The third edition of Josh Barnett's Bloodsport emanates lives from Indianapolis, IN, Sunday night with the debut of AEW World Champion Jon Moxley headlining the show.
Originally scheduled to face Barnett at Bloodsport in April, the ardent MMA fan will face Chris Dickinson instead. Dickinson headlined the second show in a losing effort to Barnett. Unless there is a surprise, the show's namesake will not be in action.
In another featured match, former MLW Champion and MMA fighter "Filthy" Tom Lawlor will look to pick up his first Bloodsport win when he faces the debuting Homicide. Lawlor has lost to Davey Boy Smith Jr. and WALTER at previous shows.
Smith Jr. will also be in action and will look to go 3-0 when he faces The North's Josh Alexander, making his Bloodsport debut.
The show will also feature regulars Simon Grimm vs. Matt Makowski, Calvin Tankman vs. Alexander James; Erik Hammer vs. Kal Jack, and a four woman tourney featuring Killer Kelly vs. Allysin Kay and Lindsay Snow vs. Leyla Hirsch.
Matches can only end in knockout or submission and are done in a ring with no ropes or turnbuckles.
The show begins at 8 PM Eastern.
The show kicked off with the entire card being brought out one by one with Jon Moxley, clad in all black and wrestling shoes, and Homicide getting huge pops as you might expect. Barnett came out and did a quick speech before we got into the show.
For some reason, the ring announcer's mic can only be heard through the camera mic which made it hard to hear what Barnett said. I'm not sure why indie shows can't figure out how to patch that through.
Simon Grimm (1-2) def. Matt Makowski (2-1) by knockout
Grimm came into this looking for his first Bloodsport win (0-2) while Makowski was looking to go to 2-0 after knocking out Rory Gulak at the second event.
Overall, this was a very even match with both guys looking good. Makowski is a former MMA fighter while Grimm has been committed to this new style since he parted ways with WWE. It wasn't much on flash but it did have substance.
This was a bit of a surprise ending as Grimm hit a half and half suplex that apparently briefly knocked out Makowski so the ref called it. Unfortunately, there was no replay.
Women's Tourney Semifinals: Allysin Kay (2-0) def. Killer Kelly (0-1) by submission
Kay knocked out Nicole Savoy in her first Bloodsport appearance while this was Kelly's first match. This is only the third women's match in Bloodsport history.
These two had good intensity, especially Kelly who had an especially crazed look with her mouthpiece. Overall, this was a a really good match that went two minutes too long.
In one spot, Kelly snuck out the back door and had a rear naked choke on Kay that nearly saw hier submit, but Kay went straight back to try to escape and the two eventually wanted to go on the feet. They had plenty of striking exchanges throughout the match that also helped add to the intensity.
The end came when Kay essentially figure four'd Kelly's head to get the submission, made even better by Kelly's wide eyes as it was happening. Again, no replays which is disappointing.
I'm always curious what first time Bloodsport viewers think of this format since it's so a change of pace.
Women's Tourney Semifinals: Lindsay Snow (1-1) def. Leyla Hirsch (0-1) by submission
This marked Hirsch's debut as she's an amateur wrestler fro Russia who has really made a name for herself on the indies in the last year while Snow was looking for her first win after losing to Sumie Sakai in the first ever women's Bloodsport match.
This one ended surprisingly quickly. While Hirsch held her own for a while, Snow's size was too much for Hirsch, ensnaring her in a heel hook for the tap following a Karelin lift. I would have loved to see a few minutes from Kay/Kelly get added to this one. That means Snow vs. Kay is set for the finals.
Calvin Tankman (1-0) def. Alexander James (0-1) by knockout
This was the Bloodsport debut for both men and the story was that Tankman went into this with no relevant experience while the wXw veteran James went into this with an advantage.
The match was meh, but the fans were really into Tankman from the start, especially as he got back into the match after James grounded him for so long. The end came when the two got into a striking battle and Tankman hit a right hand that knocked James down followed by some ground and pound for the stoppage. Given the reaction here, I'm looking forward to seeing how Tankman, who signed with MLW during the pandemic, will progress over the next year.
Erik Hammer (2-0) def. "Grizzly" Kal Jak (0-1) by submission
Hammer is the top student of Barnett so the story was the pressure was on him to perform here even though he went into this 1-0 in his Bloodsport career. This was the debut for Jak, the former NXT talent known as Cal Bishop.
Hammer, who looked like a light heavyweight version of Ox Baxer with a shaved head and fu manchu, was fundamentally sound throughout the bout with Jak staying in the game with big suplexes. Hammer submitted Jak with a double wristlock to end a perfectly fine match.
"Filthy" Tom Lawlor (1-2) def. Homicide (0-1) by submission
Like Tankman, Homicide came into this with no formal training while Lawlor has a podcast on this website and has teamed with Bryan Alvarez. He went into this looking for his first win after losses to WALTER and Davey Boy Smith.
These two were into it early, flipping each other off, spitting, and slapping each other. Lawlor was landing a slew of elbows standing which eventually knocked Homicide on his ass. He attempted to finish him off with a sliding dropkick, but Homicide grapped his leg and turned it into an STO in a cool spot.
Homicide made a good accounting for himself, mixing in his street fighting style in a way that made sense. One such moment was when Homicide started stomping flush on Lawlor's head which was almost a stoppage. Lawlor got fired up and locked in a front choke that almost submitted him before he hit an exploder suplex.
Homicide went for the Cop Killer, but Lawlor escaped, working into a seated half crab for the submission to end a really, really fun match.
Lenny Leonard, flying solo on the announcing, is very good. This is a much better audio experience than the second show.
Davey Boy Smith Jr. (3-0) def. Josh Alexander (0-1) by knockout
Alexander, the former Impact Tag Team Champion with Ethan Page, was making his Bloodsport debut against DBS who was looking to remain undefeated at Bloodsport.
Smith always looks physically in shape and that was certainly the case here. He got Alexander in trouble twice at the edge of the mat, once in an armbar that Alexander was able to escape and later in a sharpshooter that got broken up.
The end came when Smith landed two really hard looking forearms to Alexander's jaw that dropped him, followed by a stiff kick to the gut and a Liger Bomb for the knockout in a very quick match. Smith was dominant and surprisingly so. This was basically a squash.
Women's Tourney Finals: Lindsay Snow (2-1) def. Allysin Kay (2-1) by submission
Not only do both women have distinct looks, but they are very skilled with this form of wrestling which added to the quality. Most of this was spent on the mat with varying holds and very few strikes. Like a lot of the matches, the end came quickly as Snow got Kay in a heel hook for the quick tap, the tourney win, and Kay's first Bloodsport loss. I could see them running this back at the next show as a Bloodsport rivalry of sorts. This was fine, but I would have liked to see it go a few more minutes with at least one good striking exchange.
Jon Moxley (1-0) def. Chris Dickinson (1-3) by submission
This was Moxley's first Bloodsport appearance after he was supposed to fight Barnett at the canceled Bloodsport show in April. As expected, Moxley didn't come out with the AEW belt and came out to Hole's "Violet". Dickinson went into this at 1-2 with losses to Dan Severn and Barnett and a win over "The Butcher" Andy Williams.
The announcer put over how Dickinson was supposed to have a ton of big matches in April but the pandemic ruined it. However, with a win here tonight over a champion in two of the biggest wrestling companies in the world, he could write his own ticket.
This was pretty competitive throughout. In one of the bigger spots of the night, Moxley pushed Dickinson into the ring post but since there were no ring ropes, he fell all the way to the floor, giving him a brief edge. Later, he did a sliding shoulderblock to knock Dickinson outside the rig once again.
I realized halfway through the match that Moxley is wrestling live in a few days on the Dynamite show, adding to the physical risk of taking this book so close to AEW's anniversary show.
Dickinson regained control with a dragon screw legwhip and when after Moxley's left leg with kicks and a deadlift German suplex. The two did a great exchanged of forearms strikes, chops and a Moxley headbutt, but Dickinson roared back with two belly to back suplexes and a high kick that looked to knock the champion out. Dickinson landed some ground and pound and went for an armbar, but Moxley fought out.
Moxley got a front facelock into a double arm suplex, transitioning from a rear naked choke into the bulldog choke for the submission to end a very good and entertaining match.
Afterward, Moxley did a promo that was hard to understand because of the aforementioned microphone issue. He put over Dickinson, the other talents in the back, indie wrestling, and the fans in attendance.
This was a very well-paced and entertaining show at two hours and fifteen minutes, the best of the Bloodsport events I have seen. The Lawlor-Homicide match was my favorite, followed by Moxley-Dickinson. This style is hard to do a lot of matches with as there's often not enough variance to make each match feel different. They largely succeeded tonight with a very good show.