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    Tuesday, February 6, 2018

    From Kingdom Come To Holding Hands: A Between-Show PWR Pitstop

    Here we are, right smack between the events of last month's PWR Live: Kingdom Come and this one's Holding Hands While Wrestling, and if there's anything that's clear, it's this: We truly are in the darkest timeline of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution.

    Not only has Mr. Sy been fired a second time from his job as PWR General Manager, the arrogant "Wrestling Lord & Savior" John Sebastian has truly made his machinations felt as the company's supreme authority figure. The devious, sadistic Ralph Imabayashi has captured the PWR Championship a second time. Longtime company pillar "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon has turned his back on the Revo-Nation. And #1 good guy Chris Panzer is out with an injury after getting tossed down a stairwell by Sebastian's minions.

    2018 is off to a tough start, but at the very least, we got tons of good wrestling to kick off the fifth calendar year of Filipino pro wrestling's modern age.

    But before anything, let's take a look at the company's sweet, sweet new OBB for Holding Hands While Wrestling. It's the only thing making us feel good right now tbh.

    And how the show itself? Let's get down with our full review, and how it sets up HHWW.

    Ranking the Segments: The Calbee Honey Butter Scale

    Have we mentioned that following last year's sponsorship by Yellow Cab Pizza Co., PWR has just scooped up its second corporate backer with the entry of Jack n' Jill Calbee Honey Butter?

    If you haven't tried these, do your body a favor and scoop up a bag at a 7-Eleven near you. They're legitimately great. And since they're made with butter, we'll imagine these bad boys are full of calcium for strong teeth and bones.

    (We're writing about a fake sport, so don't knock us for our fake nutrifacts.)

    So for this official show review, we'll be ranking the segments on a scale of our favorite chips from Jack n' Jill!

    But before anything, we've got to talk about the opening Mahabang Usapan segment featuring the entire Team Sebastian, who was victorious at last year's Vendetta, thereby laying the groundwork for 2018's opening salvo.

    Each man made his agenda against his opponent that night clear. Sebastian would outline the stakes by formally launching Oplan: Sagip Wrestling—a brilliantly-named initiative to cleanse PWR of all its undesirables, starting with the rugged Miguel Rosales, who had embarrassed him at the last show, and would be facing him in mano-a-mano action later on. Peter Versoza would state his bad intentions towards the flamboyant Martivo. Jake De Leon would emphasize the disrespect he holds towards the dashing Brad Cruz.

    But really, the most tangible thing of importance that happened in this lengthy segment was the one act that sent the Revo-Nation in a tizzy and established the impossible odds Chris Panzer would have to surmount in the main event if we wanted to walk out of the Power Mac Center Spotlight as Kampeon ng Pilipinas: Ralph Imabayashi getting down on one knee and proposing to HIS PARTNER Rederick Mahaba to be the special guest referee for the match.

    This was a fun moment that had a sense of true kilig flooding the audience. John Sebastian, through the power vested in him by, um, himself, made it official, and the doomsday clock counting down Panzer's championship run was on.

    Tier 1: Calbee Honey Butter

    Ang Pagbibinata ni Ralph Imabayashi

    Ralph Imabayashi likes to call himself "the best pure wrestler in PWR," and after his performance against Chris Panzer to regain the coveted PWR Championship, it's hard to argue against this claim. Forget the nervous young underdog who narrowly ousted "Classical" Bryan Leo over two years ago, this was Imabayashi as a confident, composed contender-turned-king who can truly carry the company on his back in this new year.

    Sure, you might argue that his victory was a tainted one, especially with special referee Rederick Mahaba playing out a very biased role—either counting ridiculously fast counts in favor of Ralph, or painfully slow ones for Panzer—but those were the rules of the game. Does it actually help Imabayashi's "best pure wrestler" claim? Not really, but that's what heels do. The irony is what they're after.

    Panzer brought his working boots (not to mention some fancy hundred-dollar new tights) to the show, flaunting the skills that made him two-time titleholder in the company. There was his 180-degree about-face Eagle Splash off the top that nearly scored a three-count, and more kicks than a Nike Outlet Store. There was the courage and resilience he displayed in kicking out of a draping hangman's Sonic Crusher—the same move that Imabayashi used to defeat Jake De Leon a few months back.

    But on this night, Imabayashi was unstoppable. His patented jumping Senketsu after a couple of thrilling near-falls involving a belt shot as well as an inside cradle off of another Eagle Splash was enough to put Panzer's lights out once and for all, allowing the Fil-Jap sensation to become the fourth two-time PWR Champion in history.

    But let's not forget the flavour Rederick Mahaba added to this match. The big man was quite possibly the MVP of this match, driving the narrative along with his over-the-top antics as the biased referee motivated by his undying love and loyalty for HIS PARTNER (sigh) throughout the match.

    Whether it was "mistakenly" missing a potential match-ending pinfall by Panzer after getting distracted by his nails, counting out extra decimal seconds to allow the Fil-Japanese star more time on illegal rope non-breaks, or even eating a Panzerschreck by a frustrated Panzer that marked the beginning of the end, PWR's ultimate intimate warrior was the garnish on what was already a damn fine match.

    Ralph Imabayashi may be champ today, but when we look back on this match a year from now, it will likely still be Mahaba's deeds we'll most remember.

    No shame to Panzer in his failed title retention; the match probably din even more to amplify his trademark Detroit-honed grit and courage against absolutely insurmountable odds. He got to show off the crowd-pleasing striking game that makes him one of the country's top performers. We have no doubt he'll be back rested, refreshed, and even more focused in PWR's inevitable counter to John Sebastian's nefarious reign.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    Let's be honest; nobody expected Sebastian's Oplan: Sagip Wrestling masterplan to be even the slightest bit fair. True justice and comeuppance is meant to be the resolution of the storyline, not the day-to-day reality. The whole point of this whole oppression is to open up the next wave of heroes for PWR's new blood, what with JDL now turned to the dark side, Panzer out with an injury, and the old guard like Bombay Suarez nowhere to be found.

    We can't even say we miss the presence of Mr. Sy, who was always written as the uptight, prissy nerd who always had everyone toe the line! If anything, Imabayashi's reign is designed to be the creative magnifier to demonstrate the magnitude of the Sebastian Era, especially with the MTNH tag team lined up for a live sex celebration Championship Celebration of Love & Respect this Sunday.

    Nevertheless, mad props to Imabayashi for his return to the mountaintop. He's stomached the coldest of cold streaks, seen a painful tumble to the mid-card, and seen his attempts to become PHX Champion fall flat. If there's anyone who's earned this run, it's him.

    Look out, everyone. The batang kuweba boy is now a man.

    Winner AND NEW PWR Champion: Ralph Imabayashi via pinfall

    Tier 2: Piattos

    The Network Hangs On, The #FirstSquad Could Be Splintering

    The YOLO Twins were seething after getting passed over on their stipulated two-on-two PWR Tag Team Championship rematch against the boys in green, and came out gunning on all cylinders to reclaim their status as the best duo in the game today. After the glory of beating The Regime from the London Lucha League to close 2017, they were out for gold.

    Too bad The Network—thanks to the masterful gameplan laid out by James "Lodi" Martinez—had all the contingencies in place to extend their run for another month.

    After squeezing out an easy win in the first fall by luring Martinez into a Two Night Stand, and giving away the second fall on a nonchalant DQ, Yohann & Logan Ollores had Alexander Belmonte III in their sights almost exclusively for the third fall. They targeted the big man's lower extremities to take away his vertical base and power advantage in the deciding stretch. And it nearly worked for them too; AB3 may be the best big man in PWR today, unimpressive physique notwithstanding, but he's nothing if he can't stay on his feet long enough to dominate with such awesome moves as his Money Down wheelbarrow facebuster.

    The ending was typical Network comedy, with Lodi using the Glidol air freshener he'd brought to ringside for their entrance to spray Yohann in the eyes, blinding and disorienting him enough to mistakenly lift his own partner Logan into a Two Night Stand finished off by Martinez for the win.

    Wrestling purists may cry foul over the ending, but it worked wonderfully. The entire crowd was electric for the match finish, drawing perhaps the biggest pop of the night from the Revo-Nation, adding even more credibility to Belmonte and Martinez as legitimate grapplers using Guerrero-esque thinking to hold on to the belts month after month, even as the tag team undercard gets even more saturated beneath them.

    Also, we're pretty sure Power Mac Center Spotlight has never smelled so good. Get us some of that Glidol, stat.

    With the twins decisively ousted from the top contender spot, we can't wait to see the outcome of the ongoing mini-tournament to determine the next set of challengers. After all, the Network has now dispatched the Ollores brothers, the KakaiBros, and Trian Dela Torre & Evan Carleaux; it's about time someone else stepped up.

    Meanwhile, a newly-cornrowed Ken Warren made his glorious return to a PWR ring for the first time since suffering a nasty legitimate concussion at last year's PWRxAPCC show, and it was quite a sight to see. The manic energy that surged through the Power Mac Center Spotlight when the familiar modem drop of Warren's theme hit to answer Mike Madrigal's PHX Open Challenge (non-title, natch) was the real deal. You'd be forgiven for thinking the dude was one of the company's bigger faces rather than one of its smarmiest, cockiest heels.

    But of course, "King Kups" Mike Madrigal wasn't about to give the inaugural PHX Champion a warm, fuzzy welcome back to a PWR ring. The Social Media Sinister was impressive in his first match in months, popping off beautiful soaring dropkicks and nearly cementing the comeback win after lining a woozy Madrigal up for his patented Wi-Fi superkick to the back of the head, until collapsing with what could be symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, and ultimately falling to a dirty rope-assisted pin from the PHX kingpin.

    Madrigal couldn't resist the opportunity to add to his reputation as the biggest jerk in local wrestling. He wound up the groggy Warren for a surfboard Curb Stomp, knocking him even loopier and getting the crowd—who had been sympathetic to Warren all night—even more riled up. Madrigal is truly fantastic as the foul-mouthed, trash-talking heel, and we'll never get tired of seeing him in the ring.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    Obvious matters out of the way: So thoroughly has The Network dispatched of just about every tandem in the tag team scene, they'll be stuck treading water at Holding Hands While Wrestling against the make-shift tag team of McKata and Brad Cruz—two men who have practically zero history with each other, not to mention very little in the way of main roster success.

    Cruz was a complete flop against JDL at Kingdom Come, while McKata brought nothing to the table against The Apocalypse. Of course, we'll trust Martinez and Belmonte to find some way to make this match entertaining, but we'll be honest: in terms of meaningful impact, we're just not feeling it.

    What's most interesting is seeing where the arc between the YOLO Twins and Ken Warren goes. Warren's return was one of the most magical moments of the show, but the entitled Yohann & Logan were incensed that he was nowhere around for this PWR Tag Team Championship match that, to them, mattered more than a PHX reclamation for the Social Media Sinister. Harsh words were exchanged, and we could finally be seeing some friction form within the millennial stable.

    Wow. There are some things you don't come back from, and this explosion of raw anger and testosterone fueled by some spot-on truth bombs could be one of them.

    Warren and the YOLO Twins may be going through the motions of reconciliation (helped a little bit by some prodding from the PWR board) to go up against the unexpected trio of Madrigal, The Apocalypse, and reigning All Out War Champion Vlad Sinnsyk, but we don't expect this chemistry to survive what should be a hellacious match.

    The relationship between the company's young brats has flourished throughout moments of shared success, but now that the tables are turned and their once-promising moonshot trajectory seems to have taken a turn for the worse, we strongly doubt the egos will be able to stay in place and keep the teamwork alive.

    Holding Hands While Wrestling may be a show devoted to love, but our money is on this six-man tag match to be ground zero for a thunderous break-up.

    One last word; there are few ways better for bad guys to be bad guys than to be taking advantage of injuries to their opponents, and Madrigal playing on Warren's real-life concussion was all part and parcel of the wrestling game. But in a world dominated by heightened concussion awareness, it was a legitimately uncomfortable sequence to see. A significant portion of audience members didn't seem to know how to process what was going on in this semi-blurring of the fourth wall, and we hope to see less of these concussion-driven storylines in the future.

    Concussions are something PWR writing has played with four times in the past three-and-a-half-years, and they've either fallen flat (see: Mayhem Brannigan-Robin Sane at Renaissance 2014), or been brushed off as flippantly as a tweaked knee, as in the cases of both Jake De Leon and Miguel Rosales. Less of this in the future, please.

    Winners: The Network via 2-1 decision after Two Night Stand, Mike Madrigal via pinfall after roll-up

    The Miguel Rosales Uprising Continues

    In case we haven't said this enough before, let us say it again here: Miguel Rosales is the best damn secret weapon in the whole roster. Not only was he the true star of the Fighters 4 Hire tag team (with all apologies to the still-suspended Joey Bax), he was one of the wrestlers that most impressed WWE officials during last year's scouting tour. PWR's Punisher never fails to light up the crowd with his intensity and tenacity. 

    And finally, it looks like his days as an under-the-radar star are truly over. You can count on one hand the number of wrestlers who have cleanly pinned former PWR Champion John Sebastian. Now, not only has Rosales accomplished the rare feat, he's done it in back-to-back shows with both of his finishers—the Bastusan Na Jackhammer, and the Castigo Brutal.

    And it wasn't as if he walked into this match with everything laid out fair and square! For those of you with short memories, allow us to lay out everything he had to fight against in this match:

    1. Sebastian had a "No Holds Barred" stipulation going for him, while if Rosales got disqualified, he'd be fired from PWR
    2. Sebastian stole Camus' soul had PWR's entire stable of Young Boys lay a vicious beatdown on Rosales halfway through the match
    3. Sebastian used a fistful of powder to blind Rosales entering the match's home stretch

    Forget the chants of "Super Panzer" that serenaded Chris Panzer throughout his main event match detailed above, Rosales was the true superman in overcoming all that. His sublime ring awareness allowed him to sense Sebastian rushing him with a potentially match-ending Killshot, snatch him up in the air, and pulverize him senseless with his F5 variant to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.

    Now that's how you make a star. If only he'd actually get the chance to kick back and enjoy his success...

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    Not since Chino Guinto got his skyrocket run to the PHX Championship have we seen a talent elevated this high, this fast. If Rosales doesn't find himself a singles titleholder within 2018, we're finding a pair of used, sweaty Kanto Terror trunks and eating them straight up.

    Nobody expected Sebastian to be a gracious loser, and Rosales is scheduled to find out first-hand how pikon AMA WLAS can be. Sebastian is likely gifting himself with a cakewalk of a match against some random jobber for HHWW.

    Meanwhile, Rosales is getting shafted into no man's land in a two-on-one handicap match against MTNH in a match that's likely designed to be more of a punishment for Rosales after his repeated uprisings against Sebastian than a fair, balanced show of sportsmanship and competition.

    Lest you forget, Mahaba and Imabayashi have proven in the past how little they fear F4H in general, eliminating Joey Bax from last year's Ubusan ng Lahi with a bone-crunching Sonic Crusher-big splash combo, and nearly breaking Rosales' neck with Imabayashi's jumping Senketsu. It's not hard to visualize MTNH standing victorious.

    But don't expect Rosales to be cowed. The dude is truly fearless, owning one of the most daring highlight reels in company history, nearly single-handedly pulling out the win for Team Sy last year, and refusing to back down even against the might of PWR ownership today. His three-match stretch from Vendetta, Kingdom Come, and Holding Hands While Walking could very well define his career, and we have no doubt he'll pass with flying colors, win or lose.

    Sebastian's cupcake outing is probably deliberate to keep him fresh for potential intervention in the night's main event. He doesn't take humiliation lightly—let alone back-to-back ones—and should be gunning for comeuppance against the man who dared stand up against his brewing dictatorship.

    Winner: Miguel Rosales via pinfall after Castigo Brutal (F5)

    Tier 3: Nova

    Incoming: New #1 Contenders For The PWR Tag Team Championship

    And speaking of new blood challenging for The Network's tag gold, how do y'all feel about the oddball pairing of Zayden Trudeau and Bolt as possibly the next top contenders? The pro wrestling rookies could possibly have a title shot lined up after dispatching of the KakaiBros to make it to the mini-tournament's finals.

    Trudeau has been one of the biggest revelations of the past few months. Not only does he own a signature win against fellow Fil-Canadian (and, more importantly, former PWR Champion) Billy Suede, his Air Canada springboard dropkick is one of the most jaw-dropping moves in the country today. Not many wrestlers have athleticism on his level, which is why it doesn't surprise us at all that he's being showcased in this manner.

    It's unfortunate that he's being saddled with "The Anime-Zing Fighter" Bolt at this stage of his career. Not only does the pairing make little sense, the blue-haired grappler is possibly the only wrestler on the roster with even less charisma than Trudeau at this point.

    Trudeau has shown flashes of an all-around ring game, with some great technique and fundamentals to suggest a bright future in the company. Bolt, on the other hand, is one of the more raw talents to come out of PWR Bootcamp, throwing some soft, tentative strikes, and lacking the confidence and composure of his batchmates. Sure, he'll dazzle once in a while with scary moonsault attempts that go awry more often than not, but we have a feeling TDTxECX's social media barbs about Trudeau having to carry the dead weight of Bolt strike a bit closer to home than most people think.

    In all honesty, we're a bit disappointed that Mh4rckie and Kh3Ndrick of the KakaiBros had to swallow yet another bitter loss. The TriNoMa-based hypebeasts are a Smark Henry favorite due to their 100% embracing of their gimmick, with some awesome chemistry to boot. Skills-wise, they're marginally ahead of either Trudeau or Bolt, and we're not just saying that because of the wicked flying armbar Mh4rckie threw out like it was nothing. They're hustlers, and we wouldn't mind them taking the PWR Tag Team Championships for a stroll some time in the near future.

    SANDATA and Dax Xaviera fell more easily to TDTxECX than we expected they would, and that's a shame. Dela Torre and Carleaux are certainly magnetic outside the ring, but very raw otherwise—especially Dela Torre, who's perhaps the most unathletic guy in PWR right now. Frankly, we'd have preferred to see #TeamSANDax make it to the finals, where they'd have put on some serious pyrotechnics against Trudeau and Bolt. Tell us you wouldn't be interested in seeing SANDATA and The Canadian Dragon, at least, trade high-wire moves, huracanranas, and springboard maneuvers for a good 15 minutes.

    But in the meantime, we're stuck with another round of the Trianverse, so we'll have to live with it.

    Frankly, we're baffled at how SANDATA and Xaviera can swing over the course of two shows; one minute, they're battling it out in a main event to defend the honor of PWR, the next, they're crashing and burning against a pair of talents they could easily outwrestle 9 times out of 10.

    But in any case, the tag team finals are what they are, and from where we stand, the winners look too close to call.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    We'll make one thing clear: We're (begrudgingly) rooting like hell for Trudeau and Bolt to become #1 contenders against The Network. TDTxECX have had their chances, and we're starting to feel like their act is starting to grate. At least their foes have a potentially intriguing storyline awaiting them should they win: the trope of Wacky Tag Team Partners Who Don't Get Along, given their history of slugging it out against each other to become PHX Champion, only to find themselves as unlikely co-tag champs. That could be the key to finding some hint of charisma in both men, while allowing the hyper-saturation of TDTxECX to die down a bit.

    Xaviera has been written out with a storyline injury thanks to the post-match attack by Jake De Leon, but that, thankfully, gives us the one true silver lining in all this: for the first time ever, a singles confrontation between The Senyorito and the masked Pinoy Tecnico SANDATA.

    This is one of those proverbial matches where, knock on wood, nothing can go wrong.

    De Leon is truly God's gift to the young local scene as an impossibly-polished all-world talent who's not only gotten to wrestle internationally, but is also solidly recognized by fans as both the foundation of PWR and the true Mr. Philippine Wrestling. He was the face of the company in their maiden brand collaboration for a reason.

    SANDATA is certainly a worthy opponent. While he may not have the championship pedigree De Leon has, he's widely-acknowledged as one of the best-conditioned athletes in the company with the bravado to pull off such moves as his thrilling top-rope Pagbasag super huracanrana and various springboard assaults.

    He's also one angry brother. The same post-match assault that saw Xaviera knocked out of action for up to two months also left the proud Tagalog warrior battered and bloodied, and he's furious for justice.

    If you haven't caught JDL's impassioned rant explaining why he did why he did, then please spare a couple of minutes to catch up. It simultaneously explains why he turned his back on the fans who had supported him for over three years, while bringing to light the frustration he feels at the rest of the roster for failing to live up to their potential and get to his level.

    Now that's passion.

    This could low-key be the best match at Holding Hands While Wrestling. Hold on to your seats, Revo-Nation.

    Don't sleep on the KakaiBros match against La Conseja de Trabajadores though. The ongoing saga about the efforts of Quatro to escape from the shadow (SHADOW!) of the Secret Council has been one of our guilty pleasures in PWR booking. With Trabajador Maximo by his side—the greatest of all Trabajadores, take note!—this should be an entertaining pre-show opener that will have the crowd fully locked and loaded for some good ol' sports entertainment.

    Winners: TDTxECX via pinfall and Trudeau & Bolt via pinfall to advance to the PWR Tag Team Championship #1 Contender Finals

    Tier 4: Chippy

    The Senyorito Exposes Brad Cruz

    We're pretty embarrassed about ranking a JDL match this low after hyping him up the way we did in the previous section, but what can you do in a match as non-descript as his encounter with the Chris Panzer lookalike Brad Cruz?

    There truly wasn't much to talk about here, except for the simple brilliance of the ending: De Leon using his ring savvy to snatch the meaty Cruz out of the air as he was going for a running senton and forcing a quick tap-out to the fabled Inasal Lock.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    Nowhere, really. The match was nothing more than cheap filler to allow the Revo-Nation to bask in the greatness of JDL, while also giving the Senyorito more opportunities to flesh out his heel character. Even as the crowd implored "Wag sa mukha!" to prevent De Leon from battering Cruz's chiseled visage, he refused, shouting "Lahat sa mukha!" as he unleashed a stiff barrage of punches right in the Manila Bae's moneymaker.

    Heel JDL is the best JDL. It's wonderful to see him truly own this new facet of himself, and we can't wait to see what greater role he plays in the overall Oplan: Sagip Wrestling narrative.

    Winner: JDL via submission to the Inasal Lock

    Darkness Falls On McKata

    When it comes to McKata, Vintendo said it best: TIME!

    The street rapper's botched freestyle couldn't even get under The Apocalypse's skin, with the former All Out War Champion dispatching him in a sub-five-minute squash match that saw the re-introduction of his old finisher, the Death Bell.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    Once again, nowhere. McKata has been absolutely directionless since arriving in PWR. The Apocalypse couldn't even be assed to show off his new Six Feet Under top-rope stomp against him.

    Winner: The Apocalypse via pinfall after one Death Bell

    The Man-Doll Gets His World Flattened

    With his scheduled duel against avowed flat-earther Peter Versoza, Martivo had a massive opportunity to stand up for the lifestyle and life choices he champions. It's too bad he didn't get to show off much against the former PHX Champion, who once again didn't have to stretch himself much against the flamboyant "Man-Doll."

    PWR likes to trumpet Martivo as one of the finest technical wrestlers on its bench, but he didn't get to flaunt his skills all that much. For someone who once very vocally once proclaimed that he did not want to pander to stereotypical Filipino gay stereotypes, he seems to rely an awful lot on moves that do. His trademark grind to escape from a rear waistlock or his corner Twerkface may get massive crowd reactions, but we're thirsting to see him unleash his fullest skills.

    Versoza matches tend to be hit-or-miss, but this was thankfully one match that saw him bring it. Save for a scary slingshot suplex that caused Martivo to land square on his head, and a botched Harlem Hangover that (a) landed on the Man-Doll's hip, and (b) looked like it was supposed to be a 450, he wrestled a solid, efficient match. A word of warning though for the "Bulacan Babe Magnet": If you want to avoid soda getting tossed on you, please avoid shouting things like "Mga salot kayong mga bakla" when you're faced with LGBT members in the audience.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    To justice, of course.

    Versoza's crusade to spread his sexist, misogynistic ways has put him square in the sights of the Revo-Ranger, who hopes to once and for all shine the spotlight of decency on such an unsavory character. After languishing in the pre-show throughout much of his stint, a victory by the Ranger over a former PHX Champion will do wonders for his career.

    Be careful, Peter. Bilog ang mundo.

    Martivo, on the other hand, gets to lock horns with the continually-improving Vintendo, who looked great in a loss against Quatro in his previous outing. Never underestimate the value of pride in a fight. With both men coming off of tough losses, this match could be critical in setting the tone for what kind of 2018 will lay in store for them.

    Winner: Peter Versoza via Karne Norte pinfall

    Women Go To War

    We can't quite give proper marks for a match as short as the double-countout draw between Robynn and Crystal, PWR's sole female competitors who are looking to prove to fans everywhere that they're just as deserving of the spotlight on their own merits as the male members of the roster.

    Too bad this ended up being more of a storyline device than an actual match. Oh well.

    Our analysis: Where is this going?

    All. Out. War.

    The bad blood between these two ladies is for real, and the only way to settle it is with all rules getting thrown out the window in a record first for Pinoy wrestling.

    The bar's been set pretty high when it comes to the All Out War match type, so both women had better be ready to bring it. Robynn, of course, holds a 1-0 career advantage over Crystal after getting her to tap out to the Robynnhood Dragon Sleeper, so if there's someone with everything to gain by agreeing to such a match, it's Crystal. After months of traipsing around the Southeast Asian wrestling circuit with claims of being the Queen of Philippine Wrestling, she'd better be ready to earn her stripes with a solid 1-2-3.

    And as for Robynn? Her promo said everything that needed to be said.

    Mic. Dropped.

    No matter what happens, these ladies are writing history right here.

    Winner: Draw via double countout

    Conclusion: Solid But Uneven

    We hate to knock the efforts of everyone involved with the show, because nobody hustles harder than the boys and girls of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution. But apart from the top of the card that featured ridiculously awesome championship matches and the star-making performance of Miguel Rosales, the rest featured tons of fluff or abbreviated squashes—the price the company paid for booking as many matches on the main show as they did.

    If anything, it's tough to grade Kingdom Come as a standalone show; too much happened that will demand resolution from the upcoming Holding Hands While Wrestling, so we'll reserve judgment for now.

    Star of the Night

    After two years of pain, Ralph Imabayashi is back on top of PWR. Best in entrance theme, best in entrance gear, and now formally, officially, indisputably best in wrestling.

    #RespectProWrestling indeed.

    Honorable mention to Miguel Rosales for his dominant performance. We're all aboard the bandwagon. And admit it, it was pretty neat seeing him posing with the PWR Championship.

    Move of the Night

    We try not to rate pre-show stuff to avoid putting undue pressure on the raw talents still being honed on this part of the show, but it's impossible not to give credit to Quatro for the magnificent Destino he dished out on Vintendo. Seriously, what a move.

    And #SalamatVintendo for making Quatro look like a champ.

    NPC of the Night

    Rederick Mahaba, who was flawless in his role as special guest referee for the main event. We almost don't miss Senior Official Matt Roxas.



    What did you think of PWR Live: Kingdom Come, mga ka-smarkada? Is PWR telling the right story with the near-complete domination by John Sebastian and his minions over the rest of company, or are you looking for more balance? What are your thoughts on Ralph Imabayashi putting an end to Chris Panzer's PWR Championship reign? And who do you hope ends up as #1 contender for the tag belts?

    Let us know your thoughts, and we'll see you at PWR Live: Holding Hands While Wrestling!

    In the meantime, we'll leave you with some highlights from the show.


    PWR Live: Holding Hands While Wrestling is happening on Sunday, February 11, at Venue 142 Events Place at the L Building, 142 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City. Gates open at 2 PM. Tickets are extremely limited, so we recommend advance purchase or reservation directly through the Philippine Wrestling Revolution Facebook page.

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

    All photos by "Harmless" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: From Kingdom Come To Holding Hands: A Between-Show PWR Pitstop Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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