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Wrestling Bloodsport - The Gablete

Some movies just stand out. I remember vividly going to my friend Nathan’s house to hang out, and he had just seen Bloodsport for the first time. We were probably 8, and he immediately began explaining the characters from the movie, and how excellent it was. Naturally, we started playing “Bloodsport” where we essentially drafted characters from the movie to pretend to be in our own made up Kumite tournament, and fought over and over until a champion was crowned. It’s important to note that I had never seen the movie yet. Just experienced it second hand through the description of all the characters and plot, but I was all in. Few things live up to expectations, but watching this for the first time delivered on everything I had hoped it would be. It’s far and away the greatest karate tournament movie ever made. Crazy training montages, horrible acting, sequences that are impossible to explain - when Jean Claude is balancing in the splits while his Shidoshi hits him with a bamboo stick, or stretches him with ropes for no reason. It’s just weird, but in the best way. What I’d like to do, is make a wrestling movie, with all of these elements. The following is just free flowing thoughts and ideas built on the foundation of that concept.

Everyone knows that there is a secret wrestling tournament that happens every year right? There are no weight classes, no points are scored, no time limits, just pins. That’s the only thing that ends a match. Nobody talks about it, but that’s mostly because of how secret and cool it is. Anyway, it’s well regarded as being way more prestigious than the World Championships, or Olympics put together. Now that we’ve established the rules, and how highly regarded this tournament is, let’s move on. It’s definitely held in Russia, rather than Hong Kong, like the Kumite. Russia seems like the place to have a super secret underground wrestling tournament, that inexplicably has 250+ random people just there betting on it. I’ll never understand how the Kumite was both super secret, and openly discussed and covered by the media, and also held in a venue that was down a long and dark underground alley, but these are questions that we are not meant to have answers to.

So let’s talk about this wrestling tournament. Who gets to go? Forrest Whitaker is there for sure. He was in Vision Quest, and Bloodsport, so without question he’s there. As far as I can tell, there appears to be one representative from each country at the Kumite, so let’s operate this tournament the same way. Initial thought is to just pencil Adam Coon into this role from the US, as he seems to be the best bet to be able to pin people, and to be able to handle competitors of any size. However, I can’t picture Adam Coon doing the splits on two chairs in a hotel room while meditating. I feel like that’s a prerequisite for the tournament. Although Coon could probably take the position of Ray Jackson, who is the entrant from the US anyway. That makes more sense. I had to eliminate Snyder, Gwiz, and Burroughs from this spot simply because the only way to advance in this tournament is by pinning people. As talented as they are, Coon seems like he’s a lock (body lock maybe) for this spot.

Frank Dux is a part of the US Military, but he’s there representing the Tanaka clan, so I’m kind of thinking that he be represented by someone who is representing a country that they don’t necessarily live in. Like a Frank Chamizo, Franklin Gomez, or Stevan Micic type. Not necessarily those guys, with the whole size and pinning thing, but they are the examples I’m using here. Actually yes, Stevan Micic is Frank Dux. Great hair, seemingly undersized to win such a crazy tournament, but his ability to use a variety of styles, and not limit himself to just one, is what helps him take this spot. Chong Li is 1000% Sadulaev though. Completely dangerous on so many levels, super able to pin people, and seems like he’d be able to create a compound fracture by kicking someone in the leg. I’m also open to including fictional wrestlers in this super secret underground tournament as well, so Brian Shute and Lowden Swain have entered (Shute representing the world of cinema, and Lowden representing whatever planet that dude is from), and I fully expect them to meet at some point for their much anticipated rematch. Lowden pins everyone with his patented Lat Drop, so I’m assuming he gets the win here as well, especially with weight not being a factor.

Jon Reader.jpg

Let’s talk history of this tournament. It’s important to reiterate how lucky you are right now to be learning about such an important and secret tournament. Dan Gable has won this tournament 45 times. In fact, it’s called the Gablete’ tournament. I feel like Bruce Baumgartner, Dave Schultz, and Kenny Monday are among the US athletes to have won this in the past. I feel like Jon Reader has a title also. With the nickname “The Gladiator”, and the iconic picture of him bleeding from the head in victory, he for sure makes it through this. For sure Karelin has several titles also. He would just lift his opponents and throw them off the raised mat, which I just decided is also a way to win. Also, drug tests. There are for sure drug tests. We don’t need Turkish dudes with backne winning the Gablete. It’s a tournament with a proud tradition, and very clearly answers the question, ‘who is the best wrestler on the planet in any given year?’

I’m not sure what this was. A tribute to Bloodsport? A new movie idea? Incoherent rambling? Whatever it was, I hope you enjoyed it.