MANILA, Philippines – Three homegrown Filipino wrestlers may be a few steps away from becoming the next superstars of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Crystal, Jake de Leon, and Ken Warren of Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) were part of WWE's talent tryout in Shanghai, China this week, the second one it held in that country since 2016.
The 3 were among the 30 men and 10 women wrestlers who tried their luck in the four-day talent camp, reported WWE.com on Tuesday, July 16. The other athletes came from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand.
WWE Performance Center head coach Matt Bloom (who wrestled under the name A-Train) led the tryout. Several wrestlers from the WWE NXT brand, including recruits from WWE's first China tryout, also assisted during the drills.
In a video clip tweeted by WWE NXT, Crystal was elated about her experience, and praised her fellow trainees.
For @CrystalMNL, the first two days of the #WWEChina Tryout have been mind-blowing, but she’s excited to finish strong! #NXT pic.twitter.com/32IcDe78BJ — WWE NXT (@WWENXT) July 17, 2019
Calling herself the "Queen of Philippine Wrestling," Crystal has competed around Southeast Asia and has challenged for a handful of women's championships along the way. (READ: Trailblazers: The women of Philippine pro wrestling)
"The Senyorito" Jake de Leon and "The Social Media Sinister" Ken Warren have been part of PWR since its launch in 2014. They have gone on to win multiple championships and accolades, and have competed overseas, too.
De Leon is a two-time PWR champion. De Leon and Warren are former Philippine Excellence (PHX) champions, and former holders of PWR's Path of Gold trophy.
WWE officials had been going around Asia in search of its next wrestling superstars. In January 2017, WWE senior director of talent development Canyon Ceman and WWE Asia Pacific general manager Chris Marsh dropped by the Philippines and attended PWR's show, PWR Live: Bagong Yugto. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.