"The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff VS "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin
Ivan Koloff. The man that dethroned Bruno Sammartino from the longest world title reign in the history of planet Earth. After almost eight fucking years as champion, THIS guy is the one who would finally pin Bruno's shoulders to the mat.
And I'm still picking Michael Elgin to win.
It's not even because Koloff's reign was a mere 21 days. Michael Elgin is an absolute bear in a way Koloff could never even dream of. This guy might even be better than Samoa Joe. He's on that Daniel Bryan/CM Punk/Davey Richards/AJ Styles/Eddie Edwards level of talent, just waiting to break through, but he's got a body like a fucking barrel and it's 100 percent muscle. If ROH has any brains, they'll put the belt on him before 2015. And if it was him back then, he'd be the guy to get revenge for Bruno instead of Pedro Morales. (Though not without a fight.)
Jake "The Milkman" Milliman VS Genki Horiguchi
Jake Milliman may have been the guy who won the last match in AWA history (a battle royal), but it was the match before that, a raw turkey on a pole match in a sound studio with no audience because they couldn't draw one, that was his most famous victory. That's not a knock on the guy, it's just a frickin' weird distinction. Anyway, Genki Horiguchi is one half of one of the best fucking tag teams I've ever seen in my life, so I think he goes over. Like literally over Milliman's head doing some crazy shit you've never seen before.
"Flyboy" Rocco Rock VS Mike Bennett
This might sound like a no-brainer, but I'm bucking convention. Rocco Rock was one half of Public Enemy, who were a good tag team, and the dude has a lot more experience behind him than Bennett, but this Bennett kid has something going on in that there ROH deal. He's already put together some good matches with Lance Storm, Steve Corino, Jay Lethal and Jerry Lynn, and from what I've seen, I think the dude will go far. I give him the duke.
Christian VS Tommaso Ciampa
Tommaso Ciampa is another ROH blue chipper (in fact, is their TV Champion). He's got that Antonio Cesarro kind of vibe, but with a patch of unstable heel in his makeup. I think if he and Christian squared off it would be simply amazeballs. In the end though, Christian would be able to tame the wild Sicilian (really, he's from Boston, but Shhhh; Kayfabe). Laugh if you want, but Christian's put together a hell of a career, and can still go. (Dude is a Grand Slam Champion in WWE, and has four World Titles on his resume. In fact, he's held every belt besides the Women's Title WWE has had to offer since he's debuted there.)
Stan Hansen VS Lex Luger
Strictly because Luger won their feud in WCW in 1990, I'm going with Lex.
Greg Gagne VS Boris Zukhov
I don't remember Boris Zukhov winning a match, frankly. I know he must have, but really all he did was be a 350lb. bad luck charm for Nikolai Volkoff. Greg Gagne at least had some skills. And probably beat Zukhov in AWA at some point, so I go with him.
Shawn Stasiak (aka Meat) VS Dino Bravo
The Canadian Strongman would muscle this slab into submission. Bravo in six.
Brad Rheingans VS Giant Gonzales
Brad Rheingans is an incredible, legit wrestler. Giant Gonzales couldn't really work very well. But he was a legit 7'7". (Look at him standing outside of a ring and see the eight foot tall ring posts next to him. Yeah. Pretty close, right?) I just don't see Rheingans shooting his way out of this one. (And if he tries, Earl is the ref; #jussayin'.)
Michael Elgin defeats Ivan Koloff
Genki Horiguchi defeats Jake Milliman
Michael Bennett defeats Rocco Rock
Christian defeats Tommaso Ciampa
Lex Luger defeats Stan Hansen
Greg Gagne defeats Boris Zukhov
Dino Bravo defeats Shawn Stasiak
Giant Gonzales defeats Brad Rheingans
Come on back for bracket XLIV!