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Jon Moxley Brings the Blood to Bloodsport

Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 5 Review – February 20th

Last weekend, I witnessed my first Bloodsport event and was hooked from the opening titles. The underground fight club feel, the serious MMA-pro wrestling hybrid, the wealth of talent involved—all of it added up to something special indeed.

This week we have Bloodsport 5, another major show and one featuring a lot of the talent from the previous weekend, something that makes complete sense with COVID restrictions and besides, is not a bad thing considering the talent itself. The big difference this time was the appearance of a certain Mr. Jon Moxley in the main event against a man who finds Bloodsport his natural domain, Davey Boy Smith Jr.

Let’s go straight to the mat and straight into it!

‘The Highlander’ Calder McColl vs. Bad Dude Tito

McColl came into this one with a little more momentum than his opponent, having beaten Royce Isaacs on last week’s show while Tito took a loss to Superbeast. Tito, however, had the height and weight advantage.

In all honesty, this was a very even contest, with both men taking it to the mat to jockey for advantage. McColl went for a sleeper whilst Tito applied a cigar clutch. Tito showed some immense power, nailing the Scotsman with a heavy German suplex, following it up with a mount and some hellacious strikes to the body and head.

In the end, it was McColl who emerged victorious, nailing Tito with a nasty running knee to the head, followed by a sleeper hold for the tap out. That’s 2 and 0 for McColl at Bloodsport, a strong record to build on for the ‘Highlander’ as he looks to climb up the card.

Overall it was a very enjoyable opener.

Nolan Edwards vs. Calvin Tankman

The last time we saw Nolan Edwards, he was being thrown into a brick wall. Calvin Tankman would not be any easier for him, starting off by throwing ferocious fists and backing Edwards to the corner of the mat. Impressively, Nolan was able to take Tankman down a couple of times, once by the ankle into a leg lock, and once with a running knee, followed by a front face lock.

The problem for Edwards was one of trying to match Tankman strike for strike. This saw Tankman catch Edwards’ foot at one point and knock him down with a truly vicious fist to the head that looked to be the end of the fight. It wasn’t, but a few moments later, Tankman took Edwards down with a body slam, mounted him and rained down fists like boulders, forcing the ref to end the bout by stoppage.

In defeat, Edwards still manages to look good—hell, any man willing to go toe-to-toe with Calvin Tankman automatically gets my respect. Tankman, meanwhile, is just an absolute beast. This is the Tankman we need in MLW—including the 2Pac entrance music.

Kal Jak vs. Super Beast

Something tells me Kal Jak won’t be able to throw Super Beast into a wall like he did Nolan Edwards last week.

Well, I was half wrong. It was the mat rather than the wall, but there was still some throwing going on.

I remember Zack Sabre Jr, during an interview on the first PROGRESS show, stating that he “chuffing loves arm bars”. Well, in the same spirit, I chuffing love suplexes and this fight was full of them! While Super Beast threw out some wicked spinning kicks, Jak nailed suplexes with abandon, taking Beast down with various gut-wrench and belly-to-belly suplexes, before putting him to sleep with a side choke/headlock combination.

I think Kal Jak has just found himself a new fan…

Royce Isaacs vs. Alex Coughlin

With both men being of a similar weight and height, as well as having suffered a loss last week, meant it was an equal fight between two men with something to prove.

This was a superb contest. Coughlin went after Isaacs like a rabid dog, surprising Isaacs with the quickness of pace. Both men worked the mat excellently, each trying to one-up the other with Coughlin proving particularly flexible and skilled at escaping submission attempts.

Partway through, Isaacs countered a Coughlin armbar into a Texas Cloverleaf. It was only by crawling to the ring’s edge and propelling both himself and Isaacs to the floor that Coughlin stayed in the fight. Back in the ring, Coughlin flattened Isaacs with a kind of gut-wrench powerbomb, before transitioning a half-crab into an STF. Isaacs somehow managed to push up and out of the move, dropping Coughlin with a backdrop suplex before forcing the tap out with a North-South choke.

This is my fight of the night so far. Sterling work from both men.

Bloodsport 5 promotional video

Simon Grimm vs. Rocky Romero

This was Romero’s Bloodsport debut, but he certainly already has links to Josh Barnett, having trained under the Bloodsport head back in the L.A. Dojo all those years ago. Barnett on commentary vouches for Romero’s catch-wrestling ability and having seen ‘The King of Sneaky Style’ in a lot of different matches now, I can well believe him.

This was interesting in that Grimm had a distinct size and weight advantage and yet for all his power, Romero kept the fight even, using his patience to wait for the right moment to impart maximum damage. Considering the size difference, it was impressive to see Romero being able to take down Grimm repeatedly. Grimm, for his part, looked like a brute, overpowering Romero and tying him up into different shapes.

It was Romero who was able to take the win though in the end, transitioning from a triangle choke to a cross-armbar to start his Bloodsport record off in winning fashion. Good stuff.

J R Kratos vs. Chris Dickinson

This was a great big hoss fight, plain and simple, and was all the better for it. On paper, Kratos seemed to have the advantage, being heavier and taller and running on the momentum of a win last week. But one thing you never do—never count Chris Dickinson out.

Kratos came running straight out the gates, taking Dickinson down and pounding him. Dickinson slipped out and fought back but found himself underneath the big man in an exhausting situation, Kratos’ weight bearing down like a ton of bricks. Forearms and palm strikes to the ear did little to dissuade Kratos, and Dickinson had to use his word and strength to untangle himself from Kratos’ bulk.

Partway through the two men started to exchange heavy bombs that had me wincing—they were NOT holding back. A powerbomb from Kratos took the wind out of Dickinson a bit, but the ‘Dirty Daddy’ returned fire with a mightily impressive gut-wrench German suplex. Kratos responded by trying to throw Dickinson out of the ring to no avail as Dickinson slipped out and pulled the NWA tag champ down into a sleeper for a tap-out victory.

The two men shook hands after to close off a great, hard-hitting contest.

‘Filthy’ Tom Lawlor vs. Jeff Cobb

Lawlor’s tights have the Durex logo on the front and the Pampers logo on the back. I have absolutely no idea why but I’m laughing as I type this.

This was a very even contest, not surprising when you consider Cobb’s size and strength and Lawlor’s MMA credentials. A lot of the fight saw the two men jockeying for an advantage on the mat as they tangled each other up in some excruciating-looking knots. Lawlor focussed his kicks on the bigger man’s legs to cut Cobb down to size and go for the submission. But said submission was not forthcoming.

The end sequence was beautiful. Lawlor had a front face lock/choke on Cobb, which Jeff tried to counteract with a Northern Lights suplex. But Lawlor wouldn’t let go! He transitioned into mounting Cobb but made the mistake of releasing his head, throwing fists at Cobb instead. This would be Lawlor’s downfall. Cobb pushed him off, nailed the filthy one with three massive German suplexes before locking in a painful-looking sitting full nelson for the tap-out victory.

What a great contest between two athletes at the top of their game! I thoroughly enjoyed that one.

Jon Moxley vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr

THIS. WAS. BRUTAL.

Now, what Moxley lacks in finesse, he makes up for with violence and enthusiasm. It was this lack of technique that perhaps allowed Davey Boy Smith Jr to dominate Mox early on, keeping him grounded on the mat and sending him to the outside. It was a compelling story; Mox could brawl but could he fight legitimately? The early answer seemed to be no as he was out-fought by the larger Smith.

At one point, Smith mounted Moxley and laid into him with massive strikes and elbows which looked particularly nasty. Indeed, Mox was gushing a nice little streak of blood from his forehead. If anything though, this was the spur Mox needed to get back into the game. From here, brutality was the name of the game as the two beat the living hell out of each other. Davey Boy brought the big suplexes in, but it was Moxley who used a DDT to knock Smith into the middle of next week for the win via stoppage.

Wow. Now that was a main event. It lived up to the name on the marquee—it was a literal bloodsport! It had a subtle story, brutality and the right man won to keep the buzz going. What more could you want?

Final Thoughts

Alright; that’s two Bloodsport shows I’ve seen now, both in quick succession, and now I’m hooked. As soon as I can, I’m going to go back and watch the first three shows. I need more of this in my wrestling life.

As for this event, it was a card of big entertainment from top to bottom, from big suplex throwers like Kal Jak heaving Super Beast around, to beautiful mat grappling from Coughlin and Issacs. The main event was the bloody icing on the cake. If Josh Barnett can keep presenting big marquee matches of this calibre, the sky really is the limit for Bloodsport.

Bloodshot 6 is set for April 8th, with Jon Moxley set to return in main event action, this time against the main man himself, Josh Barnett! I can’t wait.

Chris Flackett

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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