GCW Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 7
October 22, 2021
Ukrainian Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA
Participant Introductions - Great as always, they kinda rushed over them because we have a packed card tonight. Suzuki and Dickinson were the final two and got into a stare down. Dickinson had cut a promo introducing the show and putting over all the competitors tonight, but he ended it by calling out Suzuki and getting in a small shoving exchange that got cut off by the Barnett and Kratos.
Lenny Leonard and Rocky Romero on commentary duties tonight.
Starboy Charlie vs. Yoya - 6.5/10
Starboy is usually a spot monkey on your usual GCW show, but both guys did a really good job with the worked MMA style. They did have a couple of spots that were a bit spotty, like Yoya locking in an armbar after taking three Germans back-to-back. Yoya won with a PK and punches for the TKO.
Zeda Zhang vs. KZT - 5/10
Good match overall, but Zhang was a bit too pro wrestling when they hit the ground. Her standing strikes were good and close to the body, but when they hit the mat, Zhang was all over the place and all of her escapes from KZT's grappling looked worked. KZT has some legit training, so every time you saw Zhang get offense, it just felt fake. The finish was actually kinda dumb, KZT got Zhang into a crucifix pin for some reason, and Zhang just punched her way into a referee stoppage.
Royce Isaacs vs. Clark Connors - 7/10
This was really good and I honestly have to give it to Isaacs, he looked fantastic. Connors picked it up towards then end when he locked in the sleeper for the submission win, but up until then, he had been slow. Mat work was definitely the best thing about this.
Erik Hammer vs. Bad Dude Tito - 7.5/10
I love me some Hammer, there is not a Bloodsport show that Hammer isn't great in. This was great, both guys got really good takedowns, Hammer was fantastic in the mat, and Tito was good enough to keep up, but as the match went on, you could really notice how Hammer is just levels above Tito.
This match had the first 'out of ring' of the night and the crowd popped for it.
Marina Shafir vs. Masha Slamovich - 7/10
Shafir was FREAKING awesome! She's legit, but she sold that legitimacy to the point. I have no idea how you can have someone like her on your roster and not figure out how to make money with her. Masha has been making a name in the indies as a badass, and even if this wasn't a squash or anything like that, Shafir was the true badass of the night.
They did have a well placed wrestling spot here when both women grappled out of the ring and Masha took advantage to sneak a kick and a with dive on Shafir, she just wasn't able to capitalize back in the ring. Shafir ended up winning with a Muffler Slam into a Triangle Hold for the tap out.
Post-match - Zeda Zhang challenged Shafir to a fight on Bloodsport 8. I was kinda hoping for Shafir vs KZT, but I now trust Shafir can carry Zhang.
JR Kratos vs. Calvin Tankman - 6/10
I haven't been the biggest fan of Tankman on Bloodsport, he likes to grapple and I think that's a detriment to him, he's great when he brawls and when he explodes, but his grappling rarely looks good. This was the most 'pro wrestling' match so far tonight, there were several spots where they failed to show the urgency of a real fight. Finish was great though, Kratos caught Tankman with a surprise knee that staggered Tankman, followed by a diving punch that sealed the deal.
I also wasn't a fan of how quickly Tankman stood up after being 'knocked out'.
Tom Lawlor vs. Alex Coughlin - 8.5/10
Lawlor came out dressed exactly like Coughlin, he even had the mustache. Romero said that it wasn't just Coughlin, but he was disrespecting the whole NJPW Dojo system.
This was great. It was all about how Coughlin is developing a similar style to Lawlor, but what he lacks in experience, he makes it up with sheer power. So the match saw them start with great grappling and a bit of mirroring spots, but as it went on, Lawlor started to chase a Kimura, that Coughlin was only able to escape by overpowering Lawlor and slamming him, but that only lasted so far before Lawlor locked in a guillotine into the omoplata into a heel hook tapped out Coughlin.
Davey Richards vs. Yuya Uemura - 8/10
This was great. It was interesting seeing Uemura in an environment that was outside of what he usually trains for. He has the ability and amateur experience, but he rarely gets to show it at this level, especially against someone as intense as Davey Richards. The story of the match was mostly that Uemura lacked the experience to close a match against someone like Richards, he knew the moves, but he had trouble adapting out of the school taught moves, Uemura's experience is in amateur wrestling, while Richards' BJJ proficiency had him well prepared to counter Uemura.
There was a spot here where Uemura played possum and caught Davey with a shotgun dropkick. Uemura got some offense, but wasn't able to capitalize and Richards turned the match around.
Crowd booed for the first time tonight, they really wanted to see Uemura take the W tonight. You watch a performance like this and there is no doubt that Uemura is the future of NJPW once his excursion ends.
Josh Barnett vs. Tiger Ruas - 7.5/10
This is Ruas' first match after being released from the Fed, and while I can also make the same argument as I did with Shafir, I think Ruas is just too legit for WWE to even figure out how to use someone like him and make him an entertainer.
Watching this match, I find it hard to believe these two were not shooting as far as they could without risking a legit finish. In the latter minutes of the match you could tell that when someone was on their guard, it had been given without as much struggle as the first minutes of the match.
Spot of the match was Ruas' Capoera kick into a German, it was hot enough that following it with a strike exchange and Barnett hitting a Michinoku Driver of all things just felt right. Barnett won with an armbar right after that Michinoku Driver.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Chris Dickinson - 7.5/10
This was interesting, there is a point early on that Suzuki was pushed off the ring and he gave zero fucks, he played the crowd, he challenged Suzuki to come to the floor, and once back in the ring, I think Dickinson may have felt a bit shown off and kinda picked up the intensity on Suzuki. I can't imagine that Dickinson wouldn't get worked into losing his cool so easily, I'm sure that it was all on purpose, but this happened a couple of times when Suzuki does his signature smile.
The match was for the most part a more mat based Suzuki match. They did all the usual striking, but they kept going back to the mat where Dickinson had most of his offense. Story saw Suzuki initially not take Dickinson seriously, but later on, Suzuki got tired that this kid wanted to pick a fight with him, and so he got more vicious. Dickinson managed to rock Suzuki a bit towards the end, but Suzuki got him, locked in an heel hook and tapped out Dickinson.
Really good show for Bloodsport. These still lack that ambience of the first two or the empty arena ones, but I think this was one of the best Bloodsport shows I've seen, if not the best altogether.
PWG, MLW, AAW, WWN, etc
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