Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong: two unique indivduals, and highly talented athletes, in very different ways. Two wrestlers with similar, and yet, very different histories. Two men with a very rich and deep history between one another, where they have been best of friends, rivals, and now, bitter enemies.
For the past year and a half, Roderick Strong and Michael Elgin haven’t been far from one another. Once united under Truth Martini’s “House of Truth”, all that came crumbling down in the wake of jealousy.
It all started in 2010, when Truth Martini formed a faction in the name of his book. Roderick Strong, due to this connection with Truth Martini, would become a Ring Of Honor World Champion. As Christopher Daniels would also be a key player in the factions early days, Michael Elgin, a relative newcomer to ROH would also land a spot in the House Of Truth.
Coming straight off of an impressive showing in 2010, he would find himself on a streak of wins unlike anything most fans have ever seen in Ring Of Honor, winning the “Survival Of The Fittest” tournament, ensuring a title shot in the near future.
Oddly enough, it wouldn’t be until 2012, in the face of Jim Cornette’s fury at Kevin Steen being the World Champion, that Michael Elgin would cash in his title shot. This caused some friction within the house of truth, as Roderick Strong became jealous of Elgin’s position in a possible main event match. Roderick, in his anger, would leave the House of Truth, only to harass Michael Elgin at every turn. Some could say that Elgin’s world title match may have gone better had it not been for Strong harassing Elgin throughout the match from the front row.
As Final Battle grew nearer with each passing month, Nigel McGuinness made an interesting decision. Roderick Strong would face Michael Elgin at the biggest event ROH has to offer, and this feud was supposed to be laid to rest then and there. This would lead to Truth Martini trying his absolute best to prevent this match from ever happening, but failing on all accounts. A beaten up and tired Martini would take his place at ringside as his two former protegé’s battled it out.
Martini tried his best to support each member of the House Of Truth, depending on who was ahead at what time. Both men avoided Martini like the plague, leading to a finish where Strong would use the Book Of Truth to get a dirty pin, and walk out on both men. An enraged Michael Elgin would attack Truth Martini after a slap to the face, leaving it obvious in everyone’s mind that the House Of Truth was gone forever.
However, this wasn’t the end for Strong and Elgin’s feud. At Defy Or Deny, both men would find themselves in a match to determine the number on contender for Kevin Steen’s Ring Of Honor World Championship, alongside Eddie Edwards and “Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare” himself. While Steen would ensure no one in that match would be facing him anytime soon, the big story was how Strong once again got the upper hand over Michael Elgin and eliminated him.
Strong, in a cocky swagger from two straight wins over his former tag team partner, would challenge Michael Elgin one more time, antagonizing the Unbreakable one until he agreed to a match at the 11th Anniversary Show in Chicago. Nigel McGuiness made sure that this would indeed be the ultimate encounter with no outside interference, and banned Truth Martini from ringside, as a precaution.
The stage is set, two out of three falls to determine once and for all, who is the better man in this long and historic rivalry. While Roderick Strong has the upper hand going in, Michael Elgin has quoted himself with a very firm plan of action as to what will befall his former partner at the event.
This is about you, Roderick Strong. See, I was taught growing up that you don’t pick fights that you can’t win, and that’s exactly what you’ve done. You’ve signed your own death certificate, and I’m about to engrave the tombstone.
Roderick Strong, on the other hand, sees it quite differently. As a preview to the 11th Anniversary Show, Roderick Strong had this to say to ROHWrestling.com.
I am Mister Endurance, bro. Every day I train I go at it like I’m getting ready for a marathon, like every match is an Iron Man match. You think Mikey runs as hard as I do? You think he can hang in the gym like that? Trust me, I know what the kid is capable of, I’ve been in the gym with him, and I’ve got nothing to worry about when it comes to conditioning. All day long, all day Strong.
Elgin, despite being a man of few words, saw this interview coming and put in his own two cents on the subject of conditioning for a two out of three falls match.
Roderick is going to tell the world how great his conditioning is and how he is the fittest man in Ring Of Honor. I know the man, I’ve heard his speech first hand, but the fact of the matter is I’m just as conditioned as Roderick, if not more so. The fact of the matter, Roderick, is that this fight has less to do with your physical conditioning and more to do with your ability to survive a beating. This is about me putting you down in two straight falls, embarrassing you, and moving on with my life. Thanks to Nigel, there will be no Truth to bail you out this time, no Truth to save you from being broken in half.
Very strong words, no pun intended, from the “Unbreakable One” Michael Elgin, but is Roderick Strong inside his head? Has the constant out doing via dirty tactics and not-so honorable finishes left him in a bad position going into this match? Will Camp Strong out think this monster?
This writer finds it unlikely, as it seems Strong is against a wall, and will now have to face his former partner on equal grounds. One way or another, this has the chance of being a show-stealing performance from two time tested rivals. Chicago will be the place where this feud is laid to rest.
Prediction: Michael Elgin beats his long time rival, two falls to one.