Here’s something I don’t usually do: instead of talking about WWE and other international promotions, I’m going to discuss the local scene. This one’s for the fans who are looking for more coverage on homegrown wrestling, especially since your usual Rappler wrestling reporters were unable to attend this year’s big show.
Now, if you’re a Filipino pro wrestling fan and you haven’t caught wind that there is an independent wrestling scene that’s sprouted up here, I’m not sure what to tell you. You’ve clearly been living under some sort of geological formation, but thanks to the internet, it’s never too late to catch up to the fact that there are two promotions entertaining pop culture in Manila. And this week’s column is meant to help facilitate that learning.
For those who are unfamiliar with Philippine Wrestling Revolution, it bears mentioning that since they’ve only been around for less than 4 years, the action is still raw and green, but many of the wrestlers improve gradually with every show. For most paying customers, the skill level is not really that big of a deal; the wrestlers have become good enough showmen to sufficiently entertain the fans.
And because Wrevolution X is the biggest show of the PWR year, it follows that the fallout from the different matches would be some of the more must-see plot threads right now. Let’s check out which characters and stories fans should keep an eye on:
1. Where does Chris Panzer go from here?
After one year chasing glory and fending off bad luck, the man they once called a choke artist is now on the top of the mountain. Anyone who’s seen wrestling will tell you that the whole game changes when you’ve got a target on your back, and a lot of interest and intrigue revolve around whether Panzer can fight on the same level and defend his title successfully against all comers.
Previous champion John Sebastian, the man he defeated, will obviously be the first one coming after him, and you can expect it’s not going to be a cakewalk for the champ. And if he does successfully defend the title against Sebastian, will Panzer live through his reign the same man who fought so hard to win the title—or will the run ever change him?
2. The PHX Championship division is the hottest scene right now
Some of you may not be aware of it, but the PHX Championship scene is heating up really quickly—the 4 men vying for the title at the show, current champion Chino Guinto, former champion Peter Versoza, Ralph Imabayashi, and SANDATA are joined by The Network’s leader James “Idol” Martinez in their little web of intrigue. It’s a stacked midcard with a lot to unpack:
How will Guinto and Martinez interact, after the latter demanded the championship the former won as apparent tribute?
Will Ralph Imabayashi take his close loss against Guinto lying down?
Can Versoza get his title back from Guinto?
What path does the masked warrior SANDATA take from here?
Expect the PWR totem pole to be shaken up even further now that there’s a lot of crowding in the midcard. If you’ve got any favorites among the roster, now’s a great time to keep your eye on them.
3. The PWR Tag Team Championship adds a whole new dimension to shows
A long time coming ever since the first year of PWR shows, the addition of a PWR Tag Team Championship should finally diversify the kind of feuds and stories we get in each event. Check it: instead of a bunch of singles matches on the card, there’s an obligation to add more tag teams, and meandering singles wrestlers can be paired up to see if they’ve got chemistry, a la Cesaro and Sheamus.
More tag team action is always fun, and the annoying YOLO Twins being the inaugural champs empowers the rest of the division to give a good chase. (Though to be honest any of the 3 finalists would’ve made for good champs.)
5. MORE WOMEN’S WRESTLING
After 3 years, 2017’s Wrevolution X finally had the first instance of woman-on-woman wrestling in Crystal vs Robynn, and the debut of Nina on the pre-show means we’ve got a young division on our hands. With a few more women, they’ll be able to establish a full scene and justify an actual championship. Having 3 women wrestlers means there’s definitely bound to be more of them in the coming shows—for the ladies out there looking for some representation, it’s as good as any a reason to keep coming back.
5. The best wrestler in PWR
Last Sunday, Jake de Leon and Canadian-Filipino “Beautiful” Billy Suede put on what many are rightfully calling the best wrestling match in PWR—and the country—so far. The combined experiences of a 10-year veteran in Suede and the hardest-working wrestler in the Philippines in de Leon definitely made for a wonderful bout, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s right there in full for you to see.
After successfully defending our country’s honor, though, where does de Leon go from here? Objectively, having a great match doesn’t automatically translate to bigger opportunities within the company, but victories do, so it should only be a matter of time until de Leon challenges for the championship again. If you want to dream big, however, wrestling well could mean that eyes around the world could take notice. If rumors surrounding a future Asian connection with the WWE are true, especially after officials visited a PWR show back in January, then de Leon should be a top priority for them. Let’s hope he can help put the local scene on the map.
BONUS: Manila Wrestling Federation
In a way, how the Manila Wrestling Federation “reacts” to PWR’s show is one thing to watch as well. The upstart local wrestling promotion announced that they will be holding their second show on June 10. It seems as though they’re not gearing up to directly compete against PWR just yet, but they’ve still got their own shoes to fill—they need to show some sort of improvement in almost all aspects after their first outing last month. There’s a lot of roughness around their edges, but there’s certainly some promise. A couple of months should be enough for them to take a look at what they need to work on and address those issues, and hopefully they could come in with a better show than before. – Rappler.com
Do you listen to podcasts? Would you want to listen to a local podcast about pro wrestling? If the answers to those questions – especially that last one – are yes, then you should check out the cleverly-named Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, featuring Mellow 94.7 DJ and PWR General Manager Stan Sy, wrestling writer and Wrestling God Romeo Moran, and all-around multimedia person and former voice of PWR Raf Camus! This week, Smark Henry writer George Pastor joins the boys to review PWR Wrevolution X! Listen to it here!
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.