[Featured Image taken from the PWR FB Page] I find it ironic to finally make it to one of Philippine Wrestling Revolution’s events by the time they have gotten a new venue. Maybe because I am more familiar with Gil Puyat Ave. Also, I have less commitments now compared to in the past. The new venue is a step in the right direction. PWR is getting more exposure now. Exposure with Rated K. Article mentions at Rappler. Even last night, some media personalities from Fox Philippines were seen in attendance. And it’s called PWR Live due to the livestream access. But what really made the night memorable is the quality of the matches. So witnessing everything for the first time live still beats any livestream access now.
Lynch vs The Machine
Seeing The Machine alone gave me an idea that this will be a squash match. But I stayed behind to see if it’s a squash match that will serve a purpose later once any of these guys make it to the midcard. The Machine got the monster heel look right though. And I sat close to the exit. From the facial expressions to the moves to the bored attitude since he wasn’t given much of a competition. He dominated the match which is good. It served as a positive premonition that PWR would have several bulky guys in the roster that knew how to utilize their size well. And for a squash match, it’s not boring.
Winner: The Machine
El Trabajador vs Fighters 4 Hire
Not very familiar with El Trabajador (or Ellos Trabajadores, my Spanish boss might see this article and correct me). Although I’ve read on the PWR promotional articles about Fighters 4 Hire. So I immediately knew who’s the heel here. That bald guy knew how to act the part of a dickhead even before the match started. It almost makes you forget his bearded tag team partner. Or at least make his tag team partner look less of a partner and more of a lackey. It served its purpose of working up the crowd. You need characters that makes the audience care. The match served its purpose.
Winner: Fighters 4 Hire
Talk Show: Mahabang Usapan with Rederick Mahaba
Okay. So we have Rederick Mahaba. That guy with an entrance theme that made me go “Anak ng tinapa! Ano to?” It must have been my dirty mind that immediately got the joke on his name. Maybe I wasn’t just expecting someone that ….thick. Kidding. I saw the promotional photos on the PWR Facebook Page. He’s a big, bulky guy. But he wasn’t booked as a monster heel. I take it that their peg is Mark Henry in his Sexual Chocolate era with the promo skills of Val Venis. (Hello, ladies!)
First guest of his PWR segment is the heel stable Royal Flush. I’m not a poker player. But it’s one of the few gambling jargons that I know of. (Yeah, I didn’t know. Shove it up your ass.) It’s more of a primer for the #1 Contender’s Match between “Cutthroat” John Sebastian and Ralph Imabayashi. Sometimes I can’t help but think that “Classical” Bryan Leo and the rest of the Royal Flush called him “Cutthroat” because he must have cut his throat so hard, it affected the way he talked. And he had a grating voice too. (Whether he did that deliberately to make his character annoying, I can’t tell. It served its purpose, so to speak.)
It also sold the idea of Scarlet as “The Queen of PWR”. Well, she’s the only reason Mahaba agreed to have Royal Flush as his first guest. He liked her. But Scarlet is in her snooty self. She wasn’t the cartoony kind of snooty. But because Bryan Leo didn’t like getting his spotlight or his moments robbed, no opportunity for us to check out Scarlet’s promo skills. The PWR doesn’t have a women’s division yet. So maybe I should watch out more PWR programs to see if their leader would let her have the spotlight. Then again, selling the idea of Scarlet being that hot and unattainable pitched the next segment. An instant match between Mahaba and Royal Flush’s enforcer (maybe, he’s the only character in Royal Flush that talked less than Scarlet), Main Max.
Rederick Mahaba vs Main Max
Battle of the big bulky boys with Mahaba almost getting into Scott Pilgrim mode. Heart heart. Scarlet clearly isn’t interested in him. But she enjoyed the power-tripping aspect of being into the Royal Flush. So she taunted Mahaba in between beatdowns by Main Max. And I was like “That’t the bitchiest she ever sounded?” I’m not expecting Valley Girl quality of accented speech or anything. But, never mind. This match is about Mahaba and Main Max.
Main Max may have some backup to talk in his behalf. But it didn’t mean he didn’t have the muscle to back that talk up. He got the moves. Mahaba got the moves. (No, not that. He flirts only with girls.) And we’re talking about bulk, not muscle, present in both combatants. It was more of a brawl and less of a match. Quite believable too. Also, no one’s overselling injuries. Extra points right there. Main Max won as expected. But it’s less about the ending and more about the match quality.
Mahaba may have been a tool in pitching Royal Flush as PWR’s answer to NJPW’s Bullet Club. (I really need to brush up on my wrestling playlist match log.) But Mahaba is no pushover. He stood his ground on a verbal bully like John Sebastian and a ring leader like Bryan Leo in the talk show. But he proved his stamina and durability on folks like Main Max. At the end of the match, Mahaba being the hopeless romantic that he is, declared that he still loved Scarlet. Like 95% of the audience present.
Winner: Main Max
Vintendo vs Apocalypse
We have a debuting singles wrestler in Vintendo. His schtick is that of being a gamer who’d like to apply his WWE gaming skills live. And what pushed him to finally debut? Avenging his comrades who fell to the wrath of the Apocalypse. Why Apocalypse terrorized the PWR roster? Because he can. Apocalypse’s schtick is obviously that of Kane. Attacking anyone every time he snaps. Apocalypse answered his challenge by arriving in the ring. He put Vintendo in his place and made sure to leave him with an injury.
“The Seniorito” Jake de Leon vs James “Idol” Martinez of The Network
The Network must have been one of the most creative stables ever assembled. It was a 2-in-1 parody of 2 equally infamous cultures. The “open-minded” networking tactics of health supplement agents blended well with the alleged dependency on “performance-enhancing drugs” of certain wrestlers. And in this case, it’s James “Idol” Martinez of The Network. How do you parody a parody? By creating characters like “Idol” and his lackey Bruno Bernardo.
And just when you thought it would be Bruno facing “The Seniorito”, “Idol” faced him with the help of his “health supplements”. That was basically the reason why The Network came out to face “The Seniorito”. To prove that their product works. It took awhile for the drugs to kick in. But among the effects, it did not include lifting “The Seniorito” for a suplex. Bruno Bernardo was a minor distraction. But it worked to “Idol”’s favor. It was all fun and games before the party pooper Main Max ran in to body slam “The Seniorito” while the referee is distracted. “Idol” capitalized on “The Seniorito” getting unconscious and pinned him. I didn’t think it would help spike sales figures for his “health supplement” though.
Winner (Through Run-in by Main Max): James “Idol” Martinez
#1 Contender Match “Cutthroat” John Sebastian vs Ralph Imabayashi
After the lamest knighting of the Royal Flush’s newest ace in the hole, the “Ace Hole” John Sebastian enters the #1 Contender Match against Ralph Imabayashi. The crowd was chanting “Ace Hole” earlier in the match per instructions of Bryan Leo at the Mahabang Usapan show. Later, they were chanting “John Sebastian” to the tune of John Cena’s entrance theme.
Because John Sebastian tried to copy Cena in the middle of the match. Cheap heat achieved. His character served as the stable’s jester. So if ever there’s one character to be taken seriously in this match, it’s Ralph Imabayashi. And you can feel the push given on this young man. The kind of push that the Royal Flush won’t take lightly. The Death Hand they imparted on Mahaba earlier in PWR Live was the same punishing attack they inflicted on Imabayashi. It served as an interesting primer to the contender match to be announced later.
Winner: Ralph Imabayashi
PHX Title Match: Ken Warren (c) vs Chris Panzer
Stop wondering why there are “Papa Panzer” chants in the middle of the match. He’s hot. And when someone’s hot, expectations rise on the part of the female fan base. I try not to be distracted with it as the booking seemed strong on Ken Warren too. Tagged as “The Human Trending Topic”, he was billed as from the worldwide web and weighed in gigabytes. (Cricket. Cricket.) His lackeys were the Fighters 4 Hire. The bald guy was his dickhead self. The bearded guy taunted Panzer’s supporters because that’s the most menacing that he can do. Now what was that beard for if not for taunting?
Warren has his mind games from acting cocky and arrogant to negotiating (sort of) with Panzer. Panzer wouldn’t have anything of that Tupperware party and would occasionally go into brawling mode. When there is animosity between fighters, to hell with the technical specifications. Just fight. And they did. For a title match, I found it too short. Not enough wrestling maneuvers perhaps. And not enough to make me look forward to a rematch, sadly.
Winner: Ken Warren
Grudge Match: Peter Versoza vs Sandata
Some of the PWR promotional stuff on social media were big on this tag team gone wrong. So big that neither contenders didn’t have titantrons of their own. Are they teasing a tag team reunion? All I know is that the chants of “Second Chance” and “Popoy Basha” are entertaining on their own. The match itself was half a brawl and half a spot contest between erstwhile tag team partners. Versoza had more acrobatic spots though. He seemed to be enjoying himself compared to Sandata. If the physical acting delivered by both fighters didn’t give that “one-upmanship” vibe, I would have viewed both of them as “spot monkeys”. Almost. But it’s a grudge match that only high-flyers can deliver best. By trying to outdo each other while not forgetting to hit one another. The only thing that made this feud less interesting is that it didn’t involve any titles. For now.
Winner: Peter Versoza
PWR Title Match: “Classical” Bryan Leo vs [Insert Random Challenger Here]
Bryan Leo clearly threw his weight around PWR. So if he feels like having a title match plucked out of his ass whenever he felt like it, he would. It was an open challenge to anyone not named Jake de Leon or Mayhem Brannigan. So that immediately explained the appearance of Mark D. Manalo. (Nice ring name. Welcome to the job squad.) His tag partner in Beer Promdi, Kanto Terror, is still out on an injury. So he’d take any opportunity to fight if he could. Also he’s the last challenger the Royal Flush is expecting. He personified everything that Bryan Leo didn’t like in the Philippines. Also, he looked like he hasn’t taken a bath in days. It made John Sebastian almost puke his guts out.
Manalo cut a promo in agreement to Mahaba’s observation in case John Sebastian won the #1 contender match. Like whatever happened to the prestige that is the PWR Title? Maybe that’s the reason why Bryan Leo “knighted” John Sebastian as his “Ace Hole”. He needed a hole for his ace. Manalo’s name may have given you an idea that he has yet to win a match. But whatever Manalo lacked in wins, he made up in guts.
As much as Bryan Leo didn’t like touching the likes of Manalo, he agreed to the match. Deep inside, I liked it that this match commenced. Otherwise, it would have given me the impression that Bryan Leo is a little too dependent on John Sebastian and Main Max. But no. He can hold his own. In fact, there was very minimal interference from either lackeys that nobody saw Bryan Leo almost getting injured. [The most that Scarlet can do is say “Sumuko ka na” (Give up). She sounded more like someone begging to tap out than someone dominating by proxy. She can scream, right?]
Manalo can lock an arm well. And he can get into Bryan Leo’s technical side too. That’s the reason behind the “classical” tag. Bryan Leo presented himself as a technically proficient contender. He underestimated Manalo. Nobody expected him to win. But for a jobber, he just refuses to wrestle the part of a jobber too. He lost because this is no Santino Marella situation (hehehe).
Winner: “Classical” Bryan Leo
Just when you thought Apocalypse came to clean house, he tried to injure Manalo too. He seemed like the only wrestler that the Royal Flush legitimately feared. Must have been the unpredictability. Those who really cleaned house were “The Seniorito” Jake de Leon and Mayhem Brannigan. Ralph Imabayashi asked some audience members to keep quiet before jumping into the ring himself. The Royal Flush got so flustered that the belt got left behind. Imabayashi took it in anticipation of a win on the next PWR event. He’s the next contender and he made sure that the Royal Flush got the message. He intended to win the title by toiling on it. Not because some “Ace Hole” is willing to offer his hole for a pleasurable ace. It ended the show in high spirits in anticipation of PWR Terminus.
Overall, a fun house show with comedy as its strongest selling point. The purpose is to entertain wrestling fans without discounting the entertainment value regarding those who just got curious. The show justified the hype indeed. I feel a little bad that I only started participating in PWR events now. The last time I’ve been to a PWR event was way back in the Joshi Jam event. Now, I hope to get back on track as a wrestling fan. And PWR convinced me to “return to the fold”. Can’t wait for PWR Terminus.