Preview: GCW – Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport II (9/14/19)

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Photo: GCW

Game Changer Wrestling presents the third installment of the Bloodsport series – and second hosted by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett – for Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport II, the follow-up to a great card over this past WrestleMania week. It’s a shoot-style event, combining catch wrestling, MMA and Strong Style pro wrestling to create a hard-hitting and explosive night of pro wrestling. You can catch GCW Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport II live on Fite.tv this Saturday night. Sadly, Josh Barnett’s original opponent for the evening, AEW and NJPW star Jon Moxley (formerly WWE Superstar Dean Ambrose) has had to withdraw from the event on account of the staph infection that pulled him from AEW All Out on August 31.

Zachary Wentz vs. Anthony Henry

Photo: GCW

A surprising announcement, as Zachary Wentz is best known today as one of the fun-loving Rascalz in IMPACT Wrestling. But before he became a professional wrestler, Wentz was himself an amateur MMA fighter, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs in a more shoot-style environment. But he’s got the backing of several pro wrestlers who know just how tough Wentz actually is. Anthony Henry is part of one of the top tag teams in the US indies in The Work Horsemen, alongside former WWN Champion JD Drake. The duo are former EVOLVE Tag Team Champions and current reigning tag team champions for Freelance Wrestling and Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment (AWE). But both men are quite capable singles fighters – Anthony Henry had actually quit wrestling in the mid-2000s to pursue an MMA career and is the reigning Full Impact Pro World Champion, holding it over 300 days

Lindsay Snow vs. Sumie Sakai

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Hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Lindsay Snow is a student of former 2x Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal who got her start in 2016. A regular in the Florida indies with Full Throttle Pro wrestling and Coastal Championship Wrestling, she’s also worked with Shine Wrestling and RISE Wrestling. The inaugural Ring of Honor Women of Honor World ChampionSumie Sakai was the first women to compete for ROH back in 2002. Before moving to the US to pursue the US indies, she competed in her native Japan in the late 90s for Jd’ Star, All Japan Women’s WrestlingFuyuki Army, Michinoku Pro, and many more. Sakai is a legend amongst women’s wrestling, both in the US indies and Japan, and will be bringing her brand of strong style to Bloodsport II.

JR Kratos vs. Erik Hammer

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“The God of War” JR Kratos is a West Coast indie talent who has been a powerhouse since he started out in 2012. A regular with All Pro Wrestling (APW), he’s a 2x APW Universal Heavyweight Champion who has also worked with Alternative Wrestling Show (AWS), Supreme Pro Wrestling (SPW) (he’s a 3x SPW Heavyweight Champion) and various other West Coast indies, including PCW ULTRA, where he’s been featured in the tag team Border Patrol alongside Colt Stevens. This marks Kratos’ second Bloodsport appearance, defeating Simon Grimm (formerly Simon Gotch in WWE) this past April. Erik Hammer is a legit catch wrestler who has competed globally in Catch Tournaments. The official training partner of Josh Barnett, he’s also competed for Antonio Inoki‘s Inoki Genome Federation (IGF) from 2008 through 2015.

Matt Makowski vs. Rory Gulak

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With it being a shoot-style tournament, Bloodsport has always attracted former MMA fighters into the event and Bloodsport II is no exception. The first one in 2018 saw Matt Riddle, “Filthy” Tom Lawlor, Dan “The Beast” Severn, and Pancrase founder (and NJPW star) Minoru Suzuki, while the first Josh Barnett incarnation this past spring saw the Bloodsport debuts of former UFC fighters Frank Mir, Phil Baroni, and the debut of Barnett. This year’s next former MMA fighter is Matt “Weapon X” Makowski, who competed professionally from 2007 to 2010, fighting for EliteXC and Bellator amongst others, compiling a 6-2 record. Rory Gulak, brother of WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak, has been one of the US indies top technical wrestlers since he debuted in 2008. He’s competed in some top tier contests with such promotions as Beyond Wrestling, CHIKARA, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Black Label Pro, and EVOLVE Wrestling.

Simon Grimm vs. Anthony Carelli

Photo: GCW

A jiu-jitsu expert who trained at former UFC fighter Seth Petruzelli’s MMA Jungle Gym, Simon Grimm is former WWE Superstar Simon Gotch of The Vaudevillains, who departed from the WWE in 2017. Since then, he’s reinvented himself as more of a pure technical grappler as Grimm, working with the likes of Ring of Honor, Black Label Pro, GCW and others, including a two year run as a regular with Major League Wrestling (MLW), where he runs the stable, CONTRA. Best known to most wrestling fans as WWE Superstar Santino Marella, this Canadian grappler is best known for his comedic work. But don’t let his adorable accent and antics fool you – the man behind the gimmick is a capable technician. Trained in Japan at the original BattleArts by legendary Japanese wrestler Yuki Ishikawa, he was also dabbling in MMA when he became a Superstar out of obscurity with WWE in the 2000s. A World-class judo fighter, Anthony Carelli will probably be the standout of Bloodsport II, simply because most people will be surprised just what the Milan Miracle is actually capable of.

Allysin Kay vs. Nicole Savoy

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Former IMPACT Knockouts Champion Allysin Kay – also known as Sienna – becomes the first woman to enter the franchise. A scrappy and intense competitor her entire career, the reigning NWA World Women’s Champion and former Shine Champion will be looking to make a statement at Bloodsport II, as one of the indies toughest competitors. Nicole Savoy is the reigning SHIMMER Champion, a title she’s held for 648-days. A seven-year pro with SHIMMER, RISE, Queens of Combat, Bar Wrestling, and many more, in 2018 she had a successful tour with Stardom in Japan. She also took part in the inaugural WWE Mae Young Classic in 2017.

Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Timothy Thatcher

Photo: GCW

Ikuhisa Minowa made his debut in 1996 at the Lumax Cup tournament before starting with Pancrase (the MMA company founded by Minoru Suzuki & Ken Shamrock in the early 1990s) in the 1997 Neo-Blood Tournament. Minowa started off poorly in his MMA career, going 1-8-1, before finding his groove – by 2000, he rebounded with an 16-4-5 run. In 2000, he fought for UFC at UFC 25 in Tokyo, Japan, defeating Joe Slick when the doctor stopped the fight. He’s continued to fight for multiple MMA promotions, including PRIDE, DREAM, and DEEP, compiling a career 64-42-8 record. Timothy Thatcher returns for his third Bloodsport appearance and will hopefully find his first win. At Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport in 2018, he lost to Nick Gage, and earlier this spring at the first Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport, he lost to Japanese veteran Hideki Suzuki. But just because he’s 0-2 at Bloodsport, doesn’t mean Thatcher remains one of the toughest men in the sport. He’s a veteran of Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw), where he’s part of Ringkampf with WALTER and was EVOLVE Champion for 596 dominating days. This could be the match of Bloodsport II.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. “Filthy” Tom Lawlor

Photo: GCW

Davey Boy Smith Jr. returns for his second Bloodsport event after having one of the matches of the night this past spring in a slobberknocker against Killer Kross. The third-generation star, trained by his grandfather Stu Hart as well as legendary UK technician Billy Robinson, is well versed for these catch/shoot style tournaments. Former MLW World Heavyweight Champion and former UFC fighter “Filthy” Tom Lawlor makes his second Bloodsport appearance, having faced WALTER at the first one last year. He’s become one of MLW’s breakout stars in the past year and continues to shine, but getting back to his MMA roots in a shoot-style event will be a lot of fun for the fans and wrestler himself.

Josh Barnett vs. Chris Dickinson

Photo: GCW

Host Josh Barnett has been an MMA fighter since 1997, fighting for the UFC, Strikeforce, PRIDE and even Ken Shamrock and Minoru Suzuki’s Pancrase. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion transitioned into pro wrestling in 2003, training with Billy Robinson and working with NJPW.  Chris Dickinson has been both a tag team specialist and one-man wrecking machine throughout his career. He was a member of Catch Point in EVOLVE Wrestling, winning the EVOLVE Tag Team titles alongside Jaka in Doom Patrol, as well as being one of the main threats in Beyond Wrestling for years. A perfect combo of speed, power and technique, this is Dickinson’s third straight Bloodsport event, losing to Dan “The Beast” Severn at Matt Riddle’s Bloodsport last year and defeating “The Butcher of Buffalo” Andy Williams at Josh Barnett’s first Bloodsport this spring.

Nick Gage vs. Killer Kross

Photo: GCW

Nick Gage returns for his second Bloodsport event, having competed at Matt Riddle’s inaugural event, where he defeated Timothy Thatcher by KO. The reigning GCW World Heavyweight Champion is the undisputed King of American Hardcore and it will be a savage contest as he faces a Killer. Killer Kross returns for his second Bloodsport event, having made his series debut earlier this year at the first Josh Barnett event in the franchise (the first one was actually launched with Matt Riddle in 2018). He faced off against MLW and former NJPW star Davey Boy Smith Jr. in one of the surprise best matches of the night, that showed Kross could compete at an even higher level.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. Catch GCW Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport II live on Fite.tv

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