WrestleMania Weekend got underway with the first of many shows – as Matt Riddle and Game Changer Wrestling presented a shoot-style card of fun!

The rules to Bloodsport were simple – no ropes, and victory could be attained only by knock-out or submission, sort of like wXw’s Ambition, just without a tournament format or those darned ropes. Think of it as Matt Riddle presents “Floor is Lava” and you’re close! By the way, just like Ambition, we’re not rating these because how do you rate shoot style? A late change to the show saw Low Ki replaced by Minoru Suzuki, after the latter pulled out of the first-time match citing a neck injury. Like with all of the WWN “More Than Mania” shows, we’re at the Pontchartrain Convention Centre near New Orleans for this…

Good work WWN, by the way, for plugging a sale in your pre-show that ended over three months ago! Still, it got me hyped to think about watching Biff Busick vs. Timothy Thatcher from those shows in 2014, so the joke’s on me, even if it was really just a cover for a delayed start because the WWN website crashed. You had one job… Finally we’re underway, with Larry Legend in a tuxedo hosting the show from a rather odd look – a ring with no ropes! Denver Colorado is on commentary, alongside Paul Crockett – just like Beyond!

Dominic Garrini vs. KTB
WWN still haven’t figured out sound levels, as Garrini’s theme distorts like a mother bear.

Mauling is a fighting style, according to KTB. Fair enough. KTB got an early suplex, but had to slip out of a rear naked choke attempt from Garrini, before he tried to sink in a front facelock. It doesn’t work as Garrini escapes and drills in some knees to the midsection as he eventually mounted KTB in search of an armbar… but to no avail.

KTB replies with some knees as he tries to clubber away on Garrini, then punches his out… but he wanders into a triangle armbar as Garrini played dead, leading to the submission. Dominic Garrini goes through!

I guess the woods isn’t a great place to train in shoot style wrestling?

Tracy Williams vs. Eddie Kingston
Matt Riddle was seconding Kingston for, reasons, wearing a Kill Bill-style SPLX tracksuit.

Kingston threw kicks early, and had time to flip off the crowd too, as Williams tried to ground him in search of a hold. Hot Sauce just slapped Kingston’s head, which wasn’t a bright idea, but it sure made Matt Riddle smile, as he awaited the inevitable flurry of receipts. Williams has to push out of a guillotine as he eventually decided just to kick Kingston in the head, before he worked his way into a knee bar.

Kingston punches his way free, but the bullseye remains, as Williams goes right back to it, only for Kingston to slap free and lay in some ground and pound. A sleeper suplex dumps Williams out of nowhere, then a head-and-arm choke follows on the ground, before Williams managed to escape and land a teardrop suplex before working into a cross armbreaker… but Kingston holds on! The hold’s powerbombed out of as Kingston used his strength, but his knee’s still bothering him… but it turned out in his favour as Williams ran into it as Kingston polished off “Hot Sauce” with a spinning backfist for the TKO. Wow. That was not the result I expected, but it was certainly impactful!

Martin Stone vs. MASADA
Mixing again, WWN… Martin Stone’s theme completely overwhelmed commentary here as I was wondering “how’d they get Wade Barrett?”

MASADA spat water at Stone before the bell, but the Brit responds by taking him down as he looked for a body part. Instead, we get a shout-out to the “West Ham United Hammers” from Crockett on commentary, as MASADA just chose to throw some bombs from the mount, before Stone took him down into a heel hook.

MASADA tried to reach for an imaginary rope, so Stone lets him up… and gets caught with a single leg takedown. Stone counters as he looked for a keylock, throwing knees to the ribs for good measure, before we’re back to the slaps as Stone threw in a German suplex for the hell of it. Another German was countered into a knee bar, but after the ref stood them up, MASADA nailed Stone with a knee, before pulling Stone into a triangle armbar with some elbows, as the ref waved off the match. Commentary BURIED that call as Stone was judged to have been knocked out. Like hell he was.

Tom Lawlor vs. WALTER
The former UFC fighter Lawlor was in this with a heavily-taped forearm, having broken it a few weeks ago. Not sure if WALTER is the best man to face here… This is gonna be GOOD.

Lawlor tried to shoot for a takedown, but WALTER wanted no part of it. WALTER tried a gutwrench suplex as Lawlor went for another takedown, but we’re still at a stalemate, and now… CHOP! WALTER knocked down Lawlor, but he followed him to the mat as “Filthy Tom” went for a rear naked choke… which WALTER easily shrugged off before going for Lawlor’s healing-up arm. That took Lawlor down as WALTER looked to pull him up for a gutwrench, and got it, before we went to the inevitable “slam the arm into the mat”.

Another slam followed, as WALTER goes for a key lock, switching into an armbar, then a Regal stretch and a STF, before those bloody chops rocked Lawlor some more. Filthy Tom tried to fire back, but you know what the deal is, as we… buffer? NO! A quick refresh sees we missed a suplex, as WALTER gets dumped with a German suplex as we continue, seeing a sleeper hold and a Superman punch out of Lawlor. Yeah, the crowd hated that.

A second Superman punch is swatted away with a WALTER chop, before a lariat of doom decks Lawlor ahead of the Gojira clutch… but Lawlor rolls through and gets in an armbar, only for WALTER to powerbomb free as a trapped wristlock and a Gojira clutch combo forces the win. Holy hell that was GOOD! A massive win for WALTER, regardless of Lawlor’s physical condition. If we were giving snowflakes to this, it’d have gone just north of 4…

Hey, wXw, any chance of a rematch at Ambition next year?

Chris Dickinson vs. Dan Severn
Hey, Dan came out to the original UFC theme! Sweet! He also had a parade of title belts too, just because!

Dickinson did his damndest to antagonise Severn, throwing a t-shirt in his face, but he didn’t shoot out of the gates, instead taking his time to try and grapple the “Dirty Daddy” to the mat. Severn holds on to deny Dickinson in the mount, only for Dickinson to get free and land some shots from above.

A guillotine from Dickinson has Severn’s face going red, but the Beast punches his way free, only for Dickinson to try and grab a knee. They stand back up after going for a mini conga on the mat, where Dickinson fells Severn with a kick to the chest, before some ground and pound. Another head kick gets caught by Severn though as the tables quickly turn, with the Beast locking in a head-and-arm choke as that brief flurry came to a close.

Takedowns follow from each man, but the pace slows with both men trading the advantage in the mount, before Severn locked in a rear naked choke. Dickinson escaped and looked to tease a DDT, but instead grabbed a guillotine on the takedown, before Dickinson started to lay in some elbows from above as the referee eventually separated the two… for reasons. Yeah, the crowd booed that. Straight away, Severn recovered and went for a rear naked choke, before dumping Dickinson with a German suplex, and we’re back to the rear naked choke as the ref waves it off. Yeah, that stand-up was clearly to protect Severn, right? Still, it’s nice they’re working in poor officiating into this shoot-style show!

Post-match, Dickinson leapt out of the ring and brawled with Severn, before Matt Riddle and Jaka helped to separate the pair. Yeah, that might have been caused by the horrible officiating.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Nick Gage
This is going to be quite something… Timothy Thatcher vs. Nick Gage is… a clash!

Gage’s bandanna was knocked off early on as the pair went for the opening lock-up, but Thatcher gets in the first hold, only for Gage to escape and score a waistlock takedown. They tease throwing each other out of the ring, but Thatcher blocks it and instead takes a punch right to the ear, as Thatcher responds with a takedown and a single-leg crab.

Gage bites his way free of an armbar, sinking his teeth into Thatcher’s leg as the violence is turned up many levels, with Thatcher again blocking a suplex to the floor. We finally get the floor bump as Thatcher rolled Gage with an armbar, sending the ex-con all the way to the outside.

Thatcher follows him outside as we finally get a brawl on the floor, where Gage briefly used the camera cord as commentary teased the looming commision… and it looks like Gage has lost his mind, throwing a table onto Thatcher for the fun of it. Timmy starts returning shots as Gage is beaten into a chair, prompting the fans in the crowd to boo him. I don’t like those guys. Gage reverses a suplex on the floor as the rules are thrown out of the window, but they finally end up in the ring again as they tee off with forearms, leading to a leaping enziguiri from Thatcher. A forearm from Gage is the response, along with ground and pound as referee Bryce Remsburg waves it off. I was not expecting that finish, but at least it keeps the crowd happy.

Can we have Timothy Thatcher in Europe permanently if the US won’t appreciate him?

Minoru Suzuki vs. Matt Riddle
Our late replacement was quite the surprise, as Minoru Suzuki fit this style like a glove. There’s a wacky cover of Kaze Ni Nare here, as Suzuki had his New Japan and Rev Pro belts on show!

Matt Riddle went full Kill Bill here, keeping his black and yellow tracksuit on for his entrance. We’ve got the questionable referee for the main event, which worries me…

Commentary took a dig at Low Ki for his absence as Suzuki tried to mount Riddle, but of course that wasn’t happening as the pair instead tried to battle over knee bars at the same time! After they stood up, we’re into a brief striking flurry before Riddle takes down Suzuki again… but some shots anger the veteran, as he grabbed a rear naked choke and almost rolled out of the ring, prompting that awful referee to call for a break. Idiot. Instead, Riddle rolled to the floor and laid in some punches as the referee tried in vain to separate them, as the fight just spilled onto the floor.

Still on the apron, Riddle tries to throw some elbows, but Suzuki catches one and takes him down into an armbar on the mat, as Riddle tried to drag his way into the crowd. Just because. Manic stomps from Suzuki follow, as does some rather popular threats towards the referee.

Back in the ring, the pair trade slaps as Suzuki tried to work back into a rear naked choke, but instead he’s dumped with a German suplex as Riddle hauled him up, deadlift style! A back senton follows as some knees and forearms keep Suzuki down, but it didn’t work as the Suzuki-gun leader switched it around into a rear naked choke, only for Riddle to squash him on the mat. That too didn’t work as Suzuki held firm, and finally the referee waves it off for the right call as Suzuki gets the win! Well then, Suzuki is 2-0 against Riddle, and that was a hell of a contest, which ended with Suzuki hugging Riddle… again, something I did NOT expect!

Bloodsport was a slightly mixed bag – with some really high highs (WALTER/Lawlor, Williams/Kingston and Riddle/Suzuki), so-so lows, and woeful officiating. If shoot style isn’t your cup of tea, it’s skippable, but as an appetiser for #WatchaMania, this was glorious! Heck, I’d definitely say get this just to see WALTER in his element! Unless the show bombed financially, I think we’ve got a new curtain raiser for WrestleMania weekend right here!