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    Thursday, May 4, 2017

    Holey Shirt: A First-Time PWR Fan's Experience

    Editor's note: At Smark Henry, we've made it our mission not just to give today's generation of Filipino wrestling fans a voice, but to also help build a fandom for the burgeoning local wrestling scene. Along the way, we had the honor of meeting a man who, despite having been a lifelong rasslin' fan, had never actually watched a show live. Here are this thoughts on his first ever show experience, PWR Wrevolution X.

    By Paul Tabaque

    Two words: Holey shirt! 

    (I meant to put this here to make sure this gets published. But you all know what I’m getting at.)

    Just an hour after the conclusion of this year’s Wrevolution X, I felt compelled to sit down and write about it. I mean, man, where have I been all these years?

    Since PWR’s inception, one of the Smark Henry editors has been constantly inviting me to attend some events, but I never got to go. And boy! It’s just today I realized I’ve been missing a great part of my life.

    I consider myself a casual smark, if there’s such a term. I’ve been a wrestling fan since the Rock and Wrestlin’ years, and as a kid I stayed up late just to watch Superstars and Pinoy Wrestling. I was introduced to the ‘’intricacies” of rasslin’ during the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars.

    Fast forward to today, I still watch all WWE weekly and PPV shows—and a little bit of Impact and the indies too. I also eagerly await the weekly episode of Tiger Mask W (Sing with me: "King of the WILD, WILD, WILD!"). I guess you can say that I know more than a casual fan does, but I’m so engrossed in all the front-end storylines and characters that I don’t really give too much of a hoot about what’s really happening behind the scenes.

    Given that I’ve been a fan of rasslin' for this long, Wrevolution X was my first live event ever. It was my first taste of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution too—and what an unforgettable first bite it was!

    A post shared by Paul Tabaque (@paultabaque) on

    The House That Fans Built 

    When I first stepped through the doors of the Unilab Bayanihan Center, I was embarrassingly clueless on what to expect. The photo I took above doesn’t justify the backdrop the event was set in—it was taken during intermission. However, saying that the atmosphere was electric is an understatement.

    Fans were rabid, at the safest estimate. Hecklers were unforgiving—and that’s putting it mildly. Every chop merited a “Woooooooo.” Every hit earned an “Aaaah.” And every bump was met with an “Oooohhh," complete with the audience’s pained expressions. Every signature move and finisher garnered applause.

    High spots were always rewarded with a standing ovation and chants of “Yes! Yes! Yes!” The Deadly Sinns (Vlad Sinnsyk and Mike Madrigal) got duelling chants of “You’re okay” and “Boo!” chants respectively. On the other hand, some unflattering (but fun!) “Choco Crinkles” and “Espasoru" chants were bestowed on Ralph Imabayashi, in reference to his black-and-white makeup.

    The “Sandong May Mukha!” chant on Ken Warren was hella funny. But probably the best ones were the “This is Awesome” chants for JDL-Billy Suede and the six-man match for the first-ever PWR Tag Team Championship, and the “You deserve it” chants for Chris Panzer. That’s how crazy it was inside the Bayanihan Center.

    Even for a PWR greenie like yours truly, I clearly saw without a doubt that it's the fans that define this promotion.

    Character Acts

    And oh, by the way, I loved the characters.

    I have loved The Network since the beginning, having seen their posters, GIFs, and videos in social media. I loved their very unique and despicable network marketer gimmick. Wrevo X was the first time I saw them in person, and when Alexander Belmonte III, Chino Guinto, and James "Idol" Martinez made their way to the ring, I couldn’t resist throwing their trademark pyramid handsign! Idol ko na talaga si Idol. How to be you po? I’m open-minded! Sign me up as a downline!

    I’ve also seen photos, promos, and memes of Rederick Mahaba, and he really is larger than life. And seeing that strainer—his weapon of choice for doing “canton” things—inside the ring was mind-blowing.

    I thought #TeamKatips was well-represented by the YOLO Twins too. Trian de la Torre can really don his championship belt real well. I’m also going on an inasal diet just to see if JDL’s “Minimum Wage, Maximum Rage” attitude can rub off on me.

    And oh, I have also accepted John Sebastian as my Wrestling Lord and Savior (I actually reached out and asked for a flyer. So, I’m saved!).

    The Spots 

    TV doesn’t do justice to what wrestlers go through inside the ring. I've seen the hits, bumps, and spots through the safe confines of a screen, yet I still feel the pain gets multiplied ten—no, maybe even hundred-fold—when you see and hear them live. High spots are more awesome when you get to see them first-hand.

    As a first-timer in a live event, seeing The Apocalypse go exploding through the plywood in front of me was something else.

    The dives from the Fighters 4 Hire and the Deadly Sinns compelled me to stand up and chant “Yes! Yes! Yes!” in unison with the crowd. That moonsault by one of the YOLO Twins from the top rope to the outside though. I’m speechless.

    I’ve watched a lot of hardcore matches, no-DQ bouts, and Dusty finishes, but that Flaming Low Blow from Ken Warren to Bombay Suarez was definitely a first!

    My favorite though was Chris Panzer’s Eagle Splash off the ladder to win the PWR Championship. I was lucky enough to have the best seat in the house and catch it on video. You’re welcome.

    A post shared by Paul Tabaque (@paultabaque) on

    Would I do it again?

    Speaking as a first-timer in a live wrestling event, PWR’s Wrevolution X experience was nothing short of remarkable! It was five hours of non-stop action, chanting, ass-kicking, hits, and awesome stunts. If you’re planning to find a local wrestling promotion—aside from your usual WWE and the indies—to get behind, I would highly recommend PWR.

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re a smark, a casual fan, or just new to the wrestling universe, seeing our home-grown talent gut it out in the ring will make you appreciate the craft even more, and the fans, the characters, and the spots are all proof.


    Additional show photography by "Heavenly" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: Holey Shirt: A First-Time PWR Fan's Experience Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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