Flip Gordon ROH
Flip Gordon will challenge for the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships at Ring of Honor Final Battle 2017. RING OF HONOR/Cory Tatum

The story of Flip Gordon’s young wrestling career isn’t one that’s very similar to that of other established names in the industry. Just three years after he began his training, Gordon is preparing to have a title match with arguably the biggest names on the independent wrestling scene at one of the year’s marquee events.

Gordon, who turned 26 years old Tuesday, will team up with Dragon Lee and Titan of CMLL at Ring of Honor’s Final Battle 2017 Friday night from the Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The trio will challenge Adam Page and The Young Bucks for their ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships.

“This year’s been crazy,” Gordon told International Business Times. “If you would’ve told me at the beginning of the year that I’d do everything I’ve done, I would’ve thought you were insane. I had a feeling it was gonna be a big year for me, but I had no idea it was gonna be this big.”

It’s only been about two and a half years since Gordon made his wrestling debut. He’s been an active member of the National Guard since 2012, serving two dates a month until his contract with the Army expires in May. Gordon reached his goal of signing with a company 24 months after his first match, officially joining ROH in the spring.

Accomplishing this much this quickly, however, is more than he could’ve ever expected. In addition to already competing for a title in ROH, Gordon has had matches with some of the top performers in wrestling.

“Two and a half years into my career and I’ve shared the ring with absolute legends. It just blows my mind to even think about sometimes,” Gordon told IBT.

“It’s so cool to share a ring with them, especially somebody like Bully Ray or Cody, who I did grow up watching on TV. So to share the ring with them and just learn from them, even in the back, is just so cool. They’re so knowledgeable. Whenever I have questions I always try to reach out, because I want to learn as much as I can about this business because I absolutely love what I do and I want to be one of the absolute best. And I’m not going to get there unless I learn as much as I can.”

There’s no shortage of big names on the card for Final Battle, which fans can watch Friday at 9 p.m. EST on Pay-Per-View, the Fite.TV app or ROHWrestling.com. ROH World Champion Cody defends his title against Dalton Castle in the main event. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Marty Scurll faces Jay Lethal. Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer will team up against The Briscoes in a street fight.

Don’t be surprised if the six-man title match steals the show. Gordon will bring his high-flying style to the match that makes him one of the most exciting performers in ROH.

“As a kid growing up, I had taught myself how to do flips, and then in college I did a little bit of gymnastics. I didn’t really think too much of it at the time. I knew it would help me, but I didn’t know how much. Then when I started wrestling, people were blown away by the things I could do,” Gordon said, admitting that his athletic abilities don’t even compare to other gymnasts he knows.

“I just kind of used that as momentum. Let’s just do the best things that I can do that are 100 percent controlled. I don’t have to do the crazy stuff, just the ones that look the best, and that’s what’s gonna help me stand out. And I think that has helped me stand out because when I’m in the air you can tell that I’m in full control of my body at all times.”

Of course, in-ring ability is just one aspect of being a successful wrestler. Ring of Honor prides itself on showcasing the world’s best wrestling, but the company’s top stars also have the biggest personalities on the roster.

Just look at Dalton Castle, who could end Friday's PPV by winning the ROH World Championship. His one-of-a-kind persona and infectious charisma have made him a fan-favorite. The same goes for various members of Bullet Club, who are as entertaining on the mic as they are inside the squared circle.

A big part of Gordon’s ascension in Ring of Honor has been the development of his character, which he’s been able to showcase on “Being The Elite,” The Young Bucks’ YouTube series. The weekly episodes routinely generate well over 100,000 views, introducing Gordon to an entirely new audience.

“I go places all the time where I’ll do the meet and greets before the show and people will be like, ‘Flip Gordon! Oh my God, it’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve never seen you wrestle before. This is my first time, but I see you on “Being The Elite” so I’m very excited to see you tonight.’ People know who I am before they even see me wrestle. People know who I am without even watching Ring of Honor and just from "Being the Elite,” which is insane. It’s really helped me get my name out there to over 100,000 people every episode I’m on,” Gordon said.

“It gave me a platform to show who I am. Because on Ring of Honor you only get, what, 10 minutes to have a match? It’s kind of hard to get all of your character in. “Being The Elite” has helped me, not only come up with more of a character but to kind of showcase who I am and who my character is. People connect with me now because they kind of understand who I am as a person and a character.”

What’s next for Flip Gordon as the calendar turns to 2018? He says his main goal for next year is competing in New Japan Pro-Wrestling by the third anniversary of his first-ever match in May.

“Everybody thinks that everyone wants to go to WWE. That’s not the thing. Initially, when I got into professional wrestling, WWE was all I knew. Growing up, that’s where I wanted to go. But now that I know the wrestling business, I’ve fallen in love with the process of the business and what you can do. I don’t even know if I wanna go there (WWE) anymore. I’m having so much fun. I’m already living my dream. I travel the world and do what I love. I just want to keep getting better and keep learning from all the veterans in the business.

“If I can do what I love and make my own schedule on my own time and do what I want, why wouldn’t I keep that?”