MANILA, Philippines – After closing out 2014 with fireworks this past December, many wrestling fans were left wondering how Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) would surpass its “Terminus” show.
The sports-entertainment promotion managed to pull it off once more by literally going over the edge at its third event dubbed “Vendetta” on Saturday, February 21 at the Makati Cinema Square Arena, Makati City.
Probably, you would want to know PWR exceeded expectations again. It had highlight-reel moments like Mayhem Brannigan risking his body by jumping from the second floor, a tag team all-out war that lasted for nearly an hour, the entire crowd singing to the classic 80’s tune of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, and the first round of the PWR championship tourney.
If these are not conspicuous exhibitions of going over the edge, then somebody must need a chair shot to the head.
Come-from-behind attack by Royal Flush
The “Vendetta” extravaganza opened its curtains with PWR general manager Stan Sy spearheading the contract signing for that night’s all-out war tag team contest, but an attack out of nowhere by “Classical” Bryan Leo and Main Maxx, the twosome well-known as “Royal Flush”, surprised Mayhem Brannigan when he was making his way to the ring.
The assault on the masked crowd-favorite caused his former foe and now-partner Apocalypse to come to Brannigan’s aid before security intervened and restored order.
Both parties eventually managed to ink their respective signatures on the paper to make the heavily-hype confrontation official, giving the match’s winners the authority to choose the stipulation of their respective singles bout at May’s PWR: Wrevolution X.
Comment: The opening segment caught everyone by surprise when instead of the usual exchange of verbal invectives, a brawl ensued, setting the evening on an intense note. Sadly, when they took the mic, the audio bogged down. The sound system was so insufficient that even the promo was dragged out.
Bombay Suarez wins over Ken Warren
Bombay Suarez earned his spot to vie for the inaugural PWR championship by thumping “The Social Media Sinister” Ken Warren.
The two talented performers of PWR did not waste time to go at it as Suarez and Warren put on a display from technical holds to countering each other’s moves in the early proceedings of the match.
Suarez almost had a pinfall after hitting a scissors-kick, but Warren managed to kick out before the count of three.
The backyard wrestling veteran continued to mount offense by delivering a thunderous bulldog before following it up with an earth-shattering leg drop.
However, Warren was able to dictate the tempo of the bout by clobbering a drop kick and lifted Suarez for a sit-out gourdbuster.
After trapping his opponent in the corner for a Stinger splash, Warren tried to keep the momentum going, but Suarez fought back with a sit-out facebuster and a swinging sidewalk slam.
Both men knocked themselves off with a double crossbody, prompting the brash Warren to let loose his frustration and get a steel chair to bring inside the ring.
While the referee was busy confiscating the weapon, Warren pulled out a brass-knuckle in his pocket and attempted to punch Suarez with it.
Unfortunately for Warren, Suarez saw it coming and countered by spraying his green mist, blinding “The Human Trending Topic” before smacking a solid enzugiri kick to claim the 1-2-3.
Bryan Leo’s valet Scarlett made a surprise appearance after the match and approached Suarez to give a luscious tease of Rikishi-like stink face in the corner.
Suarez appeared to enjoy the act and requested for another one from Scarlett, but in return, he received a Warren dropkick through the steel chair.
Comment: This marquee match-up deserves the “Match of the Night” award. Both competitors were superior and astute, and yet they did not outshine each other. Clearly, all ingredients were a good mix up to serve a hearty meal. It could have been the main event, but on the flip side, the appetizer kept the audience satiated and busting at the seams.
Ralph Imabayashi upsets John Sebastian
In a battle of PWR boot camp standouts,Ralph Imabayashi came out on top as he scored an upset over fellow rookie John Sebastian.
Sebastian, who proved that he has the wares to strut against a ring veteran like Jake De Leon at PWR: Terminus two months ago, toyed Imabayashi in the opening moments of the match, punishing the Filipino-Japanese newcomer with a belly-to-back suplex, a hard spinebuster, and a cracking neckbreaker.
Imabayashi refused to back down as he retaliated with lashing strikes from a shining wizard to a running knee to fend off Sebastian.
Even if he sports a small frame in the squared-circle, the small-but-terrible Imabayashi finished it off with a jumping cutter to get the victory against Sebastian.
Imabayashi tried to offer Sebastian a sportsman-like handshake after the showdown, but he received a clothesline instead from his arrogant foe.
Comment: PWR had a good pair to provide a good quality action in the ring. John Sebastian is gritty heel with a hard-hitting style, while Raph Imabayashi is a baby-face with fast-paced set of skills. Unfortunately, the chemistry failed to translate to the audience, which resulted in a lull midway of the match. Redemption came when Imabayashi hit his finishing move that had everyone on their feet.
Mayhem Brannigan, Apocalypse survive all-out war
Mayhem Brannigan and The Apocalypse survived nearly sixty minutes of punishment to overthrow “Classical” Bryan Leo and Main Maxx in PWR’s first signature match branded “All-Out War”, which is a no-holds-barred and falls-count-and-submission-anywhere battle.
When the bell sounded, both teams immediately exchanged blows, but Brannigan and Apocalypse attained the upper hand to set the pace of the bout.
Brannigan pummeled Main Maxx with kendo stick shots, while Apocalypse treated Leo like a dog as he laced a chain around his opponent’s neck and dragged him all over the venue.
Main Maxx was able to shift the leverage on Royal Flush’s side when he grabbed a steel tray as a weapon and then squashed his masked foe with a steam roller.
Leo also broke free from Apocalypse’s captivity and tormented the behemoth with a figure-four leglock in the ring, whereas Main Maxx delighted the wrestling hooligans by exploiting Brannigan outside the squared-circle.
With both parties battling each other all over the arena, Brannigan defied his physical limitation when he leaped from the second floor balcony to land on Leo and Main Maxx, with Apocalypse and PWR officials being involved in the fiasco.
After recuperating from the daredevil dive, each team made their way back to ring, where Leo and Brannigan traded shots with a kendo stick, while both Main Maxx and Apocalypse crashed into an improvised table.
Determined to settle the score against their rivals, Royal Flush welcomed their newest member John Sebastian, who attacked and led the unmasking of Brannigan.
Apocalypse quickly broke the 3-on-1 equation with a baseball bat and also accepted a helping hand from Ralph Imabayashi, who took out Sebastian from the scene.
Receiving a spare mask from his girlfriend Nicole, Brannigan returned to action that signaled the end for Leo and Main Maxx as the two delivered their individual finishers to get the elusive victory.
Comment: It is refreshing to see PWR’s metamorphose as it expands its benchmark. However, the match became a gagging mouthful when it ran for nearly an hour due to the sequences of hardcore exhibitions that occurred. Moreover, two simultaneous scuffles from opposite ends made it difficult for the audience to concentrate on which one to watch.
PWR: Vendetta introduces tag team division
Mark D. Manalo and Kanto Terror claimed their first victory as a tag team as they defeated Peter Versoza and SANDATA, the duo identified as “Dual Shock”.
Manalo placed his team on the winning track by forcing his opponent tap with a guillotine chock, rebranded as the “Manalo Lock”,
Due to their disappointment of losing to Manalo and Kanto Terror, Ventosa and SANDATA demanded another opportunity to prove themselves from PWR general manager Stan Sy, who obliged by granting their request as they were immediately booked to face his bodyguards Joey Bax and Miguel Rosales.
Sy’s security team known as “Fighters 4 Hire” made a quick work on Dual Shock, finishing their counterparts with the tag team maneuver “Hart Attack”.
Comment: I will have to give credit to Mark D. Manalo and Kanto terror in that despite their farcical characters, they can win fans over. In addition, they are able to entice the audience to get involved; notwithstanding, their considerably refined skill-set in the ring.
At first, I could not understand how they could have beaten Dual Shock since Peter Versoza and SANDATA were billed as the next big thing in the tag team division. But after seeing Fighters 4 Hire, I realized that there was no need to sulk.
Jake De Leon dominates Chris Panzer to face Bombay Suarez for the PWR title
“The Senyorito” Jake De Leon cemented his position as one of the two contenders for the first PWR championship belt by dominating Chris Panzer.
The 5-foot-8 De Leon was on the driver’s seat early on, delivering a corner cannonball before hitting a cartwheel splash.
However, Panzer also managed to get a piece of De Leon as he rallied back with a running bulldog and tried to submit “The Senyorito” with an STF.
Panzer trapped De Leon in the corner to clobber a clotheslines, but the latter evaded the attack and countered a kick to the head.
De Leon went for a rolling senton to regain the bout’s control, but Panzer stopped the attempt with a crisp kick to the back of the head.
After a double clothesline dropped both men to the mat, Panzer’s arch-nemesis Ken Warren interrupted in the match, but the Filipino-American standout rejected his rival from the scene with a dropkick.
Panzer was ready to unleash his Panzerschreck finisher when De Leon knocked him down with a super kick out of nowhere.
De Leon capped it off by executing the rolling senton before lifting Panzer for the Alipin drop to get the pinfall.
Comment: Jake De Leon’s performance in the ring has improved considerably. He stood out at PWR: Vendetta and definitely deserves to have the “Performer of the Night” citation. He really worked on how he executes his craft. Speaking of move-set, De Leon’s arsenal has now different variety from Alipin drop to Gory bomb.
On the other hand, I am a little bit dismayed that Chris Panzer was paired with De Leon. The match was supposed to give appraisal for both men’s value, but it was De Leon who got the mileage instead.
It is quite obvious that every PWR superstar is exerting their best efforts to outdo previous performances that, in fairness, translated to this show. The company ameliorates to higher standards at every event.
The challenge that the organization faced at PWR: Vendetta is the fluidity and consistency that can be found in PWR: Terminus. However, there is an upside in the fact that the February affair has become a springboard for the upcoming May card.
Rate: 4.0 out of 5.0