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    Saturday, October 8, 2016

    PWR Renaissance 2016 Preview—PWR Championship Match: Jake De Leon vs. John Sebastian

    They say pro wrestling is defined by the quality of its feuds. WWE wouldn't have become what it is today without the legendary Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man wars of the 1980s. Sting vs. the nWo was what took WCW over the top in the late 1990s, while Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon led the resurgence of pro wrestling as a monster pop culture movement as the new millennium dawned.

    Having said that, it's impossible to write the story of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution without mentioning the two-year rivalry between reigning two-time PWR Champion "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon and the scheming stable known as the Royal Flush. So while the Flush itself may have crumbled to ashes in recent months with the unceremonious dismissal of "Classical" Bryan Leo and the abrupt retirement of its "Queen of Pain" Scarlett, the remaining members of John Sebastian, Main Maxx, and Peter Versoza remain locked onto the popular haciendero.
    So on October 8, in the main event of PWR Renaissance 2016 at the Unilab Bayanihan Center in Mandaluyong City, JDL goes for one more title defense a familiar nemesis: the dangerous, unpredictable, self-declared "Wrestling Lord and Savior" John Sebastian.

    Tale of the Tape

    "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon

    Height: 5'8"
    Weight: 190 lbs
    From: Hacienda De Leon, Negros Occidental
    Championships and accomplishments: PWR Championship (2x)
    Finishing move: Alipin Drop

    He's the tractor-ridin', helicopter-flyin', Payrollin', Alipin Droppin' son of a haciendero, and he's one of only two men to have carried PWR gold twice in his career.

    Don't let his amiable, boyish features fool you, nor his simpatico demeanor outside the ring. The husky Senyorito is, simply put, the greatest all-around wrestler in PWR today, using a well-rounded arsenal of smashmouth moves and springy aerial attacks to batter potential usurpers into pinipig.

    He's taken on scores of PWR's finest and lived to tell the tale; such main eventers as Bryan Leo, The Apocalypse, Chris Panzer, Bombay Suarez, and Main Maxx have all fallen to Hacienda De Leon's favorite son, with JDL's feared Alipin Drop as his favorite weapon of destruction.

    There's no better ring general than De Leon today, with a sweet combination of Kevin Owens-like agility, a Dean Ambrose-ish level of tenacity, and the star power of an AJ Styles. He's also the hardest worker in the company, never missing a show, frequently pulling double-duty on a regular basis, drawing crowd applause like no other, and, simply put, the most bemedaled competitor in Philippine pro wrestling history.

    Minimum wage, maximum rage? More like bred for gold, buckets of tickets sold.

    John Sebastian

    Height: 5'10"
    Weight: 195 lbs
    From: Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa
    Championships and accomplishments: None
    Finishing moves: Killshot

    And then there's the biggest asshole in PWR history, the sneering, antagonistic, cocky John Sebastian.

    We've seen a massive transformation in this man in the two years he's antagonized the Revo-Nation with his whiny voice and I'm-better-than-you swagger. From a fresh-faced rookie who couldn't catch a break, he's evolved into the best natural heel in the company, trading barbs with the likes of ex-PWR General Manager Mr. Sy and showbiz star KC Montero, while acting as the lieutenant of the much-hated Royal Flush.

    We knew Sebastian had an ego from the start, and that's why it was no surprise to see him unceremoniously run his former Royal Flush stablemate Bryan Leo out of the company. But for all his antics outside the ring, it's between the ropes that his talent truly shines. His Strong Style-inspired offense is the most dangerous in the Filipino wrestling scene, whether its his patented Killshot kneestrike to the head, or his over-the-shoulder neckbreaker drop. There's no better challenger to JDL's gold than John Sebastian, and look for him to make an impact in his long-awaited shot for the PWR Championship.

    The History

    Remember two years ago at PWR Terminus 2014 when Jake De Leon hosted a Boot Camp Challenge for trainees at PWR's own Bombay Suarez Development Center? We were surprised to see his call answered by a scrawny, wispy-mustached young boy who looked like he'd be more at home in front of his PlayStation than in a wrestling ring. That was John Sebastian.

    Sebastian took home the loss in his debut match (and honestly, at that stage of his career, that was no surprise), but pleasantly impressed with his in-ring sass and an opportunistic streak that had the audience half-convinced he would pull off the upset after a nasty reverse DDT to his more seasoned opponent.

    But how he's grown since then has amazed us. From Boot Camp trainee to one of the top stars of the promotion in just 20 months, Sebastian has proven himself as a blue-ribbon talent and one of the true great cornerstones of PWR.

    But that doesn't mean he hasn't taken shortcuts. Despite having world-class talent, he's shown himself unafraid to take shortcuts. From joining the safety-in-numbers approach of the Flush to constantly relying on his peers to bail him out of trouble and wielding a kendo stick for sneak attacks outside of his sanctioned matches, Sebastian is all about unscrupulous efficiency. He's wanted to be the king of Philippine wrestling for some time now, and after dispatching of two other competitors in a #1 Contender match, it's now his time to shine.
    JDL won't take this lying down, however. The fiery haciendero had harsh words for his latest challenger.

    He may have been waylaid by a Sebastian-powered Conchairto the last time the two intersected, but JDL claims that his heart is indestructible, and he knows this will be enough to power him to yet another successful defense of his hard-won PWR Championship.

    Our analysis and prediction

    Neither men are small competitors, by any means, with both approaching the 200-pound threshold. Sebastian may own a height and leverage advantage, but the agility of Jake De Leon is at A+ levels. The man can fly with the best of them, using surprise springboard attacks to make the most of his bulk and heft.

    De Leon needs to use his agility to wear down John Sebastian, who's put on a lot of weight in his quest to transform himself into a harder-hitting power-based wrestler, and throw more mass behind his trademark strikes. This may have had a negative effect on his motor, which JDL can take advantage of with his mobility and speed.


    Expect the PWR Champion to methodically draw out the match as long as he can to weaken John Sebastian's cardio, while strategically pounding away with hard-hitting cannonballs and splashes to leave him breathless before striking with his Alipin Drop.
    Sebastian, on the other hand, needs to play front-runner, taking JDL down right off the bat with some big-time moves, stunning him early on, and taking away the conditioning advantage of the Senyorito.

    Will he succeed? It's an even battle, as far as skills are concerned, but as always, the numbers game will be something to keep an eye on. Peter Versoza and Main Maxx aren't about to leave their running mate out to dry, with Maxx especially salty over recent losses to Hacienda De Leon's favorite son.

    Prediction: John Sebastian wins to become the new PWR Champion.


    What do you think of our prediction, Revo-Nation? Do you think Jake De Leon can extend his second PWR Championship reign for one more month, or is it time for the Age of Sebastian to rise? Either way, this will be a stellar match, and a sure Match of the Year candidate.

    Let us know your thoughts below, and we'll see you at PWR Renaissance!


    PWR Renaissance is happening on Saturday, October 8, at the Unilab Bayanihan Center. Tickets cost Php 400 and can be availed in a number of ways. For more information, stay tuned to the official Facebook event page.

    For the latest news and updates on Philippine wrestling, don't forget to like PWR on Facebook, or visit their official site.

    All photos are by "The Phenomenal" Hub Pacheco.
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