It’s back to the Collective for a bit of bloodsport, with Jon Moxley and Chris Dickinson topping the bill.
Simon Grimm defeated Matt Makowski via referee stoppage in 8:28 (***)
Women’s Tournament Semi-Final: Allysin Kay submitted Killer Kelly in 12:18 (***¼)
Women’s Tournament Semi-Final: Lindsay Snow submitted Leyla Hirsch in 4:28 (**¼)
Calvin Tankman defeated Alexander James via knockout in 6:41 (***½)
Erik Hammer submitted Kal Jak in 7:37 (**¾)
Tom Lawlor submitted Homicide in 8:45 (****¼)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. defeated Josh Alexander via referee stoppage in 5:03 (**¾)
Women’s Tournament Final: Lindsay Snow submitted Allysin Kay in 5:26 (**½)
Jon Moxley defeated Chris Dickinson via referee stoppage in 14:42 (****¼)
Yep, it’s that same building in Indianapolis – the Marion County Fairgrounds, as I drop in for the last Collective show I’ll be reviewing in full. Don’t worry, I’m going to catch the rest…
It’s a no-rope, shoot-fight show, and we open with a rather busier crowd than I’ve seen so far as we open with the parade of fighters. There’s a nice loud pop for Killer Kelly to start, with Calvin Tankman, Tom Lawlor, Homicide, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Chris Dickinson and of course, Jon Moxley getting loud reactions too. Lenny Leonard is running solo on commentary, as he runs down the rules – only referee stoppages, submissions, KO or disqualification end matches.
Simon Grimm vs. Matt Makowski
Makowski had a pretty good match with Chris Dickinson at Beyond a few weeks back – but this is more his wheelhouse, given his past in MMA.
The pair bump fists as Makowski tried to jab his way through Grimm, but the former Vaudevillain goes for a single leg takedown and an ankle lock before they rolled towards the edge of the ring, with Makowski ending up rolling to the floor as he kept a front facelock on Grimm. He returns to the ring before Grimm took him down in a side headlock, but Makowski takes the pack and pops him with punches to the ribs and head.
Grimm rolls Makowski down in a double wristlock, but settles for the side headlock again as we reached a stand-off. Makowski cartwheels by Grimm as he began to kick at the quad, before he got caught in an armbar by Grimm…a headbutt annoys Makowski, who knocked him down, before waiting for a restart.
The match descends into some sparring, with a cartwheel kick catching Grimm… he takes Makowski down for knees and elbows, before he had to block a cross armbar. Grimm swivels into the mount, only to get caught in a head and arm choke by Makowski, but Grimm counters back into a Deathlock that Makowski tried to punch his way free of.
Thunderous elbows from the mount rock Makowski, but he gets back with some strikes of his own before Grimm went in for a knee bar, but it’s pushed away before the pair wheeled away on each other once more. A head kick from Makowski has Grimm down, before a gutwrench facebuster left Grimm down for a cross armbreaker… Grimm tries to counter, but he’s rolled into a knee bar, only to slip out into a half-and-half suplex. I like how in these matches, suplexes like those are stoppages but not in “normal wrestling” – it’s something that should be adopted more to get more moves over. ***
Women’s Tournament Semi-Final: Killer Kelly vs. Allysin Kay
Kelly shoots for a takedown at the bell, before she rolled out of a front facelock from Kay.
A palm strike to the jaw knocks Kay back as she went for a takedown, only to come back in with a takedown as Kelly again escaped. Another takedown has Kelly on the mat as Kay looked for an armbar, but they get free as the match switches to strikes with kicks and palm strikes seemingly pushing Kay ahead.
Kelly pulls Kay down into a drop toe hold ahead of some crossface punches to the head, then steps aside as we reset. Kay rolls in to pick the leg of Kelly, but Kelly fights free with some right hands before Kay stuffed a takedown attempt. A half nelson has Kelly in trouble, but she gets back up and stings Kay with kicks before a big boot knocked Kay to the edge of the ring. Some ground and pound follows as the referee tries to separate… and when he did, Kelly charges in for some receipts.
Kay returns with some elbows from the mount, then went for a cross armbar as she had Kelly all tied up, but Kelly rolls free and into some more punches… only for Kay to trip her back down into a leglock. Again, Kelly powers out and tees off with right hands to Kay, who just grabs the leglock again before they traded palm strikes on the mat.
Getting back to their feet, Kelly tries for a pump kick and instantly gets taken down by Kay, who gets in the mount… but again Kelly escapes and mounted Kay with a rear naked choke. Kay drops to her knees, but Kay stands up and splats on her back to break it up. They get back to their feet as they throw strikes again, with Kelly again edging up as she went for a butterfly suplex, before a head kick and some Danielson elbows looked to force the stoppage…
Kelly looks to power up… but she’s taken down again in headscissors, and that leads to the submission. Kay worked the leg for most of the match and it paid off – with Kelly not really able to get much of a game plan going, save for flurries of strikes. ***¼
Women’s Tournament Semi-Final: Leyla Hirsch vs. Lindsay Snow
This one starts a little quicker, with Hirsch looking to take down the bigger Snow, sort-of doing so when she swept the leg, but Snow’s able to take the back.
Hirsch tries to punch her way out of a cross armbar, before they reset. Snow throws Hirsch out of a rear naked choke, and rolls Leyla down into an ankle lock, but Hirsch escapes looking for an armbar, only for Snow to swivel out. An armbar from Snow is resisted, with Hirsch trying to roll out, eventually doing so before she pulled Snow into another rear naked choke, ending when Snow tried to slip out of the ring, before some right hands caught Snow unawares.
Snow fights back with a suplex and some kicks, before Hirsch went for a double leg takedown. We’re back to the cross armbar, before Hirsch got out and ducked a head kick. Right hands from Hirsch led to some high kicks from Snow, knocking her down for a gutwrench suplex before a heel hook forced the stoppage. Fairly short and sweet, with Snow dominating for most of the contest. **¼
Calvin Tankman vs. Alexander James
Tankman got the home team reaction, while James was soundly booed as he was here to play the spoiler.
James shot for a double leg, but Tankman got his back and went for some punches, beforJames forced him to roll towards the edge of the ring looking for a break. Tankman quickly gets on top, looking for a double wristlock, but knees get James free only for Tankman to go back in with some hammer blows.
Tankman gets the mount as he wheels away with punches, but James switches positions as Tankman looked to get a cross armbreaker, only for James to get the back and lock in a rear naked choke. The crowd’s actively roaring for Tankman, whose mouthpiece comes out as he went for more punches from the mount. James scissors the arm as he sensed Tankman was tiring, then stood up for some elbows to the side of the neck, but a Samoan gets Tankman free. Back in the mount, James tries for an armbar, then just chops the shoulder as the cross armbar almost got locked in, as Tankman had to defend a triangle armbar, before lifting his way free.
The pair slug it out front here, with knees from Tankman dazing James before some haymakers knocked James down for the stoppage. Blood-thirsty crowd aside, James did well in frustrating the big lad, but in the end the striking power from that weight difference proved to be too much. ***½
Erik Hammer vs. Kal Jak
Or “Cal Jak” as the lower third read for former WWE developmental talent…
Jak circles Hammer at the bell, throwing a right hand that knocked Hammer down early on. Erik’s back with some shots of his own before he’s double-legged. Jak keeps going for the leg as Hammer tries to get away, but a waistlock takedown puts them back on the deck before they headed to the apron for a reset. Hammer gets his leg swept in a battle of takedowns, with Jak throwing some shots to the back before Hammer responded with some vicious back elbows. A front facelock has Hammer back on top, as he goes to a rear naked choke… but Jak gets tree and turtles up, allowing Hammer to go back to the side headlock.
Jak’s back with a waistlock as he took Hammer down, but they get back to their feet as Jak looks for a single leg takedown… instead he hauls up Hammer for a mighty takedown before Hammer rolled out to take the back. Some knees and elbows have Hammer back ahead, only for Jak to respond with a Doctor Bomb as we go back to the mat.
A double wristlock from Hammer looks to catch Jak out, but he escapes as Jak nails some knees to the ribs ahead of a gutwrench suplex as Jak looked for a double wristlock. It’s escaped and countered in kind by Hammer, who quickly forces the submission. This one was more of a war of attrition, with Lenny Leonard’s prediction on commentary of Jak maybe not having a way to win via submission coming true in the end. **¾
Tom Lawlor vs. Homicide
Lawlor’s got a height advantage over Homicide, as well as experience in professional fights – and started out by taking Homicide down… only for Homicide to spin out.
Homicide stuffs a takedown, but Lawlor goes for the legs with some kicks, before Homicide flipped him off. More kicks from Lawlor lead to him going for a waistlock as he rolled Homicide down, before Homicide got up and walked through some strikes as both men began to throw elbows. The fight moves to chops and knees as we could forget about any pretense of technical holds here. Lawlor knocks down Homicide, but a running knee is countered as Homicide pulled him into a STF attempt, but Lawlor manages to slide out and catch Homicide with shots to the back of the head.
A roll takes Homicide down for a double wristlock, but he throws Lawlor free with a T-bone suplex before we went back to the strikes. Elbows have Lawlor briefly dazed, as the pair begin to swing like they were on an ice hockey rink. A leaping headbutt almost knocks Lawlor out of the ring, and Homicide keeps going with those headbutts, then some cravat knees as a roll through led Homicide in for some Danielson elbows.
Homicide tries to stretch Lawlor, rolling him down for a crossface, but Lawlor rolls free and nails some gut punches. A leg lock’s quickly stood up out of as Homicide just stomps on Lawlor’s head, leaving the crowd aghast as the referee went to check on him. Lawlor refuses to let the match get waved off, and comes back in with a spear before a front guillotine choke ended with Homicide slipping out for an Exploder!
Lawlor tries for a second spear, but gets stopped with a knee strike as Homicide then teased a Cop Killer… Lawlor slips out into a rear naked choke, but that’s avoided, as Lawlor instead went for a half crab that eventually forces the break. BEAUTIFUL stuff this – with the two contrasting styles making for a brutal sprint that ended with Homicide going into his past to try and win out, only for Lawlor to get the win with a good ol’ fashioned half crab. ****¼
Josh Alexander vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Davey Boy’s wearing trunks that remind me of the Allied Powers tag team…
We get going with Smith taking down Alexander, whose search for a takedown bore little fruit as Smith stuffed him early on. They reset, with Alexander going for a single leg, but Smith rolls through into a double wristlock attempt, then moved up to the ankle as Alexander tried to club his way free. Instead, a cross armbreaker is applied as Alexander tried to roll out, but ended up hanging from the apron as the referee forces a break.
Back in the ring, Smith tries to kick away from Alexander, who finds the mount but couldn’t find a way through to Smith, who replied with a double wristlock throw. Alexander pops the hips to get free, but Smith gets his back, only for Alexander to roll out into an ankle lock that Smith quickly escaped as he almost had a Sharpshooter on by the apron. Alexander returns with some leaping knees as the match broke down into strikes, with Alexander getting knocked down with elbows. A kick to the chest rocks Alexander, ahead of a powerbomb… and that’s your stoppage. Short and sweet, with Smith looking very efficient in this style. **¾
Women’s Tournament Final: Allysin Kay vs. Lindsay Snow
Snow tries to charge at Kay at the bell, but there’s a lot of fake-outs going on as Kay eventually scored a single-leg takedown.
Snow looks for a cross armbreaker, but Kay rolls out as she looked for one of her own, before she laid in with some heel kicks on the mat. Kay goes for a single leg, but it’s blocked as Snow took her down, faking out a wristlock as she went for the leg. That too is blocked, with the pair scrambling for position as Snow eventually countered out and threw some knees to the ribs.
Kay leaves her arm free as Snow went for another armbar, but Kay folds her way free, only to get caught in a leg lock from Snow. Snow tries to turn that into a deathlock, but back-and-forth punche break it up as Snow gets caught in a triangle armbar attempt. Knees get her free, but Kay rolls her back down before Snow rolled back into the mount, throwing down some hammer fists before they rolled into a heel hook, which Kay instantly tapped to. A short night’s work for Snow, who won both her matches in about 11 minutes combined – and a worthy winner of the inaugural women’s tournament. **½
Chris Dickinson vs. Jon Moxley
Dickinson was a replacement for Josh Barnett here, as Jon Moxley got star treatment for this main event fight.
They take their time to lock up as Dickinson stung Moxley with a kick to the inner thigh, before Moxley almost bullied him out of the ring. Dickinson slaps back, but Moxley sweeps the leg as the energetic start continued. Dickinson goes for a kick, but it’s caught as he’s taken down again as commentary mentioned just how cursed Moxley’s plans with Bloodsport have been. On the mat, Dickinson looked to grab Moxley’s leg, but it’s blocked as the pair went fur duelling leglocks in the corner of the ring, before they scrambled back to their feet. A guillotine from Dickinson led to him rolling Moxley to the mat ahead of an armbar attempt, but Moxley extricates his arm and comes back with some downward elbows.
Moxley rolls Dickinson back down, but Dickinson finds a waistlock and teases a German suplex… only or Moxley to slip out and shove Dickinson out of the ring via the post. The referee starts a standing ten count, as Dickinson rolled back in, clearly showing an injury to the wrist. Moxley takes him into the mount before a triangle armbar attempt forces Dickinson to get free.
Dickinson throws some kicks as Moxley tries to charge him back down, going for a head and arm choke before he went back to some hammering elbows. A double wristlock’s blocked by Dickinson, but more elbows help him get it on as Dickinson ended up getting stomped on. A sliding elbow knocks Dickinson flying out of the ring again, but he gets back in as Moxley seemed to tee up for a Gotch piledriver.
Dickinson blocks it, then went for another German suplex, before he instead switched into a Dragon screw. Kicks target that leg, knocking Moxley down ahead of a deadlift German suplex that had the ref checking on Moxley. A leg lock keeps the AEW champion in trouble, but Moxley rolls the pair of them to the outside to force the break.
They get back inside as they swing for punches and chops, sending clouds of sweat flying as Moxley edged ahead… until Dickinson fought back with kicks and chops as Moxley ended up taking a back suplex. Moxley is back up, so he gets another, before a head kick from Dickinson knocked Moxley down for some ground and pound that almost got the match waved off. A cross armbar gives Moxley some hope as he’s able to escape it, before he blocked a suplex and took down Dickinson. He keeps going with a knee strike and a front facelock suplex, before a rear naked choke was clung onto so tight that the referee was forced to stop it. Fantastic stuff this between two of the biggest names from their worlds – who made this “shoot style” match feel real, which helped fuel the hot crowd throughout. ****¼
Post-match, Moxley cuts a promo on Dickinson which was mostly inaudible on the PPV – but what I took from it was it was a pep talk for Dickinson to “keep showing up, and keep doing what you’re doing” as it seems to be only a matter of time before Dickinson leaves the indies behind.
Shoot-style shows can be a hard sell, but Bloodsport has carved a niche for itself with a quality of card that always seems to delivers. The addition of Lenny Leonard running solo on commentary added an extra gravitas to proceedings – as his voice remains sorely underused on the indies following EVOLVE’s closure. For new fans, it’d be glib to say this is “Raw Underground done right”, but if that’s your only frame of reference to shoot style, then give this a go – and be pleasantly surprised!