Jonathan Gresham reached the mountaintop of ROH. The Octopus is a former Pure champ and tag team champ, but the world title had eluded him thus far. That was until Final Battle. Gresham waged a technical duel against friend Jay Lethal and emerged victorious in the end.
It was announced earlier in the evening that the Final Battle main event would be for the ROH World Championship. Gresham was originally supposed to wrestle Bandido for the belt, but the luchador tested positive for COVID. Lethal knocked on the Forbidden Door to visit from AEW. He was an excellent choice as a Grand Slam champion winning the World, Pure, TV, and Tag Team titles throughout his ROH career. Lethal also had history of a competitive relationship with Gresham.
The match was back and forth early. Lethal took control for a suicide dive. He caught Gresham on a flying crossbody to counter for a body slam. Lethal poured it on with a flapjack. Gresham relied on his pure wrestling skills for surprise roll-ups and technical takedowns.
Both men worked the body. Lethal focused on the lower back, while Gresham targeted the arm. Lethal had momentum after a torture rack. He took flight for a flying elbow drop. As Lethal went for his handspring cutter finisher, his arm gave out to prevent execution. Gresham pounced for a chickenwing submission.
The pain was intense, but Lethal was able to escape by using a cutter. Both men were exhausted. At that point, the locker room emptied to surround the ring and cheer on the two warriors.
Gresham and Lethal engaged in a firefight in the center of the ring. Heavy fists were thrown. Gresham got the upper hand for a German suplex. He followed by blasting Lethal with a running forearm. Kick out on the cover. Gresham unloaded a second running forearm. Kick out again. On the third running forearm, Lethal answered with a superkick.
Lethal went for the Lethal Injection finisher, but Gresham caught him in a backslide. Gresham kept up the pace for an inside cradle then locked in the Octopus stretch. Lethal collapsed down to the mat to tap out.
Gresham is the new ROH world champion. He celebrated with wife Jordynne Grace in the ring.
Final Battle finished with a happy ending. All signs pointed to Gresham winning the belt from Bandido, but those plans were thrown into the air by the champ’s absence. ROH made the call to set up a new world title bout so Gresham could have his moment of glory. He has earned every bit of it along the way. Gresham deserved the honor, and it was great to see him achieve the ultimate success in ROH.
What’s your take on Jonathan Gresham as the new ROH world champion?
Get the full results from ROH’s end of an era at Final Battle here.