Michael Elgin: Unbreakable
2 Disc DVD Set
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
In many ways, 2012 was the year for Michael Elgin, bookended by attempts to grab the greatest glory in Ring of Honor – the World Title, as well as many other great matches displayed in this 2 Disc DVD Set. (The first part of this Set includes a very interesting hour long interview with Elgin, and the best of his matches from 2011.)
Elgin has awesome potential and could be a guy that ROH could build around, but ironically for 2012, the industry was overly focused on long range plans rather than going with the hot hand. While comparing Michael Elgin to Ryback is a stretch, both guys did establish a credibility and connection with the fans, only to never see the biggest opportunity handed to them.
The difference between the two is obvious after watching these matches – Ryback can be coaxed to a good match with a great worker for a limited duration match (which brings up a huge tangent that I will sidestep), but Elgin has shown an ability to work with the best of the best (Davey Richards and Kevin Steen) in long ROH style Championship matches.
Yeah, I try to avoid comparisons, but comparing Michael Elgin to more mainstream names is mostly a positive, and in the era of low information society dominance, avoiding the mainstream names is not going to do anyone anything positive.
In many ways, Michael Elgin should have been given an opportunity to run with the proverbial football. Maybe or maybe not the World Title itself, but perhaps with a run against big names, showcasing his working ability, “testing” him against some of the best.
Yeah, he was, but that’s the point about ROH – there’s no sense of booking feuds or meaningful challenges, and the random rotations of matches against other ROH names is very limited.
Which is one of the weaknesses of this Set – otherwise focusing on one of the strongest members of the ROH roster – there’s no sense of what Elgin has done elsewhere, no inclusion of matches in other indy promotions (Elgin’s run in AAW with the Heritage Title and buildup to winning their version of a World Title is quite impressive, he’s been in PWG for a year, and his Canadian wrestling experience was crucial to his development).
The point is, Michael Elgin has held gold in his career, and that’s a part of his potential and should be part of a compilation – to sell his ability to the ROH Fanbase that may not be fully aware of his history, and to make it clear why he deserves this compilation!
ROH does a great job with these Compilations and the production and the ROH match inclusions, but even the WWE is including matches from the indy level, and ROH’s obliviousness to the rest of the industry seems backwards – ROH should be expanding its fan base by including fans of indie promotions, not excluding them.
I kinda understand the branding mentality, but an hour long interview doesn’t make up for a guy’s history. And not having arrangements with lesser known and/or more regional promotions such that other matches can be included just seems short-sighted.
Yes, yes, yes the Interview gives added background and should be a part of these sets.
I know it’s unfair to castigate ROH because they, like the rest of the industry, have no concept on feuds and building stars and making matches more meaningful, and I know what I’m getting into with a compilation of ROH Matches.
But then again, where’s the commentary from The House of Truth, whether Roderick Strong or Truth Martini or Rhino? Where’s the comments from Davey Richards? Where’s the commentary from Elgin on some of those big matches?
The greatest strength of ROH is the quality of the matches, and Michael Elgin taking on a who’s who of ROH names is an impressive display of his talents. There are singles matches, multiple man matches and tag matches, and of course the two aforementioned Championship matches. There are matches with El Generico, Christopher Daniels, Chris Hero and also a number of ROH stalwarts still on the roster.
Of course, the most brilliant match is the one with Davey Richards, the one that earned a five star rating from Dave Meltzer, and the one that put Elgin on the map.
That match shines because it highlights all the important aspects of a pro wrestling match – highlighting the talents in the ring, displaying the ability to sell, telling a story and moving away from the spot-fest style that often dilutes the brilliance, danger and creativity of the ROH wrestlers by doing too much.
But this match isn’t too much, it is finely crafted and well worth watching.
And that’s not to dismiss the other matches. There’s something a little off about Elgin’s challenge to Kevin Steen for the ROH World Title at Glory By Honor XI, but that may be a case of dynamics, a case of Steen playing outside his own strengths, and a case where the connection between fans and a once red-hot prospect had cooled to a dangerous point.
Even with the slight reservation, there’s few guys who can do battle with the foundation of the strong man role like those two did.
Another interesting matchup is the one between Elgin and Rhino, from TV of 10/12/12. While Elgin is not quite as monstrous as Rhino, there are definite similarities in these powerhouses, and it would do well for Elgin to study how Rhino survived so many promotions and thrived in so many different styles.
Michael Elgin has all the tools, and has obviously made the most of his experience with the ROH roster: battling, learning and growing in his matches with some of the claimants to “Best in the World” status.
On one hand, a couple of brilliant but failed Championship attempts and a worthy history in the indie scenes does not make one GREAT, but maintaining that level of workrate, and the reality of a 25 year old wrestler who has already proved his capability does lay an awesome foundation for future legendary status.
I’ll invite the viewer to take a look and see for themselves if this potential exists.
Joe Babinsack can be reached at
. AIW, SHIMMER and other reviews on deck…. Not much to add about Bruno Sammartino that hasn’t already been told, but when I learn more, I’ll see what I can do to explain it….