At 5-11 and 245 pounds, Michael Elgin is a plenty big fish. But don’t dare call Impact Wrestling a “small pond.”
After successful runs in Ring of Honor Wrestling, where he wore the heavyweight championship, and in New Japan Pro Wrestling — the second-biggest wrestling company in the world, behind only WWE — Elgin surprised fans in April by showing up in Impact.
Although Impact has gone through a rebuilding phase in recent years, the Ontario, Canada native believes the company formerly known as "Total Nonstop Action" still very much is the big leagues of pro wrestling. New York fans will get to see for themselves when the company returns to the Melrose Ballroom in Long Island City for back-to-back television tapings Thursday and Friday night.
“If anybody looks at it and says, ‘Big fish in a small pond,' they really don’t know,” Elgin, 32, said. “I think if you look at the roster at Impact, their top guys are top guys anywhere in the world. You look at Brian Cage, Johnny Impact, Rich Swann. They’re all such great talents. And, not in an egotistical way, but with my talent in the ring, I think I’ve proved I can hang with anybody.”
Elgin said a key factor in his decision to join Impact was its concentration on “athleticism-based pro wrestling” and the value the company puts on its championships.
“I feel like sometimes people who are running wrestling shows try to make it about everything but the wrestling. I’m not a huge fan of that,” said Elgin, who began training when he was 14. “Pro wrestling is what I love and a pro wrestler is what I always wanted to be. I didn’t want to be a ‘sports entertainer.’”
Another motivation for Elgin’s jump to Impact was the opportunity to be closer to his young son. Working in Japan for most of the last four years, Elgin acknowledged he “missed a lot.”
“It obviously sucked — the fact that I missed two out of his first three birthdays. I missed his first steps. I missed his first word. That’s always going to be hard for me,” Elgin said. “But I looked at it as, even though I was gone, I was doing something that I loved, and something that would help me provide for him, so he wouldn’t have to go without.”