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    Saturday, March 10, 2018

    The Smark Henry Hip Toast: Hub Pacheco

    Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Smark Henry Hip Toast—our happy place where we interview various personalities in pro wrestling, shoot from the hip, and raise them a toast. We will be looking at the men behind the personas and giving you an intimate look at the wrestlers who are helping build this wonderful sport and turn it into something really special in this country.

    This time around, we'll be talking with someone who's done so much for the local wrestling scene through his outstanding photography, Mr. Hub Pacheco.


    It’s so amazing to see how much the local wrestling scene has grown since its early days. And what is so wonderful about the scene today is that for how great the pace of growth has been in the industry, there is always room for further improvements. This, of course, means passionate fans being able to find ways to make pro wrestling a better place for the country in their own way.

    Such is the case of a man who started out as a local pro wrestling fan and slowly became the definitive pro wrestling photographer in the eyes of many.

    For PWR fans, they saw greatness and emotion in every shot. For PWR stars, they hold his photography to such a high standard that his entire album after every show becomes the blow-by-blow chronological re-telling of the events that took place. Heck, for Smark Henry, his shots are the benchmark of what should be featured in a pro wrestling article.

    But for Hub Pacheco, his shots are not just part of his passion, but it's also part of his job.

    In most PWR shows, observers in the audience will always see him around the ring covering the action in the best possible angles available. While many enthusiastic wrestling fans are able to take pictures of the action, he ensures that he starts and ends the show with a collage of pictures worthy of display, and fans take notice of his utmost professionalism.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise as Hub himself would put it when he formally introduced himself to us.

    "I’m Hub, a commercial photographer by profession. I cover PWR shows and I shot their past wrestler profile photos."

    While his profession is in the realm of photography, his passion for professional wrestling is very much in his core. In fact, it played a huge role in his formative years.

    "I started watching during the mid-90's. I think the earliest WWF show I saw was Superstars in IBC 13 that featured Hogan, Warrior, and the other stars of that era. I then became a fan of Shawn Michaels when he broke up The Rockers. He was (and still is) so cool. I clearly remember cheering for him over Bret Hart during their Iron Man match back then. I marked out so much when he won."

    No matter how things change, some passions remain strong, such as his lifetime fandom of pro wrestling.

    As he slowly honed his craft in the art of photography, rumblings of a local wrestling promotion in the Philippines likewise became a reality years later. Prior to that, he would have his early crack in wrestling photography during the Joshi Jam show in 2014, with Filipino-Japanese wrestler Syuri in the main event.

    The promotion that started from humble beginnings, eventually known as Philippine Wrestling Revolution, would eventually host its first shows.

    As fate would have it, Hub would eventually get into the hype and saw an opportunity he could not slip by.

    "I watched PWR’s first few shows and saw that their marketing collaterals were not too impressive by my standards. Now that there’s a local wrestling promotion in Manila, I sure as hell want to be involved in some form. And being a lifelong pro-wrestling fan, I wanted to be involved and help out in what I’m good at—photography. After one of those first shows, I asked one of the young boys to introduce me to the person in charge and that’s how it all started. That’s basically how I met everybody."

    It wouldn’t be long before Hub became a part of PWR’s regular faces as his work can be seen through the photos he would post online, as well as one MWF show in his resume in later years. He would begin his work as an official local pro wrestling photographer at PWR Terminus 2014, and has not looked back since.

    Slowly but surely, he would impact the pro wrestling scene through the quality of his shots and the stories told per shot. The wrestlers themselves would soon take notice, and before long, Hub would secure his place as one of the guys and an institution in his own right. As time went on, he would have a lot of great memories with PWR, with one such story Hub told us:

    "There was one time during a match when Main Maxx grabbed my camera and used it during a spot outside the ring. He basically did what Jericho did first years before Y2J grabbed a photographer’s camera during his match at this year’s Wrestle Kingdom. That was fun."

    But of course, as much as he would become one of the trusted fellows, he will also come in first and foremost as a fan. In fact, he’ll only know of kayfabe developments in the PWR at the same time as the rest of the audience.

    "Everyone’s cool. They don’t tell me anything at all though. For all the spots and finishes, I’m just as surprised as the next guy watching the show. It keeps me on my toes I guess."

    Today, his work can also be seen throughout official PWR-related social media accounts, with the stars themselves sharing his images as a testament to his professional standards. It wouldn’t be a surprise, then, if other promotions are interested in hiring his services. Of course, Hub has to be realistic about his plans as well.

    "I would love to cover the other promotions besides PWR but I’m very practical. I’m not a young guy anymore and covering PWR is more than enough for me unless they book me formally. I am a professional photographer after all."

    With the scene prospering the way it is today, surely there are many people who are willing to help out in their own little way, just like how Hub took initiative to support a growing promotion like PWR a few years back. He has a hopeful message for those who want to take action for the betterment of the industry:

    "Keep your passion alive. The scene is still young and there’s little financial stability (as far as I assume) so it helps to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing."

    There are many ways to shape an industry, and Hub made his mark in the growing industry without even stepping inside a ring. That is living the dream, indeed.

    For more of his work, you can check out his online portfolio here.


    PWR Path of Gold 2018 is happening on Sunday, March 11, at the Power Mac Center Spotlight in Circuit Makati. The show starts at 2 PM. Tickets will be available at the gate for P400, but are extremely limited so we advise you to contact PWR directly via their official Facebook page for reservations and early-bird discounts.

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

    Photos by "Hub" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Hip Toast: Hub Pacheco Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lance Tan Ong
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