What’s better than one Bloodsport a year? Two Bloodsports, of course. This year, Game Changer Wrestling has seen fit to bless us with another event, once again hosted by the Warmaster and filled to the brim with hard-hitting, ropeless mayhem. It’s one of my favorite shows of the year and I’m always down to watch a Bloodsport.
Before we go further, let’s go back to that that brim-filling for a second. There are 10 matches on this show. Why? Heck if I know.
For some reason, we’ve hit this point in modern pro-wrestling where every company seems not to be only competing for dollars and eyeballs, but also for the title of “World’s Longest Show.” Leaving the audience wanting more seems to have been replaced with leaving them so full they don’t want to watch wrestling again for a week.
Is Bloodsport 2 the worst offender? Probably not. But this trend has got to go. If there’s any show that should be tight and compact, it’s this one.
In lieu of breaking down every single match in detail (which would be difficult given that none of them have any build at all, some of the participants are rather obscure, and, again, there’s too many of them), I’ll highlight some things I’m looking forward to on the show and why you should consider making Bloodsport part of your weekend.
No More Jokes
Yes, Santino Marella is competing on Bloodsport. What a time to be alive. What most people don’t know is that he wasn’t always a comedy act. Carelli started training judo at age 9 and was a wrestler in high school. He started wrestling on the indies and within a year had made his way to Japan and wrestled for Battlarts, a shoot-style promotion much like what we’ll be seeing Saturday. According to Carelli, he is 6-1 as a mixed martial artist. Only the 1 has been confirmed.
Bloodsport will likely be the first time that many fans see Carelli in the shooter role. I know it will be mine. I’m excited to see what he’s got.
An interesting twist on this one is the combination with Simon Grimm, another former WWE performer who was never taken particularly seriously during his run there. Here’s an opportunity for these two guys to go out and show off what they can do when they get to play to their true strengths.
If Carelli looks great here and can carry menace, toughness, and violence, he may be the all-time example of “never show Vince McMahon you have any comedic timing.”
Ladies Can Do Stuff Now Too
For the first time, women are throwing down on a Bloodsport show with two matches. Lindsay Snow takes on Sumie Sakai and Allysin Kay squares off with Nicole Savoy. Of the two, Kay vs Savoy jumps off the page for me.
Allysin Kay and Nicole Savoy both have styles that should fit in well. Savoy, the “Queen of Suplexes”, has an obvious hook for this event. Kay is a hard-hitting bully. I’m sold! I never saw their SHIMMER Title match, but I heard it was good. This one should be as well.
If you’re not familiar with Minowaman, boy have you been missing out. Ikuhisa Minowa gained most of his notoriety fighting for PRIDE in the 2000s where he basically checked every box to be a fan favorite in the Japanese MMA scene.
- Entertaining entrances? Check.
- Interesting outfit? Your man’s out here in red tights and a mullet.
- Exciting fights? How many people have you seen throw a dropkick in a shoot fight?
- Down to fight anyone? Homie’s barely a middleweight and he’s out there fighting heavyweights, giants, Butterbean.
Now, was Minowa a great fighter? Oh, heavens no, but he made every card he was on better.
At Bloodsport, Minowa meets Timothy Thatcher. Thatcher has never really done much for me personally, but I liked his match with Suzuki at the last Bloodsport show. Expect this to be another submission-heavy battle. And soak in all that is the glorious Minowaman.
The Blood in Bloodsport
Alert, Nick Gage is wrestling at Bloodsport. I repeat, Nick Gage is wrestling at Bloodsport.
The clearest analog to this is Masashi Takeda’s appearance at the last show against Jonathan Gresham. That match ABSOLUTELY RULED. Of course, Kross isn’t as much of a mat wrestler as Gresham, but that’s a feature, not a bug, baby. You may recall that Nick Gage competed at the first Bloodsport against Timothy Thatcher and it did not work at all. They made Nick Gage have a Timothy Thatcher match with a little brawling around the ring and it just didn’t work. With Kross, I doubt they will make that same mistake.
What specifically the match will look like is anyone’s guess. We’ve entered into rather uncharted territory here. I do know that Gage always brings full effort and Kross can have a good match in this environment. I’ll be really surprised if this match isn’t a blast. The strikes will be stiff. The pace will be quick. This is my kind of match and it’s the one I’m looking forward to the most. Fingers crossed we don’t get the Thatcher match redux.
Match of the Night
If I had to pick an early favorite for match of the night, it’s clearly Tom Lawlor vs Davey Boy Smith Jr. A couple big dudes who know how to work and know how to shoot. Filthy already had a fantastic match in Bloodsport against WALTER. These two are set up to steal the show.
If there’s going to be a Match of the Year Contender on this show, my money’s on this being it.
The Main Event
The biggest bummer about this show is the main event we lost, Josh Barnett vs Jon Moxley. There’s lots of “Match you never thought you’d see” examples with Moxley since his departure, but this was the one that really fried my brain. It was just such a crazy pairing that seemed completely impossible. It was a match I didn’t know I even wanted until they announced it.
Then, of course, we lost it.
The real story of the main event now is the replacement, Chris Dickinson, who has had an interesting history at these shows. His first match was against Dan Severn and wasn’t great and had a weird finish. His second match was against Andy Williams, who is still getting his wrestling career going and it was a fun sprint, if not a bit sloppy.
This Saturday, Dickinson gets an opportunity to wrestle at Bloodsport and do it against someone who not only is on his level, but in this environment may even supercede him. You could make an argument that this is the most high profile match he’s ever had.
Instead of a dream match between two stars, Bloodsport is capped by a match that may just make a new one.