A View From Ringside – “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin

Discussion in 'ROH Feed' started by ROHNEWS, Jul 3, 2015.

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  1. By Kevin Kelly
    July 1st was Canada Day, celebrating the coming together of a nation and July 4th is Independence Day, celebrating one nation breaking away from another. Both countries show you shouldn’t judge the path taken to get to the end result.

    The same can be said about “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin, who has turned a corner of late and is prepping for a huge challenge, a personal goal in his career. He has made definite changes that many say has him better than ever. But, just as both Canada and the US have dealt with conflict and revolution over time to get where they are today, the internal battle within Elgin that has been publicly scrutinized since last September may finally be over.

    With Ring of Honor next scheduled for Minneapolis next weekend, I wanted to write a special “View From Ringside” to share my thoughts and observations on the former ROH World Champion as he prepares to compete in the G-1 Climax Tournament for New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). Elgin is the first former ROH World Champion and first full-time ROH Roster member to compete in the G-1 but as of a few months ago, there were many questions surrounding the “Unbreakable One”

    “What has changed within Elgin” or “what has changed about everyone’s perception of Elgin” are two distinct questions. With Elgin, it has never been about strength or ability in the ring as he has both in abundance. But in the last three months on 2014, his peers and I thought we were watching a guy throw his whole career away.

    After dropping the ROH World Championship in September, 2014, I believe now we publicly saw a man who was dealing with a lot of personal stress and he reacted poorly. When you get married, relocate to the US, buy a home and become the ROH World Champion/face of the company in the span of a few months, it can be overwhelming. It’s called “good stress” but that is a lot on anyone’s plate.

    In the last few months of 2014, seeming like he was backed into a corner, Elgin reacted the way he did and I thought we were seeing a man throw his whole career down the toilet.

    But sometime between what happened between ROH Matchmaker Nigel McGuinness and him during the “13th Anniversary” main event in March and “War of the Worlds” in May, something changed within Elgin.

    Maybe the anger subsided. Maybe the disappointment of the World title loss, while never explainable, became livable.

    I talked to him in San Antonio in April and we talked about his mental game. I also saw him loosening up around some of his peers who have been slow to warm to Elgin. The afternoon before the first “War of the Worlds” event in Philadelphia, Elgin told me about getting back to his 500-pound bench press, eating pasta for the first time in years and I could see that he was back to his old self.

    Talk is one thing but when he SHOOK THE HANDS of Moose and Roderick Strong at “Best in the World”, I knew his metamorphosis was complete. Here was Elgin that had a "Punish Everyone" attitude just a few months before, now accepting the rare defeat with grace and maturity. He has earned the respect again of his peers and is poised to accomplish another career goal: competing in Japan.

    Many say and I agree that his upcoming New Japan tour has put his perspective and focus in another direction and it is bringing out a better and smarter Michael Elgin. Always a goal of his to wrestle in Japan, Elgin competes in this year’s G-1 Climax tournament and the winner of the tournament is a "made man" in NJPW. There are no fluke winners as it is wrestling’s equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest, a long, grueling test of intestinal fortitude, mental toughness and physical torture.

    The climb for Elgin begins on July 20th. Nineteen events make the 2015 G-1 Climax the longest tournament in NJPW history. Elgin will have to be the best and smartest that he has ever been.

    I also hope Elgin takes a second to step back to reflect on accomplishing his goals. He’s become the ROH World Champion and he will have competed in Japan. I’ll have to ask him what his next goals are because “Mission: Accomplished” on his big two.

    And just as his native and now-home countries celebrate their formation this week, I wanted to take this time to recognize the renaissance of “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin and wish him luck in the G-1.

    Yours in Sport,

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