Former AEW World Heavyweight Champion Jon Moxley has cited that Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport is exactly what professional wrestling should be.
A stripped down version of the glitz and glamour people are used to seeing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, Bloodsports relies on pure violence to attract an audience with canvas replacing an actual wrestling ring sans buckles or ropes. As far as the bouts go, matches can only end via knockout or submission harking back to the Spartan days of grappling or the gritty bare-knuckle fights that were synonymous with early days of British wrestling.
At Bloodsport 5 on February 20, AEW’s Jon Moxley will make his return to the event in a bout with Davey Boy Smith Jr., and ahead of the brawl sat down with Sports Illustrated to discuss the importance of the style and how it’s what professional wrestling should be:
“This is pro wrestling, exactly what f***ing pro wrestling is supposed to be. No choreographed horses**t, no frills, nothing that’s ironic. It’s hard-hitting wrestling, that’s Bloodsport. This is a destination for me. I wanted to do this while I was with WWE when I watched Harry Smith fight [Karrion] Kross [in April 2019]. That stood out to me, and even then, I thought Harry embodied that Bloodsport style.”
Stepping onto the canvas against the son of The British Bulldog, Moxley is well aware that the star is undefeated at the event having defeated Karrion Kross, Tom lawlor, Josh Alexander and Calvin Tankman on the previous four shows. However, he’s ready for the challenge such a warrior brings:
“This isn’t going to be a payday; this is going to be a moment. I can beat the guy that’s undefeated at Bloodsport, but I know he can beat me, too. Harry is legit, and I know he’s going in confident thinking he’s going to kick my ass. Maybe he will. But if that’s what he thinks he’s going to do, it’s going to be a long f***ing night.
Bloodsport reminds me of a deathmatch, even though it’s the complete opposite. It’s the attitude that feels the same. Bloodsport captures my spirit – we’re not there to do a dance routine; we’re two competitors laying it on the line, trying to hurt each other. This is the hardest-hitting wrestling on the planet. This is as serious as it gets in pro wrestling, and the vibe and attitude fits everything about me. And it’s even better because I get to go against Harry Smith, this brick s**thouse that’ll knock you in the dirt the first chance he gets.”
Bloodsport 5 couldn’t have come at a better time for the former AEW World Heavyweight Champion as he prepares to once again vie for the gold at AEW Revolution on February 27 in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match against Kenny Omega.
Credit for the interview and transcription: Sports Illustrated