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    Friday, July 21, 2017

    The Six Biggest Questions Of Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan

    What's juicy, mga ka-smarkada? The Philippine Wrestling Revolution just keeps swingin', and the Revo-Nation is positively frothy over this Sunday's Bakbakan sa Bayanihan, where new sagas will be written, old grudges will come to a resolution, and championships will be bouncing left and right.

    With all the suspense that the Philippines' premier pro wrestling organization has been cooking up, we're pretty sure you're stiff with anticipation. Here's our expert look at the biggest questions that have been bugging us since the card was announced.

    1. Who will fill the PHX Championship vacuum?

    With "The Golden Boy" Chino Guinto possibly sidelined for the rest of 2017 with a complete ACL tear, the PHX Championship is suddenly up in limbo. Fortunately, there are quite a few competitors who can't wait to hear how PWR General Manager Mr. Sy is going to resolve the situation.

    "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon put up a hell of a fight against Guinto at PWR's #UnFathersDay show, and was one pecho away from becoming the first man in history to become both PWR and PHX Champion, while also winning the Path of Gold. De Leon knows that winning the iconic white-and-gold strap will cement his legacy as the greatest champion in the local scene. It's no secret that Mr. Sy has a soft spot for the amiable Bacolod-bred grappler; could a PHX Championship shot be in the works?

    Once upon a time, Ken Warren was red-hot as the first PHX Champion in history. But ever since dropping the belt in early 2016, the loud-mouthed Human Trending Topic has been blowing hot-and-cold in his PWR career, even completely vanishing from the company for a few months while completing his academic load at university. Warren is a big game player, who goes nuclear when the stakes are highest. With the PWR Tag Team Champions The YOLO Twins backing him up, could a second PHX Championship reign be in the offing?

    James "Idol" Martinez fancies himself the "Top of the Pyramid" for the multi-level marketing masters known as The Network, but there's no denying that he was a second banana in the eyes of fans when his supposed top downline Guinto ruled the roost as PHX Champion. We know how fond the flamboyant Martinez is of shiny things, and with Guinto out of the way, he could find double inspiration in ensuring the PHX Championship stays within the grasp of Gang Green.

    And let's not forget about SANDATA. The fiery Pinoy Tecnico has been on a slow burn to the top of PWR's ranks, earning a PHX Championship shot against then-champ Main Maxx and a #1 Contendership match against "Beautiful" Billy Suede at last month's Renaissance. Long-time fans of PWR know the legendary battles SANDATA and Guinto have waged against each other; who could be a better proxy for the fallen Golden Boy than his archrival himself?

    Finally, never count out Ralph Imabayashi. In-the-know fans consider the PHX Championship the "workhorse" championship of the company; why can't the self-professed "Best Pure Wrestler in PWR" get the shot he so strongly believes he deserves?

    With a contenders' bench stacked this deep, the only thing we know for sure is that as far as the PHX Championship is concerned, things will always be cray. Who cares if Idol, JDL, and Imabayashi are already booked for other matches on the card? Ain't nobody says no when some proper gold is at stake.

    Prediction: Mr. Sy announces a Triple Threat between some combination of the five men listed above—and Ralph Imabayashi finally gets his due.

    2. Can lightning strike twice for Billy Suede?

    Say what you want about the Fil-Canadian Billy Suede, but he's a straight baller who can back up his arrogance and bluster with perhaps the most polished in-ring game in Southeast Asia. Some people even say it's just a matter of time until he climbs to the top of the mountain of PWR.

    And let's be honest—if it wasn't for Mr. Sy's sharp-eyed ministrations of the fireworks at #UnFathersDay, Suede would be walking around as PWR Champion today. You might call his rope-assisted three-count over Chris Panzer cheap, but the fact of the matter is that's the game you play when you step into the squared circle.

    Panzer won't make any excuses. He knows that Suede is legitimately the biggest threat to his reign as PWR Champion, but that makes him extra cautious. Panzer is enjoying the limelight too much after his miserable run as "the biggest choke artist in PWR," and isn't about to spin out so soon.

    The Leader of the Panzer Army is the complete package, presenting a solid blend of high-flying aerial antics, a muay thai-inspired striking game, and some dogged physicality that allows him to mix it up with the most fearsome monsters in the game. The problem is, you can say the same about Billy Suede—and then some. From his soaring moonsaults to his helter-skelter rebound enzuigiri and his dreaded Canadian Maple Leaf and Asai DDT finishers, he is pure danger to anyone. Panzer might be armed with his Panzerschreck bicycle kick and Eagle Splash, but the cerebral Suede isn't likely to fall to those weapons once more.

    What better way to kick off Year Four of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution than with a shock title change? After all, as GLOW's Sam Sylvia said, the money is in the chase.

    Prediction: It's gonna be a beautiful day for Billy Suede as he finally claims the PWR Championship for the first time.

    3. Can the rest of The Network strike gold?

    Slowly but surely, the tandem of James "Idol" Martinez and Alexander Belmonte III has been chipping away at the confidence and swagger of PWR Tag Team Champions The YOLO Twins Yohann & Logan Ollores, and with an official title shot finally secured, expect The Network to go all out in making sure that gold stays within their stable's grasp.

    Nobody is gonna deny that the Ollores twins are the absolute best the current Filipino tag scene has got; name a local tag team, they've probably beaten them.  We just have to wonder that after a couple of months of riding Ken Warren's coattails and counting on him to bail them out of trouble, could the two annoying millennials have gotten soft?

    Martinez and Belmonte have all the motivation in the world to win; at the very least, they'd like to keep the morale of their Downline Nation up after Chino Guinto's unfortunate injury.

    Prediction: The Network strikes gold, giving the two teams a reason to keep battling until Guinto and Warren are finally able to resolve their own issues.

    4. Sino ang totoong matibay?

    The animosity between JDL and Ralph Imabayashi, a heated encounter that's been brewing steadily for more than a year, will come to a head with PWR's first ever Matira Matibay Match, where the only way to win is via not responding to a 10 count or referee stoppage. This is a prime time for both opponents to make use of their new-found maneuvers, namely JDL's Inasal Lock and Ralph's Senketsu.

    While the bout will be contested on even field due to Mr. Sy suspending Imabayashi's MTNH kumpadre, Rederick Mahaba, it will nonetheless end up as one of PWR's most brutal wars.

    Both are masterful ring generals whose cerebral approach to the game is exceeded only by their all-around skills and hunger. We'll be the first to say we don't actually care who wins, we just want to see them put each other through hell one more time.

    Prediction: De Leon wins to square his 2017 win-loss record against his former close friend at 1-1.

    5. Can Trian Dela Torre pull off a hat trick against The Apocalypse?

    The Inch for Inch Best In the World has done something no other wrestler in the PWR has ever done before: he made The Apocalypse seem small.

    As owner of back-to-back victories against the masked demon, Trian Dela Torre needs one more for a hat trick against The Apocalypse. Some may argue that those may not have been the cleanest of wins, but when facing someone that imposing, it's no small feat.

    However, the looming match may prove too much as the battleground is skewed heavily in favor of his opponent. The Apocalypse will take on Trian Dela Torre in an All Out War match—a tall order for someone who's only been active in the ring for half a year. Only once has the Pinoy Nightmare failed to emerge victorious from his specialty match type. Skeptics feel this may be the last we'll see of Dela Torre, soon to be three feet under the ground.

    Predictions: Trian Dela Torre will use GrabCamus for one last ride (f*** you, LTFRB) before they share the same gruesome fate at the hands of The Apocalypse.

    6. Is the Royal Flush revival for real?

    Admit it; you got a boner seeing John Sebastian and Peter Versoza pulling off a mini-reunion of the legendary Royal Flush to take on the smashmouth pioneers of the PWR tag team scene, Miguel Rosales and Joey Bax of Fighters 4 Hire.

    As much as we love Tito Joey and Kuya Migs, they've never matched up against as much firepower as Sebastian and Versoza have. Their opponents are former singles champions who know how to perform when the stakes are at their highest. For all the history that F4H has made in their epic gang wars with the likes of the now-defunct Deadly Sinns and the sorely-missed Dual Shock, they've rarely had the chance to face off with the company's top shelf talent.

    It's a classic question of whether a good tag team can overcome a pairing of two singles stars, but frankly, we're not digging F4H's chances. Sebastian has been out of control ever since he lost his prized PWR Championship a few months back, while Versoza has a huge chip on his shoulder from never truly getting the PHX Championship reign he felt he deserved.

    Those two things should be enough to propel the cocky duo to walk away from this one with their arms raised in victory. But will that be enough to show the Royal Flush is truly back in business, or is this just a one-night-stand?

    Prediction: The Flush alumni outlast F4H in a brutal war for the ages.


    What match are you most looking forward to, Revo-Nation? How do you think Mr. Sy is going to resolve the PHX Championship conundrum? And do you think Billy Suede is gonna have a beautiful time against Chris Panzer? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll see you at the show!


    PWR Live: Bakbakan sa Bayanihan is happening on Sunday, July 23, at the Unilab Bayanihan Center on Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong. Gates open at 2 PM. Tickets will be sold at the gate for P400, but you can avail of special pre-selling prices by messaging the Philippine Wrestling Revolution directly on their official Facebook page.

    Photos are by "Mrs. Ruthless" Jacky Rosales.
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