Jay Lethal vs. Jonathan Gresham – Ring of Honor Wrestling: Honor Reigns Supreme, February 9th, 2018
ROH Wrestling has always been at its best while staying on the cutting edge. With the WWE dominating digital platforms, this isn’t quite as easy as it was a decade ago. That said, the company has been working hard to take advantage of their position as one of the more powerful promotions in the United States, creating deals with Mexico’s CMLL and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. This has given the promotion access to some of globe’s top talent, and perhaps most importantly, the red-hot Bullet Club faction. With ticket sales on the rise, Ring of Honor will soon launch Honor Club, a digital streaming service that will also provide its members with numerous other benefits. To raise awareness, the promotion offered a “free-per-view” over multiple platforms this past Friday, hoping to prove that Honor, does in fact, Reign Supreme.
Honor Reigns Supreme probably won’t be the promotions top show of the year, but it isn’t intended to be. This free offering is more of a showcase for their talent, explaining many of the current storylines and giving the performers decent length matches to get their persona and style across. Even without the extra weight of title contests, they really did create a nice jumping on point for new or lapsed viewers. By the end of the show, fans will be aware of all of the major players in the promotion. World Champion Dalton Castle is showcased, along with all of the American side of the Bullet Club. They will receive their due attention, but that’s part of the reason I’m highlighting something different here.
Jay Lethal is a seventeen year veteran of professional wrestling, and one of the most consistent performers in Ring of Honor, going back to his days as Hydro in Special K. Jonathan Gresham is no new-comer himself, having debuted in 2005. Gresham did not receive the attention that Lethal has through most of his career, but did win the CZW World Heavyweight title in 2016. Within this match up, we can find the real strengths of the promotion. Here are two talents that could work anywhere in the world, practiced in their craft and in their athleticism. Lethal has risen to iconic status without a WWE run, and though that is becoming easier in the modern era, this era isn’t where Lethal did it. Gresham is a threat to the icon due to his impressive technical skill. Though not the name Lethal is, Gresham’s reputation, or at least his persona’s, precedes him. It’s near perfect wrestling storytelling and it isn’t even on a Pay Per View. The talent in ROH understands that every match is an opportunity to impress and they act that way. Watch this match and you’ll see two of the best going at full speed. Don’t expect a lot of high spots or even gimmicks, this match hearkens back to Ring of Honor’s anti-Attitude roots. It is a real showcase of ability. What you can expect is one of the best matches you’ll see this year.
ROH’s Honor Reigns Supreme is available, free of charge, over multiple platforms. The FiteTV app will allow you to stream it to your television if you have compatible hardware.