MANILA, Philippines – Mr. Sy just can't catch a break, can he?
As General Manager of Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR), he had been in a tough predicament at Wrevolution X 2016 against the self-proclaimed "wrestling lord and savior," John Sebastian.
Back then, it was only Mr. Sy's job on the line, with Chris Panzer representing him versus Sebastian. Panzer lost, Mr. Sy lost his job, but the GM was reinstated months later.
Over a year later, on Sunday, November 5, at PWR Vendetta, he and Sebastian crossed paths again. This time, it was the whole company's future at stake.
Mr. Sy's team of 5 versus Sebastian's team of 5 in an "Ubusan ng Lahi" match (their version of WWE's 5-on-5 Survivor Series Match) for control of PWR. Mr. Sy's job was again on the line, as well as Sebastian's 50% stake in PWR.
Mr. Sy was able to assemble his team, with Panzer – now PWR Champion – leading the charge. Team Sebastian was less than lucky, lacking one person heading into Sunday.
However, before the Vendetta main event began, Sebastian unveiled his 5th man, a wrestler everyone least expected.
Team Sebastian’s 5th member? JAKE DE LEON?!?!!? #UbusanNgLahi #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/nL0ern8KH6 — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
Yep, "The Senyorito" Jake de Leon, two-time PWR Champion, good guy extraordinaire, and arguably the face of the company.
De Leon was said to have harbored hard feelings toward Mr. Sy for being left out of his team. (Though this author supposes JDL's injury at the hands of Vlad Sinnsyk at PWR Live: Sugod! two months ago took him out of consideration.)
The "Ubusan ng Lahi" match was as chaotic, exciting, and nail-biting as it gets. There were brawls and dives aplenty, bursts of energy by members of Team Sy, crushing splashes care of Rederick Mahaba, low-key feats of strength by Ralph Imabayashi, and bullying tactics by Sebastian and Peter Versoza.
The shock over JDL joining Team Sebastian was soon replaced by another bombshell: Chris Panzer was eliminated midway into the match.
It eventually devolved into a 1-on-3 affair, with Team Sy's Miguel Rosales taking on 3 former PWR Champions: JDL, team captain Sebastian, and Imabayashi.
Rosales took out Sebastian then JDL through a couple of Spears and suplexes. But then, another brawl sparked when Mr. Sy and Sebastian locked horns at ringside. Mr. Sy even launched himself from the top turnbuckle for good measure.
Mr. Sy takes the plunge! #UbusanNgLahi #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/As7DbJniBf — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
This provided an opening for Imabayashi to hit Rosales with a modified tombstone to take home the win for Team Sebastian.
As a result, John Sebastian takes full control of PWR. A new era has begun.
A new era begins in PWR. That’s it for #PWRVendetta. pic.twitter.com/0gyDtmFkvS — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
Christmas and the New Year came in early for John Sebastian and his team. Expect it to be a tumultuous 2018 for Panzer, the rest of Team Sy, and maybe Mr. Sy himself... in case Sebastian decides to keep him around.
Belts, welts, and more
• All 3 title matches were good, but the PHX Championship Triple Threat Match takes the cake.
Mike Madrigal defended his belt against Bolt and Zayden Trudeau in an entertaining match.
PHX Title triple threat continues! #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/030lg0GBKm — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
Bolt and Zayden threw caution to the wind, while Madrigal made underhanded attempts to hold on to his championship. Great effort by all 3 men.
Photo by Hub Pacheco
• Another highlight of Vendetta was visiting British tag team The Regime vs the YOLO Twins, with Ken Warren dressed as Rick of Rick and Morty fame.
The Regime's Tengu and Dr. Hertz wowed the crowd with unique moves. YOLO Twins kept up with their trademark tag team antics. In the end, YOLO Twins snuck in a victory, thanks to a distraction by Ken Warren. This match showed the versatility of the YOLO Twins against an enigmatic team like The Regime.
Ken Warren interferes in the match, allowing The YOLO Twins to pick up the win vs The Regime. #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/VNNmVnC6J8 — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
• Smart and funny booking to start the Triple Threat Match for the PWR Tag Team Championship. Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux's deputies GrabCamus and Kap. Tutan were wrapped in tarpaulins care of The Kakaibros' posse, then brought backstage to remove outside interference.
The match was loaded with comedic spots; one better watch it live to find out. Then a huge surprise made this author literally mark out: Coach Gus Queens and a handful of Manila Wrestling Federation (MWF) wrestlers paid a visit to assist James "Lodi" Martinez and Alexander Belmonte III of The Network in retaining their titles.
The Network retains the PWR Tag Team Titles... thanks to a distraction by MWF’s Coach Gus and Rex Lawin?!?! #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/wFMghgGJFK — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
After the show, Queens explained that it was not an MWF "invasion" but just a "collaboration" with The Network.
• Vlad Sinnsyk won the PWR All-Out War Championship from The Apocalypse in a brutal match under All-Out War rules.
The makeshift "tables" out of plywood and Monobloc chairs (which PWR has tried to "perfect" in past events) was ingeniously crafted this time, not to mention carefully put together so as not to collapse. Sinnsyk sent Apocalypse from a ladder through this table before ending the match with a Musclebuster.
DEMOLITION DERBY!! #AllOutWar #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/gbKZp1eGMp — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
• The remaining grudge matches completed an already-solid card. Crystal faced Martivo, whom she betrayed along with Robynn at PWR Live: Oktoberplex last month.
Crystal lost, but she had the last laugh post-match, when she hit Martivo and Robynn with what appears to be John Sebastian's signature kendo stick. Crystal unleashed her vicious side here, while Martivo showed a more aggressive side to teach Crystal a lesson.
After the match, Crystal attacks both Martivo and Robynn with a kendo stick... that’s similar to John Sebastian’s? #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/8k8xb7Jzko — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
Meanwhile, Vintendo (who has gone "dark" after turning heel) stopped McKata in his tracks with a High Score chokeslam to pick up the win. Quick match, but a decent one by two big men.
Vintendo hits a Chokeslam on McKata for the win. #PWRVendetta pic.twitter.com/b8jT5zDxHu — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
• The Secret Council of the Trabajadores situation at the Vendetta pre-show was interesting and somewhat confusing. Apparently, their code as perennial "jobbers" states they could not win matches.
As a result, the Secret Council expelled Trabajador Quatro from the group. The council then taught him a lesson in a post-match attack, but the Revo-Ranger came in for the save.
The Secret Council beats up both Trabajador Quatro and Kapitan PWR. The Revo-Ranger makes the save! #PWRVendetta preshow pic.twitter.com/PEuAiM62ld — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) November 5, 2017
Overall rating: A-. Vendetta, PWR's last show for 2017, was definitely a 5th of November to remember.
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.