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10 for ’11 Day One: Jonathan Gresham

by on March 28, 2011

Day one of our “10 for ’11” series (where Mike, myself and guest bloggers detail out ten potential breakout independent wrestling stars that you need to keep tabs on) starts with a bang, as our first subject made his Japanese debut for Dynamic Dream Team (DDT) this past weekend as Bob Sapp’s personal assassin. Ladies and gents, I give you Jonathan Gresham (more under the cut underneath the picture)…


Gresham is a trainee of the WWA4 school, headed by head trainer “Big Cat” Curtis Hughes (yes, THAT Mr. Hughes) out of the Atlanta area. He came up with guys like A.R. Fox (who I would be surprised if he doesn’t come up again during the run of this feature) and current WWE Tag Team Champion Heath Slater, but what makes Gresham really special is that he started his travels before the world even caught up with his hype. The guy toured Europe and became champion for Booker T.’s PWA group out of Houston before the world got wind of him at IWA Mid-South and Combat Zone Wrestling.

His travels before getting on the more well-seen stages have probably assisted with his incredible smoothness in the squared circle. Gresham is well-known for being one of the few guys on the American independents who can perform the unique British lancashire style of wrestling as smoothly as some of the greats who made it famous (such as Johnny Saint, Jim Breaks, etc.). But, Gresham also stands out in that he doesn’t just rest on those laurels, as he possesses “hops”, as the kids would say. His 450 splash is as beautiful as any you’ll see out there, and his shooting star press isn’t much worse. It certainly helps him fit into the Chikara promotion, where he currently wrestles as the masked Hieracon alongside Ophidian and Amasis in the Osirian Portal.

He began to gain buzz amongst the online community when Combat Zone Wrestling brought him up for a look-see in May of 2010, where he impressed many in a bout with fellow WWA4 student A.R. Fox. He’s continued to gain buzz month after month for being unarguably one of the most smooth hold-for-hold wrestlers in the promotion. He also gained a bit of notoriety for a series of bouts for IWA Mid-South in the spring of 2010 against former Ring of Honor World Champion Tyler Black (now current FCW Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins). Their match at “A Taste of Hardcore Sweetness” (a show run by IWA-MS on May 16, 2010, which you can get at www.smartmarkvideo.com now) is highly recommended by yours truly.

Gresham also caught some attention for a strong bout on Ring of Honor’s television show on HDNet, where he wrestled Kyle O’Reilly in a very solid match during their Top Prospect Tournament. Gresham debuted in DDT, as mentioned above, on March 27th, where he wrestled Danshoku Dino as the “personal assassin of Bob Sapp”.

In the upcoming year, I only see Gresham growing onward and upward as he becomes more comfortable in his own skin in front of live crowds. He has the physical part of the sport down and his crowd awareness shows to be growing with each match. He seems to be excellent at networking towards new opportunities, judging by his many travels so soon in his career. I personally think he’s tailor-made for Evolve, where they seem to want to emphasis a very serious, mat-based in-ring style. He would definitely seem right at home in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, where the crowd will go nuts for even the slightest bit of great wrestling. But in the meantime, you can check out Gresham in Combat Zone Wrestling‘s Best of the Best tournament on Saturday, April 9th, where he’ll be facing Zack Sabre, Jr. and Akuma in the first round) and  Chikara‘s King of Trios 2011 tournament as part of the Osirian Portal trio on April 15-17.

Tomorrow, we hand the reigns over to F4Wonline.com‘s Alan Counihan, as he’ll introduce us to a European standout who’s coming to America in April to impress.

(Special thanks to www.indywrestlingnews.com for assistance with a couple of factoids for the column.)

-TOM.

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