Yes it is. Today it would look odd, but back then Soundwave was a lot bulkier (and we could see just how bulky he was in flashbacks) and their fight had to look very even. Plus, those mighty tentacles.
It was really fascinating to read that part, especially since Soundwave (as we usually see) seldom fights others. Not to mention fighting Megatron(us), the Champion Gladiator. Then again, since Soundwave was described as the one "who had a chance of beating him", he was bound to be the next in line to fight Megatron. It was intriguing that he possibly was pretty close to becoming Champ- if it wasn't for first-hit combat, or whatever the fight was. (I haven't read Exodus in a while)