ROH World Championship: Davey Richards (C) vs Michael Elgin (Showdown In the Sun 2012)
This week’s indy classic of the week features one of the best matches in ROH history: at Showdown in the Sun, Davey Richards defended his ROH World Championship against a relative newcomer to ROH in Michael Elgin.
The previous night, Michael Elgin signalled his intentions to capture the ROH World Championship for the first time: following Davey Richards’ successful title defence against Roderick Strong and his former partner, Eddie Edwards, Michael Elgin took advantage of Richards’ lethargy by delivering an Elgin Bomb to the champion, making a statement of intent.
It would be fair to suggest the crowd were not expecting what was to come. Davey Richards and Michael Elgin arrived to an apathetic reaction from the crowd. Perhaps this was more to do with ROH fans’ burgeoning disillusionment with Davey Richards as the champion: either way, what followed both confirmed Davey Richards’ credentials as champion as well as marking the arrival of Michael Elgin.
Elgin, accompanied by the ever nefarious Truth Martini, refused to adhere to the code of honor as the match got under way. Immediately, Richards attempted to ground the bigger opponent with a series of kicks that made little to no impression on Elgin. After several more kicks, Richards eventually succeeded in sending Elgin to the outside before connecting with a tope suicida. An attempted ddt to the floor was reversed by Elgin with a thunderous lariat before rolling Richards back into the ring.
Elgin held a vertical suplex for thirty seconds before sending Richards on a collision course with the mat. Kobashi style, Elgin unloaded a series of chops before delivering a back breaker. An attempted saito suplex was blocked by Richards as he desperately clung to the rope: multiple forearms allowed Elgin to land a northern light suplex before continuing work on the lower back of the champion. Elgin delivered a second saito suplex but Richards landed on his feet: Richards took advantage with an enziguri followed by an exploder suplex.
Richards, having gained control, delivered several knees before lugging Elgin to the top rope to deliver a superplex but Elgin immediately rose to his feet. A variety of kicks didn’t shift Elgin before an enziguri knocked Elgin off balance. Richards followed up with a german suplex but Elgin returned to his feet to deliver a fisherman suplex that sent Richards to the outside. Following a powerbomb into the barricade, Elgin landed a corkscrew senton from the top rope in the ring.
An attempted Elgin Bomb was blocked as Richards applied a hanging kimura before delivering a dragon suplex from the top rope before transitioning into an ankle lock! After reaching the ropes, Richards delivered a series of muay thai kicks as Elgin couldn’t defend himself. Elgin found respite in the corner before slapping the champion in the face. Worse for wear, Elgin received several Kawada kicks to the chin before landing a series of knees to Richards’ chin. Elgin emerged on top of the striking battle to deliver a bridging german followed by a superkick before applying the crossface!
As a this is awesome chant reverberated around the arena, Richards reached the ropes before delivering a dragon screw leg whip. Richards landed a double foot stomp before attempting a kick only to be caught by Elgin. Following several forearm strikes, Elgin landed an inverted brainbuster for a near fall before connecting with a vicious buckle bomb: Elgin attempted the Elgin Bomb once again but it was again reversed by Richards.
This time, Richards rolled through before applying the ankle lock: Elgin rolled through before locking in the cross face only for Richards to roll through into a roll up! A jumping knee finally allowed Elgin to land the Elgin Bomb as the fans sensed the crowning of a new champion before Richards kicked out at the last available opportunity. Elgin, unrelenting, applied the cross face as Richards considered tapping before rolling though to apply another ankle lock!
Richards, devoid of energy and barely able to stand, received a kick to the head. Elgin, also struggling to stand, delivered several forearms before Richards laid him out with a roundhouse kick followed by a shining wizard: Elgin kicked out at one! Richard delivered several more kicks to the head only for Elgin to kick out at two. Recomposing himself, Richards landed a KO kick to Elgin to secure the victory and retain the ROH World Championship.
Chants of Elgin echoed around the arena post-match: this was Elgin’s arrival. The crowd greeted every forearm, every kick, every power move with ooohs and aaaahs of wonder. Perhaps Elgin should have won this match, but then we would have been deprived of the Kevin Steen/ Davey Richards rivalry that proceeded this. Despite many people’s disillusionment with Davey Richards being ROH Champion, few could argue that he didn’t deliver some great matches during his run as champion with this being the best of them. At Showdown in the Sun, he certainly won me over.
This match encapsulates what ROH is all about and goes down as, in my opinion, one of the top five ROH matches of all time, possibly even top three.
After dropping the title to Kevin Steen, Davey Richards wasn’t around ROH much longer. He and fellow American Wolf, Eddie Edwards, moved on to TNA where they have had considerable success as five time tag team champions. Michael Elgin won his first ROH Title a couple of years later, defeating Adam Cole before fulfilling a lifelong dream to wrestle in NJPW earlier this year.
That’s it for this week’s classic indy match of the week. Next week, we will be back with another classic match.