Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Michael Elgin And ROH on The Rocks
The one thing that I think we can start with that is an indisputable fact is that Michael Elgin was given one hell of an opportunity by Ring of Honor when he became their champion. He defeated Adam Cole who I don’t think it is any secret I am a huge supporter of and think is a tremendous talent and asset for Ring of Honor. I have had the chance to talk with Cole on two occasions and he is an engaging and intelligent young man and quite the wrestling talent.
Cole embraced his role when he was the Ring of Honor Champion. He has been a huge asset in helping grow the product both in the ring and behind the scenes. Adam has mentioned in talking with me and other wrestling journalists about working with Sinclair Broadcasting on the promotion of Ring of Honor. It is something he admits that he enjoys and by all indications is pretty good at doing.
At the time of the "Best in the World" event that was the first ever on live pay-per-view I questioned if it was wise to have Elgin win the title. If this was solely based just on the storyline, heading into the match it did not make a lot of sense to feel that way. Elgin was positioned and booked in a way that he deserved and needed that moment to happen. Still my reservations of just how good Adam Cole was in terms of marketing the product and to use the often over used term he was "the face of the company." Well at least he would be with Kevin Steen departing for WWE developmental and NXT. Even with that massive shadow, that Steen had in ROH as being clearly their top attraction Cole was learning and growing ready to take on the role without Steen. Elgin while a great in-ring performer was not as polished as Cole in terms of the promoting of not just himself but also the brand as a whole. Just my opinion, but I think if you asked many people they would share in this opinion.
Regardless, Ring of Honor went forward and did what made the best wrestling sense for them. Making Elgin the champion and going forward with him. Steen would leave soon after and that was a major blow for Ring of Honor regardless of who was holding the title at the time. Ring of Honor seemed to not be able to follow up on the success of their first venture into live pay-per-view. In which they exceeded their modest goals of pay-per-view buys. Sometimes the thing is in wrestling even when a babyface deserves and he gets that feel good moment, as fans that is the completion of the journey. Once that guy gets the belt and becomes champion the real work begins for him. He now has the task to keep himself interesting and compelling to the audience. Elgin claimed he wanted to become the most decorated Champion in Ring of Honor history breaking the record for title defenses.
Sounds good we have a motivated champion with a goal beyond simply beating his next opponent. One of the issues that have been stated as part of ROH’s problems with Elgin was an interview that he did with Between the Ropes a site that I write for. He in the interview with Brian Fritz, this subject of Elgin wanting to try out for pro baseball in the spring became a topic. It was covered at some length in which Elgin even talking about hiring a hitting coach and changing things about his training to prepare.
While it is nice to have dreams and if Elgin is not the Ring of Honor Champion this might in fact be a cool story for ROH. As the Champion, though you represent more than just you, but the company as a whole. In this admission of this whole idea of wanting to try out of baseball, it gave the impression that Elgin was not focused on being the champion. Not focused on Ring of Honor and looking ahead to something that would take him away from the company for some period of time. Even if Michael Elgin doesn’t understand this, it gave an impression even if it wasn’t the correct one that his title reign, the championship and Ring of Honor were not his sole focus. That is something you need to project in such a high profile position that he found himself.
Just to counter this with examples of Kevin Steen and Adam Cole. Steen it was widely rumored had done well at a WWE tryout and rumors later surfaced about him getting a contract offer to go there. You never heard Kevin directly talk about it, he would instead focus on what he was doing and the company he was in at the time. Even on his exit from the promotion, he made no mention to where he was going after. Adam Cole recently has been the subject of rumors about him being looked at by the WWE. In the recent chat we had, he said little on that subject despite some questions that would allow him to go in that direction. Instead, he always brought things back to ROH and his group the Kingdom. It is showing the respect to a company that you are under contract too. This is something that clearly has gone off the rails in this relationship with Elgin and Ring of Honor, which has spilled into the public domain via social media.
Elgin’s visa issues were another story that was a huge issue for him that now has been solved. This regardless of anything else is great to see. Elgin had been stuck up here in Canada since losing his title due to visa issues. He is now back home with his wife where he belongs. Visa problema is something that is also an issue for Seleziya Sparx and why she was written out of the House of Truth for the time being. Based on the versions I have heard Elgin’s visa issues ultimately were after the choice to swap the title to Jay Briscoe had been made.
Elgin has of course made his way back to the U.S and it seemed that things were fine. ROH even added him as a late edition to their card in Michigan on Saturday indicated everything seemed back to normal. Elgin stated that he was unaware of this and it led to him publicly quitting the company on twitter. Everyone always wonders when things like this take place on social media but this seems to be a shoot and not a wrestling angle of any sort. This is not to say, if Elgin and ROH are able to mend their issues it couldn’t become one. It seems unlikely though with Tomasso Ciampa working a similar angle being exiled from the company for abusing officials. In addition, Matt Taven recently quit the company only to return as part of the Kingdom.
Elgin is a great talent on this everyone can agree. It just seems that his championship reign will be remembered for a lot of drama and not celebrated for the great and real moment it was. He defeated Adam Cole to win the title on a historic night already for Ring of Honor debuting on live pay-per-view.
Elgin is a talented guy and it is unfortunate things have ended up this way in a blame game for who is at fault for what. It has been a big year for Ring of Honor and things will march on with or without Elgin as the one thing Ring of Honor has proven over the years is the ability to move forward with or without people. They have made a habit out of it by producing and ultimately losing some of the best talents in wrestling in the last decade.
While at the end of the day, I feel for Michael Elgin and all he has been through I do understand things from ROH’s point of view. If Elgin has things we are unaware of in all, of this that we are unaware of I would be interested in hearing them and willing to re-evaluate things based on them.
Given everything that is known at this point I have to side with Ring of Honor and hope the best for Michael Elgin who is a talented guy. The issue for Elgin is he is still under contract with ROH which will make this break-up if it ends up being that another sticky situation that he will have to navigate going forward.
It all rather casts a dark cloud on what for the most part has been one of the most successful years for Ring of Honor as a company. I hope that cooler head prevail and everyone can get back on the same page. That is ultimately, what should best for everyone going forward.