Chris Dickinson is ready to reintroduce the world to the true vision of pro wrestling. In the process, he also plans to make a lasting impression of his own.
Dickinson is a central figure on wrestling’s independent scene, offering a style that is physical, raw and, oftentimes, gory. He is a perfect fit for Sunday’s Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport show, where he meets the world-renowned Jon Moxley in the main event.
This meeting is a clash of styles with a lot to prove on each side. A former WWE superstar, Moxley is on top of the industry as the preeminent face and champion of All Elite Wrestling, but he still has a burning fire deep within his soul to prove that he is still the toughest, most versatile worker in the game.
For Dickinson, the trip to Marion County Fairgrounds in Indianapolis for Bloodsport marks his chance to show the wrestling realm that no one is more physical, rough or realistic. And the setting is perfect, as the show, which streams on FITE at 8pm ET, is built around matches that end only by knockout or submission. This is a shoot-style blended with a combat sport foundation, a platform that suits Dickinson’s strengths.
“It’s pro wrestling in its purest form,” said Dickinson. “Because of Josh Barnett and GameChanger Wrestling, you’ll see a style you just won’t ever see on television, anywhere. No fluffy stuff. No angles. It’s pro wrestling, the way it was designed to be presented.”
Moxley has been advertised on the Bloodsport card before, but the universe simply would not allow it to occur. Previously, an elbow injury prevented him from competing against Barnett, a former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion. Then the pandemic wiped away the possibility of Moxley’s next appearance, but now it is finally set to take place, albeit with a different opponent. Barnett has a bare-knuckle boxing fight in Poland later this month, and he chose Dickinson—who served as Moxley’s replacement when he missed Bloodsport 13 months ago—to take the lucrative spot.
“I had to prove myself to Barnett,” said Dickinson. “Now I’m fortunate to train with him. To have his backing, and the backing of GameChanger Wrestling, that means the world to me. Moxley is the biggest star right now in wrestling, so this shows a lot of trust in me. Now he’s coming to my house, and I’m going to deliver.”
Moxley shared his enthusiasm for the match, thrilled to have his shot at making a lasting memory at Bloodsport.
“It’s been a long time in the making, so I’m stoked,” said Moxley. “As long as some 2020 s— doesn’t happen, like Indianapolis getting taken out by a hurricane in the next few hours, then I think the third time is going to be a charm for me.”
One of the industry’s major players, Moxley knows there will be extra pressure for him to deliver on the indie scene, which is wrestling’s lifeblood and the place where he paid his dues.
“Dickinson will be chomping at the bit for me, but this is what I love to do,” said Moxley. “It’s all about fighting and physicality. That’s exactly what I want to do, and on that canvas with Dickinson is exactly where I want to be.
“I’m excited to finally get on the Bloodsport mat. I’ve been working my ass off with my catch wrestling, and I’m planning on having this match really shake things up and blow people away.”
Two of Moxley’s most recent matches were AEW title defenses against Eddie Kingston and “The Butcher” Andy Williams, which both stood out as hard-hitting, compelling presentations. But those familiar with Dickinson know that viewers watching his work are more likely to feel it than simply see it, and he plans on making a mark on Moxley.
“He’s a millionaire, I’m a pro wrestler,” said Dickinson. “This is my opportunity to show the world real pro wrestling. Sunday night, you’ll get a chance to take a real good look at that.
“I respect Jon Moxley, don’t get me wrong. I’ve known him before he was in WWE. He’s a good guy. But once the bell rings, I don’t care what title he has. He bleeds and feels pain like any other human. I am going to whoop his ass.”
The Bloodsport shows are unique. The traditional wrestling ring is replaced by a canvas, and there are no turnbuckles or ropes. This is pro wrestling’s version of survival of the fittest, and Dickinson intends to show Moxley why he is a survivor.
“This is the AEW Champion, an IWGP US Champion, in the main event of Bloodsport,” said Dickinson. “It’s the biggest match of the year for independent wrestling. I’m going to show how much I improved during the pandemic. I binged so much wrestling. Normally I’d have been wrestling three or four times a week, but instead I used that time to think and process my work. I’m in the best condition of my career for this match, and I am going to take every hit he can throw at me. I am more ready than I’ve ever been.
“Jon’s a street fighter, he knows jiu-jitsu, but strength and conditioning aren’t going to play in his favor. I don’t play pro wrestler. I’m going to pound his face.”