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    Sunday, February 25, 2018

    Here's What Went Down At The 2018 Relaunch of the Manila Wrestling Federation

    2017 may have been a feeling-out year for the fledgling Manila Wrestling Federation. But 2018 is going to be its hit-the-ground ascension to the next level with its aptly-named Year One relaunch, MWF Open House: Level UP, held on Sunday, February 25, at the UP Film Institute in the University of the Philippines—Diliman.

    We've got all the updates from our on-ground correspondents to let all of you know what's up!

    First major sign that the company means business: their own actual professional wrestling ring. Say goodbye to dodgy gigs in converted boxing training halls—MWF is finally free to take their show on the road to help saturate the country with their own take on sports entertainment!

    It's a monochromatic beauty revolving around MWF's secondary colorway of a black-to-white gradient. We love the white turnbuckles with grey ropes—it feels very evocative of a SmackDown! ring, and certainly looks very polished and professional.

    Two major things that differentiate this from the PWR wrestling ring most local fans may have become familiar with:

    1. The mat seems to be made of a heavy-duty PVC weave that's both visually slicker, and should be more efficient to clean by just wiping down. Anyone who's seen how grungy the PWR canvas has gotten over the past few months knows that we're talking about! Hygiene above all, guys.
    2. The ringposts themselves rise lower over the top turnbuckle than PWR's version, which gives a rough 2-foot rise to give top-rope artists an added support to steady themselves as they climb. MWF's version looks closer to what you'd see in a WWE-style wrestling ring in that regard.

    Opening Segment: National Anthem, New Management

    Mr. Lucha comes out to lead the crowd in rising for the national anthem. This was a nice idea we wish all wrestling promotions would do.

    Commissioner Mike Shannon followed in a Steve Jobs-inspired outfit to make some major announcements for the company.

    First up was the news that the company was now under new management, and its first 2018 show, MWF Kasaysayan, will be happening on Sunday, April 8, at The Elements at Centris, a posh event hall that can hold over 300 guests. Wow.

    The show will be headlined by a tag team match, with Robin Sane and a mystery partner going up against Mr. Lucha and a partner of his own choosing.

    Match #1: Frankie Thurteen vs. Ashura (with Kyle Sison)

    "The Grunge Grappler" Frankie Thurteen is finally finding his groove with a satisfying win over MWF's sole female grappler Ashura. A graceful fisherman's cradle buster was enough to earn the three-count, despite some attempted interference by Kyle Sison.

    Thurteen earned the right to meet "Danger" Rex Lawin at Kasaysayan

    Winner: Frankie Thurteen via pinfall

    Match #2: Rex Lawin (with Coach Gus Queens) vs. RG

    Coach Gus Queens came out garbed in gear from De La Salle University to troll the UP crowd. This prompted UP's own RG to come to the defense of his alma mater.

    Too bad things didn't work out for him. Lawin earned the dominant win after a vicious rear naked choke.

    Winner: Rex Lawin via submission

    MWF Kasaysayan Shapes Up

    Announcer Sonny Go is out now to run down the upcoming card for Kasaysayan.

    • Huge reveals for the main event mystery tag team partners. Former WWE talent Ho Ho Lun has signed up to be Robin Sane's partner—don't forget the classic encounter they had at last December's MWF Noche Buena—while Mr. Lucha will be teaming up with multiple-time Southeast Asian champion The Eurasian Dragon.
    • "Danger" Rex Lawin vs. "The Grunge Grappler" Frankie Thurteen
    • "The Howling Hunt" Hanzello Shilva vs. Ninja Ryujin
    • Ashura & Kyle Sison vs. Morgan Vaughn & Aldrin Richards
    • Brother Jomar vs. Fabio Makisig

    MWF's show commentary team is also revealed as Go, Tristan Creed, and Tarek El Tayech.

    Fabio Makisig comes out to interrupt the closing segment, proceeding to verbally abuse the whole roster, who was standing in the ring.

    This led to an impromptu battle royal taking place.

    Match #3: Battle Royal 

    Everyone gangs up to eliminate the smack-talking "Backstreet Bully" first. Seeya, Fabio.

    Notable highlights from the rest of the eliminations:

    • Makisig takes over the mic, until his Kasaysayan foe Brother Jomar is eliminated. Both men end up brawling at ringside.
    • Ashura gets eliminated by her own partner Kyle Sison. Things are not working out for these two, guys.
    • Aldrin Richards eliminates Morgan Vaughn, only for the lights to go out, and Vaughn—now in masked "Son of a Glitch" mode—to return and eliminate the "Bae City Bruiser" in retaliation.
    • Robin Sane wins the battle royal after eliminating Mr. Lucha to be recognized as recipient of MWF's first History Maker Award.

    Winner: Robin Sane

    As the show closes, MWF flashed the final stamp on 2018 as their relaunch: a brand new logo that embraces the rough-hewn, honest, indie character behind the promotion, while proudly nodding towards their Philippine heritage.

    What did you think about how the show went down, mga ka-paFED? Are you as excited about MWF's new ambitions and direction as we are? Let us know your thoughts, and we'll see you at MWF Kasaysayan on April 8!

    Photos by Michael "Borta" Bueza of Rappler.

    Disclosure: Smark Henry is independently run and managed by a group of local pro wrestling fans, but includes members affiliated with the Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
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