Jonathan Gresham Reflects On ROH Final Battle 2021
Gresham won the ROH World Championship at the event
Ring of Honor Final Battle 2021 was a bittersweet event, as Jonathan Gresham finally won the ROH World Championship, but on the last ROH show before their Q1 2022 hiatus.
Defeating former two-time champion Jay Lethal for the classic belt, Gresham was originally supposed to face Bandido in Final Battle’s main event, but the ROH Champion’s last-minute COVID-19 diagnosis changed plans.
Gresham recently sat down with Chris Jericho on the Talk is Jericho podcast, and spoke of his thoughts heading into Final Battle:
"I really didn't know it was happening until closer, to where they said they were going with me going forward. Just preparing, talking to Bandido on and off, keeping in touch. Maybe a day or two before, I get a message from Bandido saying, 'I'm sorry, amigo.' I'm like, 'what happened?' I contacted him, he didn't hit me back. I contacted my buddy Dragon Lee and I'm like, 'What's going on with Bandido? He hit me up and said Sorry, amigo' and [Dragon Lee] tells me [Bandido] got COVID. By this time, it's the day before I fly out. I contact Hunter (Johnson) and he already knew. Now, there is the race to find out what's going to happen with the main event of Final Battle. At that point, I was kind of relieved, I had never been in that position before of being in the main event of a really big match that people were looking forward to. I've had smaller ones, but nothing that big. I was relieved like, ‘Great, I don't have to do that match.’”
Gresham clarified what he meant, saying that the pressure on him being in the main event was off his shoulders. But it turns out Gresham was still destined fro Final Battle’s final battle:
"I got a call from Lethal, we're shooting the s***, and he goes, 'there's a possibility that it might be us at Final Battle.' My heart started pounding again. I thought, 'that's not going to happen because he works at AEW.' The next day, before I left, Hunter text me, 'It's you and Lethal.' As it stood at that moment, it wasn't for the Ring of Honor World Title. 'Great, we're not the main event, pressure is off.' I've wrestled Lethal a dozen times before, I'm great. I'm on the plane and I get the message, 'we'll address the World Title situation on Hour One of Final Battle,' I thought that could only mean they would go with the World Title, so I'm the main. The show starts to unravel and I know I'm the main event now.”