RADICAN’S 4/4 GCW “Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport” report – Mir vs. Severn , Barnett vs. Suzuki

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist



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RADICAN’S GCW “JOSH BARNETT’S BLOODSPORT” REPORT
APRIL 4, 2019
JERSEY CITY, N.J.
WHITE EAGLE HALL
AIRED LIVE ON FITE.TV

Commentators: Denver Colorado and Kevin Gill

Rich Pallidino introduced the show to an enthusiastic crowd. The crowd started a GCW chant. Pallidino went over The Bloodsport code of contest. A contest can only end via ref stoppage and not via pinfall. If the opponents find themselves on the edge or the outside of the ring, the official will bring them back to the center. There are no rope breaks or count outs. The contest must end inside the ring. Pallindo told the crowd what was prohibited in the matches and the fans booed.

This show is a hybrid of pro wrestling and MMA.

(1) “THE NEW YORK BADASS” PHIL BARONI vs. “THE BONE COLLECTOR” DOMINIC GARRINI

Garrini wore a gui and represented Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Baroni wore some very small briefs and MMA gloves. Garrini tried to get Baroni to get down on the mat with him, but Baroni gave him a light slap across the face. Baroni got the better of Garrini and got a nice takedown. He got on top of Garrini. He hit some punches to the gut from the mount. Garrini nearly got an arm submission from his back, but Baroni got away. Baroni backed up from Garrini and called a timeout. The fans chanted Phil Jaboni. Garinni went after Baroni’s arm on the mat. Baroni blocked it and got to Garinni’s eyes, but the ref didn’t see it. Baroni nailed Garrini with a big punch to the face and then mocked the rules by going for a lazy pin. Garrini eventually got up and took another big punch. Baroni went after the ref. The announcers called for him to throw out the match, but he gave Garrini the standing 10 count.

After the match, Baroni tried to make Garrini raise his hands, so the ref ended up reversing the decision and giving the match to Garrini.

WINNER: Dominic Garrini via reverse decision in 10:00

(Radican’s Analysis: This was fine. Baroni acted like a jerk throughout the match and dominated Garinni with his striking for the most part. The reverse decision finish wasn’t very exciting.)

(2) “THE MOST FEARED” J.R KRATOS vs. SIMON GRIMM 

Grimm is at a big size disadvantage. Both men bumped fists before going at it. Both men ended up near the edge of the ring, so the official stopped the match and brought both men back to the center of the ring. Grimm got the upper hand on the mat and hit a big elbow to Kratos’s ear. Kratos and Grimm ended up near the edge of the ring again, so the ref brought them back to the center. Both men went at it on the mat, but ended up near the edge of the ring again. The ref tried to break them up and Grimm looked upset. Grimm told Kratos to hit him on the chin. Kratos nailed him with a big chop and Grimm fired back with a big jumping kick to the head. Kratos got Grimm’s back and then when he tried to flip over, he went after Grimm’s arm on the mat. They went back and forth and Kratos hit a big throw. He then got on Grimm’s side and tried to work for an arm submission. Grimm reversed it and got a headscissors. Kratos hit a big forearm as both men tried to get to their feet. He got on top of Grimm and hit a punch before working a headlock. Kratos worked a choke from the rear. Grimm fired up and elbowed his way out of Krato’s grip, but Kratos got the choke again. Grimm used his legs to break free from Kratos. Kratos went for an arm bar, but Grimm held his arms together.

Grimm rolled on top of Kratos and went for a big elbow, but ended up in a head and arm choke. Grimm tried to stand up with Kratos and he managed to drive him down into the mat to break the hold. Grim hit a flurry of open hand strikes to the head. He went for a Gotch, but Kratos got out of it. They went back and forth and Grimm went for an arm submission. Kratos rolled on top of him to block the hold. Kratos hit a big one arm powerbomb and a diving elbow to the head. Grimm looked to be out and Kratos set up for another move, but the ref stopped the match.

WINNER: J.R. Kratos in 9:00 via ref stoppage (***¼)

(Radican’s Analysis: It’s hard to rate these matches since they’re so different from what you usually see in the ring. This was very good. Both men did a nice job of putting out a realistic hard-hitting fight with some good submission work on the mat.)

(3) KILLER KROSS vs. DAVEY BOY SMITH JR.

Both men shook hands after the opening bell rang. Both men traded leg kicks during the early going. They went down to the mat and Smith went for a choke from the back on the mat. They ended up near the edge of the ring and the ref made them stand up and the fans applauded. Smith took Kross down with a single leg, but Kross managed to reverse it and he got on top of Smith. Smith got on top of Kross and Kross tried to work an arm submission from his back, but Smith got out of it and got the mount. He tried to hit some strikes from the mount, but Kross reversed it. Kross went for a leg submission and Smith nearly got the sharpshooter. Both men ended up rolling to the side of the ring and they were forced to break their respective holds. The fans fired up for the reset. They went at it on the mat again with both men trying to go for submissions at the same time. Smith tried to position and went for an armbar. Smith smiled and didn’t break the hold immediately and the ref yelled at him, but did not give Kross the decision.

Smith went for a keylock on the mat. He continued to work the for the submission, but Kross used his momentum and both men ended up rolling near the edge of the ring and the ref reset them. Smith got a nasty looking arm submission, but Kross rolled both men towards the edge of the ring and te ref broke them apart. The fans booed as Kross looked to have escaped a sure loss. Both men jawed at each other and Kross took Smith down and went for a rear naked choke. Smith tried to block the hold. Smith got an ankle submission, but Kross drove his knee into Smith ribs. Smith hit some big palm strikes from the top, but Smith got out of it and tied up both of Kross’s arms. They broke apart and began exchanging blows. Smith blocked a kick and Kross appeared to favor his leg. Smith lifted up Kross and hit a big blow to his ear. Smith wound up like a pitcher and slapped Kross across the face. Kross stumbled and fired back. Both men began trading big slaps to the face. Kross nailed smith with a KO kick. He then hit a big suplex on Smith. The fans fired up and Kross favored his ear before lifting Smith up to his feet. Kross hit a glancing blow with another roundhouse attempt. Both men traded kicks and Smith hit a kick to to Kross’s knee. He then hit a kick to his face. Kross tried to fire back and they traded some big slaps. Smith ducked a kick and hit a delayed Saito Suplex. Smith then locked in the crossface and Kross tapped out.

WINNER: Davey Boy Smith Jr. in 13:00 (***¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a really good hard-hitting match. This is a really fun style of wrestling to watch, as the matches seem like real fights. Both men brought it in this match and it the crowd really enjoyed the back and forth submissions and striking.)

Both men shook hands after the match. Smith left the ring and Kross got a big ovation from the crowd.

It was announced the next match had a 20 minute time limit. Jonathan Gresham and Masashi Takeda both came out to big pops.

(4) JONATHAN GRESHAM vs. MASASHI TAKEDA

Gresham is a technical wrestler and Takeda is a death match guy. Gresham went after Takeda’s leg on the mat. Takeda tried to take Gresham down when he stood up, but Gresham went down with him and managed to stay on top. Takeda ended up getting a leg submission and Gresham went to the floor, so the ref reset them. They went at it on the mat and both men spilled to the floor. The announcer yelled that the ref didn’t do his job. Both men yelled at each other and began slapping each other in the face. Takeda got a chair and the ref got in his way. Takeda was bleeding from his eyebrow after the fall to the floor. The intensity picked up as both men went at it back inside the ring. It was announced that 5 minutes had passed in the time limit. The fans tried to rally behind Takeda. Gresham hit several slaps and they went back and forth. Gresham went after his eye, but the ref didn’t do anything about it. Takeda fired back and got on top of Gresham and hit several blows. The fans chanted GCW as Takeda told Gresham to get up. Gresham was on wobbly legs. Gresham hit a huge kick that Takeda didn’t see coming. Both men went for punches and Takeda hit a punch and then a big knee to Gresham’s head. The ref called for the bell and that was it. WOW!!!

Winner: Masashi Takeda in 7:00 (***½)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a match that started like the others, but once they went to the floor and Takeda came up bleeding, Takeda went crazy and wiped out Gresham in the end with a HUGE knee. That was crazy.)

It was announced that the next match would have a 20 minute time limit.

Andy Williams is the lead singer of Every Time I Die. The announcers said his opponent, Chris Dickison, resented Williams for using his fame to bolster his wrestling career. Dickinson got a good pop coming out for his entrance. The announcers said Tom Lawler was supposed to be facing Williams and he wasn’t happy about being a replacement in this match.

(5) ANDY WILLIAMS (w/Braxton Sutter) vs. CHRIS DICKINSON 

Both men ended up trading some bombs right after the bell opened. Dickinson hit some big kicks and the fans fired up as both men swung for the fences. Williams got the upper hand and hit a big powerbomb. Williams got the mount and tried to get some wind after emptying his tank during the early going. Dickinson fired back and hit some strikes from the top position, but Williams reversed it and hit a knee. Williams got a side mount and tried to work on Dickinson’s arm. Williams deadlifted Dickinson and hit a gutwrench suplex. Dickinson reversed Williams on the mat a short time later and hit some big krate chops from the mount. Williams stood up and tried to shake Dickinson off, but Dickinson held on and got the choke for the tapout win.

WINNER: Chris Dickinson via tapout in 4:00

Both men shook hands after the match. The fans chanted for Dickinson and the announcers said Dickinson had earned himself a permanent spot on Bloodsport in the future.

(Radican’s Analysis: This was short, but really good while it lasted.)

(6) FRANK MIR (w/Phil Baroni) vs. DAN SEVERN

Severn took Mir down and got a gator roll. Severn got side control, but MIr got out of it and they came to a stalemate on their feet. Severn got on top of Mir on the mat, but Mir countered and grabbed Severn’s leg. Mir worked the hold and got a quick tapout.

Both men shook hands after the match and Severn raised Mir’s hand.

Mir got on the mic and said this was his first ever match and he showed respect to Severn. Mir hinted that he was going to be ready for Brock in a wrestling ring. The fans chanted sign him Regal as Mir left.

WINNER: Frank Mir in 3:00 via tapout

(Radican’s Analysis: This was a good way to show that a match can end at anytime, although other matches had ended suddenly, this was surprisingly quick. Mir’s post-match promo was good as well.)

The following match has a 20 minute time limit.

(7) TIMOTHY THATCHER vs. HIDEKI SUZUKI 

Thatcher went after Suzuki’s arm during the early going. Thatcher tried to work an arm submission, but Suzuki fired back and snapped Thatcher’s left leg down. Thatcher sold his leg before both men went at it in the middle of the ring. They went back and forth on the mat. Suzuki got the upper hand and went after Thatcher’s arm. They continued to go back and forth on the mat. Thatcher got a half crab. He then really sat down on the hold. Suzuki grabbed his leg and took Thatcher down. He went after Thatcher’s leg and tried up both of his legs. Thatcher got out of it, but Suzuki grabbed his leg again. Thatcher slapped Suzuki across the face, but he didn’t release the hold. Thatcher sat up and Suzuki hit a headbutt. Thatcher fired back with one of his own. Suzuki stood up and stomped right down on Thatcher’s head. Suzuki hit several kicks on Thatcher and then hit a HUGE kick to his chest. Thatcher fired back with an enzuguri and went after Suzuki’s arm. They went at it on the mat and Suzuki just punched Thatcher in the face.

Thatcher got to his feet and they began exchanging blows. Thatcher hit a big uppercut and went for a gutwrench at the 10 minute mark. He got Suzuki up and hit a gutwrench suplex. Thatcher went after Suzuki’s ribs while working for an arm submission, but Suzuki escaped. Both men traded blows. Thatcher hit a jumping kick. He got on top of Suzuki and hit some blows, but Suzuki tossed him off. Suzuki hit a huge forearm and went for another, but Thatcher tried to turn it into an arm submission. Suzuki fired up and dropped Thatcher’s ribs over his knees. He then lifted Thatcher and hit a big throw and Thatcher was out.

After the match, Suzuki told Thatcher to get up and then threw a towel in his face. Thatcher offered his hand and Suzuki shook it. Thatcher was left alone in the ring and the fans chanted for him.

WINNER: Hideki Suzuki in 12:00 (***1/2)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was good. The fans were invested as they went back and forth on the mat before Suzuki just hit a big throw and dmped Thatcher on his head for the sudden win.)

They announced a 20 minute time limit for the Minoru Suzuki vs. Josh Barnett main event.

Minoru Suzuki came out first to a big pop. The fans chanted Suzuki’s name when his music stopped. Josh Barnett was out next. The fans chanted Bloodsport before the formal introductions for the main event. Suzuki was introduced and he tried to get in Barnett’s face, but the ref held him back. The fans started a big Suzuki chant. Barnett was introduced and the ref managed to get them to separate. The bell rang and the fans applauded.

(8) MINORU SUZUKI vs. JOSH BARNETT

Both men scrambled on the mat for position early and came to a stalemate. The announcers mentioned that Hornswoggle was in the crowd watching the match. The announcers said GCW had a venue secured for WrestleMania weekend next year in Tampa. Barnett tried to take down Suzuki, but Suzuki got on top of him and got a headscissors on the mat and the fans applauded. Barnett managed to get out of it and he got Suzuki’s back. He then began working over Suzuki’s leg. Suzuki got a leg submission, but Barnett scrambled and got on top of him to alleviate the pressure. Suzuki got on top of Barnett from the back and smiled. The fans fired up and Suzuki worked over Barnett’s chin as the five minute mark passed. Suzuki got an ankle lock and Barnett tried to get out of it by rolling through, but Suzuki got his back and went for a choke.

Barnett got an arm submission and it looked like Suzuki might have to tap, but he got out of it. Suzuki got a chinlock and cranked away at it, but Barnett lifted him and hit a suplex and the fans applauded. Barnett hit a big running kick. He got on top of Suzuki and tried to hit several palm strikes from the mount, but Suzuki blocked them. Suzuki suddenly got a knee bar and Barnett screamed as the fans applauded. Suzuki got a hold of both legs and began trying to set up another submission, but he let it go and hit some big knees to the gut. He then hit a huge forearm to Barnett’s head. Barnett staggered to his feet and shook it off and the fans applauded. Barnett hit a big knee and they began trading bombs. Barnett hit a knee to Suzuki’s head and threw him to the mat. Suzuki fired back and hit a series of big knees to the head. Barnett appeared to be rocked. Suzuki set up for the Gotch piledriver, but Barnett blocked it. Suzuki tried to get him up again, but Barnett blocked it yet again. Barnett fired back and kicked away at Suzuki’s head. He then grabbed Suzuki’s leg before grabbing a side choke.

The fans chanted for Suzuki not to tap. The ref checked Suzuki’s arm and he fired up on the third attempt at dropping. A big Suzuki chant rang out through the building. They got to their feet and Suzuki suddenly hit a backdrop driver. Suzuki went to get a chair, but they were tied together and he couldn’t bring it into the ring. Suzuki spilled to the floor and kicked the ref away. He dragged Barnett to the floor. The ref tried to stop him, but Suzuki hit him. He then grabbed a chair and hit Barnett with it. Barnett no-sold the chairshot and nailed Suzuki with a kick. The 15 minute mark passed with Barnett hitting several knees to Suzuki’s head. He then worked another side headlock. Barnett continued to work over Suzuki with the ref still down on the outside. Both men battled for position an Barnett hit a big suplex. The ref recovered and the announcers thought the ref would call the match, but he didn’t. Both men began exchanging blows from their knees with three minutes left in the match. Suzuki told Barnett to bring it. They got to their feet and continued to exchange blows. Suzuki almost tumbled to the floor, but he smiled and stuck out his tongue. He grabbed Barnett and blasted him with a forearm. Barnett then returned the favor. THe fans booed as Suzuki wobbled. The fans asked for quiet and Suzuki smiled and then plastered Barnett with a forearms. Both men fired up and traded headbutts. Barnett went down to a knee with one minute left in the time limit. Both men continued to trade bombs. They traded slaps with 30 seconds left and the fans began applauding. The time limit wound down as they continued to trade slaps. Both men swung for the fences as the time limit expired. WOW!

The fans chanted for five more minutes. Suzuki indicated that he did not want five more minutes, but then he said he wanted five more minutes and the bell rang.

FIVE MINUTE OVERTIME

The fans chanted GCQ as both men went at it again. Suzuki shook over a HUGE spinning kick. Barnett hit a German and Suzuki began getting up to his feet again, but he ended up collapsing. Barnett then grabbed a choke and the fans booed. The fans started a big Suzuki chant as he tried to fight out of the rear naked choke. Suzuki began to fade and the ref checked his arm. Suzuki stuck his tongue out and smiled! WOW! He then bit Barnett’s arm and head. The ref let it go as the announcers questioned it. Suzuki grabbed a leg submission and bit Barnett’s foot. The fans chanted you sick f–k. Suzuki got up and told Barnett to get to his feet.

They talked trash in Japanese to each other and began exchanging blows with two minutes remaining in the time limit. Suzuki got the octopus hold and the fans applauded. The fans chanted for Barnett to tap, but he collapsed to the mat. Suzuki got a nasty arm submission from the back, but Barnett got out of it. The fans booed as the announcers said there was one minute left. The fans chanted fight forever. Suzuki grabbed Barnett’s leg with 30 seconds left. Both men worked leg submissions as the overtime period expired.

WINNER: No winner at 25:00 – Time Limit draw (****¾)

(Radican’s Analysis: This was incredible. The only thing missing was a winner, which the fans wanted to see badly. The match was just a war from start to finish with great submissions on the mat and striking exchanges on their feet. The overtime period was great and the crowd was red hot. It’s just disappointing there wasn’t a winner, but perhaps they’ll do a rematch next year.

The ref gave Suzuki a lot of leeway, as he broke the rules frequently and the announcers did a good job of saying the match should be thrown out at certain times, but the ref was using his discretion to let them continue)

The fans booed as both men wouldn’t let go of the hold. The fans chanted let them fight at both men. Both men broke apart and were down on the mat. The announcer announced a time limit draw and the fans booed. Both men got to their feet and the fans applauded. They went face-to-face and shook hands and hugged. They raised each other’s hands as the fans chanted GCW.

Suzuki and Barnett went down to the mat and bowed to each other as the fans chanted Bloodsport. They hugged and the fans chanted thank you both. Suzuki’s music played to close the show.

Overall thoughts: (9.0) – This show was a blast to watch from start to finish. It felt like all of the matches could end at anytime and most of them did have sudden finishes. The crowd was hot and the show was laid out so well to establish the unique rules for the show and they built the importance of the rules match by match and it gave the main event a ton of heat.

Every match on the show was good and felt like a real fight given the hybrid wrestling/MMA theme of the show. The main event was the great and it went almost twice as long as all of the other matches on the card. The crowd went nuts for the submission and strike exchanges between Barnett and Suzuki.

Overall, this show is a must-see event from GCW. The crowd is read hot. Every match had me on the edge of my seat wondering who would win, and the main event sent the fans home on such a high note. Kudos to GCW for putting the card together so well to ensure that the rules mattered and the matches could end at anytime, which made the main event that much more exciting, as both Barnett and Suzuki seemed poised to win the match only for one of them to escape a submission or fire up from a big strike.

Contact Sean at radicansean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/sr_torch

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