Former AEW Star Admits To “Acting Very Unprofessionally” Toward Tony Khan

Tony Khan AEW

Jonathan Gresham signed with AEW in July of 2022. Gresham was the reigning ROH World Champion at the time, and Tony Khan had recently announced his purchasing Ring of Honor.

However, the following July, Gresham reportedly got into a heated confrontation with Tony Khan backstage and cussed out the AEW President while asking for his release. The argument came after he lost the ROH World Championship to Claudio Castagnoli in a match that was surprisingly short.

Speaking in a new interview with Haus of Wrestling, Gresham opened up about his tumultuous confrontation with Tony Khan. After clarifying that he was often absent from television as he was fulfilling commitments to independent promotions, he spoke about his passion for wrestling and being very protective over his persona.

“Fast forward to when I am finally back and finished up with Progress and WXW and everyone. For the most part, I think I really need to say that I am a very passionate person. I believe everyone that knows me and has trained with me at seminars and worked with me in the ring would agree. Along with that is the on-screen persona that I play as ‘The Foundation.’ This character and the character’s message is very close to how I actually view wrestling. This character also took years for me to develop and I am very protective and passionate about it.

“I can admit that I was acting very unprofessionally while trying and failing to convey the message to my former employer. After weeks of feeling like I wasn’t being heard or blown off, I was frustrated, to be honest. All I wanted was to be heard and for the communication to be had. If they had agreed and liked my ideas and what I wanted to say, great, if not, I would have appreciated the time and just accepted the outcome.”

“I Really Felt I Was Disrespected” – Jonathan Gresham On AEW President Tony Khan

Continuing, Gresham detailed the disrespect he felt when he wasn’t able to get a face to face meeting with Tony Khan.

“Now, speaking about the actual meeting, leading up to it, I felt like I was blown off in different ways. I had made contact with my employer and me coming from, like I mentioned before, under the last regime with Ring of Honor, I had a really good relationship where we could talk over the phone. If I texted them, they would get back to me relatively quickly. It was just a really good back-and-forth communication. So, I think, for me, I was expecting the same thing and maybe I shouldn’t have.

“I know TK is a very busy guy, owning a lot of different businesses, and I am a very small gear in this machine. That just came after so much time thinking about it through therapy and things of that nature. I felt like I was blown off, we made contact, and I was flown into a show.”

However, despite being flown in to meet with the AEW President, Gresham says the meeting never took place. Understanding that Khan is a busy man, Gresham agreed to meet at another time, but once again failed to gain an audience with Khan after being flown in to a second show. Though he did speak with Khan briefly on that occasion, he says the AEW president walked away after introducing him to someone.

He continued, noting that he also had a lot going on in his personal life at the time.

“So, at this point, I am thinking to myself, ‘This guy must not respect me at all.’ I just started having things roll around in my mind and I think, at the time, I was my own worst enemy with this. There was a lot of stuff going on personally with me. Nobody but the Progress guys know that my Mom had a really bad incident, she was in the hospital for like a week and it was the first time I had ever seen my Mom so vulnerable with tubes going through her face and stuff. A lot of this was just me under a lot of stress, I believe. But, I really felt I was disrespected.”

Gresham admits that he was unprofessional when he yelled and cursed at Tony Khan during their eventual confrontation. He also clarified that his anger wasn’t to do with having to lose the ROH World Championship.

“I shouldn’t have yelled or cursed in a professional environment and I deeply regret my behavior. Since then, I’ve gained some introspection through therapy, like I was saying before, and self-reflection and I just want to set the record straight. That day at the meeting, I wasn’t supposed to have that meeting, actually. Like I told you before, I’d been asking for meetings with TK and it was finally where we were both at a Ring of Honor show and he was like, ‘Oh, let me talk to Gresham.’ When he finally had time, I imagine.

“I remember getting a text from Sonjay and I was sitting with one of my buddies in the bleachers and, at that time, I had already checked out. I knew I was going to leave. I knew that I was going to ask for my release. The other thing that really bothered me was, a lot of people were under the impression that I left because I lost the Ring of Honor title and that’s not true. I’ve been wrestling for a long time and I’ve won championships and had to lose championships, that’s just part of business and life in general. You can’t be the champion forever, so, that’s not what it was.

“It was everything I had mentioned before so, I had already kinda checked out and I had told myself that I was going to ask for my release and leave. I already kinda knew what was going to happen and I was okay with that. Like I said before, I shouldn’t have yelled or cursed in a professional environment. The whole meeting just kind of got away from me, I was really emotional. That’s pretty much the gist of it.”

h/t Haus of Wrestling