Until recently I felt fairly sure that Michael Elgin should and would be the man to defeat Kevin Steen for the ROH World championship. While I still think that would be the best direction for the company to go in I’ve become less certain that we’re going to see it happen.
A few months ago it seemed as though Elgin v Steen would be held off until ‘Final Battle’. Then a title match between the two was announced for next Saturday’s ‘Glory By Honor XI’. It’s possible ‘Unbreakable’ will take the gold there but the recent booking of the two doesn’t make it seem likely.
An Elgin versus Roderick Strong feud has been bubbling away for a while and it seems far more likely that Strong will be Elgin’s opponent at ‘Final Battle’. ‘The Messiah of the Backbreaker’ costing Elgin the championship at ‘Glory By Honor XI’ would be a good way to keep the title on Steen without weakening Elgin’s standing, and would also add to the animosity between the House of Truth members.
Jay Lethal is currently looking like the favourite to dethrone ‘Wrestling’s Worst Nightmare’. Reading reports of last night’s ‘Killer Instinct’ show it seems as though the main event was designed to set up a rematch between the two men. ‘Final Battle’ would seem the natural venue for that.
A bout between Elgin and Strong would really need to see the Canadian go over if he is to remain a prospective headliner. That would then set up a clash between ‘Unbreakable’ and the winner of Steen v Lethal. If Lethal were the champ then it would allow him to become a full-fledged heel, while if Steen were still the champion then the promotion could refer back to whatever happens between the two next Saturday and also subtly present the match as present versus future.
‘Black Machismo’ seems to be a favourite of the men in charge and it’s possible he’ll be given a reign as champion. Should he enter 2013 with the belt then I think he’ll be having a short reign, losing it to Elgin at the ’11th Anniversary Show’ or ‘Supercard of Honor VII’. A short, action-packed reign could be the best thing for both Lethal and the belt. It would stop him becoming burnt out and the fans tiring of him and allow for a number of big matches to be stuffed into a short period. Lethal could blow through Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, and Strong while also having a rematch with Steen in a matter of weeks if he were due to drop the title to Elgin soon after winning it.
Roddy is a rogue factor in all of this. It’s possible he could be booked against Steen and get a surprise victory in order to allow Elgin to defeat his lead foe for the title. Perhaps he’ll get a title match in November only for Elgin to cost him the title. Strong becoming a two time champion seems unlikely but if the goal is to ultimately elevate Elgin it could happen.
Having two main event feuds with such strong crossover potential is a good thing. It will allow ROH to present tag team and four-way matches in the build-up to Final Battle. Historically that’s a good way of building up big singles matches in ROH. That it’s unclear who’s challenging for and winning the world championship is no bad thing either.