The first Terminus show takes place on Sunday, and the new promotion is a chance to see real change in the wrestling industry.
Rising stars, an innovative set of rules and a genuine passion for the product are among the core values of Terminus. It’s also a chance to see the Ring of Honor title defended on two separate occasions, as both Jonathan Gresham and Bandido claim the title.
Jonathan Gresham will defend his ROH title in a “Pure Rules” wrestling match against Impact Wrestling star Josh Alexander. And Bandido, who has never been defeated for the ROH title since he lost the ROH one. Final battle pay-per-view after testing positive for COVID-19, he will defend his title against Baron Black.
Gresham and Black, both African American, are the co-founders of Terminus. His ownership of the new promotion is a significant step for professional wrestling, an industry that has often struggled to be diverse.
“Our approach is to present wrestling the way we think it should be presented,” Gresham said. “Since announcing that we are starting Terminus, we have also recognized how important this is for wrestling.
“When it comes to me being African American and Baron being African American, we are one of the only African American owned companies in professional wrestling. Diversity is very important and our focus will be to be fair to everyone.”
Terminus’ “All Roads Lead Here” show takes place at the Kroc Center in Atlanta, Georgia and will air live on FITE. Gresham has promised a “Modern Age Grappling” showcase that will define the promotion. As well as featuring a card loaded with talent, there will also be a distinctly different set of rules in play.
Matches will take place up to a 15-minute time limit, with the exception of title matches, which can go up to 20 minutes. technical foul violations. which can lead to disqualification.
In an era where so many wrestling shows look and feel so similar, Gresham wants Terminus to represent a genuine alternative.
“Wrestling has strayed so far from its wrestling and storytelling origins,” Gresham said. “We want to bring back that realism between fighters. Our rules are designed to help create drama. These are not limitations, this is an opportunity for us to be creative.”
One of the most prominent rules of Terminus is that countdowns are done after just five seconds. This is a stark contrast to the more traditional 10 or 20 seconds, and especially different from the seemingly endless amount of time opponents can spend outside the ring in certain promotions.
“That keeps the action in the ring,” Gresham said. “A lot of thought went into it. Think of wrestlers who jump out of the ring. When you really think about it in wrestling today, those dives, which are headfirst and very dangerous, don’t do anything to beat anyone. Those are used for instant gratification, a pop. In the world of Terminus, in this environment, that dive can be used to take someone down and you could win by count.”
Illustrated by such a uniquely distinct rulebook, the preparation instilled in the release of Terminus shows the effort that has gone into making this promotion a positive one for the wrestling industry as a whole.
“We don’t want people to make moves just to make moves,” Gresham said. “We want our wrestling to make sense.”
Matches on the undercard include Impact Champion Moose vs. Mike Bennett, as well as AEW’s Jay Lethal vs. Lee Moriarty. AEW’s Daniel Garcia will take on a four-way fight against JDX, Invictus Khash and Adam Priest, while another title match sees Jordynne Grace defending her Impact Digital Media championship against Kiera Hogan.
Grace, who is Gresham’s wife, was part of last week’s first Knockouts Ultimate X match on Impact’s Hard to kill Pay to see. Showing a rare combination of strength and agility, Grace grabbed everyone’s attention by turning a moment when she was dangling from the scaffolding into a sky high into Tasha Steelz. There were a plethora of high-stakes points in the match, which the Steelz ultimately won.
“They went out and made history,” Gresham said. “And I know my wife is too selfless to want this to come out, but she went to great lengths to go to management and fight for that Ultimate X match.
“She loves fighting for change, and I love that about her. She wasn’t taking care of herself, she was taking care of all the women of Impact. And they came out and it was amazing.”
Although there are several established artists on the card, Terminus is also looking to help build the next generation of fighters. One match that can help give two rising talents some notoriety is Liiza Hall vs. Janai Kai, which is a match that Gresham thinks will surprise people.
“Janai is very intense and unique, and over time she will be one of the best in the world,” Gresham said. “Hall’s grappling ability is so impressive. She’s turning into the female Zack Saber. I am very excited for that match. It’s going to be super intense and ultra technical.”
The hiatus from Ring of Honor could have been a blessing in disguise for Gresham. It has opened up opportunities to showcase your wrestling style in new settings. Because of that, even ROH is benefiting, and the Gresham-Alexander main event has the potential to be spectacular.
The heartbeat of Ring of Honor meets the backbone of Impact Wrestling, these are two excellent athletes whose styles complement each other extraordinarily well. This will be a wrestling clinic between two cerebral wrestlers, both craftsmen who know how to turn every move into moments to watch.
“A lot of fans have been asking for this match during Josh’s appearance on Impact and my rise in Ring of Honor,” Gresham said. “I can’t think of a better way to main event the first Terminus show.”
Professional wrestling takes over at Terminus on Sunday, and the new promotion intends to make a mark on the industry.
“Terminus is going to be completely different,” Gresham said. “It will be fresh, passionate and feel new. You won’t see wrestling presented like this anywhere else.”
Justin Barrasso can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.