Jonathan Gresham On ROH’s Indie Influence, The Return Of The Pure Championship
Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard
Speaking with Wrestling Inc. on the occasion of ROH’s return to the airwaves, current Ring of Honor stalwart Jonathan Gresham discussed the company’s influence on the current atmosphere of wrestling and the return of the Pure Championship to the promotion.
Ring of Honor has a long and storied history full of men who would go on to achieve even greater heights in other promotions. For Gresham, that history proves that ROH was ahead of the curve.
I look back at the guys and if you really study the matches of like [Samoa] Joe and [Bryan] Danielson and all the early guys in Ring of Honor, they were kind of borrowing The King’s Road mentality of professional wrestling that was popular.
They would build with small stories of chain wrestling and feeling out each other and using signature moves first and then using their big moves and then the moves that nobody is supposed to kick out of, I call those ‘the burning moves’, kind of like Kobashi’s f–king Burning Hammer. They borrowed it from them.
This style of wrestling has become very popular among performers, to the point where Jonathan feels that it’s time for wrestlers to try their hand at changing things up.
…If you really look at wrestling as a whole, everyone is wrestling the Will Ospreay, The Young Bucks kind of style of wrestling. If you’re not going to be the front-runners in that particular style, then why don’t you hop in another lane? I try to tell all the younger guys that I work with like try to emulate guys like Necro Butcher. If you think about that style of wrestling, can you name five guys that are doing that style right now. Necro Butcher would just come out and fight people. You can’t really name five guys that do that right now.
The vintage luchador style, the Maestro way, Negro Navarro, there’s no guys, besides those guys, that are doing that style of wrestling right now, presenting it that way. It’s really important to differentiate yourself so fans can enjoy, on one show, different styles of wrestling. I think that’s really important.
Gresham also says that extends to promotions, with many trying to emulate top companies like WWE instead of establishing their own image. That’s why the ROH Pure Championship is so important to his promotion’s rebirth.
To me, the Pure Title and the division is something that nobody else in the industry can try to replicate because it belongs to Ring of Honor so that’s kind of a part of our big identity. If you want to see the best technical style wrestling, you have to come to Ring of Honor. So I made it my mission, like kayfabe and my character to somehow push to bring pure wrestling back. I would talk to anybody about it at any moment. I would always talk about it to management, to the referees [and] to fans even. I wanted them to believe in this because it’s something I truly believe in.
Another man riding the wave of the Pure Championship’s return is Matt Sydal, who recently told WrestleZone that he hopes to “Stay ’At The Crest’ Of The Wrestling Wave.” With such talent gathering around the tournament, it’s sure to be a continued spectacle in the months to come.