Now at a point in his career where he could work wherever he wants, Jonathan Gresham remains loyal to the company that has given him so much.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, the Ring of Honor Pure Champion explained his decision to renew his contract with the promotion, stating that he can't see himself leaving knowing that the company has the potential to be bigger than it's ever been before.
"Ring of Honor has given me so much, the company itself," Gresham began by saying. "I would have been in a really bad place in my life if I didn’t become obsessed with Ring of Honor. So, I have no loyalties to any particular person in the company, but I want to see Ring of Honor in a certain place. I can’t see myself leaving. I think Ring of Honor can be bigger than it's ever been. I really want to be a part of that and the only way for me to do that is to stay."
In April 2019, Gresham's contract with Ring of Honor expired, though he continued to work for the company. The following month, he went to Japan for a few weeks and worked New Japan Pro Wrestling's Best of the Super Juniors tournament, although he would eventually re-sign with ROH in June.
Gresham admits that going overseas without a contract was nerve-wracking, reiterating his longtime desire to be a member of the ROH roster. In February 2021, Gresham re-upped with ROH yet again, noting how something new is always presenting itself and that he would eventually like to, someday, be agenting matches for the next generation of stars.
"To be honest, I was kind of nervous because I can’t visualize myself anywhere else. I’ve been fixated on being in Ring of Honor. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, man. If I could just get to Ring of Honor,’ and then I got to Ring of Honor and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m here. I’m tagging with Shelley, I’m tagging with Sabin. This is awesome.’ I was like, ‘I am content.’ Then after a while, it was like, ‘Alright, I wonder what else I can do.’ He was just like, ‘Don’t worry. Keep grinding.’ Put my nose back down. Kept grinding. Next thing you know, I was wrestling Lethal. I was like, ‘Wow.’ That’s when I looked up, looked around at the cameras, looked back down. Boom, now I’m tagging with Lethal. Every time I look up something new was happening and now I look up and it’s like, ‘Wow. I never thought any of this.’ So, I just want to keep putting my nose back down and grinding until I look up one day and Ring of Honor is on national television and I am a part of the rise of that. I want to look back down and hopefully, when I look back up I’m watching new guys do the same thing on television, I’m agenting their matches for Ring of Honor. That’s the goal," he shared.
Before looking too far ahead, Gresham looked back at his 2011 Ring of Honor debut against Kyle O'Reilly and how the feedback he received, or lack thereof, motivated him to continue plying his trade, travelling around the world, and doing everything in his power to make himself undeniable.
"Yeah, man. To be honest, after that match with O’Reilly, I remember—you know when somebody’s ready to bring you back, you know?—after the match, I thought, ‘Oh, man I can’t wait to hear all these guys have to say.’ It was like, ‘Oh, good job. We’ll be in contact.’ When I heard that I was like, ‘I’m not ready," Gresham shared. "What do I have to do to become ready?’ So, I thought about everything. All my favorite wrestlers. What did they do? They travelled the world. At that time I was already travelling, but they travelled the world extensively and they worked on their craft. So, I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’ I got here, I didn’t shit the bed, so I need to go back on the road.’
So, that’s when I took it upon myself to go, ‘Alright, I’m going to go live in Europe.’ So, I went to go live in Europe for about a year and a half, two years. From there I started going more so to Germany. I was already going to Germany. I started going to Germany more. I started travelling to other parts of Europe. All over England and the UK. Then I started going to Taiwan and Japan. Just going everywhere, man. I didn’t really think about anything else other than getting better, getting better, getting better. So, it just lit a fire up under me to better myself. The more places I went, the more people I worked with. That’s when I met Marty for the first time. Wrestled Zack Sabre a couple times at small shows. We wrestled for thirty minutes and nobody ever saw it. So, it just lit a fire up underneath me to get better."
It wasn't until 2017 that Ring of Honor signed Gresham to a contract. Now a former wrestler of the year (2020), Foundation leader, and Pure Champion, Gresham has made himself one of the centrepieces of the promotion he fought so hard to make it to.
Gresham is scheduled to compete on both nights one and two of Ring of Honor's Glory by Honor. On Friday, August 20th he will defend his Pure Championship against Rhett Titus. The very next night he will team up with his fellow Foundation members (Jay Lethal, Tracy Williams, & Rhett Titus) to take on Violence Unlimited (Brody King, Tony Deppen, Chris Dickinson, & Homicide).