AEW has a massive problem with Jonathan Gresham, and in fairness to Gresham himself, I’m not even sure it’s his fault. He had a great thing going in Ring of Honor, is a level above 99% of the world’s wrestlers, and found himself caught in the wrong place at the wrong time when AEW purchased his home promotion earlier this year.
Jonathan Gresham doesn’t translate to television. At all.
Maybe that’s not fair to him, and perhaps it would be more accurate to say that his current character doesn’t translate to mainstream American television. But how would I know? This is the only character we’ve ever seen Gresham play on mainstream TV. I have no way of knowing if anything else would actually work (but more on that later). But with Gresham appearing on AEW more and more often to promote the next Ring of Honor pay-per-view show, the second run under the AEW banner, it’s clear that something hasn’t clicked with the in-arena and at-home audiences.
This isn’t to say that Gresham comes out to crickets every time, but he clearly is not getting the reception that a wrestler of his caliber could, or maybe even should, be receiving from a live audience. Furthermore, I find myself tuning out a bit when I see him on Dynamite or Rampage, simply because there’s really nothing to chew on when it comes to his character. For as much as I like him in the ring, he hasn’t really done anything that interesting in AEW. An attempt to turn Gresham heel and put him with Tully Blanchard injected a dose of intrigue in the extremely short term, and it did make me raise my eyebrow a bit, but I’ve already almost completely forgotten about it because there hasn’t been enough juice to it.
If AEW is going to pull Ring of Honor out of the free fall it was experiencing during the height of the pandemic, the free fall that nearly caused the promotion to shut down permanently, then they have got to get Jonathan Gresham right as the face of their brand. And if you’ll indulge me in some fantasy booking, I think I’ve got just the thing.