SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
JOSH BARNETT’S BLOODSPORT 6
APRIL 8, 2021
THE CUBA CLUB IN TAMPA, FL
AIRED ON FITE.TV
(1) JANAI KAI vs. KAREN TRAN (KZT)
The show kicked off with all of the participants announced as they entered the combat zone. After all wrestlers were announced, announcer Rich Palladino outlined the rules of Bloodsport.
KZT and Kai started off with a solid grapple exchange from a sweep from the bottom position. As the women grappled, the announcers highlighted KZT’s ability to integrate her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a way that would overwhelm Kai early on. Eventually back on their feet, KZT attempted to work into a key lock. The match became Kai counters of KZT’s submissions, with Kai slipping in the occasional strike to KZT’s face from a guard position. This was apparent as well with the mouse that began to form over the right eye of KZT.
The finish came as KZT staggered a bit around and wound up fighting into a top mount position, where she submitted Janai Kai from that position with an arm bar.
WINNER: KZT by tap out (head trap arm bar) in 9:14 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Nice open. KZT had a nice presence, and the commentary team did a great job highlighting her. Kai did well as the taller base to move around with and looked to be a nice follow-up opponent for whoever loses the Slamovich/Kay match.)
(2) “WEAPON X” MATT MAKOWSKI vs. HEDDI KARAOUI
This match was a matchup of a national team Greco-Roman based wrestler in Karaoui vs. the BJJ of Makowski. Karaoui had a few great hip throws and a calf slicer near submission to start, but Makowski attempted a Omoplata but couldn’t get turned around in time. Instead, Makowski transitioned into an armbar attempt which was blocked. Karaoui hit another hip throw and transitioned to a cross face, but couldn’t get the submission. Back on a vertical base, Makowski hit a spinning armbar attempt, and tried to return to the Omoplata – but again Karaoui countered and tried for one of his own.
The finish came as both men were exchanging shots, but a hook kick got Karaoui staggered, and Makowski nailed a German suplex into an armbar for the flash submission.
WINNER: Matt Makowski by tap out (German Suplex into an arm bar) in 6:44 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Karaoui really made a name for himself in this match. His usage of submissions with creative flourishes were outstanding and I’m going to seek out his matches in Mexico to see what those look like. Makowski continues his growth within the Bloodsport ranks and moves from strength to strength. )
(3) VICTOR BENJAMIN (w/Lady Frost) vs. BAD DUDE TITO
This match was the first stand up start for a match. Tito went for a single leg, but Benjamin sprawled and hit a big knee to the body of Bad Dude Tito. After, Tito attempted a roundhouse to get space, which Benjamin ducked.
Tito eventually got a hip lock and attempted an Americana, however Benjamin escaped and eventually wound up in a north-south position. Both men attempted to isolate the arm of their opponent, but a missed knee strike by Benjamin opened the door to his defeat with a flourish jumping roundhouse that Tito caught for an inside heel hook submission.
WINNER: Bad Dude Tito by tap out (Inside Heel Hook) in 5:03 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Bad Dude Tito was really good in the finishing segment being smart enough to get out of the way of the kick and logically transitioning to a submission. Benjamin looks great as always and did well with his strikes, particularly his kicks throughout the match. Getting fancy caught him.)
(4) SIMON GRIMM vs. ALEXANDER JAMES
This match was a story of the veteran Grimm ready with counters to James in a debut. James attempted several submissions, but Grimm escaped and sent James outside. Grimm was noted to be wearing “Takayamania” tights in honor of Yoshihiro Takayama. A Doctor Bomb by James transitioned into a Boston Crab, which had Grimm on the ropes. Grimm reversed through again however.
James had a Rings of Saturn variant locked in, but Grimm escaped via a headbutt. Grimm pressed his advantage and hit a butterfly suplex and locked in the double wrist lock for the submission win.
WINNER: Simon Grimm by Tap Out (Double Wrist Lock) in 6:19 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: For the first time in almost a month, I’ve seen a wrestler dedicate a match to a wrestler – and win. Good on Grimm for the Takayama shout out and I thought he showed how a “vet” of the Bloodsport genre can bring it against a rookie. )
(5) ROYCE ISAACS vs. ALEX COUGHLIN
Coughlin sprinted from the back to the ring, as the pair had a prior match that Coughlin lost, via an injured neck that Isaacs knew of and focused on. At the bell the men went into a flurry of holds and counter holds.
Eventually, Isaacs slipped a dragon sleeper onto Coughlin, in shades of their previous encounter. Coughlin fought out however, and then the men exchanged spins into arm bars from the mounted position. Coughlin slapped on a heel hook and twisted it into a submission – and avenged his loss.
WINNER: Alex Coughlin by Tap Out (Standing Heel Hook into Single Leg Crab) in 5:04 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Post match, Coughlin said “one for you, one for me” to Isaacs and then flipped off his opponent. Alex has been great on New Japan Strong and this matchup seems destined for the rubber match.)
(6) SUPER BEAST vs. SHLAK
The first hoss fight of the show with two super heavyweights throwing elbows and kicks. Super beast hit a spinning hook kick that dropped Shlak, but then both men got back to a vertical base. Super beast busted Shlak open after a back suplex, and both men just continued to bang it out with punches to the head.
The match was ended however, as a bloodied Shlak began to bite on the foot of Super Beast,
WINNER: Super Beast by DQ (Boot Bite) in 2:14 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: “Let them fight” rained from the fans. The DQ was a rare one for Bloodsport, which makes for another match down the road on another GCW property for the pair. Super Beast has a great look and is another on the list I’m making this week to see more matches of each person. Shlak’s a death match kind of guy so him snapping in this environment made sense – as did unfortunately how soft his tissue is to start bleeding like it did..)
(7) MASHA SLAMOVICH vs. ALLYSIN KAY
Early on in the match, both women tried to feel each other out, with Kay’s usage of her length on Slamovich to establish dominance. Slamovich took umbrage with Kay toying with her, and her anger went against her, as Kay dumped Slamovich on her head with a german suplex. Slamovich however got a hook kick in that dazed Kay, and allowed Slamovich a sliver of an advantage. However, the length of Kay was too much for Slamovich, as a triangle counter got Kay the win.
WINNER: Allysin Kay by Ref Stoppage (Triangle with Palm Strikes) in 5:44 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Great finish here with the triangle really keeping Slamovich away from stopping the palm strikes that ended the match. Loved Slamovich being annoyed at Kay’s offer of the pinky (per her tradition) post match instead of the handshake.)
(8) YOYA vs. LIO RUSH
Match started with a slow exchange, which ended with Rush talking smack to the face of Yoya, who countered by slapping on an arm bar. Both men then began a flurry of moves and transitions, which had an exclamation point of Rush eating a knee from Yoya.
After an exchange near the edge of the ring, Lio Rush turned into Kurt Angle with a German suplex, putting down his singlet, then continued assault on Yoya. Yoya tried a flurry, but Rush stopped him cold with a flying forearm to the head. After a kick from Rush was caught by Yoya, Yoya flipped Rush out of the ring. Rush at this point was apoplectic and ran back into the ring and into a triangle choke. Rush tried to fight out with a powerbomb, and after two attempts completed the move. Rush then slapped on a key lock for the win.
WINNER: Lio Rush by Tap Out (Key lock Submission) in 7:38 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Loved one of the announcers calling this the “shooterweight division” in terms of welterweight wrestlers in Bloodsport. Rush and Yoya mixed great wrestling, solid strikes and acrobatics into the Bloodsport environment. Rush’s win was a great finish – and Lio has proved there’s a lot more from him to come.)
(9) KTB vs. DAVEY BOY SMITH JR.
Honors bestowed early on commentary regarding the induction of Davey Boy Smith into the WWE Hall of Fame, as his son did a great job establishing his base. In ring, the big story was Smith Jr., could have been in the main event had he defeated Jon Moxley.
KTB eventually had to roll out of the ring area to avoid a submission, but the angle of hanging from the draped area to the floor appeared to have done as much damage as the submission. Smith then focused on the arm. Both men then exchanged slaps on the mat, until Smith hit a Sit Out Powerbomb for the KO.
WINNER: Davey Boy Smith Jr. by KO (Sit Out Powerbomb) in 3:36 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Smith is clearly one of the folks they’re building in the Bloodsport world and given his dad’s induction this was a great way to cap the week off. Smith’s power was apparent throughout and KTB was just another notch on the belt as he departed. Looking forward to see if Smith can get another shot at the top of the card.)
(10) ROCKY ROMERO vs. CHAVO GUERRERO JR.
Chavo and Rocky started out with some quality reversals, but Chavo took particular umbrage at an ankle hold attempt by Romero. Both men got back to a vertical base, until Chavo began to slip some quality amateur wrestling. Chavo countered with an armbar floatover, but Chavo reversed and got to full mount.
Chavo slipped in two out of Three Amigos, and Romero stopped the third. Chavo then spiked Romero on his head with a suplex for the ref stoppage.
WINNER: Chavo Guerrero Jr. by Ref Stoppage (Brain buster) in 6:17 (***)
(Fann’s Analysis: Chavo and Rocky had a good match, the finish was a little weird because the drop onto Romero seemed awkward. But given the Bloodsport setup, a messy drop makes sense for the ref stop, with Rocky seeming to be out of it.)
(11) SHANE MERCER vs. “DIRTY DADDY” CHRIS DICKINSON
Purple Belt in BJJ Mercer and the wrestling of Dickinson were the story of this co-main event. Dickinson came in with a low kick, head kick, takedown combo, but Mercer was ready and took the steam out of the match on the mat. Dickinson got a snap german and rolled into a mounted position. An arm bar / triangle attempt by Dirty Daddy was countered by a Mercer power bomb.
Mercer then continued his power assault with a side suplex. Dickinson then hit a powerbomb, followed by a knee bar. Mercer was then contorted into an STF, but threw Dickinson off. Both men then exchanged German suplexes, but Dickinson rolled a judo throw into an armbar for the tap out.
WINNER: Chris Dickinson by Tap Out (Arm bar) in 5:32 (***1/2)
(Fann’s Analysis: Already a veteran of the Bloodsport scene, Dickinson’s time with New Japan has clearly given him additional tools in the tool box. He and Mercer had a great fight and the big men were outstanding in this.)
(12) JON MOXLEY vs. JOSH BARNETT
Main event time.
The early story of the match was Moxley focused on embarrassing and getting in the head of Barnett. Moxley went so far as to use small joint manipulation (banned in Bloodsport) with the ref not able to see it.
Barnett’s UFC experience allowed him to be in the bottom position and work Moxley’s ankle and legs whenever Moxley attempted shots to the face. Great point made during the Moxley exchange regarding a BJJ/martial artist losing a level with every punch in the face. Barnett for the most part had been on the ropes, as Barnett began to bleed from the head area. Moxley hit a DDT and a knee to the head of Barnett, who fell out of the ring. Moxley then followed with a leap out of the ring onto Barnett. Moxley then dragged a hurt Barnett into the ring and hit a belly to back suplex.
Moxley then locked Barnett’s arms to hit some elbows to the head. Moxley then tried to finish the match, but Barnett turned the tables and began to work Moxley from the top. Moxley was now bleeding heavily from the head as well, and was suplexed out of the ring. At this point, both men are covered in blood. Moxley returned to the middle of the ring, flipped off Barnett and the pair went to town with punches.
Barnett stopped the double arm DDT, and dropped Moxley with a Death Valley Driver. The UFC vet then followed up with stomps to Moxley’s head for the ref stoppage. Moxley thought the fight continued and tried to fight the ref, with the thought the ref was Barnett. Moxley was beside himself after the match.
WINNER: JOSH BARNETT by Ref Stoppage (Head Stomps) in 11:03 (****1/4)
(Fann’s Analysis: My god that was amazing. The finish alone you have to see, as Moxley just had a match – if he truly thought about it – he would’ve killed to have had that match with Lesnar. Just a brutal full on fight, ala the first Bloodsport where fans in attendance yelled “Kumite!!” at the top of their lungs. Barnett holds the first win in North America clean on Moxley and with a heck of a finish.)
Overall thoughts (9): The outstanding visuals in the main event, as well as a great and varied top to bottom show allowed the sixth Bloodsport to continue the tradition of its predecessors. I loved the new wrestlers I’ll be following post this show, as well as the continued development of wrestlers within the Bloodsport world. Watch this show.
Contact Rich at PWTDive@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/rich_fann.