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    Friday, May 26, 2017

    Chino Guinto: When All That Glitters Is...

    If you told any PWR fan a year ago that Chino Guinto, the self-proclaimed Golden Boy, would become a PHX Champion, they would probably just scoff it off as musings of a crazy individual with such crazy accusations. But, my, how times have changed.

    For most of his career, Chino has primarily served as just player of one of the most popular acts in the history of PWR, the green-clad and money-minded team known as The Network. No strangers to getting loud, supportive reactions from the crowd, whatever the Network boss, James "Idol" Martinez, Chino Guinto, and Alexander Belmonte III did was always bound to leave a lasting impression.

    But in the span of just over a year, we witnessed an unexpected revelation that sent fans on a wild journey from downline to a widely accepted champion, and that's despite how much of a douchebag the Hotshot Hustler can be. He went on to compete in highlight-worthy matches, had rivalries with different personalities, made an impression in the biggest Path of Gold match in PWR's history thus far, made a former PWR champion lose his shit, and caused quite a stir within the ranks of the faction he belongs to. Hell, he even had literal Chino fans that was a result of a joke that went too far, and it still worked!

    And all this only helped to make PWR a better product by the end of the day.

    To understand just how and why Chino managed to reach the top of the PWR pyramid (no pun intended), it's best to understand the events that took place leading up to his fateful PHX Championship reign.

    When you look back at the moment where fans realized what exactly Chino had in him, it happened back at PWR Live: The Road to Wrevolution X in Sucat, Parañaque. While the show will forever be known as the genesis of Main Maxx's PHX Championship reign (the longest reign of any championship in PWR history at that), this was also the first-ever meeting between Chino and a man that would become his career rival, SANDATA.

    It was a match that exceeded any expectations fans had when this match was first announced, showing exactly what Chino had as a potential singles player. While SANDATA had already been a proven competitor at that point, nobody knew what exactly Chino had in store for the fans considering he played second fiddle to Idol. What happened was the most engaging singles match of the night, a shame considering not many fans got to see the encounter at that time (at least, not as many as those who came to see the most recent Wrevolution X). Nonetheless, something clicked between the two, and that became the catalyst for both men's successful runs as singles stars.

    In the months that followed, Chino became the iron man in the PHX Championship Gauntlet Match at Wrevolution X 2016 (before falling to Main Maxx), competed in big singles matches against SANDATA and future PWR Champions Chris Panzer and Ralph Imabayashi (more on him later), and had the most eliminations in the second-ever Path of Gold Match, where he eliminated such big names as Jake de Leon and Bombay Suarez. Unfortunately, during said match, he accidentally eliminated his boss, Martinez. And that's when things went to hell.

    It was during that Path of Gold match that for the first time, we saw cracks in the seemingly impenetrable bond of the Network. In an act fueled by a probable combination of jealousy and hate, the Top of the Pyramid began to use his authority to ban Chino from attending PWR Live: Mainit, prompting what has become known as the #FreeChino movement, only fueling the fire further for Chino to get some amount of comeuppance after a year of excellence and hard work.

    This is also besides the fact that Ralph Imabayashi, a man representative of hard work, discipline, and dedication, did not appreciate the fans' sudden appreciation for Chino, a man that seemingly symbolizes everything Ralph stands for. All this only fueled Ralph's continued aggressive campaign to have fans #RespectProWrestling.

    Thankfully for fans and everyone concerned, Wrevolution X was right around the corner, and the PHX Championship match between SANDATA and Peter Versoza was about to get a huge boost thanks to the sudden inclusion of Guinto and Imabayashi in the title bout, effectively turning this into a four-way affair. And as we all know at this point, Chino would end up with an emphatic win, resulting in the first championship of his career.

    It's funny how a little bit of inspiration could cause a chain reaction of excellence that only shows how far PWR has gone as far as in-ring quality goes. What started as a blooming rivalry between heated rivals in Chino and SANDATA turned into a series of matches validating the old adage that "hard work pays off." In effect, this helped enrich a roster filled with dedicated talent, elevating the stock of the likes of Chris Panzer even further. And if the roster we see today is of any indication, the future really is bright for the young, blossoming, WWE-recognized pro wrestling organization.

    Truly, all that glitters is gold, and for Chino Guinto, there is going to be more of it coming his way.

    Photos by "Hulking" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: Chino Guinto: When All That Glitters Is... Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lance Tan Ong
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