Originally scheduled to take over Florida in March as part of Wrestlemania Weekend, Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) will instead host The Collective, a series of massive events featuring competitors from across All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Ring of Honor (ROH), Impact Wrestling, Black Label Pro, and many other independent promotions.
Arguably the most well-known and popular event for GCW is that of Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport, now into its third iteration. A hybrid of pro wresting and MMA, matches are fought on a ring mat with no ropes, with the only way to win being referee stoppage due to submission, knockout or disqualification. The main event will see Jon Moxley finally make his Bloodsport debut against the Dirty Daddy, Chris Dickinson, while the finals of the Bloodsport Women’s Tournament will also take place. Davey Boy Smith Jr will face Josh Alexander, Simon Grimm looks to earn his first Bloodsport win at the expense of Matt Makoswki, and “Filthy” Tom Lawlor will battle Homicide (yes, you read that correctly, god help us all). All of these fights and many more as GCW presents Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport III.
+ Jon Moxley vs Chris Dickinson: this was great. Moxley was a God of Violence to the crowd in attendance, and I am a fan of both guys’ work, so I was just happy to watch two men that respect each other tear themselves to pieces for my enjoyment. This match made the pro wrestling style of trading chops and elbows look good, and they kept their intensity up from the beginning of their entrances until the very end of the winner’s announcement
+ Bloodsport Women’s Tournament Final: this match between the winner of Allysin Kay/Killer Kelly and the winner of Lindsay Snow/Leyla Hirsch was another relatively short match, but once that I liked up to and including the really good ending. As both women here got into the match via submission, I am pleased to say that both of their submissions looked tight and legitimate, which is all you can ask for
+ Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs Josh Alexander: this was really short, and I hope that Alexander wasn’t genuinely rocked by something, but the finish made sense, the winner looked good overall and I liked it for what it was. DBS is another that really works this style well, and I hope to see more of him in these events going forward
+ Homicide vs “Filthy” Tom Lawlor: fuck yeah, this is the shit I came to see. Lawlor is one of the absolute best at this style, because he is a legit badass and knows how to carry himself in a fight. Homicide, meanwhile, might not have the sanctioned fight experience, but has most definitely been in a scrap or two of his own. Those aspects made for a thrilling fight to watch
+ Alexander James vs Calvin Tankman: god damn, Tankman is a star already. I’m a sucker for big bois at the best of times, and while I question whoever sanctioned this intra-weight class fight, it was a lot of fun. These two actually looked like they had some MMA training, or at least were able to fake it a bit better, and it made for a well worked fight
+ Allysin Kay vs Killer Kelly (Bloodsport Women’s Tournament Semifinal Match): I’m a big fan of Killer Kelly in wXw, so I had a personal favourite before the fight began. Allison Kay has the huge size advantage which made for a good match. This did start slow, but as they got into their groove it turned into a really good match with a finish that I thoroughly enjoyed
+ Simon Grimm vs Matt Makowski: this was fine, but perhaps not as heated a way to start the show as it could have been. Grimm is a Bloodsport mainstay over the past few editions, and has a nice groove for himself. I’m genuinely glad Grimm is doing well after being let got from WWE
+ this kind of event (that is, MMA instead of pro wrestling) really needs a good commentator to sell the action, and this show had one. I didn’t catch the commentator’s name, but he was really good in his role
– Erik Hammer vs Kal Jak: this one did not to it for me at all. I like Hammer’s look, but that’s about it
– Lindsay Snow vs Leyla Hirsch (Bloodsport Women’s Tournament Semifinal Match): I don’t know if I’m familiar with either of these women, but from the moment they made their entrance, I was a fan of both women. Snow just looks like a top killer in a world of pro wrestlers who all look like killers, and Hirsch looked good as a ‘legit’ shooter, especially with her unique physical appearance. Sadly, this was not a great showing for either woman in particular, though it got the point across
> Josh Barnett himself is injured, as far as I’m aware, hence him not appearing on the show in a previously announced match versus Moxley and being replaced by Dickinson. Ironically, it was Dickinson who replaced an injured Moxley against Barnett at the second iteration of the show. We’ll get Barnett vs Moxley one day, mates, I guarantee it
> since this aired in early-mid October, Layla Hirsch, Lindasay Snow and Allysin Kay have each appeared on AEW shows, with no complaints from me. Along with Top Flight on the most recent AEW Dynamite episode, it seems The Collective spotlighted a lot of great, young talent
Should you watch this event: I’ve mentioned in previous editions of this event that it’s hard to judge a fake sport in terms of real fighting, but also hard to judge real fighting moves in a fake sport. This was no exception, and while I don’t think any fights here will win any pro wrestling match of the year awards, Lawlor/Homicide, DBS/Alexander and Moxley/Dickinson were all great spectacles.