. Hero lands a rolling elbow for a near-fall. He puts Elgin up top and brings him down with a cravat slam for another two-count. Elgin catches Hero charging into the corner and suplexes him. He follows up with a pumphandle Michinoku Driver (I guess?) for two. Hero counters a powerbomb into a Saito Suplex and then hits a couple of running forearms. Elgin comes right back with two clotheslines for a two-count. He hits the suplex into a Boss Man Slam for two. Elgin tries the Powerbomb again but Hero slips out and hits a Rolling Elbow. Hero follows with the cravat suplex. Elgin responds with a Saito Suplex. He goes for another one but Hero slips out and they trade strikes again. Hero hits another rolling elbow but Elgin kicks out! He goes up top and misses a moonsault, but then connects with the rolling boot for a near-fall. Hero goes for another one but Elgin catches him and hits a Buckle Bomb and then the Spiral Bomb to get the pin at 14:43. Cruise had been announcing time left in the match so I thought they might be going for a time limit draw and I’m glad they didn’t Hero was on his way to WWE and a win like this does a lot to help Elgin. Plus it was a solid power match with a good finish. Elgin is really on the rise.
MATCH #8: Michael Elgin & Roderick Strong vs. Davey Richards & Kyle O’Reilly, ROH Underground, 1.21.12
The winners of this match will get a tag team title shot in less than four weeks when ROH makes its debut in Cincinnati. O’Reilly and Strong start the match. They chain wrestle to a standoff and Strong is already acting cocky. O’Reilly responds by going after the leg but Strong counters out of it. Richards and Elgin tag in and they try to intimidate each other. The champ lands a dropkick and Elgin responds right away with a back suplex, sending Richards to the floor. Back in the ring Richards tags O’Reilly, so Strong makes his way back in as well. They go back and forth again but this time O’Reilly gets aggressive and takes Strong down. Richards tags back in and puts on a Texas Cloverleaf. Elgin breaks that up. Strong comes back with a dropkick and makes the tag. Richards and Elgin trade pinning combinations but neither man can get a three-count. They take it to the mat and Richards tries a Cross Armbreaker, but Elgin powers his way out of it into a Buckle Bomb. It doesn’t take long for Richards to fight back and nail Elgin with the running kick from the apron. Strong and Elgin try to regroup on the floor and O’Reilly grazes them with a suicide dive. Back in the ring O’Reilly goes to work on Elgin, keeping him on the mat. They did some good stuff back at Survival of the Fittest 2011 and I’d like to see them have a straight up singles match. Elgin nails O’Reilly with an enziguiri and Strong comes in for the cover and gets two. They fight to the floor and Strong drops O’Reilly’s back across the ring frame. Ouch. Back in the ring that gets a two-count. The House of Truth isolates O’Reilly in their half of the ring. O’Reilly tries to fight back with kicks but Elgin cuts him right off with a spinebuster and then fights out of a triangle choke with a powerbomb. Elgin is strong, yo. Strong and Elgin continue to abuse O’Reilly, keeping him away from the Wolf on the apron. Finally after several minutes the hot tag is made and the Champ is on fire. Richards hits a simultaneous missile dropkick and then unloads on Elgin with kicks. He hits the Alarm Clock for a two-count. Another kick o the head and a bridging German Suplex gets another two-count. Elgin comes back with the simultaneous fallaway slam and Samoan Drop. Corino thinks that move needs a name. So give it one, that’s what you’re getting paid for. Richards and Strong wind up in the ring and they fight back and forth intensely. Strong hits the gutbuster for two and then locks on the Stronghold. O’Reilly tries to break it up but Elgin cuts him off and O’Reilly counters to a guillotine choke. Meanwhile, Richards counters the Stronghold to the Ankle Lock! The HOT counter with rollups, but they only get two. Everyone gets up and strikes at someone else and then all four men are down. Back on their feet O’Reilly hits the rolling butterfly suplexes into a double-arm DDT for two. Elgin had tried to break it up but he hit Strong instead. O’Reilly kicks Elgin to the floor and Richards holds him for the flying dropkick off the ring apron. Back in the ring O’Reilly hits a missile dropkick on Strong for two. Richards hits Strong with the Alarm Clock. O’Reilly hits a superkick and a Regalplex for a near-fall. Elgin gets back in the ring and starts throwing Richards and O’Reilly around. He hits O’Reilly with a TKO and Strong kicks him in the chest for a two-count. Elgin and Richards take their fight to the floor while O’Reilly gets a small package for two. Strong fights back with a knee strike and then tries a suplex but O’Reilly reverses it to the guillotine choke. Martini gets in the ring to distract the referee and then tries to break the Choke. O’Reilly turns his attention to him, and then Strong grabs O’Reilly from behind. Martini tries to hit O’Reilly but he ducks and Strong gets hit instead! O’Reilly then cradles Strong to get the pin at 29:42. That was like a lot of Richards matches – good but long for the sake of long and followed with a promo.
MATCH #9: Michael Elgin vs. Kyle O’Reilly, Ring of Honor Wrestling Episode 25, 3.10.12
The winner will face Davey Richards at Showdown in the Sun – Day #2, whether Richards is the Champion or not. O’Reilly tries to use strikes in the early going and Elgin responds with his freakish strength. O’Reilly takes Elgin down to the mat but Roderick Strong comes out and distracts him, allowing Elgin to hit a release German Suplex. Davey Richards has a fit on commentary. We take a commercial break and when we come back O’Reilly tries a tornado DDT but Elgin counts it with the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two. Both men rise and they trade forearms. Elgin wins that battle with an enziguiri. He tries a top rope maneuver but O’Reilly makes him pay for it by hitting a belly-to-back superplex for two. O’Reilly unleashes some kicks and is able to send Elgin to the apron. He tries a Sunset Bomb to the floor but Elgin blocks it. Elgin tries to sit down but O’Reilly moves. O’Reilly then hits a belly-to-back suplex to the floor. He follows up with the missile dropkick off the apron. Back in the ring O’Reilly hits a proper Missile Dropkick for two. O’Reilly tries an inside cradle but Elgin rolls through it and tries a suplex, but O’Reilly blocks that and hits a tornado DDT into the guillotine choke! That was neat. Elgin breaks that with a suplex slam for a two-count. Elgin hits a couple of clotheslines in the corner. O’Reilly comes back with a series of kicks and the Regalplex for two. He locks on a Crossface and Elgin picks him up, so he changes it to a guillotine choke. Strong hops up on the apron again and O’Reilly foolishly breaks the hold. Richards and Strong brawl at ringside while Elgin hits O’Reilly with the Buckle Bomb and then the Spiral Bomb to get the win and the shot at Richards at 10:29 of 12:29 shown. That was an excellent TV match with some cool moves pulled out by both guys. I generally like it when they’re on opposite sides of the ring.
MATCH #10: ROH World Title Match – Michael Elgin vs. Davey Richards, Showdown in the Sun Day 2, 3.31.12
Richards has been the Champion since 6.26.11, and this is his ninth defense. They start off hot and Richards hits a dropkick, and then kicks Elgin right to the floor. Richards hits a suicide dive to wipe Elgin out near the stage. They fight on the ring apron and Elgin clotheslines Richards back into the ring for a two-count. Elgin goes to work now with a variety of suplexes and strikes, wearing Richards down. Richards tries a handspring spin kick but Elgin catches him and hits Shock Treatment for two. Elgin continues the abuse with a bridging Northern Lights suplex for a two-count. Richards is able to hit a missile dropkick, and then they start trading forearms. The Champ hits an exploder suplex for a two-count. They fight up on the top rope and Richards hits a huge superplex. Elgin gets right up and tells Richards to bring it! Elgin hits a hard enziguiri but Richards counters with a German Suplex. Richards puts on the Ankle Lock but Elgin crawls to the floor. Elgin catches a kick and drops Richards with a suplex. That was cool. Elgin then powerbombs Richards into the barricade and quickly throws him back in the ring for a two-count. He goes up top for a turnaround somersault senton for a very close near-fall. The crowd is chanting for Elgin now. They fight up on the top rope and Richards tries a sunset bomb but can’t hit it. Instead Richards hits an enormous German Superplex for a two-count and then rolls it right into the Ankle Lock! Elgin reaches the ropes and the crowd continues to chant for him. Richards unloads with kicks but Elgin gets right in his face! They trade Kawada Kicks for knee strikes. Richards seems to get the better of it and hits even more kicks. Elgin responds with a Chaos Theory for two! He follows with a superkick and a suplex into a uranage for another two-count! Elgin then locks on the Crossface and Richards reaches the ropes. They fight to the apron and Richards hits a double stomp off the top rope, and then another double stomp back in the ring but it only gets a two-count. Richards continues the offensive flurry but he can’t put Elgin away. Elgin comes back and hits Galleria and gets a two-count. He follows with a Buckle Bomb and then clotheslines Richards’ head off. Elgin tries a powerbomb but Richards rolls through to the Ankle Lock and Elgin turns it into the Crossface. Richards rolls that into a cradle for two. Elgin catches a charging Richards with a knee to the face. He follows with a spinning back fist and then the Spiral Bomb but it only gets two! Elgin locks on the Crossface again, and Richards reverses it to the Ankle Lock, and Elgin is able to roll out of it. Richards hits a flying knee and Elgin kicks out at one and spits in his face! The Champ hits another series of kicks but Elgin kicks out at two! Richards finally lands a knockout kick to the head to get the pin at 26:18. That was an awesome match and a star-making performance by Elgin.
MATCH #11: Michael Elgin vs. Adam Cole, Border Wars, 5.12.12
This is a rematch from Rise & Prove. Elgin uses his power advantage right off the bat. Cole responds with his quickness and agility. He hits a dropkick off the second rope for a one-count. Cole hits a hurricanrana to send Elgin to the floor. He tries a dive but Elgin catches him and hits a running powerslam onto the entrance ramp. Back in the ring Elgin covers but only gets two. Elgin continues the abuse, keeping the high-flying Cole on the mat. Cole tries a tornado DDT but Elgin blocks it and tries a powerslam and Cole slips out of that. Elgin gets out of a German Suplex attempt and decks Cole in the face. He follows with an Alabama Slam for two. Every time Cole tries to fight up Elgin cuts him off. They trade forearms and Cole actually wins that battle. Cole hits the Tornado DDT this time and follows up with a slingshot DDT on the edge of the ring frame! Back in the ring Cole goes up top and hits a big splash for two. Elgin comes back with a Chaos Theory for two. He tries a vertical suplex but Cole counters with an inside cradle for two. Cole hits a Shining Wizard for another two-count. He hits another one and again gets two. Cole hits a superkick but Elgin clobbers him with a lariat to send him to the floor. Elgin goes to grab Cole but gets kicked in the head instead. Cole goes up top and Elgin kicks him in the face to knock him down to the apron. Elgin goes to the second rope and actually pulls Cole from the apron into a super Falcon Arrow. That only gets two but it could have finished. Elgin puts on the Crossface and Cole rolls into a cradle for two. Cole hits the vertical suplex dropping Elgin’s neck on his knee for a two-count. He goes up top for the cross body block but Elgin catches him and hits the Buckle Bomb and the Spiral Bomb for the win at 13:54. That was slightly better than their previous match. These two make natural opponents and I’m sure they will fight again, perhaps when a title is on the line.
MATCH #12: Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal, Ring of Honor Wrestling: Road Rage – The Nightmare Begins, 7.7.12
Editor’s Note: The version of this match shown on the DVD is from the “Road Rage” episode of Ring of Honor Wrestling on Sinclair Broadcast Group. This review represents the uncut match from the Nightmare Begins DVD.
They start slowly and Elgin shows his power advantage right away. Lethal tries using a headlock but that gets him nowhere. He starts using his quickness instead to frustrate Elgin. Lethal hits the hiptoss/dropkick combination and tries to cover but Elgin rolls to the floor. Martini tries arguing with referee Paul Turner, and even gets in the ring and challenges him to fight. Turner seems game so Martini bails. Elgin gets back in the ring and Martini grabs Lethal’s leg from the floor to distract him. Lethal tries the Lethal Injection but Elgin blasts him with a Northern Lariat instead for a two-count. Elgin is in control now and he tries to keep Lethal on the mat. He tosses Lethal to the floor and Martini takes cheap shots. Elgin goes out and throws Lethal into the barricade. He tries again but Lethal reverses it. Back in the ring Elgin hits a neckbreaker for a two-count. Elgin uses a chinlock and Lethal breaks it with a chinbreaker. Lethal tries a springboard move but Martini blocks it. He settles for a sunset flip for a two-count. Lethal gets a La Magistral cradle for two and then lands a huge superkick for another near-fall. He misses an enziguiri and Elgin hits a dead lift German Suplex with a bridge for two. Elgin is looking dominant here but Lethal fights back and hits the Lethal Combination. Lethal goes up top for Hail to the King but Roderick Strong runs out to block it while Martini distracts the referee. Elgin hits a spinning back fist and goes for the Spiral Bomb. Strong comes in the ring again, which is horrible timing and it backfires. Lethal hits the Lethal Injection to get the win at 12:16. These are two future ROH main eventers and I dig both of them. Something seemed a bit off in this match though, and the finish was designed to put heat on the H.O.T. feud rather than anything involving Lethal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just think Lethal and Elgin could have a better match without shenanigans.
MATCH #13: Michael Elgin & Rhino vs. Jay & Mark Briscoe, LivE Strong, 6.30.12
Mark and Elgin start the match. Elgin scores first with a big powerslam for a two-count. Mark comes back with a knee lift and a back brain kick. Rhino tags in and Mark takes him off his feet pretty quickly. Jay tags in and takes it to the Man Beast as well. Elgin unsuccessfully tries to interfere as the Briscoes are rolling. The fight spills to the floor and Mark is flying all over the place. Back in the ring the House of Truth uses some nefarious tactics to take control of Jay. Rhino and Elgin use their power to keep Jay on the mat and away from his brother. Elgin hits the spinning back fist and goes for the Spiral Bomb but Jay slips out and hits the Flatliner into the turnbuckles. The tag is made and Mark unleashes Redneck Kung Fu. Mark hits Elgin with a t-bone suplex for two. He goes up top but Elgin stops him. Jay comes in and pulls Elgin off the second rope with a side Russian Legsweep. Mark then hits the Froggy Bow for a two-count when Rhino breaks up the cover. Jay sends Rhino to the floor but Elgin successfully fights off both Briscoes with a simultaneous Alabama Slam. That’s impressive. Elgin covers Mark for a two-count. Rhino tags in and hits Mark with a belly-to-belly suplex. He signals for the Gore but Mark avoids it and gets a quick rollup for two. Jay comes in and drills Rhino with a superkick. Mark covers for two. The referee has lost all control as all four men are brawling in the ring. Somewhere in all the chaos Rhino hits Mark with the Gore to get the pin at 12:24. That was a nice brisk tag match and I like the way Rhino and Elgin work together as a team.
MATCH #14: Michael Elgin vs. Silas Young, Brew City Beatdown, 7.14.12
Young has been in ROH off and on over the years. Elgin cuts a quick promo before the match, noting his desire to be the ROH World Champion. He also puts over Young, as the two have wrestled many times over the years in other promotions. Martini tries to add something but Elgin cuts him off and tells him to go to the back because he wants to do this one on his own. Since these two know each other pretty well from other promotions they get into it right away. Elgin scores the first near-fall off a powerslam. He continues trying to use his power and Young comes back with his surprising (given his size) speed and agility. They take it to the floor and Young hits a somersault dive over the ropes to wipe Elgin out. Back in the ring Young hits a neckbreaker for a one-count. Young hits a Finlay Roll and tries the Peegee Waja Plunge but Elgin avoids it and German Suplexes Young into the top turnbuckle for a two-count. Elgin controls briefly and they go back to the floor. Young reverses a whip and sends Elgin into the barricade. Back in the ring the two rivals slug it out and Elgin wins that battle with an elbow for two. Young tries to fight up but Elgin powers him right back down. After a few minutes Young shows some fighting spirit and takes Elgin off his feet with the backbreaker/clothesline combination. That gets two. Elgin shoves Young back into the turnbuckles and tries a suplex but Young counters with a victory roll for two. Young kicks Elgin in the face and hits a Lionsault for two. Elgin fights back with some corner clotheslines and a Boss Man Slam for a two-count. He goes for a powerbomb but Young backdrops his way out of it. They take the fight over to the corner and Elgin delivers an impressive superplex for two. The crowd is jazzed as Elgin delivers a Buckle Bomb. Elgin tries the Spiral Bomb but Young counters it to the Angel’s Wings for a near-fall. Young hits the Finlay Roll and the Peegee Waja Plunge but Elgin kicks out! He goes to the second rope but gets clobbered with a clothesline on his way down. That’s a great spot. Elgin kicks him in the face and hits a Buckle Bomb and the Spiral Bomb for the pin at 17:42. That was lots of fun and Young looked good in losing. I hope ROH finds something for him to do. Elgin’s march toward his second title shot rolls on.
MATCH #15: Michael Elgin vs. Mike Bennett, Killer Instinct, 10.6.12
Elgin is accompanied by Truth Martini. Right away Elgin shows his power advantage and then lands a right hand to send Bennett cowering to the floor. A kiss from Maria is enough incentive for Bennett to get back in the ring. Bennett tries to knock Elgin down with shoulder tackles but has no luck. Elgin catches Bennett in a powerslam for a near-fall. He follows with a delayed vertical suplex for another two-count. Bennett tosses Elgin to the floor but then misses a house show dive. Elgin runs at Bennett but gets caught in a spinebuster right on the edge of the ring frame. Bennett throws Elgin back in the ring and gets a one-count. He tries to keep up the pressure but misses a charge in the corner and Elgin is right back on offense, stomping a mudhole but neglecting to walk it dry. Elgin tries a powerslam but Bennett slips out and hits a neckbreaker for two. Momentum continues to shift back and forth. Elgin hits a Boss Man Slam for two. He goes for a powerbomb but Bennett backs him into the corner. Bennett misses a charge and Elgin unleashes the Roots Clotheslines. Elgin hits the Curtain Call for another two-count. Maria gets up on the apron to distract Elgin, but when Bennett charges Elgin drops the top rope and Bennett crashes to the floor. Elgin appears to be going for a dive but since the referee’s back is turned, Martini takes a couple of cheap shots, much to Elgin’s dismay. Bennett tries to hide behind Maria and it works, allowing him to hit the Box Office Smash on the arena floor! Elgin barely makes it back in the ring before the count of 20. Bennett covers but only gets two. He goes for another Box Office Smash but Elgin fights it off and hits an enziguiri. Elgin goes for the windup clothesline but Bennett avoids it and hits a spinebuster for two. Bennett goes for the TKO but Elgin avoids it and hits the back fist. Elgin hits the Buckle Bomb and the Spiral Bomb to get the pin at 11:58. That was a rock solid opener and a good victory for Elgin leading into his title match against Kevin Steen next week at Glory By Honor XI: The Unbreakable Hope.
MATCH #16: Michael Elgin vs. Rhino, Ring of Honor Wrestling: Survival of the Fittest 2012, 10.20.12
They start off slugging right away. Elgin has been compared to RHINO many times over the years so this is an intriguing match-up. Elgin surprises by hitting a slingshot back elbow. RHINO takes a powder. Elgin follows him out and throws some punches. RHINO whips Elgin into the barricade. Roderick Strong comes out to watch. Elgin reclaims control. Back in the ring Elgin hits a flying shoulder tackle off the top rope for two. RHINO hits a belly-to-belly suplex and goes for the Gore. Elgin moves out of the way and gets a schoolboy rollup for two. RHINO catches Elgin with a spinebuster for a two-count. He continues to wear Elgin down on his way to trying another Gore. Elgin hits an enziguiri and both men are down. Back on their feet Elgin unloads with a series of clotheslines and a bicycle kick. Elgin hits a Black Hole Slam for two. He follows with a bridging German Suplex for another two-count. Elgin tries the powerbomb but RHINO backdrops his way out of it. RHINO drives a shoulder to the midsection and this a TKO for two. Strong gets up on the apron to argue with the referee. RHINO sets up for the Gore but Truth Martini gets in the ring and begs him not to. That gives Elgin the distraction he needs to hit his own Gore. Elgin then hits the Spiral Bomb to get the win and move on to the finals at 7:50. That was a very good power match from two guys with similar styles. I’d like to see them go again.
MATCH #17: ROH World Title Match – Michael Elgin vs. Kevin Steen, Glory By Honor XI, 10.13.12
Steen has been the Champion since 5.12.12, and this is his eleventh defense. Elgin earned this title shot almost a year ago by winning Survival of the Fittest 2011. This is the first time two Canadians have been fighting for the ROH World Title, and they’re in Canada no less. Steen cuts a promo before the match, talking about his confrontation with Jay Lethal and his family last week in Rahway at Killer Instinct. He also runs down his list of demands for agreeing to this match – he will never fight Jay Lethal again, he will get a new ROH Championship belt, and the Package Piledriver is legal again. Elgin then comes out, sans Truth Martini.
They start slugging right away. Elgin scores the first big blow with a Boss Man Slam. Steen tries to powder and Elgin follows him out to continue the abuse. They trade whips into the barricades, and then Steen chokes Elgin with the Canadian flag. Elgin reverses another whip into the barricade and then he returns the flag favor. Back in the ring Elgin covers for two. Elgin hits a delayed vertical suplex for another two-count as the crowd starts to really get behind him. He continues working on Steen and tries going to the top rope but Steen pulls him down and hits the Orton DDT. They go to the floor and Steen hits the powerbomb on the edge of the ring frame. Steen hits a Frog Splash off the apron. Back in the ring Steen covers for two. Steen keeps up the pressure and keeps Elgin off his feet. Elgin fights back with an enziguiri and both men are down. Back on their feet the pace continues to be quick given the size of both men. Elgin hits Diamond Dust for a near-fall. Steen tries the Package Piledriver but Elgin reverses and hits White Noise for two. Elgin tries a powerslam but Steen slips out and pulls the back of Elgin’s head onto his knee. Steen then hits the Cannonball in the corner for two. Elgin tries a corkscrew senton off the top rope but Steen gets his knees up. Steen charges but Elgin pulls down the top rope and Steen crashes to the floor. Elgin follows with a somersault dive to wipe him out. Strong distracts Elgin from his ringside seat and Elgin pulls him out and hurls him repeatedly into the barricades and then throws him back behind the curtain! Take that Roderick! Elgin then powerbombs Steen into the ring post! Back in the ring Elgin goes up top again and this time hits the corkscrew senton but it only gets two! Steen comes back and locks on the Sharpshooter. Elgin reverses to the Crossface and Steen reaches the ropes. They go to the apron and slug it out. Steen puts on a Sleeper so Elgin runs and jumps off the apron right onto a table! That was awesome. Both men barely make it back in before 20. They clothesline each other but no one goes down. Elgin runs off the ropes and Steen throws him into the air for a sit-out powerbomb! Somehow Elgin kicks out! Steen goes for the F-Cinq but Elgin counters to the Crossface, and Steen counters that with a cradle for two! Elgin gets an O’Connor Roll for a very close near-fall. He follows with an impressive dead lift German Suplex for two. That’s ridiculous. Elgin hits knees to the face. Steen hits a Codebreaker but Elgin drops him with a lariat for two. Elgin hits a Buckle Bomb but Steen pops out of the corner with a big clothesline and both men are down. Back on their feet Steen hits the F-Cinq but it only gets two! Elgin puts on the Crossface again and Steen reaches the ropes. Steen hits a Sleeper Suplex and the Package Piledriver but Elgin kicks out! While Steen argues with the referee Elgin rolls him up for two! Steen tries the Cannonball but Elgin catches him and hits a powerbomb! That’s awesome. Elgin hits the Buckle Bomb and the Spiral Bomb but somehow Steen gets his shoulder up! They fight on the top rope and Steen is able to put Elgin in position to hit a Super Package Piledriver! Finally that’s enough for the win at 31:31. Best match of both guy’s lives and the ROH Match of the Year, hands down. In over half an hour I don’t think there was one rest hold; the pace these two cut was insane for guys who are regarded as “power” wrestlers. They both pulled off some amazing moves, particularly Elgin in showing off his impressive strength. The near-falls were believable and the crowd was with them the whole way, totally buying that Elgin was taking the title. The finish was built up to and didn’t have to be hit multiple times to win – it just took a Super version of Steen’s finisher to do the trick. I love all of it.