It's been about six months since Michael Elgin made his Impact debut and attacked his former tag partner Brian Cage. But now Elgin is engaged in a feud with Naomichi Marufuji of Pro Wrestling Noah and the two will square off at Bound For Glory.
Elgin talked about that match and how much Japanese promotions have influenced him when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"I feel great for a magnitude of reasons. I feel like I'm at the top of my game especially with Impact whether it be on PPV or TV. Then, I get to wrestle someone I very much look up to and consider a legend of wrestling in Marufuji," said Elgin.
He then talked about how his history with Marufuji goes back to before he even started wrestling because he always loved Japanese wrestling. Elgin grew up in Canada and Japanese wrestling was so different than everything he saw because it looked like a fight.
"When I started my career was when the Japanese talent was coming back to the US. Most often it was Marufuji or KENTA and I was a Marufuji fan. I just liked his style and matches better and he was more so my style," stated Elgin. "My goal for years was to go to Pro Wrestling NOAH and I took part in a Harley Race training camp with an opportunity to go to NOAH. Marufuji was one of their talents I looked up to and wanted to wrestle.
"When I was a part of ROH in 2013, I was supposed to wrestle Marufuji in Toronto but he got hurt and we never got to have that match. Ever since I've been dying to get in the ring with him…now in 2019, Impact Wrestling in Chicago, I get to have a match."
When asked what fans can expect from their match, Elgin set expectations as high as they could possibly be.
"This is gonna sound arrogant and cocky and I'm sorry for that, but to me what they're gonna see is the best match they've seen in 2019," said Elgin.
Prior to joining Impact, Elgin wrestled in Japan for nearly four years as a part of New Japan Pro Wrestling. He talked about that experience and what he learned from working over there.
"I definitely feel I became a better performer in the four and a half years I was in Japan. A big part of that is that they treat it like a sport. That's what I love about wrestling – I love the athleticism and the presentation – and I think just being over there helped me. A lot of the qualities I try to instill in myself and the thought processes I had, going over there they installed that those thought processes were correct," stated who added that in North America he was told he was playing a Japanese wrestler but that's just the style he liked.
"The mentality of the Japanese wrestlers in treating it like a sport and treating yourself like a pro athlete is what really helped me grow."
With so many other wrestling promotions on the scene, Impact needs to do something to stand out from the others and Elgin revealed what he thinks makes Impact different.
"I really think Impact has done a great job focusing on the athleticism in the sport of pro wrestling. That's one of the reasons I wanted to join the company as when I was leaving Japan, I already knew that at the end of 2018 that I wanted to get out of my contract with New Japan. I was looking around to see where I wanted to go and I looked at a lot of TV products. Impact really stood out because one thing that I love about pro wrestling, and I think what brought me to Japan, is that everybody fought for the championship. If you were wrestling at the bottom or top of the card, the main goal was to win so you could be put into the picture to wrestle for the championship," said Elgin.
"I think Impact has done a great job of that and I'm really happy to be on the boat for them because they do focus on the athleticism and the wins matter… To me that's super important to present to pro wrestling fans and I think there's a plethora of fans dying for that. I think that's why there's so many alternatives out now and people are supporting those alternatives."
Elgin takes on Naomichi Marufuji this Sunday as part of Impact Wrestling's Bound For Glory card in Chicago, IL. Impact Wrestling begins airing this coming Tuesday on AXS TV at 8/7c. For more information please visit ImpactWrestling.com. Elgin's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of Wednesday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. In it Elgin discusses his history with Naomichi Marufuji ahead of their Bound For Glory match, when Impact talent was told about move to AXS TV, Steve Harvey's involvement in the deal, Kylie Rae working Impact's "All Glory" event, what top indie talent he's keeping an eye on at "All Glory" and more.