IOWA CITY, Iowa — 27-0.
That’s Jordan Burroughs’ record in six World Cups after winning all four of his matches at this weekend’s United World Wrestling Freestyle World Cup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The former Husker’s wins were part of a dominant performance by Team USA, as the Americans captured their first World Cup title since 2003 on Sunday with a 6-4 win over Azerbaijan in the gold-medal match.
Burroughs’ strong weekend culminated in a dramatic pin of Azerbaijan’s Gasjimurad Omarov in his final 163-pound match.
“I couldn’t see the ref the way my head was positioned, I was just like, ‘Please slap the mat,’” Burroughs said. “That was a big moment for me.”
Nebraska coach Mark Manning laughed when asked if he could remember the last time he saw Burroughs pin an opponent.
“That must have just been instincts,” Manning said. “He’s never been much of a pinner, but he’s strong enough to put people away like that if the opportunity comes up.”
Some have viewed this year’s World Cup with an asterisk because Iran, which has won the event the past six years, dropped out seemingly because of a scheduling dispute with UWW. Russia, another world wrestling power, also didn’t compete because the team encountered visa problems while trying to make the trip.
But afterward, Burroughs said he didn’t think the accomplishment should be diminished because those countries didn’t compete.
“This is really meaningful to me,” said Burroughs, who had never won the team title until Sunday. “It’s not easy. People say, ‘It’s not a World Cup because Iran and Russia aren’t there.’ But Azerbaijan is a freakin’ good team. If (Iran and Russia) wanted to win a World Cup, they should have been here and prepared to wrestle us.
“We flew all the way out to Iran, a 15-hour flight, to get to the World Cup last year, so they should have been here this year.”
Fellow former Husker James Green (154 pounds) also had a strong weekend. He dropped his final match on criteria to Joshgun Azimov, but earned convincing wins in his three previous matches. The World Cup was Green’s first competition since last year’s World Championships in August after the 25-year-old had hip surgery in November.
He said that he didn’t resume live matches until about three or four weeks ago.
“He’s still getting his timing back a little bit, but I see his willingness to learn and want to get better,” said Nebraska associate head coach Bryan Snyder, who serves as Green’s primary coach. “He’s hungry. He knows he’s not fully where he needs to be, but as a coach I’m happy where he’s at. … We didn’t want to put him on the mat if he wasn’t ready, but 80 percent James Green is still pretty good.”
Former Oklahoma wrestler and current Nebraska assistant coach Kendric Maple lost his first match Sunday in the late stages. Georgia's Lasha Lomtadze got a takedown with about 8 seconds left to tie it 3-3, then got another point in the final seconds to win 4-3 at 134 pounds. Maple bounced back, though, with a 6-2 win over Azerbaijan’s Afgan Khashalov in the gold medal match.