Ring of Honor Final Battle: End of an Era has come and gone, leaving plenty of questions about the promotion’s future up in the year. But for now, there is one certainty — Jonathan Gresham stood tall at the end of the pay-per-view as the new ROH World Champion, and he will represent the promotion moving forward.
In an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated, Gresham discussed the emotional Final Battle event and expressed his appreciation for the support he received on Saturday night.
“Final Battle was a night that was full circle for me,” said Gresham. “I spent a lot of time with the fans at ringside. There were so many people there I knew—from the independents, from seminars, fans from smaller independent shows, like NOVA Pro [in Virginia], guys that stayed on my couch during our travels—and everyone kept telling me they had to see me win the Ring of Honor title. I have enjoyed this entire ride, so all of that meant the world to me.”
“The Octopus then vowed to carry the torch for ROH and its spirit by continuing to defend Pure wrestling. Gresham has been focused on this mission for some time now, dating back to the formation of The Foundation last fall, and it’s clear that it will remain his priority in the weeks and months that follow.
“As champion, it is up to me to keep the spirit and the essence of Ring of Honor alive,” said Gresham. “I will preserve and protect Pure wrestling as Ring of Honor world champion.”
The new champion then elaborated on his post-show promo, when he stated that he needs to face two men who helped build ROH into what it was. In the interview, he made it abundantly clear that he intends to face ROH icons Bryan Danielson and CM Punk, two stars who are currently shining in AEW. He then emphasized his plan to defend the title under Pure rules, much like the Pure Championship, and doing whatever it takes to bring the “honor” back to the gold.
“I am going to make this championship the best wrestling title in the world,” said Gresham. “In order to do that, I need to wrestle two men who helped make the Ring of Honor title the best in the world: Bryan Danielson and CM Punk.
“At one time, being the Ring of Honor champion meant that you were the world’s best professional wrestler. But that moniker was taken away, and my mission is to restore honor to the title. I need to step in the ring with those two men. Until then, I’ll take on all challengers for the Ring of Honor title. I plan on defending the title, but I will only defend it under Pure professional wrestling rules, which is the way it always should have been.”
Time will tell what the future holds for Gresham and ROH, as the promotion will go on hiatus for the first quarter of 2022 and “reimagines” itself before it plans to return for a new era in April. Gresham has discussed his loyalty to ROH on multiple occasions; in one interview, he said he’s “on this ship until it sinks.”