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    Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    PWR Live: Way of the Champion—The Official Smark Henry Review

    Hey yo! It’s your resident fashionista, The Migzbut we're not here for another #SGQ today, no sir. We're here for a full-on review. A review of the last PWR event, PWR Live: Way of the Champion which was held at the Power Mac Center in Circuit, Makati.

    Amidst the heavy rainfall and flooded streets, I raced along the streets of Makati to watch my very first PWR Live and boy, was I in for a treat as so many things happened during this afternoon.

    If you haven’t already seen the results or if you didn’t see the show last Sunday, then what you're about to read is my review and the low-down on PWR’s latest outing PWR Live: Way of the Champion.

    In keeping with tradition and following the footsteps of my predecessors, I’ve come up with a tier system befitting for the weather these past few days based on everybody’s brand new textmate and constant reminder machine, the NDRRMC and their weather report.

    Tier 1: Red (Emergency)

    Sound the alarm! As the texts would say, “Asahan ang matinding pagbaha at landslide. Maging alerto at handa.” You’re already wet and you’re already walking on water. These matches are red hot. Start screaming, shouting and panicking. They’re classics and they’ll leave a mark on you.

    Jake De Leon def. Chris Panzer to advance to the PWR Championship #1 Contender's Tournament finals

    Great idea to open the show with Mr. Philippine Wrestling himself. The match itself was main event caliber–which probably explains why there was no side story to this one. This was just two men wrestling their asses off to move forward into the tournament to determine the next number one contender for the PWR Championship. This worked to their advantage though, as everybody was focused on the wrestling part of the show.

    It was a great bout which had lots of false finishes and action packed moves from both competitors. We were legitimately scared that Panzer almost fell out of the ring during a JDL powerbomb but luckily, he bounced back inside the ring.

    In the end, Panzer’s heart was not enough as JDL was able to secure the pinfall after two consecutive Alipin Drops to clinch his spot in the finals.

    The Carleaux Show LIVE

    The first ever live Carleaux Sheaux did NOT disappoint. Nice! Nice!

    The #1 contenders to the PWR Tag Team Championship, Evan Carleaux and Trian Dela Torre, went to school on the tag teams they’ve beaten so far and it was a fun segment to give the show a little breather. It’s great seeing them be comfortable doing this live considering that their social media segments are a hit online.

    They brought out John Sebastian and Crystal for some banter. Sadly, they did NOT discuss the elephant in the room. What they did, though, was have a healthy exchange in preparation for their tag team title match at PWR Renaissance which lead to the other two naughty boys (Kapitan Tutan and GrabCamus) to have an impromptu tag team title match.

    Ken Warren (c) def. Rederick Mahaba to retain the Philippine Excellence Championship

    In a bout fueled by the need for some G*DD*MN RESPECT, Ken Warren knocked Rederick Mahaba into the next match (literally) to successfully defend the title and secure a victory via a barrage of finishing moves.

    I have to be honest when I say that I really didn’t expect much from the match but the two surprised me. I know that these two are masters of the mic, but I initially thought the wrestling styles would clash.

    Lo and behold, I had a great time watching both men tell their story as this feud reminded me so much of Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black. After the match, Warren finally acknowledged the respect that Mahaba yearned for (and deserved).

    Warren then set an open challenge for his championship at PWR Renaissance, which was swiftly answered by the Senyorito, Jake De Leon in a bout I'm sure we all wouldn't want to miss.

    Ralph Imabayashi (c) (w/ Rederick Mahaba) def. Koto Hiro (w/ Nina) to retain the PWR Championship

    So, where do I begin? This was the much anticipated match of the night because of the build. The hottest love triangle in Philippine wrestling was surely the main event of the night if there ever was even any doubt. You could just feel the tension between Ralph, Nina and Koto as the introductions went ahead.

    Rederick Mahaba is one of the best (if not the greatest) promo artists in PWR (and probably Philippine wrestling) right now. His promos of the night were fire. He also brought his act from the last match over to this one. It was fun, entertaining and it sold the previous match with Ken Warren better. He's like a Paul Heyman that can wrestle. Yes. I meant that.

    The match itself was a blockbuster. Full of spots, false finishes and edge of your seat moves, I especially loved the (almost) triple suicide dive to the outside as it highlighted Koto’s explosive style. Ralph, on the other hand, would not only rely just on his technical wrestling skills, but he also played the heel to perfection by using Nina as a distraction on every chance he could get.

    Towards the end of the match, Nina would eventually snap, after a failed foreign object run-in struggle with Rederick. They both accidentally hit Ralph with a baking pan and Nina beat the sh*t out of Mahaba to protect "her boyfriend" from the beatdown.

    After all was said and done, it was still not enough as Koto succumbed to Ralph’s submission to retain the title, with Imabayashi even stretching for an extra few seconds just to rub salt in the wound.

    Post-match, Ralph would go on to shake Koto's hand and praise him and even give best friend (sorry Red, you're only second best) Nina a hug and his blessing for the relationship. The reconciliation would be short-lived, however, as Ralph would get a cheap shot on Koto and return to his heel ways before closing the last match of the night.

    I do have to ask though, where will this loss take Koto? Will he really NOT be there for Renaissance? I hope he is. He was damn fun to watch and I think he'd bring a lot to the table.

    Tier 2: Orange (Heavy Rainfall)

    You know it's raining. It's coming down. It’s coming down and hard. The NDRMMC is texting you like crazy just to tell you to be warned. It’s just like these matches, almost breaking out to be hard and heavy hitters but not enough to make you vacate your seat for both fear and enjoyment. You’re anticipating the next spot and each and every move and you should be worried, the next one to hit might be an instant classic.

    Mike Madrigal and a mystery partner (McKata) def. The KakaiBros

    If you don't already know, the Kakaibros are waaaaay over. Mharckie's promo at the start had everybody cringing (in a good way) and giggling because of how over-the-top it was. I'm saying it now, the Bros are you local B-team, maybe even better. PWR, please don't give them their 2th win yet.

    The next to come out was Mike Madrigal. After berating the crowd and trolling The Kakaibros with a possible Robynn appearance, the freshly turned heel McKata (Was he ever a babyface?) revealed himself as Mike Madrigal’s partner.

    This was a battle of the kups as both teams couldn’t figure out who was more cringe-worthy. The Bros had control for the majority of the match but they just couldn’t get over the King Kupal’s dominance.

    In the end, Madrigal got the pin to score the victory and left a wake of unconscious bodies.

    The winning pair ending up beating on the Bros but Brad Cruz tried to make the save. Tried is the word, as he also ended up beaten down on the mat. Madrigal started to celebrate but not before adding McKata to the pile and hitting his finisher—proving once again that he works with no one and is, in fact, a true kupal in every sense of the word.

    Main Maxx (w/ Mr. Sy) def. Jake De Leon to become the #1 Contender for the PWR Championship

    John Sebastian came out after the Main Maxx vs. Apocalpyse match to announce that the finals would happen at that very moment. A visibly tired Maxx soldiered on and proceeded to compete amidst being blown out by the succession of matches.

    JDL established dominance through out the match with Maxx powering out every once in a while but failing to really take control of the match.

    The finish would come as Maxx was able to gain momentum and deliver three, YES, THREE massive Blitzkriegs to seal the deal against JDL and move on to face whoever won the Koto Hiro vs Ralph Imabayashi match. (Here's a spoiler, it was Ralph Imabayashi.)

    I liked how Maxx's story was told but why do I find it hard to connect that he's somewhat the underdog to this story? Also, the end, wherein he got his son in the ring, why couldn't we have had this last month when it was actually closer to father's day?

    John Sebastian and Crystal (c) def. GrabCamus and Kapitan Tutan to retain the PWR Tag Team Championships

    In a surprising turn of events, John Sebastian and Crystal defended their titles against the other Naughty Boys in GrabCamus and Kapitan Tutan.

    The bout began with lots of oiling up and with the trusty (and brave) PWR referee frisking Kap Tutan for any objects. There were lots of antics within the match itself that it felt so meta at some point, but deep down, it was actually a good storytelling of a tag team match even when it was sort of obvious that Camus and Kap had a low percentage of winning.

    Camus channeled his inner Sami Zayn while Kap channeled his inner Joey Ryan to try and defeat the champs but it still wasn’t enough to seal the victory against the champs.

    I have a feeling that John Sebastian and Crystal need to lose the titles soon but I don't see them doing so to TDTxECX.  Sebastian is way more fun when he's the lone snarky heel so I do hope he does a singles run again.

    The champs then went to town on Camus and Kap after the match, mounting Kap on the turnbuckles while whipping Camus into the Kap's nether regions. This beatdown brought the number one contenders out to try and save their friends, but wrestling lord and savior John Sebastian would once again exercise his authority by putting the contenders in a surprise match of the night.

    TDTxECX (Trian Dela Torre and Evan Carleaux) def. The YOLO Twins (Yohann and Logan Ollores)

    As previously mentioned, the number one contenders were put in a match and guess who they had to face this time? Logan Ollores and his returning brother, Yohann Ollores, the YOLO twins.

    Welcome back, Yohann.

    However, the twins’ comeback would be foiled by the contenders in a very solid albeit very lenghty match. This match further cemented Trian and Evan's winning streak via a small package, but I’m curious as to why the YOLO twins’ stock has slowly fallen down recently. I'm also curious why this is the second roll-up victory of the night.

    John Sebastian appeared after the match to be the despicable heel that he is and ambushed Jhemherlhynn (did I spell that right?) which would get the ire of many and add more fuel to the fire in this rivalry.

    Could a Jhemherlynn debut be near? PWR, Jhem vs Crystal! Book It!

    Alexander Belmonte III (c) def. Martivo to retain the All Out War Championship

    The Warlord, AB3, showed just why he deserves to hold the belt by giving Martivo a solid grade A bout and defeating him via a Michinoku Driver.

    I’m not complaining much, although I should note that while this was an All Out War Championship match, this didn’t feel like one and that's why it's a Tier 2 match to me. It was very “wrestling” to me, which, of course, I actually found appealing but then again, the stipulations were confusing. No weapons, no outside brawls, just pure unadulterated wrestling. Great match but I expected All Out War.

    Still, Congratulations to both competitors for the awesome performance and continuing to show that Philippine wrestling is growing. I think there's a lot more to expect from these two competitors and i'm hoping the next match is main event material for either of these two.

    Tier 3: Yellow (Rainfall)

    Hey, there’s rain. No text reminder yet, but you know it’s coming down. You’d get a little wet because it’s a little rainy and windy but it’s nothing really heavy so no cause for panic. These matches have their moments, albeit limited in some capacity. Expect them to improve in the next events or the story to have more decisive results next time.

    SuperVintendo (w/ Jan Evander, PwD) def. Revo Ranger

    This is the second pre-show match and the first outing of the new and improved SuperVintendo, along with his updater(?) Doctor Wil—uh, Pro Wrestling Doctor, Jan Evander.

    It was a short 5-minute bout with the Raging Gamer overpowering Revo Ranger in an almost squash match. While I felt it probably could've been better or longer, I think it was good that they didn't because this one didn't really have too much heat on it.

    I do hope this partnership between Vintendo and Evander goes somewhere because I think they could really bust it up in the tag division. They really need this sort of boost in their characters to make things a litte more interesting.

    Post-match, Super Vintendo and Jan Evander gave the Ranger a sick double team move which caused a few scares. Fortunately, Bolt came out was there to chase away the evil-doers so that the paramedics could assist the fallen ranger, though Bolt's appearance was more of an after-thought rather than a feud defining moment.

    SANDATA vs. Dax Xaviera vs. Quatro ended in a no-contest

    Why PWR, why? Man, I was so looking forward to this match because I thought it would steal the night but I think you've failed me. This felt like it had so much potential but I'm guessing they're saving the story for another time.

    There were lots of great spots in the match but it felt so bitin because of the abrupt ending. The outside brawling was very enjoyable and interactive even if it costed us the finish to this match. I was sad it had to end that way but it is what it is and that's why it only gets Tier 3 in my book.

    I’m guessing there’s a rubber match at PWR Renaissance to continue this triangle feud and I seriously hope they give this match time to shine because it reeks of awesomeness.

    On a side note, Dax, please, less Sling Blade, man. Seeing the move more than twice makes it feel monotonous. Some fans have dubbed this move as Sisigblade in retaliation, so I want to see if it sticks.

    Can I also just say, sorry, but SANDATA's mask is Magikarp come to life. Timely due to the weather but really funny in-joke from the crowd.

    Main Maxx (w/ Mr. Sy) def. The Apocalypse to advance to the PWR Championship #1 Contender's Tournament finals

    I expected this to be a hoss fight, and hoss fight it was (in a good way). Hard-hitting. Brutal. Heavy. The numerous clotheslines, boots, slams and splashes made me feel this was a battle of pure strength. The small hint of comedy kind of took away from the overall match, but in the end Mr. Sy's manok got the victory to advance to the finals of the tournament.

    It was nothing special but it was a good set-up for the matches later in the night. A big dude such as Maxx winning with a roll-up is actually disturbing and confusing to me and my brain cells.

    On the flipside, I think it's high time for the Apocalypse to reinvent himself after this. After losing the All Out War championship, I feel that he's slowly being lost in the shuffle even after qualifying up to this point in the tournament.

    Tier 4: None (No Warning)

    You know when there’s no rain? Yes. This is it. It’s a normal, run-of-the-mill match. No reaction. It just happened. It’s there. Move along with your daily lives. Nothing to see here.

    Brad Cruz and McKata vs. the Ninjas ended in a no-contest

    It's the first pre-show match (well, not even a match per se). The Ninjas basically wailed on Cruz until McKata showed up only for him to turn and join in on the Brad-beating train. This was a set-up for something else later but I didn't see the value of why they couldn't have had the actual match.


    Before the night ended, Mr. Sy and his manok (Yes, I’m trying to make it into a thing), came out to confront Ralph Imabayashi prior to their championship match at PWR Renaissance.

    In what was a heartfelt exchange between Mahaba, Imabayashi, Maxx and even Mr. Sy, all four men chronicled a small history of Philippine Wrestling and Maxx’s journey for the championship through their verbal banter while promoting the main event for the next show.

    Alas, Ralph tried to get one over Main Maxx but he would end up staring at the ceiling after being laid out with a Blitzkrieg to end the show.

    PWR Live: Way of the Champion was a great follow up to PWR Live: RE5PETO, opening up new match-ups and feuds while building up the next set of challengers for the titles. I’m definitely looking forward to where this takes us in the future shows and I'm looking forward to attending more PWR shows in the future.

    "The Migz" Honorary Awards of the Night

    Now’s the time to dish out some honorary awards for those which I feel piqued my interest. These are personal opinions though, so feel free to debate if you have your own set.

    • Match of the Night: Ralph Imabayashi (c) (w/ Rederick Mahaba) vs Koto Hiro (w/ Nina). Jake De Leon vs Chris Panzer was a close second. Hard to really pick one when both opening and closing matches were awesome.
    • Wrestler of the Night: Koto Hiro and Jake De Leon. Sorry, couldn’t pick just one.
    • Promo of the Night: Rederick Mahaba’s promo and pre-match introduction of Ralph Imabayashi
    • OMG Moment of the Night: Holy sh*t! I thought JDL was going to kill Panzer with that powerbomb that almost went outside.
    • Move of the Night: Kakaibros Nipple Twister Party on McKata. I dunno what it's called but i'm suggesting they make a Maureen reference somewhere.
    • Chant of the Night: "PAM-BA-HAY! PAM-BA-HAY!", directed at Ralph Imabayashi’s ring gear

    Event Grade : B+

    Post-Realizations and Random Musings

    • Almost everybody had new wrestling gear (Expect an #SGQ article), which, I’m guessing, is because of the cold weather. That didn’t faze good ole’ Kap Tutan though. All hail the red… *ugh my eyes* …nevermind.
    • Move over Shawn Michaels, Trian Dela Torre is the real Sexy Boy. Yes. Wear them short shorts and give Kap Tutan a run for his money.
    • Can we please get Max’s Fried Chicken to sponsor Main Maxx and Mr. Sy? Sy kept calling Maxx his manok but sadly no one picked up on the possible pun of Main Maxx Fried Chicken.
    • On sponsorships: Hey, Summit Drinking Water Philippines! Sponsor the next PWR because Rederick Mahaba gave you a huge shout out. #SummitDrinkingWaterForPWR
    • So many fourth-wall breaking in the promos. Fun. Fun indeed for the smarks.

    What did you think of the PWR Way of the Champion? Which match are you looking forward for PWR Renaissance? Did I miss out on anything? Sound off in the comments below.

    Photos from Hub Pacheco and PWR


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

    An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the first ever Carleaux Sheaux took place at PWR Live: Way of the Champion. The Carleaux Sheaux is a long-running web series run by The Naughty Boys. The first ever live edition took place this past Sunday.


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your supposed fashion guru and not-so young boy at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of everything music, wrestling, videogames and food, he lives his life tweeting utter nonsense (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random photos (@tha_migz) as he sets on his journey to completely do things without any prior explanation. When not being a smark at the Smark Henry offices, he lives his life pretending to be an awesome architect and musician extraordinaire.

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    Item Reviewed: PWR Live: Way of the Champion—The Official Smark Henry Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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