Bloodsport is a personal favourite event of mine. The shoot-style super-show always features some of the best technical and striking wrestlers in hard-hitting and intense bouts for a bloodthirsty audience in a ring with no ropes and specific rules. This year’s offering looked more impressive than ever despite the circumstances. It had the 4-woman tournament featuring Allysin Kay, Lindsay Snow, Killer Kelly, and Leyla Hirsch, Homicide vs “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Josh Alexander vs Davey Boy Smith Jr, and the biggest main event of the weekend in terms of name-value, AEW World Heavyweight Champion, Jon Moxley taking on the Dirty Daddy and beloved heart of the indies, Chris Dickinson. This event was going to get nasty and I was all for it. Let’s get into the action.

Simon Grimm defeated Matt Makowski via Half and Half Suplex

The show opened with a special ceremony introducing all the fighters, then went into its first match, Simon Grimm taking on Matt Makowski. Grimm was still looking for his first win whilst Makowski was looking to continue his win streak after besting Rory Gulak on the Bloodsport 2 pre-show last year. They opened with a show of respect and threw jabs at each other. They traded kicks so Grimm went for a single leg takedown. Makowski blocked and tried climbed into a mount. Grimm controlled his head and the pair rolled to the outside. They went into another round of kicks, where Makowski hit a stinging kick to Grimm’s ribs, then got taken over into a side headlock. Makowski got Grimm on his front and started peppering him with palm strikes. Grimm reached a vertical base, snatched up Makowski’s arm, and took him over into an attempted double wrist-lock. Makowski fought up so Grimm put him in another side headlock. Makowski got up and started striking a grounded Grimm, avoiding any attempted takedowns. Makowski moonsaulted into a front chancery but Grimm broke free, trapped a wrist, and elbowed him in the temple. Grimm headbutted him so Makowski floored him with another jab. They both got to their feet again and went for another striking round. Makowski got another knockdown with a cartwheel kick but Grimm used the momentum for a takedown and more elbow and knee strikes. They traded submission attempts, then Grimm went full mount and threw elbows. He worked at the ankle of Makowski but fell victim to more elbows. Makowski kicked him off and went full mount after Grimm missed an Enzuigiri. Grimm went back to the ankle and forced Makowski to his feet. After more striking trades, Makowski downed Grimm with a head-kick and let Grimm get up. He drove Grimm face-first into the canvas and tried for an arm-breaker. He transitioned to an ankle lock but Grimm escaped and KO’ed Makowski with a half and half Suplex. This was an excellent opening bout that saw two evenly-matched fighters put on a technical clinic. Makowski looked dangerous as hell and Grimm finally got to break his Bloodsport curse. What’s not to love?

Bloodsport Women’s Tournament Round 1: Allysin Kay defeated Killer Kelly via Head-scissor Choke

Next up was the first round one match of the Women’s tournament. it would see two of wrestling’s deadliest strikers get into a very physical war. Killer Kelly and Allysin Kay are two very dangerous women so it would be exciting to see what they’d do against one another. They went through a brief feeling-out phase, then Kay took down Kelly and went for a wrist-lock. Kelly broke free and got Kay down with a double-leg takedown. Kay tried to transition into a standing face-lock but Kelly elbowed free. They continued to stand-off as both went for kicks to the legs. Kelly took Kay to the mat again, locked up the legs, and hammered Kay with cross-faces. Kay broke free and picked Kelly’s leg, trying for an ankle lock but Kelly reversed and hammered Kay with more seated palm strikes. Kelly tried to go low again but Kay ground her to the mat and worked the shoulder. When she got to her feet again, Kelly launched a barrage of strikes and kicks but Kay dropped her with a boot and went full mount ground and pound. Kelly did the same but Kay extinguished the momentum with another mount and vicious elbow strikes. She tried for the cross-arm-breaker but Kelly kept her hands clasped. She got to her feet again and rained down more palm strikes but Kay kept up work on the ankle. Again, Kelly was able to manoeuvre herself to a mounted position and landed more palm strikes but Kay stopped that with another ankle lock. They both got to a seated position and frantically traded blows. Kay took Kelly down again and tried to snatch an arm again. Kelly hopped onto Kay’s back for a rear-naked choke but Kay slammed her onto her back and the pair went into another striking bout. Kelly took advantage with a butterfly Suplex but she got rocked with a high kick and pummelled with grounded elbows. Kelly fought out but Kay locked on a head-scissor choke and Kelly tapped. These two went through a war. It was intense, physical, and very damn close. We got a nice show of respect at the end as Kelly made the very short list of people Kay respects.

Bloodsport Women’s Tournament Round 1: Lindsay Snow defeated Leyla Hirsch via Heel Hook

The second round one tournament match quickly followed and it would be Leyla Hirsch, the legit amateur trained wrestler taking on the American Kaiju Lindsay Snow. It would be BJJ vs wrestling here in what would hopefully be a close fight. Snow started by blocking Hirsch’s takedown attempts and the pair battled on the ground for control of Snow’s leg and Hirsch’s arm. Hirsch landed an elbow and Snow went for an arm-breaker. They returned to their feet and Hirsch leapt onto Snow’s back for a rear-naked choke. Snow took her down and went for the ankle but Hirsch hammered her with more elbows. She tried to work Snow into a triangle and armbar but Snow escaped and attempted the cross arm-breaker again. Hirsch dragged Snow into a grounded rear-naked choke and transitioned to a mount for more grounded strikes. Snow took her over with a snap Suplex but Hirsch took her down with a double leg takedown and went back for the arm-breaker. They returned to their feet again where Snow blasted Hirsch with a kick, took her over with a Karelin Lift, and won with a quick heel hook. This one was a lot shorter and fiercer than previous matches but it was no less intense. Hirsch brought the fight to Snow even if she was unsuccessful. Hirsch better comes to the next one, she’s built for this type of fight.

Calvin Tankman defeated Alexander James via Knockout Elbow

So, in honesty, I expected this to be a quick fight. What I saw was Alexander James not only bring the fight, he owned the fight for a lot of this. Tankman is a monster. A powerhouse with deadly strikes and a mean attitude. James exploited this by trying to keep him as grounded as possible. They started with some striking trades, then James tried to take Tankman down with a single-leg. Tankman countered this and mounted James for more strikes. He kept James grounded and peppered him with elbows and palm strikes. James managed to roll Tankman and took the mount. Tankman tried for an arm but James rolled through and hammered Tankman in the back and locked in a rear-naked choke. Tankman retook the mount and started hitting James with strikes again. James fired back but Tankman stayed on top and threw elbows. James got back onto Tankman’s back and threw more elbows at his head. Tankman got back to his feet and crushed James with a Samoan Drop. Tankman tried to stay on him but James went back into the mount and tried for an arm-breaker. He trapped Tankman in a triangle but Tankman lifted him up and started a slugfest. He mauled James with knees, then KO’ed him with an elbow. Tankman won and showed off a whole host of defensive and grappling skills. He shook hand with James after the match and we came away from a match that made both men look like stars.

Erik Hammer defeated Kal Jak via Double Wrist-Lock

Erik Hammer is one imposing guy. He’s a massive technician with just as tall a gas tank. I watched this guy go long with JR Kratos and now he’d have to do the same with the grizzly wrestler Kal Jak. This was one of those matches that could go either way as both were imposing guys with the excellent ground game. Jak got an instant knockdown by hitting Hammer in the head, then survived a slugfest to take him to the mat. They wrestled to their feet, then Jak was able to take Hammer down again. Jak continued to control the waist and clubbed Hammer in the back. Hammer took him over into a side headlock and held it until the referee separated them. Jak took him down again and hit more hard shots to the back. Hammer drilled him with a series of back elbows and cracked him with a running knee. He put Jak in a sleeper and transitioned to a side headlock with palm strikes, draining the air from him. Jak picked a leg again and the pair returned to grappling on their feet. Jak rocked Hammer with a spinning takedown but got knocked on his front and pummelled with shots to the back. Hammer wrapped him up again and assaulted him with cross faces. Jak escaped with a Doctor Bomb and tried to follow up but Hammer picked his arm and tried for the double wrist-lock. Jak muscled out, blasted Hammer with knee strikes, and launched him with a gutwrench Suplex. Jak tried for the double wrist-lock but Hammer slid around and locked it in, forcing Jak to tap. This was another exceptionally competitive bout between two very gifted technicians with a great amount of respect shown again. Both guys showed how destructive catch wrestling and amateur grappling can be.

“Filthy” Tom Lawlor defeated Homicide via Half Crab/Leg lock

This one was going to be special. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor is a Bloodsport favourite and Homicide was going to give him the fight of his life. Homicide is a very gifted grappler and a lot of people tend to forget that. Lawlor started things by not taking Homicide seriously and took him to the mat. Homicide kept up with the grappling and through some verbal barbs. Lawlor went for another double leg but Homicide stayed up until Lawlor tipped him over his back and booted him in the leg. He nailed Homicide with another takedown and continued kicking him in the leg as Homicide flipped him off. He grounded Homicide again and continued to beat down on him but Homicide remained defiant and spat at him. He walked through Lawlor’s strikes to bitch-slap him and a slugfest broke out. Homicide threw some chops but Lawlor kneed his arm and hammered Homicide with a barrage of forearms. Homicide caught his leg and tried for an STF but couldn’t wrap his arms. Lawlor escaped and went for a wrist-lock. Homicide escaped with a Pumphandle Suplex and locked Lawlor’s ankle. He brutalised Lawlor with headbutts, then a second strike-fest broke out. Lawlor went to the leg so Homicide sent him flying with a diving headbutt. The vicious striking continued as Homicide rained down knees and elbows on Lawlor. He got rolled onto his back and Lawlor hit some mounted strikes and grape-vined the leg. Homicide stood up and just stomped on the forehead of Lawlor. Somehow Lawlor survived and locked in a guillotine choke. Homicide escaped with an Exploder and blasted him with a knee strike. Homicide tried for the Cop Killer but Lawlor escaped, picked a leg, and locked in a Half Crab leg lock, forcing Homicide to tap. This was by far and away one of my favourite matches of the show. It was gritty, vicious, and full of nasty strikes and lethal submissions. It also reminded people just how good Homicide is, even if he lost.

Davey Boy Smith Jr defeated Josh Alexander via Liger Bomb

What’s better than one massive technical warrior in a match? Two massive technical warriors in a match. Josh Alexander is the master of Canadian strong style and he’d be battling one of the best technical wrestlers in the world, Davey Boy Smith Jr. They started with a lock-up and Smith taking Alexander to the mat. They both got to their feet and Smith reversed a takedown into a wrist and ankle lock attempt. Alexander reversed into a full mount and struck elbows down at Smith. Smith rolled through and kept Alexander flat on the mat. Alexander got caught on the ring edge and the fight reset. Alexander went to the ankle but Smith kicked him in the back and took him over with an arm-trapped slam. They fought around a choke and ankle lock, then Smith locked in the Sharpshooter. Alexander struck back but Smith rocked him with a forearm, a kick to the ribs, and won with a Liger bomb. Personally, I wanted this one to go a little longer. Alexander is an exceptional wrestler and I wanted him to show off more against someone as perfect an opponent as DBS. It was still a fun match, just a bit short.

Bloodsport Women’s Tournament Finals: Lindsay Snow defeated Allysin Kay via Heel Hook

It was now time to return to the women’s tournament. The final would see Allysin Kay take on Lindsay Snow to win the Bloodsport trophy. Snow had had the slightly easier road as she had the shorter match but Kay is never one to be underestimated. Kay got the first takedown but Snow quickly tried for a cross arm-breaker. Snow went to the knee but Kay kicked her off and they reset. Snow took Kay down again and tried for the wrist-lock but couldn’t get it and went to the ankle instead. Kay moved positions but took a knee to the ribs and took multiple shots to the back. Snow went for the arm but Kay trapped her and took the side advantage. They both went to the ankle and threw forearms from the seated position. Kay trapped Snow with her legs and kicked her away. Snow rushed for a single-leg but Kay caught her and locked in the grounded elbows but Snow reversed to a mount and rained down some heavy forearms. She rolled through and trapped Kay in a Hell Hook for the very quick win. This was one hell of a shock as Snow pretty much took the win in a really quick fashion. She was brutally efficient here, having an answer for almost all of Kay’s offence, which is something I’ve rarely ever seen. It was nice to see the sportsmanship was still there too.

Jon Moxley defeated Chris Dickinson via Sleeper Hold

Last but not least, the prize fight. Moxley has been scheduled for the past two Bloodsport events but circumstances have always prevented it from happening. Now, he was here and facing the absolute best, Chris Dickinson. This might have been the only time I’ve seen a crowd not fully behind Chris Dickinson. The first lock-up reached a stalemate so Dickinson struck out at Moxley, forcing him to dodge. Moxley picked his leg, then caught a kick and took Moxley down again. He pinned Dickinson down and tried to lock the arm. Dickinson broke free and went to the ankle. They both wrapped each other up and reset. They locked up again and this time Dickinson took Moxley to the mat and went for the arm-breaker. Moxley folded him up and hammered him with elbows. They scrambled around the mat and reached a vertical base. They continued to trade takedowns, then Moxley threw Dickinson into the ring-post to the concrete. Once Dickinson was back in the ring, Moxley swarmed him with mounted strikes and tried for the cross arm-breaker. Dickinson fired back with kicks to the back but found Moxley on top again and had to tank more forearms. Moxley tried for the double wrist-lock but Dickson fought free so Moxley stomped on his face. He hit Dickinson with a running strike and sent him to the floor again. He tried to get Dickinson with the Gotch Piledriver but Dickinson escaped and took Moxley’s knee out with a Dragon Screw. He continued his assault on Moxley’s leg and threw Moxley with a deadlift German. He went for a kneebar but Moxley rolled outside. They stroke it out in the ring trading strikes and forearms, then stinging chops until Moxley dropped Dickinson with a headbutt. Dickinson struck back hard and dropped Moxley with a duo Back Suplexes, then a high kick. That was followed by mounted punches and another attempt at the arm-breaker. Moxley broke free and sent Dickinson over with a butterfly Suplex. He locked in a rear-naked choke and forced Dickinson to tap. This was amazing. Two fighters were put in a ring and gave it their all. Moxley didn’t play it safe and went strike for strike with Dickinson holding nothing back. Matches like this signify just how powerful this event can be. It brought the big companies and the indies together for the ultimate slugfest of a fight. Moxley even gave a speech putting over the importance of pro-wrestling and the indies.

So, there you have it, Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 2020, reviewed for your reading pleasure. This show rocked. Again, I am kind of biased because of my love for shoot-style fighting but this show just oozed atmosphere. It was very professionally done, had a big show feel and a very hyped audience. The matches offered a variety of different striking and technical styles and when you know fights could end at any moment, every second is intense. Moxley vs Dickinson delivered in spades, Lindsay Snow more than earned her tournament win, and every fight in-between showcased something special for each contender. Bloodsport isn’t for everyone but it’s hard to deny the sheer respect the show and its competitors earn from doing it. This might have just been my favourite show of the whole weekend.

All images courtesy of Earl Gardner Photography, Ryan Loco, Basil Mahmud HeyYImRob, Otis_Wrestling FITE TV, GCW Twitter