GCW Josh Barnett's Bloodsport II
September 14, 2019
Atlantic City, NJ
Matt Makowski vs. Rory Gulak and Lindsay Snow vs. Sumie Sakai were pre-show/dark matches that I didn't get to watch. The former was reportedly decent and the latter 'ok'.
Opening Ceremony - All competitors except Wentz and Henry came out for the big Gran Prix style opening. Fans were hot.
Zachary Wentz vs Anthony Henry - 7/10
This was really fast paced. From the bell, Wentz and Henry were going for quick KO attempts, but had to go after submissions when they couldn't seal the deal. Finish was great, Wentz dropped Henry with a right hand, but as he went for the finish, Henry caught him with a Triangle Choke and submitted him.
J.R. Kratos vs Eric Hammer - 6.5/10
Hammer is the only dude I didn't know about coming in, he is Barnett's teammate. He ended up being one of my favorite guys tonight, he needs to work on his 'pro-wrestling', but his look and intensity could be harvested into a really kick ass character.
This was the 'hoss' fight of the night, even though we have the main event. It was considerably slower, but the dudes were still working as hard as possible to keep the action going both standing and on the mat. Towards the end, they came to a slap battle that was straight down dirty, Hammer can't really fake the whole Strong Style thing, so they were just slapping the fuck out of each other. Hammer submitted Kratos with kinda like a headlock/bulldog choke.
This match had a Frye/Takayama spot that obviously pumped the crowd hot.
"AK-47" Allysin Kay vs Nicole Savoy - 6/10
This was one of the weaker matches of the night, mostly because a lot of the offense looked 'pro-wrestled'. AK sometimes looked like she was sparring or practicing transitions, they were perfectly executed, but slow, and Savoy was a bit more shooty with her movements. This match also had the most ref breaks of the night I think, there is the rule that if the wrestlers get to close to the edge, it's up to the ref's discretion to break up and stand them up again, and this ref used that power a lot more than the other refs. AK won by KO when she locked in a crucifix and delivered a series of elbows to Savoy.
Anthony Carelli vs Simon Grimm - 8/10
Am I obligated to make the same joke about Santino vs Gotch WWE blah blah that everyone is making? Grimm was the only man to get some heat from the crowd tonight, I take it they're all been watching Contra. This was one of the more technical matches, Carelli's take-downs were beautiful. He locked in several submissions that looked great, the Dragon Sleeper was my personal favorite. Carelli won with a beautiful armbar set up. Carelli got 'Please Come Back' chants.
Ok, yeah, i'm not walking away without pointing this out. It's a fucking crime that WWE wasted these two men with comedy acts as good as they were pulling those off.
Tim Thatcher vs Ikuhisa Minowa - 7/10
You can tell that Thatcher is his happiest during Bloodsport. This is Minowaman's debut in the US straight up. This was a great match, and most of it was due to Thatcher's selling and mannerisms, he gives sooo much to his opponents without looking weak himself. This was one of the shorter matches of the night, which given the nature of the concept, finishes out of nowhere should happen every so often. Also, surprisingly, this had a lot of standing action with Minowaman hitting some dropkicks and slams. Thatcher won with a couple of slaps to the back of the head and a crossface for the submission win.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs 'Filthy' Tom Lawlor - 8.5/10
Action-wise, I think this was the match of the night, they did a good job mixing the mat work with the stand-up. This was also the only match that consisted of two different weight divisions clashing, as the rest of the matches, while not weighted, we mostly balanced.
Given the size difference, Smith had control for a while and was landing some heavy offense even when Lawlor was on his guard. Smith would also counter a lot of Lawlor's submission attempts by overpowering him, but Lawlor eventually did get some good offense when he found himself on top of Smith. At one point, through the grappling, Smith started twisting and going for a Sharpshooter on the mat, but once he stood up, Lawlor easily got out like it would any fighter in a real fight. Finish was an awesome strike exchange that ended with Smith going all saiyan on Lawlor and knocking him out with a Powerbomb of all moves.
Killer Kross vs Nick Gage - 6/10
Gage was easily the hottest wrestler tonight, he got huge chants during the opening ceremony, and here while Kross made his entrance, it made me feel bad for Kross since every other match was pretty respectable for everyone's entrance.
This was a clash of a back alley street fighter vs a trained fighter, and gladly, the match went that way. Gage went for some unrefined striking, and Kross would catch him and drop him. Gage did land a big headbutt and a Punt that hurt Kross, but training prevailed when Kross locked in a rear naked choke and passed out Gage. This wasn't that good, but it was short and explosive. Kross seemed really respectful of this concept of show.
Post-match - First, Gage was being a whiny sore loser for losing, once again taking away Kross's moment. He was the only person that acted that way throughout the show, which made him look more disrespectful to the show itself than being a 'badass'. I don't understand why Gage is one of the biggest names in the indies right now.
After that whiny wimp was gone, Kross took the mic and respectfully called out Batista to enter Bloodsport.
"Warmaster" Josh Barnett vs 'Dirty Daddy" Chris Dickinson - 8/10
Awesome battle. This spent most of the time on the mat, but there were some bumps here and there to break the monotony and bring in some momentum. Dickinson worked over Barnett's ribs and core most of the match, he obviously went for some leg or head offense here and there, but most of the heavy moves were landed to the ribs. Barnett's offense went for armbars and chokes a lot more, but at the end, while both men were now beat down, it was a striking exchange that ended the match when Barnett landed kick to a down Dickinson for the KO win.
Post-match - Dickinson cut a promo putting over Bloodsport and Barnett, who later closed the show thanking the crowd, thanking the wrestlers, saying that he still wants Moxley if 'the office' allows.
Awesome show, this is so different from what every other wrestling show is, that it just feels fresh, serious, and a chance of pace. Wrestlers here come off as bad-asses.
I don't really think there is any more improvements that can be done to this concept, but I would LOVE to see them incorporate an elimination by falling of the ring rule, I think it offers more drama and finishes than what we currently have when someone falls off.
PWG, EVOLVE, AAW, WWN, etc
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