The former Ring of Honor World Champion Jonathan Gresham is seeking to be immediately released from his AEW/ROH contract, according to a new report from “Fightful.” It’s explained that Gresham asked for his release Saturday ahead of the ROH Death Before Dishonor pay-per-view and his ROH World Title defense against Claudio Castagnoli — a bout he ultimately lost.
The report cites “a lack of communication between the company and Gresham leading up to the weekend,” inspiring the technical wrestling specialist to feel “disrespected.” The lack of time given to the World Title match during last night’s show was also a noted “tipping point.”
Gresham reportedly met with Tony before the show began and got heated enough to the point that he was “cussing out” the AEW/ROH President. “Fightful” notes that several people backstage have corroborated this story after what occurred between the two. Gresham has since responded to inquiries about the ordeal and claimed he is “done with wrestling for the foreseeable future after this month.” Part of the reason Gresham came out in his regular entrance attire last night was that he was unsure if that would be his final match before hanging up the boots. Tony Khan has yet to comment, and it remains unclear if Gresham has been granted his requested release from ROH and AEW.
After a successful career in the former ROH, Gresham made his AEW in-ring debut when he competed at their Battle of the Belts II against the flamboyant Dalton Castle. Gresham managed to hold on to his ROH World Title on that occasion when he defeated Castle by submission. His first time working with Tony Khan was at the ROH SuperCard of Honor XV this past April, the first ROH show following Tony Khan’s acquisition of the company.
According to Fightful, Gresham met with Khan before the pay-per-view and was already more heated than usual regarding the direction of his booking and character, but while their dialogue had been expected to stay private, details couldn’t help but spill into the locker room as the conversation increased in volume, with even the building’s security being able to hear it. Fightful’s previous report had stated that Gresham ‘cussed out’ Khan.
Gresham reportedly had contacts within AEW in the form of QT Marshall and Sonjay Dutt had also been a contact for him from within the company. Despite that, Gresham was frustrated with the creative direction of his character — specifically, he had been against the idea of turning heel, and more broadly, he “a vision for his creative direction” that Khan did not share. Gresham had apparently been told that creative changes had to go through Khan, but he was unable to meet with Khan until just a few hours before the event on Saturday. The finish of Gresham’s match with Claudio Castagnoli, which saw him lose the ROH World Championship, is believed to have been hinted to him, but it’s unclear whether he knew before the day of the show itself. Fightful claims that the typical creative process involves talent speaking to AEW coaches, as well as Marshall, Christopher Daniels, Marshall, and Pat Buck, who then act as intermediaries between the talent and Khan. The report also notes that while Khan does try to speak directly to talent, that practice has declined “due to the changing of the world and travel in general.”
The general lack of communication within AEW is not a new complaint, as former talent like Joey Janela, Marko Stunt, and Chavo Guerrero have discussed similar issues in the past. It remains to be seen whether Gresham will have his release granted, as neither Khan nor the company have made an official comment.
Source: Wrestling Inc.