Grappling in the season of love: HHWW (Holding Hands While Wrestling) review
MANILA, Philippines – Three days before Valentine's Day, the Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) hosted multiple wars, as John Sebastian's "Oplan Sagip Wrestling" continued at PWR Live: Holding Hands While Wrestling (HHWW) on Sunday, February 11.
Kicking off the show, Ralph Imabayashi celebrated his PWR Championship win and shared some wine with his MNTH tag team partner, Rederick Mahaba. But Miguel Rosales remained a thorn in the duo's side.
Imabayashi and Mahaba tried to include Rosales in the party, but offered him gin instead. Things got physical quick, with Rosales applying an armlock on Mahaba to taunt Imabayashi.
In the main event, the MNTH duo took turns beating up Rosales in a handicap match. Rosales responded in kind, with hard-hitting spears and bodyslams, to the point of injuring Mahaba's right shoulder.
MNTH threatened to walk out, but Rosales stopped them by diving from the ring post onto the duo.
Rosales then forced Mahaba to tap out, completing his mission to ruin Imabayashi's day.
But the champion had the last laugh. Imabayashi announced he'll defend his PWR Title at the Path of Gold event next month, but against former champion Chris Panzer.
An incensed Rosales responded with a plan of his own: Enter the multi-man Path of Gold Match at the same event and win the trophy for the guaranteed right to face the PWR Champion, whoever that may be.
The captain of Barangay Suplex capped off the show with a statement: Hitting Imabayashi's Sonic Crusher on an injured Mahaba.
Miguel Rosales enters himself instead into the multi-person Path of Gold Match!— Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) February 11, 2018
He then taunts Ralph Imabayashi with a spear and a Sonic Crusher of his own on Rederick Mahaba! #PWRLiveHHWW pic.twitter.com/8p4CplnWl2
'Oplan Sagip Wrestling'
As Imabayashi and Mahaba dealt with Rosales, their Team Sebastian cohorts also faced battles of their own in their "Oplan Sagip Wrestling" to "weed out" PWR of what they deemed as "filth."
"The Senyorito" Jake de Leon was first up against SANDATA at the PWR Live: HHWW opener. JDL chided SANDATA for his supposed "mediocrity" but the masked warrior begged to differ.
SANDATA brought the fight to JDL in a nail-biter match. Dax Xaviera later emerged to warn JDL after he tried to use a broom. In the end, SANDATA swept De Leon off his feet with a Kidlat high knee for the victory.
Peter Versoza – JDL's amigo in Team Sebastian – also fell flat on his back, as he embarked on his new quest to prove that the Earth is flat. Globe-toting The Revo-Ranger went around Versoza's Carne Norte finisher by countering it with a pinfall for the upset win.
For his part, PWR co-owner Sebastian surprisingly opened the pre-show. In another unusual move, he dared anybody to beat him to fill in the vacant PWR General Manager position. Kapitan PWR answered the call, but he fell short against the Wrestling Lord and Savior.
Women's All Out War
Sebastian later played a role in the first-ever women's All Out War Match.
Robynn soon thwarted Crystal's attempt to use a ladder and makeshift table. But she crashed and burned when Crystal avoided Robynn's flight from the ladder onto the table!
Sebastian then came in to assist Crystal. Martivo rushed in to save his Punk Dolls partner, but it's him who Robynn hit with a plywood sheet. Sebastian and Crystal double-teamed Robynn to pick up the win.
Robynn gets plywood to fend off John Sebastian, but it hits Martivo instead!— Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) February 11, 2018
Sebastian attack and Solemate with a brean pan secures the win for Crystal! #PWRLiveHHWW @RapplerSports @pwrofficial pic.twitter.com/ZF35fFDL5z
Martivo's headache was actually his second for the day, after he lost to Vintendø before the All Out War.
Tag team splash
New challengers to the PWR Tag Team Titles were determined at HHWW when Zayden Trudeau and Bolt faced TDTxECX (Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux).
TDTxECX almost oversaturated the match with their shenanigans, but the team of Zayden and Bolt endured, booking their ticket to Path of Gold with Trudeau's amazing 450 Splash.
PWR Tag Team Champions The Network (James "Idol" Martinez and Alexander Belmonte III) were busy on Sunday, too, as they faced McKata and Brad Cruz in two fronts.
First, Martinez bested McKata in a rap battle officiated by Sebastian. Then, The Network made it 2-0 when they beat McKata and Brad Cruz in tag team action.
John Sebastian and Crystal later made a splash of their own and attacked Trudeau and Bolt during some sort of face-off between tag champions and new #1 contenders. The new power couple then inserted themselves into the Tag Title picture, making it a three-way battle at Path of Gold.
F.O. by YOLO
Ken Warren sought revenge from what Philippine Hybrid X (PHX) Champion Mike Madrigal did to him last month at Kingdom Come. At HHWW, he teamed up with his buddies The YOLO Twins (Yohann and Logan Ollores) against Madrigal, All Out War Champion Vlad Sinnsyk, and The Apocalypse.
Despite having formidable teammates, Madrigal couldn't rest easy, as Vlad and Apocalypse aren't exactly the best of friends. This unraveled soon enough, when Sinnsyk accidentally hit Apocalypse with the AOW belt, leading to a brawl and leaving Madrigal alone in the ring.
However, the real shocker came when Warren got a stab in the back instead of payback. The YOLO Twins suddenly hit a Two Night Stand on Warren!
Madrigal took advantage with the winning pinfall, but his day wasn't over just yet. Former PWR GM Mr. Sy made his return but now as a talent manager, a compromise he reached with PWR co-owner John Sebastian.
Mr. Sy then announced Madrigal would be defending the PHX Championship against his chosen talent at Path of Gold.
Frozen to the max
At the pre-show, Quatro was forced to team up with Trabajador Maximo, in the Secret Council of the Trabajadores' mission to bring back Quatro into the "shadow" of losing matches. But Quatro snuck in a pinfall after a Destino slam.
Maximo was so shocked by the win he froze in the ring when PWR announcer Poch welcomed everyone to the main show. He stayed put during the whole "Championship Celebration of Love and Respect" – Maximo even was instrumental for Ralph and Rederick in pouring out the wine.
He was driven out only when Jake de Leon used his broom to "sweep" him out of the ring.
PWR Live: HHWW was like a solid episode of WWE RAW. Almost every match/segment was full of interesting details. It was a go-home show to Path of Gold, and boy, was it a wild ride. Even the pre-show matches were entertaining.
I thoroughly had a kick out of Trabajador Maximo's Groot-like gimmick and him overstaying in the ring until before the opening match. Equally hilarious were Versoza's "flat Earth" campaign, and Bolt's new nickname "Bert" care of TDTxECX.
Even the halftime break got infected by the "anything goes" bug, when John Sebastian led the PWR crowd at Venue 142 in Katipunan in singing along to "As Long As You Love Me" by Backstreet Boys.
Zayden's 450 Splash is such a sight to behold. Vintendo's version of the Pounce is a nice addition to his arsenal.
Blink and you'll miss SANDATA's hurricanranas. Fellow masked luchador Quatro's standing moonsault is quat-terrific, too.
Match of the show goes to SANDATA vs. JDL, followed by the 6-man tag match. Big fan here of intertwining stories written very well.
On the flip side, the Women's All Out War could have been more intense, the rap battle could have sounded clearer (and less cringeworthy), and Bolt's moonsault could have used more spin.
But in the end, all the builds paid off. To paraphrase an adage, the road to Path of Gold was paved with good storytelling. A-
- Pre-show: John Sebastian defeated Kapitan PWR
- Pre-show: Quatro and Trabajador Maximo def. The Kakaibros (Kh3ndrick and Mh4rckie)
- SANDATA def. Jake de Leon
- Zayden Trudeau and Bolt def. TDTxECX (Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux) to become the #1 contender to the PWR Tag Team Championship
- Vintendø def. Martivo
- All Out War Match: Crystal def. Robynn
- 6-Man Tag Team Match: PHX Champion Mike Madrigal, All Out War Champion Vlad Sinnsyk, and The Apocalypse def. Ken Warren and The YOLO Twins (Yohann and Logan Ollores)
- PWR Tag Team Champions The Network (James "Idol" Martinez and Alexander Belmonte III) def. McKata and Brad Cruz in a non-title match
- The Revo-Ranger def. Peter Versoza
- Handicap Match: Miguel Rosales def. Rederick Mahaba and PWR Champion Ralph Imabayashi