Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin from IWA Mid-South’s Out With the Old, In With the New 2009
Review by Reed Benson:
These days, Roderick Strong is considered by many to be the best wrestler in the world. How many people thought the same thing in 2009? (This is a serious question; I wasn’t really watching wrestling much that year.) Whatever the answer, he sure shows his chops (pun intended) in this match against a pre-ROH Michael Elgin.
It’s weird to me, at least, to watch a match where #BigMike is the underdog, but that’s more or less what we have here. Roddy’s got the experience, the bigger name, the blistering chops, and the stamina. Elgin’s big, strong, and has the crowd on his side (though neither wrestler plays heel), but he also has a flabbier torso than that which he sport today. That will work against him the longer the match goes.
They do the normal deal where they start with mat wrestling and transition to strikes and moves, which is when the good stuff happens. Strong’s dropkicks are nice. Elgin fails in the chop battle (obviously), but he has better luck with the forearm contest. I’m not usually a fan of guys taking turns with strikes, but these two battles worked for me. Strong doesn’t get to do many backbreakers due to Elgin’s size, and Elgin doesn’t break out many of his signatures (stalling suplex, backfist, buckle bomb, spinning powerbomb), so don’t go looking for those here. But there is an Oklahoma stampede, a bit of unintentional foreshadowing to Elgin’s role in 2015’s G1 tournament in Japan.
There are a couple of good teases. Strong can’t get Elgin up for the fireman’s carry gutbuster at first, but he hits it later. Elgin gets caught on the top rope once, but he still goes for a frog splash later. That proves to be his undoing, though, as Strong avoids it and hits the gutbuster and a sick kick for the pin.
Good work by Strong, and Elgin does well at playing the big guy who’s in over his head but doesn’t know it. I’ll recommend this one.
– Reed Benson
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