Sometimes, heroes come from unlikely places.
ROH’s Showdown in the Sun looked to be a complete disaster for the promotion. Disappointment in the production was at an all-time high (read De-Synched in the Sun) and even the results were boring and predictable. It also soon came creeping out for ROH fans that the reason we haven’t seen much of El Generico (who had the best match of night one with Kevin Steen) was because he didn’t actually have a contract with Sinclair/ROH. This is also a likely reason that he came out with a big aught by the time the weekend was through.
Night Two was supposed to make things right. Boy did it not seem that way. A brownout caused the feed to completely drop. GoFightLive promised to have the feed fixed for both nights (it turned out for most of Sunday, you couldn’t watch the last match from night one. It would just cut out) and suddenly, something actually out of their control happened. No room for sympathy. Before the sound was simply un-synched and now we couldn’t watch two full matches (O’Reilly vs. Cole, All Night Express vs. Young Bucks). To say the emails for a refund were flooding in again is an understatement.
Night one caused predictable results. Davey Richards wins again. On a weekend people hoped that ROH made a major statement or shock that would awaken people to the product, it didn’t seem to happen. Truth Martini’s muscle in Mike Elgin, an Ontario indie veteran, getting a title shot just seemed underwhelming with Kevin Steen looming in the shadows for a feud with Davey Richards. They had also been playing up the concept of Elgin turning on the House of Truth. Not exactly the makings of what one would call a must see main event.
But it was.
Davey Richards vs. Michael Elgin is the current leader by miles for the match of the year. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer gave it five stars, a rarity in professional wrestling. This was an all-out war fought in the ring that was a sight for the ages and made Elgin from just an Ontario wrestling star to a future headliner in the third biggest wrestling promotion in North America. The pace was fast. The excitement a fever pitch. Both men went hard and didn’t stop. Elgin seemed like an absolute machine. At 5’11”, 249lbs (billed) Elgin reminds of Rhino, just a brute titan in a smaller man’s body. What Elgin lacks in natural height he makes up in wrestling ability in every category. He’s agile, incredibly strong, intense and believable. It’s a term not much used but it fits the bill for the eight year veteran only in his mid-twenties. Michael Elgin is dynamite.
Richards also deserves credit for delivering one of his best performances since Best in the World. Much of what makes Richards boring in ROH as the top star is the formula of his matches. Richards tends to take a beating at the start but by the end it’s a string of dominant kicks to win. While this match finished similar, it’s what happened before the real finish that was important. Richards looked exposed. Elgin wasn’t Edwards or Strong. He could take a kick and shrug it off. It lead to fantastic reactions by Richards and took the match to another level. Davey Richards proved on Saturday why he is the ROH Heavyweight Champion. It just would have been nice if he didn’t do his best to flush it all away with another boring, self-serving soliloquy to end the show (he did put Elgin over in it, but he looked completely unscathed after one of the most brutal matches of his career. Stop the speeches. Offering to shake his hand would have told the story). However, if this match is the good will that repairs ROH’s reputation, it won’t be Richards who saved ROH. It’s Elgin.
Ring of Honor has a ton of bridge rebuilding to do for fans who attempted to watch this live on iPPV. GoFightLive even has more because they were so absolutely stupid about it all I don’t blame people for crossing them off their viewing list entirely (I asked for a partial refund just for day one. They gave me a full refund and now I cannot view a replay of the show. Not what I asked, Keith Evans). However, ROH still proved on the weekend that on any given night, they can give you the best match in North America. Purchase this one when it comes to DVD folks. You likely have the $19.99 anyway after the refund.
Photos courtesy of Canoe SLAM! Sports Wrestling.