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    Wednesday, March 7, 2018

    MWF Spills The Beans On Their Behind-The-Scenes Drama And Dreams

    The Manila Wrestling Federation is gathering steam after its well-applauded 2018 relaunch—new ring, new management, new outlook—and now it looks like the blossoming promotion is trying to further deepen its fan ties with the launch of its new MWF Insider Blog website.

    It's a fascinating resource that pulls back the curtain on kayfabe to give fans a rare peek at all the drama and heartbreak that's gone on behind the scenes, thanks to the honest sharing by MWF Commissioner Mike Shannon and its Creative Director William Elvin.

    We won't spoil everything, but here are some of the most interesting things you can pick up from the site.

    Robin Sane was the first wrestler to reach out to spark the creation of the MWF after Shannon's falling-out with PWR.

    Long-time followers of the local scene know that Shannon was one of the originators of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution in its early stages, but was forced out due to backstage disagreements. In his words:

    My heart was broken by wrestling and for a long time, it was hard to watch a single wrestling match without remembering what had happened to me. Wrestling wasn’t just taken from me, the new guard that came in made sure that as long as there was wrestling in the Philippines, Mike Shannon wasn’t going to be part of it. 
    I left them with the clear intention that whatever happened to me, I was either going to start another promotion or find my way into another. I was not done. I made my case before a jury who had already decided my fate, and lucky for me, people listened. 
    Robin Sane was the first to call, and then came Tala. They were interested and so were their friends, a renegade lot of multitalented performers who wanted more than what they were given. It was really adorable, now that I think about it. We would meet every so often and court each other. We didn’t say anything just yet, but it was obvious that we wanted to end up together.

    The company was originally supposed to be called Hybrid Pro Wrestling, until PWR beat them to the use of the word 'Hybrid' with the creation of the Philippine Hybrid X Championship.

    Surprise! "Manila Wrestling Federation" wasn't even their first choice for a promotion name. Again, in Shannon's words:

    We entered 2015 with the makings of a promotion—well, barely a fraction of a promotion. We had four wrestlers, one referee, and a booker. It wasn’t much, but it was better than my action figures and it was an actual start! 
    With a diverse cast of bodies and personalities, we began to discuss the specifics of our future promotion. We were going to be colorful, hard-hitting, and imaginative. We were going to tell stories that reflected life in the Philippines in the biggest way possible. We were going to be family-friendly. And we were going to be better than everybody else. 
    We knew we had the power to do it and so, just as we were in the process of preparing for what would have been our teaser video, we were dealt with [a huge blow]: The creation of a secondary championship was announced by what was the only Filipino promotion at the time: The PHX Championship. The Hybrid Championship. 
    In a matter of weeks, we lost our name, our identity, and our home.

    Side note: Founding member Robin Sane also revealed an alternate name that never got used: Philippine Championship Wrestling.

    They were kicked out of Elorde Gym, who wanted more money from them for training. That's why they ended up in Ninja Academy as their home for training sessions—a facility that didn't even have a ring!

    It's hard to find a facility with a ring suitable for pro training wrestling—and even when you do, you aren't always sure they'll want you around.

    Our first official trainings happened at the Elorde Gym in Tandang Sora. It was a long way off for us, but hey, it had a ring with some suspension that could take a few bumps. It was all that we needed and within weeks, we were accompanied by old friends such as Rex Lawin, and newcomers to our little merry band such as Fabio Makisig and Gigz Stryker. 
    Elorde Tandang Sora didn’t want us anymore. Even though we had friends there who did what they could to keep us around, upper management wanted more than what we could afford to give. The message was clear anyway. 
    After losing Tandang Sora, Fabio Makisig offered us Ninja Academy: They didn’t have a ring, but they had everything we needed to fine-tune our skills. Week in and week out, our guys would spend hours on their mats and foam pits to fine-tune the safe execution of their moves. We would have never been able to cultivate our high-flying and intense style if it wasn’t for Ninja Academy.

    A MWF Championship is in the works—but it won't debut until the time is creatively right.

    Most pro wrestling fans have embraced championships as one of the most important storytelling devices in constructing the theater around this complex form of entertainment, and MWF is well aware of this. However, the company fully believes that such a device shouldn't be introduced unless there's truly a compelling narrative reason to do so.

    In Elvin's words:

    We are already in talks with the one who will design and make our championship belt(s), so it could happen anytime soon. However, like anything else in entertainment and fiction, I say the real issue here is when and how an MWF championship title should debut. 
    See, the thing we’re avoiding is having a championship title just for the sake of having one, or just because all federations are supposed to have one. Being old-school-minded wrestling bookers, we want to introduce a championship title when it is absolutely needed and absolutely essential to do so. The last thing we need is one more belt that doesn’t mean anything—and actually just muddles things up—in the Southeast Asian wrestling scene. 
    The introduction of a championship, just like anything else we plan to do, would require a little bit more patience and trust from you, beloved fans of our product. We promise that when we finally unveil that belt, we would do our best to make it special.

    The dream match they'd love to book in the Philippines would be between the two former WWE Cruiserweight Classic talents with roots in Southeast Asia.

    William Elvin says:

    The one match I really dream of booking here in the Philippines is a one-on-one match between Ho Ho Lun and fellow WWE Cruiserweight Classic participant Jason Lee, who is now working in Dragon Gate.  
    Not only was I fortunate enough to see that match live here in HK, just a week before the CWC debuted in the WWE Network, but I was also lucky to have been dangerously close to the action at ringside with a camera.


    And that's just some of the intriguing stuff they've revealed. 

    For more inside, from-the-heart scoops like these, just make sure to check out the MWF Insider Blog on the regular. It's rare to see a pro wrestling promotion open up its inner workings to fans this way, so make sure to check it out when you can, or toss over questions for them to address directly via their official Facebook community, MWF Insider Online.


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

    Photos courtesy of "Vicious" Vlad Gonzales and the Manila Wrestling Federation.
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