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August 31, 2014 / Bill Thompson

Jonathan Gresham vs. Timothy Thatcher from Beyond Wrestling 2014

Post Bill Thompson:

Twitter: @MOTYPod

I’ve been on the Timothy Thatcher bandwagon for a while now, but that’s stating the obvious. Less obvious is that I have also been on the Jonathan Gresham bandwagon for some time now as well. He’s a fantastic talent, and I’m honestly not sure why he isn’t used more on the indies. He’s in the vein of someone like TJ Perkins as he can both fly and grapple with the best of them. Gresham’s relative anonymity on the indies is puzzling. He’s in Ring of Honor, but is barely used by them (which is surprising as Gresham is a guy I can see the RoH faithful getting behind fairly easily were he given any sort of push). Whether the reason for a lack of Gresham push is external or internal, he is a guy who should be getting pushed on the indies and hopefully that changes sometime soon.

This match is a swell example of Gresham as the master grappler. He’s much smaller than Thatcher, but he uses a distinct speed advantage as we as he possibly can. Now, I don’t mean he just moves fast, because that’s a very rudimentary way to use speed. Rather, Gresham is quick to the punch so to speak. He is almost always in the right position to use his fast thinking and natural physical speed to counter what Thatcher is throwing at him. I’ve watched a lot of counter based grappling lately, but Gresham’s feels more organic than most. There’s a natural progression to what he’s doing and it shows in the way he’s able to string moves and holds together.

Not one to be outdone Thatcher makes great use of his size in this match. I loved how he went for his big moves early, like the Deadlift German Suplex. This emphasized how much larger he was than Gresham and how more so than usual Thatcher would be using his strength to grapple with Gresham, as opposed to pure technical know-how. Thatcher throwing Gresham halfway across the room with a Snap Suplex is another example of him using his strength and raw size advantage in such a way that the audience is able to visually and audibly know the sort of advantage Thatcher is working with. Of course the grappling from Thatcher is top notch, as per usual, but he also goes the simple route at times, stops Gresham dead in his tracks, and grapples him to the mat with pure strength.

This has the feel of a great back and forth contest, and that’s exactly what it is. There is only one noticeable soft spot in the match. It takes place when Thatcher is feeding and stooging for Gresham’s more high flying based offense. Basically, Thatcher is a little slow on the take for a Gresham headscissors takedown. Luckily, Gresham is able to improvise and call back to an armdrag variant he had just used. He takes what could have been a major flub and turns it into a workable, albeit rough, moment.

Gresham is a great talent, this match is a showcase of that. He not only hangs on the mat, he is just as good as Thatcher is in that area and he brings his flying capabilities into the mix as well. Both men pepper the match with some nifty nuanced selling; the sort that pays off more in the long term than in the short term. Thatcher shows yet again why he is one of the best workers in the world. Gresham actively demonstrates why he is an indie talent who more people should be paying attention to. At just about the right length, Gresham and Thatcher provide a varied encounter that should satisfy the keenest of wrestling connoisseurs.

Cheers,
Bill Thompson

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