'PWR Live: Sugod!' review: Team up, step up
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Fresh from its 3-day fanfest at the Asia Pop Comic Convention in late August, the Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) stormed the Power Mac Center Spotlight in Makati City with a loaded show, PWR Live: Sugod!, last Sunday, September 3.
"Beautiful" Billy Suede defended his PWR Championship against former titleholders Chris Panzer and Ralph Imabayashi, while PHX Champion Mike Madrigal put his newly-won belt on the line against SANDATA.
This happened amid an "insurrection" by an "anonymous donor" who turned out to be PWR General Manager Mr. Sy's mortal enemy.
Raining on Panzer parade
At the main event, "The Beautiful One" was poised to extend his title reign by thwarting both Panzer and Imabayashi, who had Rederick Mahaba in tow.
But the leader of the Panzer Army and the self-proclaimed best pure wrestler in PWR were dead-set to become two-time champions. These led to some beautiful sequences and nail-biting near-falls.
Ultimately, a frogsplash sealed the deal for Panzer, pinning Suede to win the title.
But the celebration was short-lived. After Panzer accepted Mr. Sy's offer to become the captain of his 5-man team for the upcoming "Ubusan Lahi" match (more on this in a bit), John Sebastian and his teammates hit the ring, and attacked both Panzer and the PWR GM. Dax Xaviera ran in for the save, but Team Sebastian took care of him as well.
Hot take: This reviewer is a big fan of multi-man matches, especially when executed properly. This PWR Championship main event was one of them. The match ran smoothly like a well-oiled machine, and the talents of all 3 mixed so well together. The seamless way they inserted a funny bit was a highlight, too.
You can really sense the big-fight feel while watching them. Imabayashi, Panzer, and Suede continue to cement their spots in the main event scene.
Mr. Sy kicked off Sugod! to express once again his gratitude to the Revo-nation, and to announce that an "anonymous donor" is helping PWR financially.
Out came John Sebastian, who openly berated Mr. Sy. The PWR general manager then moved to fire Sebastian, but the Wrestling Lord and Savior had a bombshell of his own: he is the "anonymous donor" and is now a part-owner of PWR.
Wanting to get rid of Mr. Sy once and for all, Sebastian challenged him to a 5-on-5 "Ubusan Lahi" match – similar to WWE's Survivor Series match – at PWR Vendetta in November. (But first, things would definitely heat up further at their next event, PWR Live: Oktoberplex.)
Sebastian: I'm putting your job on the line. I'll form a team of 5 to face your team of 5 at the (EDIT: November) show, Vendetta! pic.twitter.com/sKAFP0J5Na— Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) September 3, 2017
Throughout the event, Sebastian made his presence felt, much to the chagrin of Mr. Sy, who scouted for team members.
Sebastian first interrupted a match between Fighters 4 Hire (F4H) member Joey Bax and Peter Versoza. Bax was mounting a comeback when Sebastian distracted him, allowing Versoza to hit a low blow and an F5-like slam to pick up the win.
Bax's injured tag partner Miguel Rosales rushed to save him from a two-man beatdown that followed. Mr. Sy then emerged to invite F4H into Team Sy. After Bax and Rosales accepted, Sebastian and Versoza attacked them some more, as a helpless Mr. Sy looked on.
Sebastian struck next at the PHX Championship defense of Mike Madrigal against SANDATA. The challenger was on the verge of making Madrigal tap out when Sebastian took to the mic and called SANDATA names.
This allowed Madrigal to hit his devastating Near-Death Experience to retain his title.
We'll soon find out who will complete Team Sy (PWR Champion Chris Panzer, Fighters 4 Hire, and Dax Xaviera) and Team Sebastian (John Sebastian, Peter Versoza, Ralph Imabayashi, and Rederick Mahaba) for the "Ubusan Lahi" match at Vendetta in 2 months.
Hot take: The Sy-Sebastian rivalry is rekindled, but this time with Sebastian having a power-trip advantage, and Mr. Sy being forced to "toe the line" while drafting his 5-person team. It's interesting to see how each team will up the ante leading to the 5-on-5 battle.
Meanwhile, Madrigal vs. SANDATA for the PHX Title was a nice outing. Mike's candid trash talk during the match adds to his kupal (obnoxious) character. SANDATA was more polished this time around, too.
Joey Bax in singles action is the same as when he is in tag team bouts: battered but unbowed and tough as nails. Peter also seems to get his jive back, showing signs of his old ruthless self at Sugod!.
Tag, who's it?
At the latest State of the Network Address by James "Idol" Martinez and Alexander Belmonte III, the new PWR Tag Team Champions promised to be fighting champions. Their Network cohort, the injured Chino Guinto, then appeared on the big screen to deliver a message of his own. Guinto praised Martinez and Belmonte, and vowed to return from injury more #BLESSED.
The Network's potential next challengers entered the ring afterwards: ex-champs YOLO Twins, the Kakaibros, the Punk Dolls, and the team of Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux.
In the chaotic Four Corners match that ensued, Dela Torre and Carleaux prevailed, earning the right to face the Network for the tag titles.
Hot take: Wrestling thrives in mayhem, and this entertaining match featured lots of it. Each team had their patented antics at play here. Plus, Robynn's ringside splash will always be a spectacle.
This reviewer favored Martivo and Robynn to win, though. This was the first time Evan and Trian teamed up, while Martivo and Robynn have challenged for the belts multiple times already. Nonetheless, The Network vs. Evan/Trian would be another fun match to look forward to.
At APCC 2017 a few weeks ago, Vlad Sinnsyk eliminated "The Senyorito" Jake de Leon at the first round of the PHX Championship tournament. At Sugod!, Vlad seemed to eliminate JDL from in-ring competition altogether.
During the match's final moments, JDL wiggled out of a musclebuster then rolled up Sinnsyk for the win. But Sinnsyk continued the assault, ending only when he hit another musclebuster, this time on the unforgiving ring apron. Medics brough De Leon to the back on a stretcher.
Hot take: Sinister Sinnsyk continues his mean streak, this time sending one of PWR's top stars to the hospital. JDL was incredible to watch, as usual. Hoping for his speedy recovery.
Undercard hits, misses
At the opening bout of Sugod!, Rederick Mahaba got an assist from Ralph Imabayashi to defeat a valiant Dax Xaviera.
The Apocalypse's PWR All-out War Championship may not have been on the line in the next match, but he brough the pain to the affable Brad Cruz, defeating him in quick fashion with a double-foot stomp.
Zayden Trudeau and Bolt showed off their skills in a friendly match, but it was Bolt who eked out a win after countering Zayden's short-arm maneuver with a roll-up.
Hot take: Hard-hitting bad guy Rederick is as interesting to watch as his jolly good guy version. Dax held his own, matching Mahaba's agility with his strikes.
Apocalypse vs. Brad Cruz is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it affair, but one can't deny Brad Cruz's charisma. Apocalypse's new finisher is dangerous, though. When it's a big man such as Apocalypse doing a double-foot stomp from the ring corner, you've got to worry for the guy receiving it.
After rewatching some clips, Bolt-Zayden is actually an impressive encounter. Back and forth they went, with kicks and submissions on each other. They also took to the skies: Zayden landed a springboard dropkick, and Bolt made a fearless dive over the top rope. While they indeed received "Fight forever!" chants from the PWR fans, some kinks in their face-off need to be ironed out. Bolt also has to make a more convincing victory to raise his stock.
The Revo-Ranger conquers another villain at the pre-show, defeating the masked Trabajador Quatro.
Vintendo sought to make up for a loss against McKata in a rematch, but McKata pulled off another win, making PWR's resident gamer frustrated once again.
Hot take: Revo-Ranger vs. Trabajador is a surprisingly competitive match, given Revo-Ranger's character as a Japanese live action superhero.
Vintendo and McKata also had a nice showing. Hat tip to McKata for working on his rap, as well as to Vintendo for bringing the fight to McKata.
Over-all verdict: PWR maximized the Power Mac Center Spotlight, offering a more intimate experience to its audience. Its look-and-feel is similar to that of most independent promotions in the US and UK. The use of a literal spotlight during the intros in title matches was a nice touch. There's a big screen/Titantron now, too. They could put more lights on the entranceway, though.
With that said, PWR delivered another solid card, with intriguing, intertwining narratives and action-packed matches. Sugod! laid the groundwork for its next 2 shows, culminating at the "Ubusan Lahi" match at Vendetta in November.
Kudos, too, for event efficiency, running a 10-match card (including the pre-show) within 3 and 1/2 hours, arguably doing it better than WWE RAW in this regard.
PWR Live: Sugod was so good it merits a B+ rating.
- Pre-show: The Revo-Ranger defeated Trabajador Quatro
- Pre-show: McKata def. Vintendo
- Rederick Mahaba (w/ Ralph Imabayashi) def. Dax Xaviera
- PWR All-Out War Champion The Apocalypse def. Brad Cruz in a non-title match
- Bolt def. Zayden Trudeau
- Jake de Leon def. Vlad Sinnsyk
- Peter Versoza def. Joey Bax
- Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux def. The YOLO Twins (Yohann and Logan Ollores), Punk Dolls (Martivo and Robynn) and The Kakaibros (Kh3ndrick and Mh4rckie) to become the #1 contenders for the PWR Tag Team Titles
- PHX Championship: Mike Madrigal def. SANDATA to retain his title
- PWR Championship - Triple Threat Match: Chris Panzer def. Billy Suede and Ralph Imabayashi (w/ Rederick Mahaba) to win the title
Catch PWR's next event, PWR Live: Oktoberplex on Sunday, October 8, still at the Power Mac Center Spotlight in Makati City. – Rappler.com