Tracy Williams (c) vs Arik Royal
Powerbomb.TV Independent Championship
Roger Spencer Community Center, Tyrone, Georgia, United States
(reviewed 11/28/2018) Big fan of this lengthy, methodical title match. It leans a little closer to languid than I’d like but for the story this match tells, with two very capable guys who don’t know much about each other plugging away with lots of little shots and an occasional huge swing, I think it works just fine. Royal’s a big, boisterous guy who has more than enough spring in his step to zip around a wrestling ring when he wants to, so Hot Sauce knows right from the start that he’s gotta cut the big man down somehow. He takes little shots here and there at the dude’s arm, so even if it doesn’t do anything about Royal’s huge frame it ensures that a scrappy, hard-nosed guy like Tracy can stand toe to toe with him. In return Royal pursues a lungs-based strategy, as he first finds his opening with a mean hotshot and elects to keep rocking the champ’s ribs and guts after that. None of these tactics are exactly in-depth, being themes that are persistently returned to over the course of the match instead of being the sole focus for long stretches of time. Still, it yields a lot of great work from both men, especially in the realm of nuanced selling. Royal’s arm bothers him quite a bit throughout the match, especially whenever he resorts to his strength game, but it never keeps him from doing what he feels he has to do. Likewise Tracy’s never so winded as to be completely spent but it means he’s also never as sure on his feet as he’d like to be. Really dug the finish here, where after an ill-timed ref bump keeps him from scoring with the Pounce, Royal goes for a springboard Space Jam. Tracy sees it coming and grabs his arm for a Fujiwara armbar but Royal has his feet under him so he can’t be brought down. Instead, Royal hoists the champ up onto his shoulders, with this change in positioning giving Tracy the leverage he needs to force his way into the Fujiwara armbar for the win. Maybe not the flashiest finish in the world but it wraps up the larger story of the match nicely, with Royal paying no heed to a submission hold he should have kept an eye out for the whole time.