by :
Michael Elgin
The things I'm about to write, you have probably read before.  Actually I can tell you, you have read it many times before.  The only reason you have read it before is because the people who wrote it made something of themselves.  They beat the odds and stood tall to tell their story.
     The only thing I can ever remember wanting to be was a Pro Wrestler.  It's what I lived for.  It captivated me unlike anything ever had. But, growing up I was always told I couldn't do it or people said, "Sure, but what else do you want to do?". I was the fat kid who dreamed of greatness, I had the desire but not the tools. At the age of 13 I stepped into high school at 315 lbs and had a lot of adversities to overcome. When you're that obese, one of the biggest let downs at that age and time in your life can be girls.  But, that isn't what drove me. I knew I wanted to wrestle, but at that weight, I couldn't be the wrestler I wanted to be.  That year was the year that changed my life.  I began to diet.  I woke up every morning at 5am to hit the gym before class began. Ten months later heading into the summer of 2001, I was 175 lbs and ready to start my path.
     That summer I joined a wrestling school and everything started to run its course. I admit it wasn't the best school, but at the age of 14 I didn't care.  I was in a wrestling ring learning the basics of something I loved. Over the next year and a half I knew I needed to get bigger, knew I was too short and not built enough to live my dreams.  I wanted to show everyone they were wrong. One and a half years later, weighing 225lbs (not all good weight), I found a proper school, Squared Circle Training. My summer job in construction was simply to afford proper training. Stepping into that school was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I began to actually understand wrestling and was itching to get my start. At this time, I was interested in a new promotion.  One that began to mold my style and garnered my undivided attention, Ring of Honor. My first road trip at the age of 16 in November of 2003 is one I will always remember.  I drove to Detroit Michigan with 3 friends, a drive that really set the tone for my career. I stated on that drive that one day I would wrestle for ROH and I would be the ROH World Champion.
     It's now 2013, almost 10 years later and I find myself 2 wins away from being ROH World Champion. In 10 years I have had my ups and downs including injuries, weight issues and frustration of not being at a place I want to be. Coming back from knee surgery that put me out of action for 5 months, I was almost 300 lbs again and not in the shape I envisioned.  Now, being so close really makes a person think back on everything. It makes me remember when I was one of the outcasts from my training school, I wasn't the one that anyone thought would make it. The top 3 students that were given all the attention don't even wrestle anymore.  From my class, only 3 of us are even still active and 1 is a referee.  Maybe I wasn't supposed to be here, But I am. It's all these things that have made me the man I am.  Hearing all the "you can't do that" and "you'll never be" that drives me.
     Over the years there have been a lot of changes.  I've seen people come and go and some things have lost meaning, but the ROH World Title is not one of those things. The only thing that has changed, is that it's harder to become ROH World Champion and even more difficult to remain the champion. The ROH World Title is the standard of Professional Wrestling.  The man who wears that title around his waist can stand tall and say he is the best in the world with confidence. To me, becoming the ROH World Champion is proof that hard work pays off.  It's a statement.  It says hey, remember me.  I was right and you were wrong. I don't know what is going to happen September 20th, but I do know that my blood, my sweat and my tears have been shed.  I have worked my ass off to be here. My path saw me defeat 2 very accomplished men, Paul London and Karl Anderson.  Now 2 more stand in my way. Kevin you beat me, but this path has been about vengance, it's been about revenge.  I hope your prepared because I know I am. Ciampa and Cole, best of luck to both of you.  Know the man that will stand in front of you in the finals would rather die than be forgotten and being ROH World Champion means you will always be remembered!