Bloodsport 9

Live Bloodsport 9 Coverage, Stream & Reaction

Welcome to Inside The Ropes’ live coverage of the ninth edition of Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport, presented as part of GCW’s The Collective.

This event streams live via Fite TV and you can enjoy the action while following along with our blog.

Going into the event, much of the early intrigue centres around the in-ring return of former IWGP World Heavyweight champion Kota Ibushi, who has been out of action since 2021 having suffered an injury during the G1 Climax tournament finals against Kazuchika Okada.

Here, Ibushi faces IMPACT star and former X-Division champion Mike Bailey, in what should be an intriguing battle.

Naturally, the event’s proprietor takes the main event slot with Josh Barnett going up against Timothy Thatcher, who fans may remember from his recent AEW Dynamite battle with Bryan Danielson.

In addition, Bryan’s Blackpool Combat Club stablemate Jon Moxley draws New Japan’s Alex Coughlin while Marina Shafir returns to face another IMPACT star in Killer Kelly.

It’s good to have you with us for what should be a fun night of grappling!

 Get involved and send us your thoughts to join in the conversation.

Kota Ibushi

Final thoughts

That’s all for tonight, my friends!

Before we sign off, a few thoughts to close..

It’s fantastic to have Kota Ibushi back in the squared circle and once again, Mike Bailey proved himself to be a top tier performer.

Timothy Thatcher’s victory over Josh Barnett appeared to be something of a statement win for the Pro Wrestling NOAH man and it will be interesting to see if this catalyses further successes in the months ahead.

Marina Shafir did everything in her power to prove Jon Moxley right and looked very impressive against a game Killer Kelly. The onus is now surely on Tony Khan to figure out how to expose this side of Shafir to the AEW audience.

Finally, Jon Moxley once again showcased not only his versatility but his innate ability to make his opponents look good.

Overall, a fun event with much more variety than I had previously noted on Bloodsport shows. Good stuff.

I hope you enjoyed the show on Fite TV and thanks for watching along with us here at ITRwrestling.com.

Tiomthy Thatcher

Barnett taps! Thatcher wins!

Wooooooowwww!!!!

I did not see that one coming.

Josh Barnett’s undefeated run at Bloodsport is over courtesy of a well worked kneebar by Timothy Thatcher.

The former UFC man was in serious trouble in the minutes prior, with Thatcher pouring on the submission attempts before finally transitioning to the kneebar.

The two shake hands in the post-match of what was a compelling main event contest.

Tiomthy Thatcher

Human chess

This is peak catch wrestling, as captured in the below video courtesy of Fite TV..

Tiomthy Thatcher

Heating up

This one is coming to the boil..

Thatcher seemingly had Barnett dead to rites with a completed kimura, only for Barnett to manipulate a dangling foot for the escape.

Later, Barnett took a nasty spill to the outside as both men looked to be nearing the outer limits of their respective gas tanks.

Tiomthy Thatcher

Tim's on top

The NOAH man has, thus far, been the aggressor, with Barnett stuck firmly on the defensive.

Thatcher looked to have had the big man troubled earlier in the bout, with a series of stiff looking knees to the kidney.

Tiomthy Thatcher

A big challenge

Thatcher has his work cut out for him here against the youngest ever UFC Heavyweight champion, ‘The Warmaster’ Josh Barnett.

Barnett looks more trim than he has in recent appearances, which may play a factor should the bout move into deeper waters.

Tiomthy Thatcher

Main event time

It’s time for our final contest of the evening and out first is Timothy Thatcher, who has recently starred for Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan and who also caught some mainstream attention via a decent bout versus Bryan Danielson on AEW Dynamite.

Jon Moxley

Moxley sleeps Coughlin!

That was great fun whilst it lasted!

Jon Moxley gets the W with what appeared to be a Darce choke – a submission used all too rarely in a pro wrestling setting.

Coughlin made it interesting, delivering a particularly memorable moment by powering out of Moxley’s bulldog choke and reversing it into a torture rack – that was impressive.

Great stuff.

Jon Moxley

No backing down

Coughlin came to play, as highlighted in the video below courtesy of Fite TV..

Jon Moxley

Tightwatch!

For those wondering, the legs are indeed out as Moxley is rocking the shorts.

Mrs Moxley (aka Renee Paquette) exalted the virtues of her husband’s leg game on her podcast earlier this week and will surely be a very happy lady now that the calves are on full display once again!

Davey Boy Smith Jr

Clash of the titans

As a reminder of the colossal tussle that went down between Smith and Kratos earlier in the evening, check out this clip courtesy of Fite TV..

Jon Moxley

Enter Moxley

The former AEW World champion is up next, taking on late replacement opponent Alex Coughlin, who himself is one of New Japan’s brightest prospects.

Coughlin is built like a superhero and should prove a unique challenge for Mr Moxley.

John Morrison

Bloodsport gets the tap!

Wow! That one went back and forth, with Isaacs coming close with a piledriver on Bloodsport.

However, the former WWE man somehow kept his wits about him and managed to utilise a gator roll into a guillotine for the tap out victory.

Didn’t see that one coming – flowers for Mr Bloodsport, please!

John Morrison

All square

Isaacs was the betting favourite going into this but man, it’s been an evenly fought contest thus far.

Johnny Bloodsport is certainly making a decent account of himself in what is an unfamiliar setting for the high flyer.

John Morrison

Next up - Johnny Bloodsport!

Out comes the most polyonymous man in professional wrestling history, the former John Morrison, Johnny Bloodsport!

His opponent tonight is New Japan star Royce Isaacs, who has gradually been gaining traction as part of the New Japan STRONG stable, Team Filthy.

Mike Bailey

Kicks and flips!

Here are some highlights, courtesy of Fite TV, from earlier in the night, when business really began to pick up for ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey and Kota Ibushi.

This one will be worth a re-watch, that’s for sure.

Davey Boy Smith Jr

It's over! Kratos taps to the crossface

A brief firefight ensued with Smith getting the last word.

The two giants head back down to the mat where the fresher Bulldog was able to lock on a crossface for the hard-won submission.

That played out very differently to how many expected but made for compelling viewing nonetheless.

Davey Boy Smith Jr

Powerbomb to Kratos!

Man alive! Davey Boy Smith with the powerbomb to Kratos!

But the New Japan man is not finished yet and fires back with a spectacular flying kick, leaving both men reeling on the mat.

Davey Boy Smith Jr

Glued to the mat

Somewhat surprisingly, this bout has been almost entirely contested on the mat so far, with the two behemoths trading holds and positions as opposed to power moves and strikes.

Very interesting – thus far you’d have to give it to Kratos on points, but the big man’s gas tank may be suspect..

Davey Boy Smith Jr

The big boys are back!

Next up, it’s hulking New Japan star JR Kratos versus former WWE star Harry Smith.

These are two giant athletes, each with serious knockout power, so perhaps best not to blink..

Bad Dude Tito

Bad Dude Tito upsets Yuya Uemura

Bad Dude Tito’s Bloodsport record was not the best coming into the evening but the TMDK member upset the odds with a victory over young Uemura.

This one was pretty unique, with Uemura even executing a dive to the outside at one point – quite the rarity at a Bloodsport event!

Jeff Cobb

Opening contest - Jeff Cobb vs Calder McColl

Jeff Cobb is our first competitor of the evening!┬áThe Olympian will be facing Scotland’s Calder McColl, who has been a pro since 2004.

Jeff Cobb

Cobb takes it!

Wow! That was super competitive while it lasted but an ill-fated triangle attempt by McColl was reversed into a Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson style slam, followed by a huge right hand for good measure, and that’s all for our first contest of the evening.

Calvin Tankman

Here come the heavyweights..

Up next, two of the larger competitors on the card – it’s Calvin Tankman vs Erik Hammer.

MLW fans may be familiar with Tankman, who has has an impressive run and has held the promotion’s tag straps.

His opponent, Hammer, enters with a perfect 3-0 record in Bloodsport.

Calvin Tankman

Hammer remains undefeated in Bloodsport!

These two came to fight!

That was a fast and furious blend of strikes and mat scrambles, but Hammer’s flexibility on the deck ultimately helped him seal the deal, locking up a kimura of sorts on the prone Tankman for the tap out victory.

Marina Shafir

Marina Shafir up next

Marina Shafir takes on Killer Kelly next.

Shafir was in the news earlier in the week, as Jon Moxley highlighted her previous Bloodsport exploits as being indicative of her potential in AEW and beyond.

Jon Moxley Heaps Praise On Unlikely AEW Female Star

Marina Shafir

No problem for 'The Problem'

Moxley was right, Marina Shafir is an entirely different animal on the Bloodsport mat.

That one threatened to be a one-sided blow out but fortunately, Kelly was able to weather the early storm and make things competitive.

However, the AEW star ultimately wrestled the advantage back, following a minor display of hubris from the IMPACT star, before eventually locking up a triangle variation for the submission win.

Kota Ibushi

It's time! Kota Ibushi vs Mike Bailey

The moment is here – Kota Ibushi makes his return to the ring following two years on the shelf through injury.

Ibushi has mentioned on social media that his previously injured shoulder had flared up in the past couple of days, so it will be interesting to see whether that plays a role in this contest.

Mike Bailey

Don't sleep on Bailey

While all eyes may be on Ibushi, ‘Speedball’ has been on one hell of a hot streak over the past few months and certainly has the martial arts prowess to make things difficult for the Japanese star.

Mike Bailey

Out of the ring!

Well, you don’t see that everyday..

Stuck on bottom during an in-depth grappling exchange, Bailey used his significant leg strength to elevate Ibushi into the air and down to the floor.

Not ideal for someone with a bad shoulder!

Kota Ibushi

Ibushi KO's Bailey!

The action picked up in a hurry following a prolonged period on the mat.

Both men traded strikes and kicks before Ibushi caught Bailey with a Regal Plex followed by a V-Trigger knee for the knockout victory.

Best bout of the night thus far, and great to see Ibushi back doing what he does best.