This week we're taking a look at an absolute rising star on the indie scene and one of the most noted shoot style fighters today: Jordan Blade.
Blade has been a huge name in places like Paradigm Pro and Combat Fights Unlimited, as well as Pro Wrestling Magic and GCW. Blade is having the biggest year of their career in 2021, and has won multiple belts to show for it. We're going to go over Blade's career, then the various shoot style rulesets they've fought under, and then move into the top ten!
Jordan Blade came into wrestling with a background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, specifically training at Mongrel Martial Arts. They also have a background in ultimate frisbee, and I'm begging to see this impact a match: like catching a flying trash can lid, I need it. Blade began wrestling in 2017 for places like NOVA pro, close to their hometown of Richmond, VA. They would continue having matches throughout the state, including against names like Faye Jackson, Terra Calaway, and competed in an fatal four way I need to find against Erica Leigh, Shea McCoy, and Lady Frost. In late 2019 Blade started to really break out, forming the tag team Kings of the District with the African American Horror Story Eel O'Neal. They competed together in Prime Time Pro Wrestling, including at the first Butch vs Gore event.
The next big milestone in Blade's career came in December 2020, when they faced Janai Kai in a UWFi Rules match. This was Blade's first shoot style match, and far from their last. Blade would become a mainstay of Paradigm's UWFi division, leading up to Cole Radrick and the Super Middleweight Grand Prix. Blade entered the tournament and fought against Jaiden, Nick King, Robert Martyr, and finally Cole Radrick himself to win the Super Middleweight Championship. Meanwhile, Blade began competing in Pro Wrestling Magic, and would become a two time Women's Champion after a fantastic feud with Allie Katch.
Continuing down the shoot style path, Jordan Blade competed in the Shoot to Thrill tournament for Combat Fights Unlimited in their first ever show. After beating Lady Frost in the first round, Blade once again came face to face with Janai Kai. Blade would lose here, but that's not where the story ends. As of this writing, we are only a couple of weeks away from Paradigm Pro Wrestling's 4th Anniversary Show. Blade will be defending the Super Middleweight Championship against Janai Kai. These two just keep fighting, and I know this one will be just as good, if not better than their previous fights.
So in this list we will see two types of shoot style wrestling: Combat Fights Unlimited and UWFi Rules. I've talked a lot about UWFi Rules for Paradigm, but essentially they are a modernized version of the Union of Wrestling Forces international ruleset. Both wrestlers begin with 15 points, and lose points for things like rope breaks, being knocked down, and taking a suplex. The match can only end by points, submission, knock out, or referee stoppage. Paradigm has truly made this style their own, but Combat Fights Unlimited has reminded us that it's not the only ruleset you can use. CFU is fought under three, three minute rounds for its undercard, and five rounds for main events. The matches have no ropes, a cage, and if they go the distance they go to referee decision. Blade has been able to excel in both of these styles, on top of traditional pro wrestling. They are one of the most versatile wrestlers we have looked at in this column, and today we are not just looking at why Jordan Blade is great, but why shoot style is great. With that being said, let's look at some matches.
#10: Jordan Blade vs Robert Martyr
This is the first of two matches from the Super Middleweight grand prix for Paradigm Pro Wrestling. This match was the semifinal and a lot of people expected Robert Martyr to move on to the finals. In fact a lot of people thought he would win the tournament. He takes Blade to the mat to start the match, which is a bad idea. Taking a BJJ fighter on the mat is bold, but it paid off costing Blade a point in a rope break. Blade gets a point of their own though with a suplex before Martyr gives one of his own. The first stretch is very even as both fighters look for any opening they can get. Martyr slaps Blade in a way that the commentators note was more disrespectful than an actual strike, and immediately Blade goes for the ankle breaker. From this point Blade is in control. Martyr isn't able to actually get another hold in at all as Blade goes from submission to submission. They finally gets a strong armbar in and Martyr has no choice but to tap.
For many people this was the bracket buster for the tournament, but in hindsight it shouldn't have been. Blade had been finishing people off in 90 seconds, and came into this with fantastic momentum. Blade has quickly become one of the dominant UWFi fighters in Paradigm, and this match showcased just why that is. Blade didn't go for a lot of strikes, but made the suplex a distinct part of their offense, and took every submission opening they could find. A brutal, quick match, but one that really opened a lot of eyes while setting up
#9: Kings of the District vs Yokai
This one comes from Enjoy Wrestling's Canned Heat show and sees Janai Kai and Jordan Blade facing off once again, but in tag team action this time teaming with Yoya and Eel O'Neal respectively. Kings of the District did a great job isolating Yoya throughout the opening of the match. They looked incredibly dominant and Janai was only able to get in because Blade threw Yoya into the corner. This seems like a dance they'll be doing forever, and is only one of three matches with Kai on the list. That's how good this feud is, and adding in their tag partners adds a lot to the mix. For example, Janai leaps off Yoya into a sidekick that looks just vicious. Eventually the match begins to just break down as all four just continuously attack each other. Yoya hits a beautiful Canadian destroyer and from that point it really seems like Yokai will win. Ultimately, Eel hits a lariat out of nowhere and gets the win for Kings of the District.
#8: Kings of the District vs Bussy
This is one of my favorite tag matches for Kings of the District, and I always love me some bussy. This was during the time when Effy and Allie Katch couldn't win a single match, and Kings of the District weren't about to be the first to lose to them. Blade and Effy had a very great section of the match where Effy thought slapping Blade in the face would be a smart idea. Spoiler alert, it was not a smart idea. Effy probably would have tapped out to the cross arm breaker if not for the rope break. After that Eel O'Neal tags in and hits some big offense continuing to wear down Effy's arm. Jordan and Eel begin tagging in and out just really wearing down Effy. He ultimately is able to turn things around and throw blade into the ring post through the turnbuckle.
Eel really does a great job at working Effy's neck trying to get him ready for a submission, and keeping him away from Allie. Really Kings of the District stay in control of the match the entire time, not letting Bussy get any significant offense in. Effy is a great seller, and looks like a ragdoll after a suplex. The most entertaining moment comes when Bussy decides to do a Two Man Power Trip and hit the stunner and the pedigree at the same time, yet Kings of the District kick out. Eel hits a big double drop kick and then a corkscrew elbow drop on Effy. Blade is then able to finally get a submission that leaves Effy no choice but to tap out.
#7: Jordan Blade vs Ashton Starr
This was a fun one. This was a bit of a hidden gem as I feel Blade's UWFi matches and tag team matches tend to come up first when discussing them. Blade worked some great grappling to open the match, but Starr isn't afraid to work that style. These two work a hard hitting brawl that doesn't let up for a second. Starr spends the match just flying around the ring hitting all kinds of varied offense. I saw moves in this match that I've never even imagined, like a dropkick to a trapped leg in the ropes.
Blade works this fast paced style that I'm not used to from them hitting shoulder tackles for about a minute straight. After that they hit a series of knee strikes that is just brutal. Both of them could have easily been the main event, and frankly they stole the show. Blade gets the win with the ankle lock, and with the added kicks to the back of the leg, it's a personal favorite win of mine.
#6: Jordan Blade vs Lady Frost
Combat Fights Unlimited is a pretty new shoot style company that specializes in women's matches inside a cage with no ropes. Jordan Blade competed in the Shoot to Thrill tournament at their inaugural event of the same name. This was their first match in the company, and established that Jordan Blade is a name to fear. We've looked at Lady Frost in this column before, and she absolutely belongs in the cage. She competed at their second event "Rise of a Champion" as well, but here her night ends early going out in the first round of the tournament.
CFU fights are held in three, three minute rounds for the undercard, with a rest period between each round. Frost comes into this looking for kicks but Blade focuses on the grappling from the bell. They almost get the cross arm breaker at only 30 seconds into the match, but Frost is able to fight it off. Blade really does a great job at turning their opponent's strike attempts into holds, and is almost constantly looking for submissions in the first round. Frost really does rely on her legs throughout that time, as she focuses on kick attempts when standing, and knee strikes when Blade gets the mount.
The second round sees Frost realize that the knee strikes were working. She hits a few punches followed by a knee strike right off the bell, then bounces off the cage wall into a Superman punch. Blade is able to get a submission in, however, and ends the round in just 30 seconds. It was my favorite first round match in "Shoot to Thrill" and thankfully not the only time these two have fought.
#5: Jordan Blade vs Lady Frost
This is the most recent match on the list and the second fight with Lady Frost. I wanted to include this as well to show one match they had in Blade's world, and one in Frost's world of more traditional wrestling. Blade has really made the PWM Women's Championship her own, and made all the matches for it must see. Frost having the ropes here really helps, as she's able to get rope breaks and escape from a submission early on. Lady Frost does a lot of grappling throughout the match as well, and this might actually be a closer match in grappling than their CFU fight. The sheer amount of stuff they can do from just a wrist lock is fantastic and shows that "technical ground work" doesn't mean boring. They work a really good back and forth match, and Lady Frost hits some really good big spots, as well as a great moment where she feigns going for a standing moonsault, and just does a stomp instead. Ultimately, Blade wins with a rear naked choke, and it's a match that I want to see happen just one more time.
#4: Janai Kai vs Jordan Blade
this was my first time seeing either Janai Kai or Jordan Blade, and it was their first match together. From the moment I saw this fight I knew we were looking a two great wrestlers who have gone on to have a fantastic 2021 so far. This was on the first episode of UWFi Rules Contenders Series, so although Paradigm had run some UWFi matches already, the division was still in its early stages.
Immediately Blade goes for the grapple taking down Kai. Kai doesn't fight her best on the ground but is able to get some kicks off to get back up. Kai starts hitting some brutal knee strikes before Blade gets her back down and lands some punches. This fight is really back and forth in the early stages, and that's something I enjoy about UWFi rules matches. It doesn't take five minutes of momentum to be able to win: it takes one solid move. That's how quick a match can change, and knowing that it makes watching these matches so exciting because every solid kick from Janai can be that Knockout blow, and every grapple from Blade can be turned into a submission with just a flick of their wrist.
Blade and Kai have a good exchange on the mat that sees a submission attempt from Blade leading to them getting the mount and seemingly letting Kai up. Instead of going for the big strike Blade just sits down, beckoning Kai into their guard. And Jordan Blade sitting on the ground is a scary proposition. They can easily snare you in just about any move and that's it. Kai falls for it, and although she tries to get some strikes past their guard, Blade gets the ankle and the match is over. It's a great introduction to these two, a great start to a feud, a great showcase of UWFi Rules and in general a great match.
#3: Janai Kai vs Jordan Blade
When the first round of the Shoot to Thrill tournament wrapped up and I realized we were getting this rematch I was ecstatic. I had loved their Paradigm fight, and seeing them in a shoot style match with a new ruleset was an exciting proposition. Janai would ultimately go on to win the whole tournament, but this match had a lot of people talking. This one is a fairly long match for these two, due in part to the early feeling out process. They know each other a little better now, and so they're not rushing in. In fact, about a minute and a half into round one, Blade sits down like she did in the Paradigm fight, but when she realizes that Janai isn't falling for it this time she gets back up. Unlike their first match, this one has some longer stretches of holds. Janai has worked on her grappling ability, and is able to hold Blade in a front headlock longer trying to slowly work her down. It's in the last few seconds that the biggest strikes of the round occur, but this round was all about feeling out and getting a sense of what this fight will be like.
Round two starts a lot faster, with Blade chasing Kai as Kai looks for punches from a distance. Blade is able to finally get a full mount and look for her arm breaker around a minute into the round, but Kai doesn't let her cinch it all the way in. This section is probably my favorite as they keep countering each other well, and as with most Blade matches, they look for a hold opening while Kai looks for a strike opening. Kai tries to hold in the front chancery but the round ends. This was the first CFU match to go to the third round. Just a few seconds into the round Kai hits a stunning kick that sends her down. That ends the fight, and sets up Janai kai vs Masha Slamovich. It's a fantastic battle between two wrestlers who have begun to truly know each other, and I can't wait to see what they do next time.
#2: Allie Katch vs Jordan Blade
This was a highly anticipated rematch for the Pro Wrestling Magic Women's Championship. Allie won the title in just fifty seconds in a sneaky act of deception. Effy hit Jordan Blade with the title and Allie got the pin. This was actually the third match between these two, and tensions were high. The biggest catch of this match was that it was under "Hot Girl Rules" meaning no countouts and no submissions. Blade with no submissions is like a bird with clipped wings, but that's when wrestling tells the best stories. When the babyface has their main form of attack taken from them and they have to be creative or showcase a lesser known set of skills it always goes well. Jordan and Allie have had a great feud, and although I feel like this might be the end of their PWM story, I'd love to see this in Allie Kat(ch)'s Real Hot Girl S%*t.
Everyone going into this match wanted to see Blade get the belt back, but had no clue how she'd do it. Allie is a great fighter in her own right, and seeing her with Jordan Blade showcases her grappling ability. Fairly early on Allie begins to tap, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't end the match because submissions don't count, but it also doesn't mean Blade has to let go. They also use the no countout stipulation well, brawling all through the arena. This is one of the first times I've seen Blade in this kind of environment, but they seem well suited to it. Allie comes really close to winning this a couple of times, such as when she hits the rolling Death Valley Driver, but Jordan still kicks out. There's another spot where Allie kicks out at one, and from there Blade begins just wailing away: a brutal knee strike followed by hits to the back of the head. The match may not end by submission, but it does end by referee stoppage.
#1: Jordan Blade vs Cole Radrick
this was the big one. It all came down to Blade and Radrick to crown the first ever Paradigm Pro Super Middleweight Champion. Radrick was the favorite going into the match, due not only to his UWFi Rules record, but due to the show being called "Cole Radrick and Super Middleweight Grand Prix." I hadn't expected Blade to make it to the finals, but she definitely belonged there. Blade had a great showing up to this point in both the tournament and UWFi rules matches in general.
Blade starts this match similarly to the aforementioned Martyr match: blocks a strike and goes for the grapple. After eating a nasty kick Blade turns into a suplex machine just slamming Radrick to the mat. This quickly turns into Radrick's kicks versus Blade's suplexes. After about 2-3 minutes Blade starts looking to end things. After a rear naked choke doesn't end the match they slap on an ankle lock. Radrick tries to roll out but Blade just keeps finding a new angle to twist that joint. Once it's firmly in Radrick taps and we have our first Super Middleweight Champion. It's a fantastic example of how good a short UWFi rules match can be, and why people like Blade and Radrick are becoming the defining stars of this division.