By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport (Game Changer Wrestling)
October 11, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana at Marion County Fairgrounds
Replay available via FITE.TV
The show opened with a parade of fighters. It was tough to hear the ring announcer, but he introduced each fighter, who all made their way to the ring. Jon Moxley received the biggest pop. Josh Barnett was out last. Barnett addressed the fans, but it was tough to make out what he said over the house mic. The crowd was receptive to Barnett, who bowed to them at the end of his speech…
Powell’s POV: The fans in attendance were masked and socially distanced. There was also a limit on the number of people allowed inside the venue. For those who haven’t seen a Bloodsport event, they use a rope-less ring that still has the ring posts.
Lenny Leonard was the lone commentator. He ran through the rules. The matches can end via submission, knockout, ref stoppage, or disqualification. If the fighters fall to ringside, they can be counted out.
1. Simon Grimm vs. Matt Makowski. Grimm worked as Simon Gotch in WWE and goes by that name in MLW. Makowski has a 6-2 record in MMA, including a couple fights in Bellator. Grimm was knocked down by a couple of kicks. The referee checked on him while Makowski told Grimm to get back to his feet. The fight continued. Grimm performed a half-and-half suplex. The referee checked on Makowski and called for the bell…
Simon Grimm beat Matt Makowski via ref stoppage.
Powell’s POV: A solid opener. The MMA style suits Grimm. It’s a bit jarring to see standard pro wrestling moves used as finishers in Bloodsport, but it
2. Killer Kelly vs. Allysin Kay in a women’s tournament match. Kay knocked down Kelly with a big kick, then threw a series of punches that showed a lot of light. Kelly came back with a series of punches following a takedown. Kay regrouped and ended up applying a cross armbreaker. Kelly escaped and threw more punches. Kay applied a leg lock. Kelly rolled onto Kay and threw some punches while Kay covered up. Kay clenched the leg lock. Both women traded slaps while seated. Later, Kay fought out of a sleeper, then applied a leg scissors submission hold and got the submission win. The fighters were cordial to one another afterward…
Allysin Kay beat Killer Kelly to advance to the finals of the tournament.
Powell’s POV: The match was slow to start, but it got better as it went on despite some of those rough looking punches.
3. Leyla Hirsch vs. Lindsay Snow in a women’s tournament match. Hirsch went for an early cross arm breaker, but Snow blocked it and escaped. Snow came back with a heel hook and got the submission win. Snow will face Kay later in the show…
Lindsay Snow beat Leyla Hirsch to advance to the finals of the tournament.
Powell’s POV: This was a Snow spotlight match in a lot of ways. A couple things have stood out early when it comes to this show compared to the WrestleMania weekend event in 2019. The smaller and darker venue used in 2019 created a better atmosphere, and I’m not counting the socially distanced fan aspect against this event. And while Leonard is a terrific play-by-play voice, they really could use a color commentator to add the wrestler’s perspective similar to the way Rocky Romero does on New Japan Pro Wrestling shows.
4. Calvin Tankman vs. Alexander James. Tankman was the favorite of the crowd. Tankman mounted James and threw some light punches, but it looked like he connected with a couple of forearms. James rolled Tankman over and threw some punches at the back of his head before applying a rear naked choke. Tanksman slipped out of the hold, then wrestled his way on top of James. Later, both men traded strikes in the middle of the ring. Tankman dropped James with a punch and the referee stepped in to end the fight…
Calvin Tankman beat Alexander James.
Powell’s POV: I was anxious to see Tankman, who has signed with MLW. He did fine in this format, but it will be interesting to see how his style in Bloodsport differs from whatever he ends up doing in MLW. Tankman was definitely over with the Indianapolis crowd.
5. Erik Hammer vs. Kal Jak. Leonard noted that Hammer won his fight at Bloodsport 2 over JR Kratos. Jak worked as Cal Bishop in NXT. Jak knocked Hammer down with a slap to start. Hammer got up and threw some strikes of his own. Later, Jak performed a nice Doctor Bomb. Hammer caught Jak in a double wrist lock. Jak came right back with a gut wrench suplex. Hammer came back and applied a double wrist lock and got the submission win. The fighters shook hands and hugged afterward…
Erik Hammer beat Kal Jak.
Powell’s POV: The size of both men didn’t really come through because they were similar in height, but fortunately they had a tale of the tape that helped establish that it was a battle of the big men. I have enjoyed each match so far, but the undercard really could have used a quick knockout at some point.
6. Homicide vs. Tom Lawlor. There was a good sequence early that resulted in Homicide standing over Lawlor and stomping his face with his boot. Lawlor came back and applied a front facelock. The referee checked on Homicide, who fought free and performed an exploder suplex. Homicide went for the Gringo Killer, but Lawlor escaped and applied a half crab, then sat down while maintaining the hold and won via submission…
Tom Lawlor defeated Homicide.
Powell’s POV: An action packed fight that didn’t overstay its welcome. Unlike some of the previous fights, the strikes looked good. This was the most enjoyable match fo the show thus far.
7. Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Josh Alexander. Late in the match, the fighters exchanged strikes in the middle of the ring. Smith hit Alexander with a shot that Alexander sold by dropping to the mat and then acting woozy once he got to his feet. Smith hit a Liger Bomb and the referee jumped in to stop the fight..
Davey Boy Smith Jr. beat Josh Alexander.
Powell’s POV: I was surprised this one ended as quickly as it did. It’s not a complaint, just legitimate surprise. Smith is at his best in this style. I’ve raved countless times about the great fight that he had with Killer Kross at the first Barnett’s Bloodsport event. This wasn’t nearly as hot as that fight, but it was solid.
8. Allysin Kay vs. Lindsay Snow in the women’s tournament final. A few minutes into the match, Kay caught Snow in a wrist lock and delivered some knees to the head. Kay rolled Snow onto the ground while maintaining the hold, but Snow escaped and fired away with some punches. Snow rolled Kay into a heel hook and got the submission win. Afterward, Josh Barnett came out and presented a trophy to Snow for winning the tournament. Snow and Kay shook hands…
Lindsay Snow defeated Allysin Kay to win the women’ tournament.
Powell’s POV: Another solid match. I am looking forward to seeing more of Snow in traditional pro wrestling matches.
9. Jon Moxley vs. Chris Dickinson. There was a “Dirty Daddy” chant for Dickinson following his entrance. Moxley received the pop of the night, as expected. Dickinson threw a kick to the thigh of Moxley. Moments later, Moxley backed Dickinson to the edge of the apron. The referee had them break. Moxley slapped Dickinson, who returned fire with a harder slap.
Leonard noted that Moxley’s elbow infection prevented him from working the last Bloodsport show, and Dickinson replaced him in the main event against Josh Barnett. Leonard wondered if Eddie Kingston got to Moxley when he accused him on AEW television of being a sports entertaining who left independent wrestling behind.
Moxley knocked Dickinson off the apron at one point. Later, Moxley went for a piledriver, but Dickinson avoided it and threw a series of kicks to the thigh of Moxley. Dickinson powered up Moxley and performed a nice German suplex. Dickinson applied a kneebar. Moxley rolled over so that they both fell to the floor where the hold was broken.
Back inside the ring, the fighters exchanged slaps, forearms, and chops. Moxley dropped Dickinson with a headbutt. Dickinson got up and fired away with a series of strikes, then performed a belly to back suplex. Moxley popped right up and took another suplex. Moxley got back to his feet and was blasted with a big kick to the head. Dickinson mounted Moxley and threw punches at his head. Dickinson went for a cross armbreaker, but Moxley avoided it. Moxley blocked a suplex attempt and caught Dickinson with a knee and then performed a DDT. Moxley applied a rear naked choke. The referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Jon Moxley defeated Chris Dickinson.
After the fight, Moxley took the mic and delivered a promo while seated on the mat as Dickinson was in the corner of the ring. Unfortunately, the house mic was not mic’d well and it was hard to make out what Moxley said. Whatever it was, the live crowd liked it, and it Moxley definitely put over Dickinson. Moxley raised Dickinson’s hand, then bowed to al sides of the venue. Moxley laid down in the middle of the ring while Leonard close out the show on commentary. Moxley blew a few kisses to fans before rolling out of the ring while still selling the leg kicks…
Powell’s POV: They saved the best for last. The main event was the best fight of the night and it wasn’t even close. There was no reason to think that Moxley would lose, but that sequence where Dickinson was on top of him firing away with punches made me wonder for a second or two.
Overall, this event just didn’t connect with me the way that the first Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport event did. Perhaps it’s just tough to compete with that 2019 event that had a better atmosphere, the unexpected surprise of WWE personnel such as William Regal and Dean Ambrose (Moxley) watching from the balcony, and couple of great fights that involved Minoru Suzuki and Killer Kross. I’ll have to go back and watch the second Bloodsport show one of these days to get a better sense of whether the promotion caught lightning in a bottle with the first event or if this was just a down show.
I mentioned earlier that the undercard could have used a quick knockout. MMA fans love knockouts. Boxing fans love knockouts. If UFC could book its shows the way pro wrestling bookers can, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t book a big knockout or two on every show. In this case, it would have livened up the undercard and helped break up the monotony. As much as it may seem like I disliked this event, that’s not really the case. It just didn’t live up to high expectations created by the first Barnett event. I still believe in this format providing a real alternative to what the major promotions are doing, and it’s a hell of a lot better than Raw Underground.
Unfortunately, multiple wrestlers have tested positive for COVID-19 coming out of The Collective shows that this event was a part of. Fans who attended are being encouraged to be tested for the virus. I obviously can’t speak to what was happening in the locker room, but I was mostly impressed by what I saw from the fans who attended the show. They seemed to adhere to the social distancing arrangement, and the vast majority kept their masks on. I could have done without the masked dude in the front row getting in the face of at least one wrestler and yelling during an entrance, but most of the fans seemed very respectful of the restrictions. Would I have attended this show in person during the pandemic? Hell no, but to each his own. Here’s wishing those who did attend or worked the shows the very best.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...