Jonathan Gresham has made a name for himself around the world as one of the best technical grapplers in wrestling, plying in his trade in Japan and the United States.
Ahead of the Ring of Honor television tapings in Baltimore, Maryland we got a chance to sit down and chat about his career, his signing with Ring of Honor and his goals for the future.
Recent big news and congratulations your way as you just signed with Ring of Honor. You’ve worked for the promotion here and there performing on different shows but what does it mean to be with the company consistently going forward?
Jonathan Gresham: First and foremost it means that my hard work has paid off. It’s a different stage and I’m going to have to step my game up. I’m very excited to be with Ring of Honor.
Previously you’ve spent some time in companies like CZW, even winning the title there. What are some differences performing in front of a crowd like that as opposed to a Ring of Honor crowd?
JG: I think one of the differences is that that the crowd is more open to different styles than CZW crowds. I don’t want to say close minded but those fans are more into the high intense bumps and hardcore style as opposed to what I like to do in the ring.
You’ve formed a partnership with The Motor City Machine Guns and Jay White as Search & Destroy. Is that something you’ll be continuing going forward or will you focused on singles’ work?
JG: I’m always concerned about my singles but for now what Shelley and Sabin are trying to do against the Bullet Club I definitely want to be part of that and restore honor and respect to ring of honor.
You’ve been around a while but for those who are just hearing about you, how did you get your start in the business?
JG: I got my start in Atlanta, Georgia in 2005. I trained under a wrestler of WWF and WCW fame Mr. Hughes and that’s where I got my initial training.
Does he always wear those sunglasses?
JG: Yes, I have very rarely seen him without sunglass so that’s true, yes.
Down at the ROH Atlanta television tapings you wrestled at the famed Center Stage venue, former home to WCW Saturday night. Was that a particularly rewarding experience?
JG: Yeah that was actually a long time goal of mine to wrestle at Center Stage. As a wrestler from Atlanta I think a lot of guys have that as a goal and a few years ago I announced on Facebook that it was one of mine as well. It was great to be able to scratch it off my bucket list.
What would you say are some difficulties you’ve faced thus far in your career?
JG: To be honest I hate to sound bitter about it, but it’s my reality. Constantly getting looked over because of my size. It doesn’t matter where it is but I have to continue to prove myself, my reputation never precedes me in any situations. Good things are being said about me but people just don’t want to see me for what I believe I am. I don’t think any differently in this situation with Ring of honor- I’m going to continue to prove myself.
Being on a bigger platform now- what are some goals and aspirations you have for your career?
JG: For the most I want to show that just because I’m smaller I can’t be taken seriously. That’s the first thing I want to do is show the world and help smaller guys like myself realize smaller guys like myself can be successful in the business without being stuck in that bubble that you have to be a high-flyer and that you have to jump everywhere. You can be different-you can tell stories-do whatever it is you want to do. You don’t need to be classified a certain way because that’s what it expected of you.
Who were some inspirations you had while training as you grew up?
JG: So many and they’ve changed throughout the years. Starting out I’ve got to admit I was a huge mark for Rey Mysterio and The Hardy Boyz of course. Believe it or not I wasn’t into indy wrestling when I started so I kinda skipped it and jumped to Japanese wrestling. So I was looking more at guys like Hayabusa. My inspirations ended coming from guys like Lo-Ki and from watching tapes I found Alex Shelley’s work and early on he was a big influence. A lot of the guys that I’ve got to wrestle was my influence Ikuto Hidaka in Zero, a mutual friend of myself and Alex Shelley.
Listen to the interview below (The Gresham interview starts at the 52:20 min mark):
Rich Laconi is a writer whose specialty lies in professional wrestling. Aside from his work being found regularly at PWPonderings.com, LastWordOnProwresting.com and ROHWorld.com, you can follow him on Twitter and listen to him on RunningWildpodcast.com.