No one delivers a more devastating big splash in pro wrestling than Jonah.
The super heavyweight, formerly known in NXT as Bronson Reed (and as Jonah Rock before that), comes off the top rope in a way that would make Haystacks Calhoun blush.
Jonah’s top rope splash, the Tsunami, is delivered in picturesque fashion. As he steps off the turnbuckle and reintroduces himself to the forces of gravity, Jonah moves in slow motion—almost suspended in the air above his opponent—before he engulfs whomever is beneath him.
“Hang time, that’s the goal for me,” Jonah says. “The splash is synonymous with pro wrestling. People are familiar with the move. But it’s not the same when it’s a 345-pound man doing it off the top rope.”
Jonah made a sizzling debut for both New Japan Pro-Wrestling last month by flattening Juice Robinson with his Tsunami, and he gave the same treatment to Josh Alexander upon his Impact Wrestling arrival. There is an element to the splash where it looks as though Jonah is frozen in time before he connects, further enhancing the maneuver.
“It does look like I float before I come down with all that force, and the secret for me is really just repetition,” Jonah says. “When I was younger, I did a frog splash, but then I decided to do a big splash and make it the biggest one.”
The 6-foot, nearly 350-pound performer presents a package of intense power and charisma. A native of Adelaide, South Australia, 33-year-old Jonah (real name Jermaine Haley) remains one of WWE’s most surprising releases this year. The company has remained consistent in cutting performers—even emerging stars—who were highly endorsed by Paul “Triple H” Levesque, and Jonah certainly fits that description. But WWE’s loss has been the industry’s gain, as Jonah has exploded onto the scene at-large with must-see appearances in New Japan and Impact, as well as throughout the indies.
Just announced as the first entrant of indie powerhouse Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s “Battle of Los Angeles” tournament in January, Jonah has a full plate ahead, including a television taping in California on Thursday for the “Nemesis” special of New Japan Strong. He is set to wrestle the underrated David Finlay, a bout where Jonah will possess a significant size advantage.
“I’m so much bigger that it’s going to be the classic story of the underdog, and he’s going to have to prove he can hang with me,” Jonah says. “I’ve learned a lot about wrestling from his dad [the great Fit Finlay], who was a producer and coach in NXT. I’m more than excited to get in there with the son. If he’s anything like his dad, it’s going to be a hell of a fight.”
Jonah is also building toward an upcoming date against Josh Alexander in Impact, which both performers undoubtedly hope can be this decade’s version of the Samoa Joe–Kurt Angle classics from TNA.
“I’m really proud of my Impact debut at Turning Point when I attacked Josh Alexander,” Jonah says. “It showed who I am and what I’m capable of doing. That left an imprint in people’s minds, and all I’ve heard since is that people can’t wait to see me face off against Josh Alexander.”
Now that he is working for New Japan, a sampling of the stars that Jonah wants in the ring are Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay and IWGP world heavyweight champion Shingo Takagi.
“There’s a reason I call myself the ‘Top Dog,’” Jonah says. “I want to be the top anywhere I go. And as soon as I’m able to be in Japan, I’ll be there. I’ll work my way up the ladder and prove myself.
“I have my eye on certain titles, but if you’re in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, you want to be IWGP heavyweight champion. I know there is some debate right now as to whether that’s Shingo, Ospreay or Okada, but I want to face those three men and be the IWGP heavyweight champion.”
There is no shortage of goals for Jonah. He has his sights set on a collection of titles in New Japan, Impact and across the indies—and he plans to accomplish every one of them in the most gripping manner possible.
“I’m unlike anyone else in pro wrestling,” Jonah says. “I am going to be the monster of the modern era.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.