Since the announcement of the ROH World Title Tournament, so many things have ran through my mind. It's hard to out them all in order, because of how much there is so I will try my best to clear my mind here.
I started this journey a long time ago, I can vividly remember stepping foot in a wrestling ring for the first time at the age of 14. I was so eager, I had spent the year before dieting to prepare because I was over 300lbs at 13. But the drive and determination to wrestle was so fierce inside me I would do anything to realize the dream. The summer I entered training I was down to 170lbs and found myself ready to train. I admit now I may have too young, and the school I went to wasn't a place if advise anyone to go to. Fast forward a year later and Squared Cirlce was the destination in Ontario for people who dreamed of being a professional wrestler. I moved my training there, already knowing basics was a big help and prepared me to gain real knowledge. After a few months I was ready to have a match, and at 16 it was off to the races.
I still remember calling into work and asking for time off, they said they couldn't give it to me. I was in a tough spot, I wasn't booked but had the opportunity to drive with a few guys to Detroit for a double shot. Friday morning came and I hopped in the car, called work and told them a family member had passed away and couldn't make it to work. I was promptly fired Monday after noon when I returned. Not only this, I had to deal with my mom getting very angry with me the night before I left, now I understand she was worried about her 16 year old boy driving with people she didn't know to a different country and doing something he could get hurt doing. This weekend was one of the most memorable of my life, I had been infected by the sport and there was no cure.
I was young and at the time Ontario had a commission that wouldn't let anyone under the age of 18 wrestle, so for 2 years I had to travel anywhere that would let me perform. I spent countless hours in a car going to Montreal, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois trying to get as much experience as I could. Looking back the time in the car was just as if not more valuable then being in the ring at that time. 1 statement I made during these trips still lingers inside me, I said to my best friend after working with him almost every night that one day I would be ROH World Champion. That was almost 10 years ago I made that bold statement, but now it's an accolade that sits just at my fingertips. It's almost there, it's so close and I just can't quite get my grip on it.
Today I am 26, I have spent all of my adult life Wrestling. Finally I find myself that much closer to my goal, it is what kept me going, it's what drives me, it's what fuels the fire deep inside. The ROH World Title means so much more than just being able to call yourself a champion. If your reading this you know it's history, you know it's prestige. Every Champion before me earned the right to be ROH Champion, and by doing so he showed the entire world that he was the best Wrestler walking gods green earth.
The road that led me here, was long it was tiring and had its ups and downs. I've made some right decisions and in my past just as many wrong decisions. As a young immature man, I did some very stupid things, many things I'm not proud of but we learn from our mistakes. Without these bad judgment calls I wouldn't be the man I am today. I can't take any of them back even though some of them disgust me, but I can say I stand before you a better man. I struggled with my conditioning, I came back from a knee surgery too quickly and was very obese for many years wrestling. But as I said we learn from these mistakes, doing so makes us better and prepares us for what is to come.
16 men will fight for the right to call themselves ROH Champion, 15 men want it but I need it. I need it to validate everything I've done, everything I've been through. The wrongs in my life will be eclipsed and the rights will shine through. The hours on the road, sleeping in my car or getting 7 guys in a 1 bed motel room. The hours I dedicate to training and the cars I've wrecked, all the ups and downs of my journey have come to a crossroads. It's now upto me, and I promise win lose or draw ROH and the world will witness the best Michael Elgin that had ever steeped foot in a wrestling ring.