The best of the best at PWR Live
MANILA, Philippines – As Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) opened a new chapter on Saturday, August 15, the sports-entertainment promotion delivered another adrenaline-charged show dubbed "PWR Live" to satiate the clamor of local wrestling fanatics at the Makati Square Arena in Makati City.
PWR gave the passionate audience what it craved, as they went home satisfied but wanting for more, with voices hoarse yet relishing the moment.
There were many jaw-dropping incidents at PWR Live, starting from Bryan Leo’s controversial submission triumph over Jake De Leon in their rematch to the unforgiving wrath of The Apocalypse, which marked indelibly in people’s minds.
Rappler’s resident wrestling writers list down awesome moments and outstanding performers at PWR Live.
Performer of the Night
Nissi Icasiano: Four tag team competitors took part in the Philippine Hybrid X (PHX) championship tournament, but Peter Versoza’s star shone the brightest as he made a stellar debut in singles competition.
Versoza was impressive as a single unit despite being in a duo with SANDATA, as he was given the break to strut his wares that were probably restricted because he belonged to a tag team.
In his match versus Ralph Imabayashi, he proved to have various options in his skillset and could innovatively put together moves as needed.
My instinct tells me that Versoza can become more viable as a singles competitor than being in a tag team.
Honorable mentions – Ralph Imabayashi, The Apocalypse
Michael Bueza: Ken Warren played his cards well in his PHX Title Tournament match against Joey Bax. He was as entertaining as he was annoying, as cocky as he was cowardly.
Warren dared to push the buttons of a burly guy like Bax. (And I tell you, everyone backs off from doing that to Bax.) He even messed with him some more whenever Bax goes on the offense.
Sure, Bax also took it to KW; the “The Social Media Sinister” deserved it. But a Wi-Fi (Winning Finish) kick connected to Bax’s head, and sealed the deal for Warren, who proceeds to the semi-finals of the tournament, and breaks a string of losses in the process.
Honorable mentions – Everyone else in the PHX Championship Tournament
Match of the Night
Nissi: The intense encounter between Peter Versoza and Ralph Imabayashi deserves the “Match of the Night” citation due to the storytelling that unfolded inside the ring.
It was not the typical big guy versus the underdog, as mutual concessions evolved from both performers.
As Versoza was noticeably the bigger and stronger stalwart by executing crowd-pleasing moves from a gorilla press to a shiranui, Imabayashi epitomized the embodiment of a small man with a big heart.
The match had a perfect conclusion as Imabayashi swiftly seized the win with a jumping cutter out of nowhere.
Honorable mention – Bryan Leo vs. Jake de Leon
Michael: While I fully enjoyed all 4 matches in the PHX Championship Tournament – especially the aforementioned Versoza-Imabayashi match – the show’s main event takes the cake for Match of the Night, at least for me.
The big-fight feel was there. Why not? “Classical” Bryan Leo stole the title from inaugural PWR Champion Jake de Leon at Wrevolution X. “The Senyorito” was out to get what’s rightfully his, while CBL was determined to retain it.
It was a wrestling clinic by both champion and challenger. De Leon dazzled the crowd with his set of moves, but Leo grounded him as he dictated the pace of the match. In the end, The Royal Flush showed its hand and cost JDL the title yet again.
The champ paid tribute to Dusty Rhodes by donning yellow polka-dotted trunks in this match. But it was “The Senyorito” who went through hard times, daddy.
Honorable mentions – Versoza vs. Imabayashi
Slam of the Night
Nissi: There are different variations of a facebuster in professional wrestling, but SANDATA’s own version known as “Pagbasag” added a sophisticated flavor to the move as he incorporated a hurricanrana to the faceplant maneuver.
While Chris Panzer was dazed and confused on his knees, SANDATA jumped on the Filipino-American to execute the Pagbasag, sending the crowd into raucous frenzy.
Michael: No Castigo Brutal a la Lesnar’s F5 from Miguel Rosales on that night. If there were, that’s definitely my pick. Nevertheless, he took Mayhem to his version of Suplex City, with some German and vertical suplexes that’s sure to have rattled Mayhem.
Honorable mentions – Unforgettable that night was Versoza’s Cesaro Swing to Ralph Imabayashi. All finisher kicks, too: by John Sebastian, Chris Panzer, and Ken Warren. Why? Just for kicks.
Submission of the Night
Nissi: “Classical” Bryan Leo is quickly becoming a submission specialist as he put another opponent to sleep once again.
At PWR Live, Leo introduced a new submission hold branded as “Royal Prison Lock 2,” a combination of a sleeper hold and an anaconda vise.
Leo retained the PWR Championship by rendering Jake de Leon unconscious with the Royal Prison Lock 2.
PWR fans have seen different submission holds from the current PWR champion, exploiting his in-ring foes with different variations of a figure-four leglock and having the gorilla clutch identified as “The Fold” in his primary arsenal.
Michael: “The Senyorito” brought his own submission move into the mix, too, applying a Figure Four Leglock on the champion mid-match.
Top five OMG moments
5. PHX Tournament’s Final Four confronting each other
As PWR general manger Mr. Sy commenced the Philippine Hybrid X championship tournament, 4 of the 8 competitors answered the call and advanced into the second round of the step-ladder contest.
Mayhem Brannigan thwarted Miguel Rosales with crucifix elbows, while Chris Panzer came out on top of SANDATA.
Ken Warren and Ralph Imabayashi were able to leap over insurmountable odds against Joey Baxx and Peter Versoza, respectively.
After Warren picked up the win versus Baxx, Brannigan, Panzer and Imabayashi came out to the ring for a brief standoff inside the ring as the 4 remaining wrestlers explicitly expressed their desires to become the owner of the white-laced belt.
4. Apocalypse unravels path of destruction, stakes claim to PWR Title?
The Apocalypse made a surprise attack during the aftermath of the PWR championship rematch between Bryan Leo and Jake de Leon.
Although he was not originally booked to appear at PWR Live, The Apocalypse came out of nowhere to assault De Leon and Leo as well as his stablemate John Sebastian with a crowbar.
As he stood tall while unresponsive bodies were lying on the mat, The Apocalypse took the PWR championship belt and let everyone know that he is after the prestigious top prize.
3. Miguel Rosales powerbombs Mayhem Brannigan on concrete floor
Miguel Rosales, one-half of the tag team Fighters 4 Hire, would do anything to advance in the next round of the Philippine Hybrid X Tournament.
With the intention to bring down Mayhem Brannigan and pacify his offense, Rosales countered Mayhem’s tope con hilo and slammed him on the solid concrete floor with a powerbomb.
2. John Sebastian upsets Bombay Suarez
“The Cutthroat” John Sebastian bagged the biggest win yet in his young professional wrestling career by defeating Bombay Suarez at PWR Live.
Sebastian refused to bow down to the backyard wrestling legend and picked up the victory with an assist from his Royal Flush colleagues.
The 5-foot-10 brash competitor from Alabang, Muntinlupa, got the job done by blinding Suarez with white powder before delivering the Killshot (knee to the head) to get the pinfall.
1. Apocalypse blinds Kanto Terror
It's the most horrific scene that was ever witnessed inside a PWR ring as The Apocalypse gouged the eye of Kanto Terror, who came out to rescue his Beer Promdi partner Mark D. Manalo.
The Apocalypse interrupted Manalo’s Boot Camp Open Challenge and punished the beloved Batangueño with five successive Death Bells.
As Kanto Terror dashed into the squared-circle to save his friend, the six-foot monster turned his merciless attention to the beer-drinking figure and bloodily assaulted him.
Michael: The PHX Title Tournament matches seemed to be oddly booked at first, but all 8 combatants shone in each one. Pitted were Rosales’ brutality against Mayhem’s tenacity, Versoza’s ability against Imabayashi’s intensity, Panzer’s flair against SANDATA’s warfare, and Bax’s seriousness against Warren’s deviousness.
The PWR Title main event was an instant classic. John Sebastian and Apocalypse stood out, while Bombay Suarez and Mark D. Manalo held their own.
It will always be an amazing experience watching a wrestling show like PWR Live. The action in the ring coupled with the crowd’s creativity in their chants will be moments to look forward to each time.
PWR Live was a solid show. And things could only get better in September, at PWR Renaissance.
Nissi: PWR Live set the right tone for new storylines as the organization moves forward into next month’s event, giving its followers to look forward to, with enticing scenarios that can unfold.
In addition, PWR Live became the perfect platform share the spotlight to some members of the promotion’s active roster and pushed a new name to become a contender for the PWR championship belt. – Rappler.com