It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Yes, it’s Voices of Wrestling Secret Santa time again, everyone. The brainchild of JR Goldberg (@wrestlingbubble), VOW Secret Santa sees all participating website contributors give their fellow contributors, the greatest gift of all: wrestling matches!

VOW Secret Santa Archives:

Trauma I vs. Canis Lupus
September 4, 2016
International Wrestling Revolution Group

Reviewed by Andrew Sinclair (@AMSinclair97)

Gifted by Kevin Hare (@stan__hansen)

Lucha is something that I admittedly don’t know much about. The basics yes but not much more. That’s a problem I say I’ll rectify on a regular basis and then I never know where to start. Unsurprisingly, those endeavors don’t tend to last too long.

Getting this match as my Secret Santa gift certainly promised to be an eye-opener. I didn’t know what sort of promotion IWRG was but I figured that it was some sort of indie, albeit an indie that had put together a match that the fans in Arena Naucalpan clearly cared a lot about. I knew that Trauma I is the son of Negro Navarro but that was the only factoid I was bringing to the dance. As a man who tends to pride himself on being an anorak, that was a little worrying.

Soon after the first bell rang, factoids could get in the bin. I didn’t have time to contemplate anything so trivial as these two men just started winging shots at each other with everything they had. Apuestas matches invoke pride and passion in professional wrestling like very little else, even I know that, and these two set the tone for what I can only describe as perfection.

The crowd was unanimous in their support for Trauma and, like any great worker, Lupus knew that and made the most of it. He battered Trauma into submission for the first fall in under five minutes, leaving their battered hero to roll out of the ring, hobbled and down but not out. Watching him seek comfort from his brother evoked strong memories of the Rocky films. 

When at 1-1 the two of them started swinging plastic bingo hall chairs at each other until they both collapsed, I realized that I was hugely invested in this bloody, violent brawl. While it wasn’t going to win any technical awards, it was visceral and it felt real. In many ways, it felt even decadent, a treat of a match that should be savored.

I found myself muttering Vamos Trauma like the fans, enamored with this wonderfully hard bastard bedecked in his black, white and bloodstained singlet and strange animalistic mask. 

Lupus’ use of the tombstone, a move I later discovered is treated with almost religious fervor in Mexico, set the crowd off and the stage for a brilliant finish. The visual of Lupus shoving the doctor into the pool of mixed blood so he could finish off Trauma only to get trapped and submitted with the same move that had won him the first fall stuck with me long after the video playback ended.

The two men shared a moment in the corner before Lupus attempted to remove his mask. He couldn’t do it alone, his girlfriend emotionally helping him commit one of the most poignant acts in lucha. Soaked in his own blood, Lupus got the crowd to unveil a sign before proposing to his girlfriend, who said yes. He may have lost the war to a fellow warrior and his mask to the passages of time but he had comfort for his future. It wasn’t part of the match but that final segment finished it for me. Vamos Trauma, Vamos Canis Lupus. *****

I’d suspect my Secret Santa is Ricardo Gallegos but I thank whoever it was wholeheartedly. You’ve given me a taste of wrestling perfection this festive season. And probably all the encouragement I’ll ever need to dig deeper into lucha in 2022.