Opening Ceremony - It's the same with Barnett introducing the competitors. They all looked awesome, huge pop for Moxley. I personally LOVE this aspect of Bloodsport, not many things hype me up as seeing 12 badasses line up in the ring and Barnett promising violence. But having said that, this venue took out a lot of the atmosphere from previous years, it looks like shit and is mic'd even worse, if we can even call it mic'd, it's 2020, we know at this point that you need to feed the microphones on different channels so the broadcast comes off competent.
Simon Grimm vs. "Weapon X" Matt Makowski - 6/10
A good opener and taste of things to come, a lot of grapplefuck with some 'innovative' offense by Makowski. This was a bit of a grappler vs striker clash, Makoswki's strength being on his feet, so we got a chance to see Grimm showcase while on the mount, whereas Makowski looked fantastic when they stood up. Grimm won by KO with a half and half suplex, it came out of nowhere with no build, letting you know that KOs and submissions come when you least expect them. The move itself looked ugly, Grimm seemed to lose grasp of one arm mid move.
Women's Tournament Semi Final Match
"AK-47" Allysin Kay vs. Killer Kelly - 6/10
I don't know if KK came to the US to do some WWE work, or if she has other plans, but oh boy, to come all the way from Europe to lose an opening match at The Collective seems like a bad decision. I 100% don't know where she lives, but I assumed since she hasn't been on NXT. In addition, to have a show and not give all the wins to Killer Kelly also boggles my mind. She also reminded me that this year, we don't get a Thatcher match.
Match started with a LOT of measuring up, but once they started, it got considerably better. They worked each other's legs a lot, but Kelly was all out striking the shit out of AK face, every time Kelly got the offense, the match really picked up, her facials are awesome, her attacks look legit. And it's because of all of this that I got annoyed that AK won with leg scissors, not that the move can't finish you off, but Kelly was great and dominant, and AK just took the win. Feels like the wasted KK's booking.
Women's Tournament Semi Final Match
"The American Kaiju" Lindsay Snow vs. Leyla Hirsch - 6.5/10
There is ONE name that made an impression in me this weekend, of all The Collective shows, and that name is Leyla Hirsch. She is an ass kicker! I won't get to review that show, but her match with Josh Alexander was one of the best things all weekend. She is a Russian athlete, trained in the US, Germany, and Japan, her wrestling looks crisp and her strikes, at least in this show, looked stiff enough to make me wonder if they were shooting.
This was amateur wrestling vs BJJ, so just imagine, a ton of great grapplefuck and takedowns. Hirsch dominated in the floor until she got striky with Snow and Snow kicked her down, locked in a heel hook and submitted Hirsch. This was short and great and worth checking out to get a look at both women. It was definitely better use of each minute compared to the previous match.
AK-47 vs American Kaiju at the finals.
Alexander James vs. Calvin Tankman - 4.5/10
Tankman is another name that has been getting over this weekend, he got featured in several shows and the crowd liked. He's a 355lb 6'2" mean looking motherfucker. You could tell he had no martial arts training, but he just went for a brawl. There were some spots that made it seem like Tankman wanted to play MMA fighter instead of just being a brawler using his weight advantage, and those spots did felt really slow. So at the end, I was disappointed with the direction of the match, James may not be a brawler, and maybe THAT was the shortcoming, but it's easier to understand in a 'shoot' that Tankman would bring the brawler out of James, and not James making Tankman into a mat grappler. Final minute was better with both men just throwing punches at each other, but even then Tankman looked slow. Tankman won via KO. I'm starting to get the 'put the locals over' feeling out of this show.
Erik Hammer vs. Kal Jak - 7.5/10
Kal Jak's entrance attire is that of a furry hunter, I'd say bear hunter, but that attire looks pretty fake. Impressive looking dude, 6'6" dude that used to go by Cal Bishop in NXT and former NCAA All-American heavyweight wrestler, reminds me of a taller, thinner, Dr. Death Steve Williams. Hammer is a submission student of Barnett himself.
So we have the battle of a wrestler with perfect takedown ability taking on a dude that is trained to finish off people, and thus the question brought up by commentary, Kal can take down anyone, but does he have the ability to seal the deal with a submission specialist once they're down on the mat?
This legit looked like a fight, the grappling, the reversals, the striking. The match saw Kal rely a lot of takedowns to soften up Hammer, but as soon as Hammer got a good position on Kal, he locked in a double wrist-lock and submitted Kal. Favorite match so far.
Homicide vs. "Filthy" Tom Lawlor - 7.5/10
This brought me back to the Cide vs Dragon matches, except Lawlor's personality is not as precise and calm as Dragon's, and I guess also the difference that Lawlor is a great striker than can go toe-to-toe with Cide's striking. They went all out, back and forward for about 6 minutes, then we had a scary spot with Homicide stomping on Lawlo's head, looked terrible from my angle, but Lawlor recovered, countered the Gringo Killah, locked in a single crab and got the submission win. Awesome stuff.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. "The Walking Weapon" Josh Alexander - Dud
This was underwhelming, as good as the grappling was when it started, it really seemed like Josh came in for a squash. Alexander lost in 5 minutes to a Liger Bomb of all things after taking some strikes. This was a match up that probably had a lot of people hyped and with big expectations, and we didn't get shit. If you wanna see Josh Alexander work, you have a better chance at watching his match with Leyla Hirsch or any Impact episode, and as for Davey Boy, well, he hadn't wrestled since March, so I don't even know where to point you towards.
Women's Tournament Final Match
"Ak-47" Allysin Kay vs. "The American Kaiju" Lindsay Snow - 5/10
AK changed her attire. This was kinda sad for the competitors, there was a dude really excited to chant for AK, and the crowd just started chanting for him to shut the fuck up, and it happened when the women were mat wrestling and it kinda seemed like it bothered them that the fans were not paying attention, even if they were. At that point on, Snow started going for more strikes to regain the attention and a minute later, she locked in a heel hook and submitted AK to win the tournament.
Pretty meh match, a lot of grappling that wasn't allowed to hit a plateau. This went a total of 5 and a half minutes and it felt like they left a lot of potential off the table. Like some other people that have mentioned something similar of other matches, it wasn't bad because it was short, it was bad because it wasn't allowed to grow to the finish. It's fake and even short 'shoot' stuff can be made exciting.
Post-match - Barnett came out to give Snow the trophy.
Jon Moxley vs. Chris Dickinson - 8/10
This was great. Dickinson came in with a chip on his shoulder, knowing that was his biggest match of his career, a champion in two of the top level promotions in the world, and sure as hell, wasn't going to allow Mox to outshine him and slap him around. In that same venue, Mox can't have his big return to indie wrestling and get slapped around either.
They started with a lot of mat grappling with Moxley having the upper hand for the most part, but as the match went on, Dickinson got a desperation deadlift German on Moxley and finally turned things around. Dickinson and Mox fired up and started trading strikes in the middle of the ring. Dickinson got a couple of tosses on Mox, got the mount and came close to finishing up Mox with strikes, people were eating it up, but Mox recovered and choked out Dickinson with a deep choke.
I'm not the biggest Dickinson fan out there, he's an amazing talent but he's a hit and miss for me depending who he wrestles. A lot of the mat wrestling here felt out of the stuff that I like from Dickinson, but it worked nicely to build his comeback up. Mox you could tell has been watching Suzuki's G1 Climax, because aside from mat wrestling, he looked like he was mirroring Suzuki.
Post-match - Moxley cut a promo putting over the indie scene and the young talent that is coming up. Mox put Dickinson over hard, I think he finishes this weekend becoming a bigger star if it even means anything now a days, but he feels like the next guy that will likely get the AEW rub.
This was really up and down, I really liked a lot of the in-ring work, but the booking felt like I was watching the Barnett & buddies nepotism show. Nothing against ANY of the winners, I like them all, there wasn't a single competitor tonight that I don't like, BUT I can't ignore the selection of winners and their way to victory.
This was a fun easy watch, definitely felt like the main event of The Collective, surely over Spring Break 4 which had a really underwhelming card, but not my favorite Bloodsport so far. I thought it had a really strong roster, and that is saying something since they lacked the usual Japanese counterpart, but like I mentioned, the booking kinda bothered me.
One last thing that I have to say, after 6+ months of not hearing people chant, and Japan working a clap only audience, it REALLY bothered me hearing those couple of jackasses doing chants on this show.