Wrestling Review: GCW Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport II (2019)

 

Live from the Showboat in Atlantic City, New Jersey, comes Game Changer Wrestling’s (GCW) Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport II, the third event overall under the Bloodsport title. Featuring a series of matches in a ring with no ropes, the only way to win is by knockout, submission or referee stoppage. Event promoter and former UFC legend, “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett will be in the main event, as he faces off against “Dirty Daddy” Chris Diskinson, whilst the owner of GCW as a whole, Nick Fucking Gage will do battle with Killer Kross in the semi main event. Other matches will include Davey Boy Smith Jr returning to the Bloodsport arena as he faces off against “Filthy” Tom Lawler, whilst Anthony Carelli, formerly known as WWE’s Santino Marella, will face off against Simon Grimm (formerly known as WWE’s Simon Gotch). The first ever women’s Bloodsport match will also take place, as Allysin Kay (also known as Impact Wrestling’s Sienna) will fight Nicole Savoy, as well as many more fights on the card.

+ Chris Dickinson vs Josh Barnett: this was fine, though it may have gone on a bit long. Like the Barnett/Minoru Suzuki match from the previous event, this was a long-form main event, with no real chance of ever ending with a flash knockout or submission like some others fights before it, but I think it suited the story they were telling. Dickinson is an underrated guy int he independent pro-wrestling scene, so I liked seeing him in the main event of this relatively big show
+ Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs Tom Lawlor: this was the absolute match of the night, and everything that Bloodsport should be. I loved every strike, every submission attempt, and every power move from both men. There’s not much else to say except that this was fantastic
+ Anthony Carelli (fka Santino Marella) vs Simon Grimm: Carelli, first and foremost, was looking super jacked. Grimm was easily the most hated performer on the show, a testament to his current bad-guy run in MLW among other places, but also due to just how much the crowd loved to see Carelli again, and that dynamic made for a great match to watch
+ Erik Hammer vs JR Kratos: unlike the opening bout, this was two big boys throwing bombs, with some surprising technical knowhow thrown in for good measure. I’ve often thought the massive JR Kratos was somewhat underrated as this new world of smaller pro-wrestlers took hold, and this was a good showing from both men
+ Anthony Henry vs Zachary Wentz: both men were fast and accurate(ish) with their strikes, so it made for a good opener to the event, if not something particularly special

Killer Kross vs Nick Gage: this was hugely disappointing, and seemed to serve entirely as the catalyst for a short post-match promo from the winner. I expected far more than I was given
Ikuhisa Minowa vs Timothy Thatcher: I love me some Timothy Thatcher, but this was a really boring match, and probably the worst of the show. I’m not even really sure why I didn’t like it so much, but i just felt like nothing was happening at all, all the way up to the very subdued finish
Allysin Kay (aka Sienna) vs Nicole Savoy: this was not particularly good. I was glad that these women went the submission-seeking route, because I could not take either of them throwing ‘hard strikes’ seriously. This was one of the weaker matches on the show, mostly down to the style, because I have seen Kay (as Sienna) in some good pro-wrestling matches

> the loss of Jon Moxley, scheduled to face Barnett, was a big one, but I think it turned out all right. If they can secure Moxley in the future, as he has now signed full time with AEW, then it might have been a blessing in disguise

Should you watch this event: Although the last event was not particularly great, and there were some real disappointments on this card, overall I still really like this presentation of fights. Obviously still done int he same vein as pro wrestling (wink wink), the MMA influences make everything feel more important, and whilst I can’t really buy the strikes themselves that lead to knockouts, it is such a unique type of show that I have to recommend it to any wrestling fan looking to get into MMA, and any MMA fan looking to see whether pro wrestling might be for them. And, of course, any fan of the particular athletes might just like to see their favourites in something a bit different.

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