The first-ever Terminus show takes place on Sunday, and the new promotion is a chance to see real change in the wrestling industry.
Emerging stars, an innovative set of rules, and a genuine passion for the product stand among Terminus’s core values. It is also an opportunity to see the Ring of Honor title be defended on two separate occasions, as both Jonathan Gresham and Bandido stake a claim to the title.
Jonathan Gresham will defend his ROH title in a “Pure Rules” wrestling match against Impact Wrestling star Josh Alexander. And Bandido, who was never defeated for the ROH title since he missed ROH’s Final Battle pay-per-view after testing positive for COVID-19, will defend his title against Baron Black.
Gresham and Black, both of whom are African American, are the co-founders of Terminus. Their ownership of the new promotion is a significant step for pro wrestling, an industry that has often struggled to be diverse.
“Our focus is to present wrestling the way we feel it should be presented,” said Gresham. “Since we announced that we’re starting Terminus, we’ve also recognized how important this is to 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 pro wrestling. Diversity is so important, and our focus will be on being fair to everyone.”
Terminus’s “All Roads Lead Here” show takes place at the Kroc Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and will be broadcast live on FITE. Gresham has promised a showcase of “Modern Age Grappling” that will define the promotion. In addition to featuring a card loaded with talent, there will also be a distinctly different set of rules at play.
Matches will be held to a 15-minute time limit, with an exception being made for title matches, which can run up to 20. The possibility for extra time exists with a 90-second overtime, and there are a host of technical foul violations that 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 moved so far away from its origins of grappling and storytelling,” said Gresham. “We want to bring back that realism between combatants. Our rules are designed to help create drama. These aren’t limitations, it is a chance for us to be creative.”
One of the most prominent rules for Terminus is that count-outs take place after only five seconds. This is a stark contrast from the more traditional 10 or 20 seconds, and especially different from the seemingly endless amount of time that opponents can spend outside the ring in certain promotions.
“That keeps the action in the ring,” said Gresham. “A lot of thought went into it. Think of wrestlers doing dives out of the ring. When you really think about that in current wrestling, those dives, which are headfirst and very dangerous, they’re not used to beat anyone. Those are used for instant gratification, a pop. In the world of Terminus, in this setting, that dive can be used to knock someone down and you could win by count-out.”
Illustrated by such a uniquely distinct rulebook, the preparation instilled into Terminus’s launch shows the effort that has been given toward making this promotion a positive for the wrestling industry as a whole.
“We don’t want people doing moves just to do moves,” said Gresham. “We want our wrestling to make sense.”
Matches on the card include Impact champion Moose against Mike Bennett, as well as AEW’s Jay Lethal locking up with Lee Moriarty. AEW’s Daniel Garcia will wrestle in a four-way against JDX, Invictus Khash and Adam Priest, while another title match is Jordynne Grace defending her Impact Digital Media championship against Kiera Hogan.
Grace, who is Gresham’s wife, was part of last week’s first-ever Knockouts Ultimate X match at Impact’s Hard to Kill pay-per-view. Displaying a rare combination of strength and agility, Grace seized everyone’s attention by turning a moment where she was hanging off the scaffolding into a sky high onto Tasha Steelz. There were a plethora of high-risk spots in the match, which was ultimately won by Steelz.
“They went out and made history,” said Gresham. “And I know my wife is too selfless to want this out there, but she went out of her way to go to management and fight for that Ultimate X match.
“She loves to fight for change, and I love that about her. She wasn’t looking out for herself, she was looking out for all the women at Impact. And they went out and it was amazing.”
Though there are a number of established performers on the card, Terminus is also seeking to help build the next generation of wrestlers. A match that can help provide notoriety to two rising talents is Liiza Hall against Janai Kai, which is a match that Gresham believes will surprise people.
“Janai is very intense and unique, and in time, she’s going to be one of the best of the world,” said Gresham. “Hall’s grappling ability is so impressive. She’s becoming the female Zack Sabre. I’m very excited for that match. It is going to be super intense and ultra technical.”
Ring of Honor going on hiatus might have been a blessing in disguise for Gresham. It has opened up opportunities to showcase his brand of wrestling on new stages. Because of that, even ROH is benefitting, and the Gresham-Alexander main event has the potential to be spectacular.
The heartbeat of Ring of Honor meeting the backbone of Impact Wrestling, these are two superb athletes whose styles complement one another extraordinarily well. This will be a wrestling clinic between two cerebral wrestlers, both of whom are craftsmen that know how to turn every move into moments worth seeing.
“A lot of fans have been asking for this match during Josh’s come-up in Impact and my rise in Ring of Honor,” said Gresham. “I can’t think of a better way to main event the first ever Terminus show.”
Pro wrestling is introduced to Terminus on Sunday, and the new promotion intends to make a mark in the industry.
“Terminus is going to be completely different,” said Gresham. “It will be fresh, passionate, and it’s going to feel new. You won’t see wrestling presented like this anywhere else.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.
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