As reported this weekend, former Ring of Honor World Champion Jonathan Gresham requested his release from the company following an argument with Tony Khan, and Fightful Select has now provided further details on what went down.
According to Fightful, Gresham met with Khan before the pay-per-view and was already more heated than usual regarding the direction of his booking and character, but while their dialogue had been expected to stay private, details couldn’t help but spill into the locker room as the conversation increased in volume, with even the building’s security being able to hear it. Fightful’s previous report had stated that Gresham ‘cussed out’ Khan.
Gresham reportedly had contacts within AEW in the form of QT Marshall and Sonjay Dutt had also been a contact for him from within the company. Despite that, Gresham was frustrated with the creative direction of his character — specifically, he had been against the idea of turning heel, and more broadly, he “a vision for his creative direction” that Khan did not share. Gresham had apparently been told that creative changes had to go through Khan, but he was unable to meet with Khan until just a few hours before the event on Saturday. The finish of Gresham’s match with Claudio Castagnoli, which saw him lose the ROH World Championship, is believed to have been hinted to him, but it’s unclear whether he knew before the day of the show itself. Fightful claims that the typical creative process involves talent speaking to AEW coaches, as well as Marshall, Christopher Daniels, Marshall, and Pat Buck, who then act as intermediaries between the talent and Khan. The report also notes that while Khan does try to speak directly to talent, that practice has declined “due to the changing of the world and travel in general.”
The general lack of communication within AEW is not a new complaint, as former talent like Joey Janela, Marko Stunt, and Chavo Guerrero have discussed similar issues in the past. It remains to be seen whether Gresham will have his release granted, as neither Khan nor the company have made an official comment.
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