Jonathan Gresham may not be the most widely known name in pro wrestling, but he is definitely one that should be
one to keep an eye out for in the future. Gresham has competed all over the world from Japan, Hong Kong, Chikara (as Hieracon), CZW, Booker T’s PWA in Texas, Fight Club: PRO in the UK, as well as numerous other promotions.
Gresham, who is 24 years old, recently reached an all time career achievement as he won ZERO1’s Tenakichi Junior Tournament. Not only making him the second youngest wrestler to win the tournament (first being Yoshihito Sasaki at 23), but the first non-Japanese native to do so. Gresham has been noted by quite a few people to be a very sound wrestler who can work the mat when he needs and take the soar through the air at any given opportunity.
I hope with this interview that fans all around the world can gain a bit more knowledge of this talented wrestler and hopefully leads you to follow and support him in his journey.
(1) Where and when did you get your start in pro wrestling?
I started training in Atlanta Ga around the age of 16. I started at a school called WWA4 in Atlanta Ga.
(2) Who did you look up to as in ring idols? Favorite guys to see in the ring?
Before I really got into wrestling, Bam Bam Bigelow is who got me hooked onto the sport. At that age I just tuned in to watch him to be honest. After, I started to watch a bit more, and started to look up to guys like Dean Malenko, Sean Waltman and Rey Mysterio.
(3) Do you have any favorite moments competing around the world? What would be the ideal match for someone to watch to see what you are all about in the ring?
Ah, yes, I have a few. Most won’t make it to the internet or DVD I don’t think, so viewing it might not be possible. But This year alone I have a few favorites. I was able to compete against “Mr. Smooth” Johnny Kidd in Swindon UK. This is one of my favorite matches because It was something I never thought would happen. Its a match I would of course wanted to have, but the possibility of it actually being booked never really hit me as reality. A last second tag match I was apart of for SWE UK which saw myself tag with a MK Mckinnan VS the Leaders, Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. Is a match I think many would enjoy, while also introducing you to Mckinnan, a need to know UK talent.
(4) I read that your first match was against WWE’s Heath Slater? As well as you used to compete for Booker T promotion in Texas? Do you have a dream of one day reaching the big stage of the WWE?
Yes, my first ever match was against Heath Slater. It took place in a small town in west Georgia. I started with Booker T’s PWA promotion in 2008, I spent a good bit of time working with him and the promotion. WWE, to be honest. After getting into the business I decided I wanted to wrestle in Japan for a career. But, if the opportunity presents it’s self to work with WWE I’m sure I’d do it.
(5) How did you get connected with Ikuto Hidaka and ZERO1?
It was just one of those things that happen after time I guess. Their is no cool or funny story to go along with how I connected with Zero 1, I wish it was. But I have always showed interest in wrestling in Japan, so I am guessing my long time interest helped me make that connection.
(6) Winning the ZERO1 Tenkaichi tournament is a pretty big achievement, let alone being the first foreign talent to win the tournament. What are your thoughts with participating in the tournament and what plans do you have with ZERO1 moving forward?
Taking a spot in this years Tenkaichi meant a lot to me. I have watched this tournament unfold many times in the past thanks to online media sites. It was a dream come true for me. Competing in Japan was/is my goal. To win such a prestigious tournament is still mind blowing for me. To get the opportunity wrestle against the likes of Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Ikuto Hidaka was such an honor and I learned a lot from these bouts. My future plans moving forward with Zero 1 is to cement my spot in history. Winning the Zero 1 Jr Heavyweight championship is a goal now. And continuing to represent Zero 1 as a fighting athlete all around Japan.
(6) One of the major ordeal’s heading out of the Tenkaichi tournament is that you did not make a wish right then and there with the “dragon” present. Is it just a matter of reaching your true goal of competing in Japan that you did not ask?
Yes, when looking at Japan from the outside, one of the things I wanted to do is fight Ikuto Hidaka. Now that, that has come to pass along with winning the Tenkaichi, I was overwhelmed. I still stand by my choice to not make a wish. Because at that time that is the way I truly felt. But looking forward I have expressed my interest in one day competing along side Hidaka and challenging for the Jr tag championships.
(7) Then something to add on about your future in ZERO1, Takuya Sugawara is the reigning champion at this time, and after winning the tournament you have surely earned yourself an upcoming title shot. Can you give us any idea when the title match may be coming and your thoughts if you were to face Sugawara?
Sugawara I believe, despite some of his actions is a great champion. I respect what he has done. And I know fighting Sugawara would be a tough match and with the added pressure of the Jr Championship being on the line, this could possibly be the hardest match of my career. But I look forward to challenging for Zero 1’s Jr Heavyweight championship in the future, adding my name to the list of past champions would be a honor, adding my name to that list would be a goal accomplished!
(8) I also remember reading that another one of your dreams was to compete in New Japan’s Best of the Super Jr.’s tournament? The BOSJ tends to be a big breakout for all the talent involved, but do you have any opponents in mind if you were given the opportunity? Maybe from NJPW like Liger, Devitt and or Taguchi, or any wrestlers for that matter?
Speaking of Jr’s from New Japan. All the named above would be tremendous to test my skills against. And to learn from as well, I would not mind facing the likes of KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask and or Koji Kanemoto. All I think would be good matches and the fans of Japan would see how much fight I have. And how far I have come as a fighting Athlete.
(9) What’s the best way for people to keep up with what your doing in your travels all over the world?
I try my best to keep up a Blog as I travel. You can find it at http://Greshamwrestling.dinstudio.com/. This is probably the best way, as I don’t think to tweet or facebook when something happens.
I want to think Gresham for taking time out of his schedule to being apart of this interview for Puroresu Spirit, and I want to wish him all the best while competing in Japan and all over the world. がんばって！