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    Wednesday, May 3, 2017

    PWR Wrevolution X 2017—The Official Smark Henry Review

    The first time I asked about PWR’s Wrevolution X, I was told that it was the local equivalent of the WWE’s WrestleMania. Big show, big stakes, and a big crowd taking in all the action. That’s exactly what we got last Sunday, when a record sellout crowd of almost 600 turned up to watch one of PWR’s finest shows to date.

    These two somehow thought that Iverson would still want to have his baptism beside a PWR show.

    In the days leading up to the event, we asked our fair share of questions. Would Chris Panzer finally shed off the choker tag and win the big one? Who was going to be crowned as PWR’s first-ever tag team champion? Who was going to be the third wheel in Peter Versoza and SANDATA’s date with the PHX Championship? Could Rederick Mahaba fend off the Apocalypse with the power of love?

    Well, we got answers to all of that, plus a whole lot more. Let’s take a look at what happened in Wrevolution X.

    Panzer’s Road to Redemption

    Let’s start with the big one: Chris Panzer is your new PWR Champion.

    With an emphatic Eagle Splash off a ladder, Panzer managed to get rid of that choker label and pin John Sebastian, winning the PWR Championship from the man who embarrassed him one Wrevolution X ago.

    This was a slugfest that saw each man go toe-to-toe with heavy shots. With referee Matt Roxas knocked out early, we got to see a more violent affair between these two. Sebastian made good use of his cane and a ladder, while Panzer fought back with an Eagle Splash off a scaffolding. This wasn’t the best match on the card (more on that in the next section), but it was a decent main event that was a good way to end a stacked Wrevolution X card.

    This was the perfect way to cap off Chris Panzer’s redemption, as it was one year ago that his loss ended up costing Mr. Sy his job.

    So what’s next for the Fil-Am sensation, now that he’s the PWR Champion? He’s now in an unfamiliar spot where he’s the guy everyone wants to go after. There’s a whole locker room full of guys waiting to hit him in the face, and Panzer is going to have to fend each and every one off. No doubt, John Sebastian will be among the first to stake a claim, having just lost the belt. He’s been the guy chasing after the title before, and knows what it takes to win it. Rest assured that he won’t walk away from this without trying to take that title back.

    Then of course, there are other guys who got huge wins at Wrevolution X. Like this next one we’ll talk about.

    Pinoy Pride

    Oh boy, this was something special.

    As soon as the opening bell rang, these two went at it at a level we’ve never before seen. We finally saw just how good “Beautiful” Billy Suede is, and he put on his best match to date here against one of PWR’s finest. Suede showed that the accolades he garnered in ECCW weren’t just for show, keeping the Senyorito on his toes with a varied assault of kicks and moonsaults.

    De Leon, on the other hand, fought back with the same diverse offense we’ve come to love. At one point, Suede tries to hiptoss JDL, only for the Senyorito to smoothly counter it into a cross armbreaker. You could hear the collective gasps throughout the room, because we haven’t seen something this good before.

    The finishing sequence was just as jaw-dropping. As Billy Suede springboarded from the ropes, the Senyorito popped right up and caught him in the Inasal Lock for the submission victory. This was simply a great match from start to finish, and should definitely be in the running for the finest match PWR has produced to date. It’s one of those matches that felt like went by so fast, but hey—time flies when you’re having fun.

    More importantly, this win proves that Filipino wrestling can hang with the international stars out there. It proves that a Bacolod-bred, Inasal-fed man can compete with the world’s elite.

     I’d love to see the Senyorito win the PWR Championship once again, but I’d just as equally want to see him out there taking on wrestlers from other parts of the globe, just like Billy Suede. With PWR already recognized by the WWE, one can only hope that we can see more of our local talents take to the ring against other countries’ finest. As for the Beautiful one, I honestly hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him in PWR. I’m always down to see some great wrestling, and that’s something we know Billy Suede can do.

    Peter's Problems

    Last Sunday, we also saw Peter Versoza’s reign as PHX Champion come to a screeching halt.

    P to the V thought he got rid of his competition when he attacked Ralph Imabayashi and Chino Guinto, forcing their match to end in a no contest. Of course, Mr. Sy had other ideas, and instead put both Imabayashi and Guinto in the PHX Championship match, turning it into a four-way. Well, that went well for Peter, didn't it?

    It simply felt as if Versoza was a step below his three challengers. We know that he can go in the ring, but he hasn't really managed to dazzle throughout his PHX Championship reign. That continued in this match, where he eventually fell to Guinto’s Gold Digger at the end.

    While multi-man matches always tend to be chaotic, they still managed to make it fun to follow. Guinto and Imabayashi got their own time to continue their match that never finished. SANDATA spent time teaming up with his old rivals—first with Versoza for the Dual Shock pop, then with the Golden Boy to take out Versoza. Imabayashi also continued to prove why he’s the best pure wrestler in PWR, putting on another solid show against his three opponents.

    What a difference one year makes.

    Speaking of Imabayashi, something has finally broken in him. Last year, we saw him graciously accept defeat as he (and another guy) lost to Jake De Leon in a PWR Championship match. This time, there were no handshakes and hugs to be had—Imabayashi couldn’t take it anymore and finally snapped at Chino Guinto, having to be carried away from the ring. He’s had a rough year, enduring a losing streak on top of a lot of other misfortunes. Imabayashi has tried to play things by the rules, but they obviously haven’t worked—and now he’s had enough of it.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing this side of him more often—Imabayashi is the perfect guy to take up the young, bitter wrestler role, and this may be his return ticket to success.

    So #BLESSED, He Can’t Contain It

    So much, he had to give it away.

    Guinto’s PHX Championship reign immediately kicked off with a question mark, especially when Network head honcho James “Idol” Martinez came out and asked for the title. After all, they’re networkers. Your win is also your leader’s win, right?

    That post-match segment was brilliant, and it didn’t even need a single word to be said out loud. Their actions told the whole story. We saw a weary Chino, tired and exasperated, with disbelief in his eyes as Idol smugly signaled for the belt. You could tell that this wasn’t something the Golden Boy wanted to do, having just gone through hell alone to win the PHX Championship. Thankfully, we’ve heard that the Golden Boy has since managed to get his title back (and now stands alone), but we’ll be surprised if Idol just stops at that.

    It hasn’t been a good couple of months for James Martinez. While the Golden Boy has been winning, the group has been struggling as a whole. They failed to conquer Path of Gold together, and a frustrated Idol even walked out on Alexander Belmonte III in the PWR Tag Team Championship tournament. 

    Earlier in the night, he faced off with the Man-Doll Martivo as it was the latter that took the blame in the Network’s Path of Gold failures. The Rainbow Warrior caught Idol off-guard with his own bag of tricks, reversing the role as it’s Idol who usually excels at these kinds of shenanigans. While Idol still managed to pick up the win after a healthy dose of Idol supplements, he wasn’t really settling for just that. True to form, he found another way to make it a win, coming out to celebrate Chino’s win and take it as his own.

    Networking traditions aside, it looks like Idol is envious of his top downline’s triumphs. This creates an interesting dynamic moving forward—Guinto can claim that he stands alone, but we all know it’s not that easy to leave a networking company. 

    Idol can continue to have an indirect claim to the belt as long as the Golden Boy is in the Network, and he’ll likely use that to his advantage. We’ll have to look towards the next few shows (or Mel from HR’s emails) to see how things pan out.

    A New Alliance

    When one empire falls, another one rises. As the Network falls into disarray, Ken Warren and the YOLO Twins seem to be planting the seeds of PWR’s next big alliance.

    The Social Media Sinister put an end to his slumping form this past Sunday, picking up a victory against fellow veteran Bombay Suarez. This was a nice throwback to past matches, with Suarez busting out his signature flaming chop to kick things off. This match may not be the best one we saw that night, but it was still good. Warren’s banter with the crowd is always fun to watch, because he just makes it so easy for people to root against him.

    Oh, and yes, we have to talk about that finish. In what may well be one of Wrevolution X’s biggest highlights, Warren won the match after some YOLO interference allowed him to light up his arm and hit Suarez with a flaming low blow. Yes, you read that right. Ken Warren literally set Bombay Suarez’s balls ablaze. How has no one ever thought of this!? It turns out that we don’t even need to wait for July, because Great Balls of Fire is already done. This is going to be one of those moments we’ll look back on next year, and the years after that. It’s a nice way to summarize the match they had: simple, but effective.

    Meanwhile, the YOLO Twins’ three-way against the Deadly Sinns and Fighters 4 Hire proved to be as chaotic as expected. Bodies flew around at a blistering pace, the highlights of which include a pair of stunning dives from Logan Ollores and Miguel Rosales. Rosales’ suplexes are always fun to watch, and we got to see that in spades here. 

    This was a solid display of tag team wrestling that was one of the night’s standouts, and every team came out of it looking like they had a legitimate claim to be the first tag team champions in PWR.

    Unfortunately, a pair of belt-assisted hits from Warren allowed the YOLO Twins to one-up their competition and become the first-ever PWR Tag Team Champions. This wasn’t actually the first time we’ve seen Ken Warren and the YOLO Twins team up. We saw them work together at Path of Gold, but it looked as if it was only a one-time thing since teaming up was the name of the game then. 

    Perhaps they have a fair deal going on—Warren helped the YOLO Twins win a championship, so he gets some aid in return. We’ll see where Ken Warren sets his sights on soon, but it seems like he’s gotten out of his rut since coming back this year.

    As for the Fighters 4 Hire and the Deadly Sinns, it seems that they’ll be settling their own beef first before going after the YOLO Twins. A post-Wrevolution X scuffle led to Mr. Sy announcing that the two teams would be facing each other at the next show, in an All Out War match! We know these two teams can brawl, but what happens when you add all these dangerous weapons to the mix? This is going to be a bloodbath, and we can only hope that whoever wins can still stand at the end and stake their claim again for the PWR Tag Team Championship.

    Mahabang Death Bell

    Speaking of All Out War, the Apocalypse notched another feather in his cap when he beat Rederick Mahaba in the show’s opening All Out War match. Actually, he might have even taken some of Rederick’s mahaba with him too.

    This matched kicked the show off on an exciting note, as Mahaba put on a show of violence that we’ve never seen before from him. The Intimate Warrior matched Apocalypse toe-to-toe with his own array of weapons, keeping Apocalypse on the back foot. Apocalypse was tossed around like a ragdoll by Mahaba, with a slam through some plywood emphasizing just who was in charge here. Mahaba thought that the Jaccolade would be enough, but Apocalypse bit (eww) his way out of it, managing to land a Death Bell on the big man for the win. 

    I’ve gotten so used to watching long All Out War matches that this one came across as short—but that isn’t a problem, as this was still as violent as it could be.

    Once again, the Apocalypse claims another victim in All Out War. But what does this mean for the Rederick Mahaba? If you’ll recall, Mahaba set his sights on a title run last February at Path of Gold before running into the Apocalypse. 

    However, this latest setback seems to point at something else being needed to make his way there. He’s shared his thoughts about this on social media, and at least it looks like he’s got an answer moving forward. It remains to be seen just what Rederick Mahaba will be doing moving forward, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

    The Birth of Women's Wrestling

    Finally, PWR has gotten its first women’s match. After a couple of teases, women’s wrestling finally went in full swing as Robynn faced Crystal before Sunday’s main event.

    While this is an important part of local wrestling history, I didn’t really think this match was as good as it could be. This isn’t meant as a knock on either competitor—they put on a well-meaning match, but some parts of it just felt lacking. Some of the strikes, in particular, looked off.

    It’s weird considering that we’ve already seen both Robynn and Crystal put on good matches before, but it really didn’t show here. Perhaps it also has to do with how the matches were sequenced—these two had to go after Jake De Leon and Billy Suede tore the house down, and that was always going to be a tough act to follow. Nevertheless, it’s still a good thing that women’s wrestling is off the ground now, and I look forward to seeing more from PWR in the future.

    This was also a big statement win for Robynn—no longer can we just look at her as the girl with colored hair with a mean Bahala Na Si Batman dive. Not only did she kick out after a Shining Crystal and a Solemate, she also forced Crystal to admit defeat via the Robynhood submission. It establishes her as a legitimate threat, having beaten someone like Crystal who has proven that she can hang with the rest of PWR’s wrestlers. Whether it’s in singles action or as part of the Punk Dolls with Martivo, this may be the start of bigger things for the Punk Rock Maiden.

    Pre-Show Ponderings

    • Bolt def. Nina. Right in time for the first-ever Women’s match, we have another addition to PWR’s list of female fighters! Nina’s a new face with a mean streak, though she failed to pick up the win against the Anime-zing Fighter Bolt in this fast-paced match. Keep an eye on them in the next couple of shows.
    • Alexander Belmonte III def. McKata. From speed, we go to power. This was two big guys going at it, with the financially stable Belmonte scoring the pinfall after a Money Down meant lights out for McKata. Good way for the Network’s big man to get back on track after a couple of recent setbacks. McKata is a favorite of mine to watch because he gets the crowd easily pumped up, so let’s hope he gets something going soon.
    • Main Maxx announced that he would need to take some time off. Following a disastrous end to his PWR Championship match at PWR Live: Mainit, the big guy announced that he'll be taking up to a year off to recuperate. It’s a rather unfortunate situation, but best of luck to the Silent Rage as he recovers. This wasn’t a goodbye, but a see you later.
    • Delirium (Dax Xaviera and Dan Ericson) def. Trian Dela Torre and Evan Carleaux. The Miniature Boy Dela Torre was the big (no pun intended) star of this match, getting the crowd warmed up with all his antics. He’s a rambunctious ball of energy whose small stature is actually an asset, and this is something I look forward to seeing more of. Trian Dela Torre reminds me of when Rederick Mahaba started out—he’s got a unique gimmick, and can get massive support easily. The match itself was alright, with Delirium finally getting something going their way. Carleaux, eauxn the eauxther hand, seems to be headed for a fight with the Little People’s Champion after things came to a blow after they lost.

    Other Notes:

    • Missing since the days of PWR shows at iAcademy, the video screen makes its long-awaited return! This is a great thing to have, especially now that PWR’s video game has leveled up. It allows for feud recaps, hype videos, and entrance videos to be shown. Not everyone can catch the videos online, so showing them right before the actual match is a great way for people to catch up on why said match is taking place. The result is that people can better appreciate what’s happening in the ring instead of just sitting there wondering who the fuck these guys are, or why they’re having a match in the first place. Whether it’s the Bayanihan Center or a new place for PWR, I hope they find a way to keep this feature.
    • A shout-out to PWR referee Matt Roxas, who seems to be rather unfortunate whenever Wrevolution X runs around. This time, Roxas was at the receiving end of both a Panzerschreck and a Killshot, letting the PWR Championship match get as chaotic as it could. Some of my Smark Henry colleagues think it’s fair play given that Roxas earlier refused to give in to the crowd’s request for a dive onto the wrestlers outside, though.
    • Similarly, credit goes to all those men in black—the PWR boys who ensured that the show went as smoothly as it could. Aside from taking the brunt of the wrestlers’ dives, these guys did the little things that make watching a PWR show all the more enjoyable. Despite the large amount of people (seriously, I’m pretty sure we were already a fire hazard), they marshaled late arrivals well, helping fans find a seat or two in an otherwise jampacked audience. Some even offered to help fans throw trash when there wasn’t a garbage can in sight, which is something that's well appreciated by everyone. Thanks, guys!

    Show Awards and Highlights:

    • Match of the Night: Jake De Leon vs. Billy Suede. This was just a great match from start to finish, and there’s no doubt that this was Wrevolution X’s finest. You know how we here at Smark Henry have our annual 31 Days of Wrestling, showcasing the year’s finest wrestling, every December? Small spoiler: this just made the list.
    • Spot of the Night: Ken Warren, Bombay Suarez and the Great Balls of Fire. Honorable mention goes to Apocalypse biting his way out of a Jaccolade. Actually, Sunday wasn’t really a good day for men’s genitals, was it?
    • Chant of the Night: Martivo’s stomps leading the Revo-nation to sing Queen’s We Will Rock You. Everyone loves singing that song. The “PLEASE DON’T SUE US!” aimed at a certain Mr. Ollores also gets points.
    • Entrance of the Night: John Sebastian, easily. What’s a lord and savior without his followers? I actually thought they were handing out money, but it turns out it was just a flyer inviting people to join their church. The whole Holy Diver thing was great, anyway, so I’m considering joining this cult.

    I just wish this had a number you can call to join.

    Overall, Wrevolution X lived up to the tag of PWR’s biggest show. This was overall a solid card, punctuated with a couple of wonderful matches that’ll stand out when we look back on it all. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of Filipino wrestling, for sure, and we can’t wait to see how PWR moves forward for the rest of the year. Score: B+.

    What did you think of this year's Wrevolution X? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

    Photos courtesy of "Husky" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: PWR Wrevolution X 2017—The Official Smark Henry Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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