Zatura vs. Trauma II, IWRG Intercontinental Lightweight Championship, 6/18/09
Somehow we ended up skipping an episode of IWRG. It must've been an eventful one, since this week was all about singles matches and recriminations.
I haven't been as high on Trauma II as other people who watch and write about IWRG on a weekly basis, but I figured this match would showcase one way or another whether the kid's any good. And I'll say it up front -- the kid blew me away.
There were a few things they could've done better, but I feel churlish just typing that. This was an excellent title match for this type of weight class. None of the criticisms I've had of Trauma II as a submission grappler applied here. Both guys were quick with their takedowns and there was enough movement on the mat that it seemed like they were going for a straight pinfall submission with every hold. I've mentioned before that Trauma II ain't no chip off the old block, but judging by his strikes, I've been far too harsh on the kid.
I guess I've been beating the drum too hard, because Trauma wasn't alone in impressing me.
A few weeks ago, Zatura showed he could hang with Cerebro Negro and here he took that one step further with some nice counter wrestling to take the first fall. He opened up the second caida working from the top and it was a nicely weighted fall. It's not very often that the second fall is a turning point in a lucha title match, but it was very much the case here.
Both of these guys came into the match with taped shoulders, but Trauma was the first to aggravate his injury when Zatura caught him with the counter submission. And he made no bones about going after the arm in round two. That rocked me a bit, as I didn't know he had it in him. Previously, he'd seemed like a guy who could only grapple from the defensive position, but he scored an early takedown here and was Satanico-like in seizing control. So often these guys relinquish holds and give up position, but there was nothing easy here. Trauma had to fight every inch of the way to get an early break and slumped into his corner clutching his shoulder.
What followed was a piece of grappling that was well beyond Trauma's years.
Realising he had a bum shoulder, he opted to attack off the ropes and did the most spectacular leg takedown into a shoulder submission. It was a fantastic move that really underlined his championship credentials.
Having saved match point, we headed into a third and deciding fall with both guys looking like they belonged in a lucha libre title match. Trauma's selling was fantastic throughout and even Zatura's dives seemed nastier than usual. I loved the spot where they started throwing body punches and Zatura drove him into the mat with a double leg takedown. I guess the highest compliment I can pay a match like this is that even though I knew the result beforehand, I was genuinely excited by the outcome. It's rare for young guys to pull off this kind of finish. They timed it to perfection and the finish came on exactly the right beat.
I would've never picked these guys to have a match this good. I dunno if it's a sign of things to come, but I sure as hell sat up and took notice. Probably the most positive and exciting thing to happen in Mexico all year.
On a parting note, Trauma's outfit was class. I swear it made him look like a better worker. I can't really justify that comment, but as a wrestling fan, you know it makes a difference.