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    Saturday, December 31, 2016

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/31/16): The PWR Championship Triple Threat, Wrevolution X

    Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. It's that time of year again when we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match a day for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling this calendar year produced for us.

    We can't close out 2016 without honoring the greatest moment of Philippine wrestling for the year—a match that still has local fans buzzing half a year after it happened: the classic Triple Threat for the PWR Championship at Wrevolution X. 

    If there's one name that's synonymous with local pro wrestling, it's "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon—the affable Bacolod-born everyman who's been pretty much the face of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution since its inception in 2014, and one of only two men to have worn its grandest prize twice.

    Reunited and it feels so good.
    But he's never had it easy; despite his proud haciendero beginnings, his path back to the top of PWR has been one of bitterest. From getting robbed of his first reign in less than five minutes by the underhanded shenanigans of the Royal Flush to frustrating upset losses to company newcomers in 2015, to a fragmenting friendship with Ralph Imabayashi in early 2016, you can't say JDL didn't have to go through the grinder.

    So more than just a match, De Leon's triumph at Wrevolution X was more than just a championship reclamation, it was his point of redemption after a twelve-month journey of pain and heartbreak.

    Imabayashi goes low on Bryan Leo.
    Ralph Imabayashi and "Classical" Bryan Leo were more than just window dressing on the match, however—they legitimately all had a fighting chance to win the match and emerge as champion, and for several scary moments, it seemed that JDL would be in for more frustration and angst.

    "Classical" Bryan Leo: A first world man of 1,005 holds.
    The match had it all. From Leo trapping a charging Imabayashi, turning his momentum against him with a picture-perfect fisherman's suplex even as he had the Senyorito's legs grapevined in another one of his patented deathlocks, to Imabayashi throwing his body around with the swiftness of a coursing river in his quest to once again be "the Man" of PWR, with De Leon springing all over the ring with his helter-skelter offense of cannonballs and splashes, it was pure chaos.

    Bombs away, Ralph-style.
    But there was no stopping Jake De Leon. Even after taking a vicious Painful Classic Wreckage from Bryan Leo through a table—even as Ralph took the Classical One down with his patented Sonic Crusher—destiny was undeniable for the Heir of Hacienda de Leon.

    We hear "Table For 3" is a great show on the WWE Network.
    Two Alipin Drops later, and a new king was crowned, and the Age of Amigos dawned once more.

    In our original review of Wrevolution X, we had this to say:

    If you haven't had the chance to see any PWR action yet, this is the one match you must see. Whether you're looking for outrageous athleticism, hardcore bumps, aerial artistry, smashmouth slobberknockery, or pure catch wrestling, this contest had it all. These three men are the pinnacle of talent in PWR today, and it's a shame only one could rise above as the new PWR Champion.

    Six months after the fact, we still stand by that assessment. This was more than a match, it was a moment. The joy and relief of seeing Jake De Leon finally find his resolution resonated with every single fan in attendance that night.

    Friends once more.

    There's a reason even the Philippine Wrestling Revolution itself called his the #1 moment of the year. We have to agree, and there's no better choice to cap off this celebration of Philippine pro wrestling.

    (Sorry, Jake. We just wanted to see that moment once last time.)


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2016.

    Read our previous entries:

    #1: The Final Deletion
    #2: Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship, SummerSlam
    #3: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Wrestle Kingdom 10
    #4: Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, NXT Takeover: Dallas
    #5: Main Maxx vs. Crystal for the PHX Championship, PWR Renaissance
    #6: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte for the RAW Women's Championship, Hell in a Cell
    #7: Prince Puma vs. Rey Mysterio, Ultima Lucha Dos
    #8: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 10
    #9: American Alpha vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championships, NXT TakeOver: Dallas
    #10: TJ Perkins and the WWE Cruiserweight Classic
    #11: One Versus All Royal Rumble Match
    #12: Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito, G1 Climax Block B Finals
    #13: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Payback
    #14: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay, Best of the Super Juniors Tournament 2016
    #15: #DIY vs. The Revival, 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships, NXT TakeOver: Toronto
    #16: Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg, Survivor Series
    #17: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the NEVER Openweight Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 10
    #18: The Return of the Brand Split
    #19: Kota Ibushi vs. Cedric Alexander, Cruiserweight Classic
    #20: Hirooki Goto vs. Kenny Omega, G1 Climax Finals
    #21: James Freakin' Ellsworth
    #22: Brock, Punk, and their Gall to Hunt in MMA (UFC 200, 203)
    #23: Sexy Star vs. Mariposa in a No Mas Match, Lucha Underground
    #24: Chris Hero vs. Katsuyori Shibata, RPW/NJPW Global Wars
    #25: AJ Styles vs. John Cena, SummerSlam
    #26: The DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship US Tour
    #27: Cody vs. Jay Lethal, Final Battle
    #28: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, No Mercy
    #29: Joey Ryan Proves Wrestling Is Nuts
    #30: Aztec Warfare(s) 2016
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/31/16): The PWR Championship Triple Threat, Wrevolution X Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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