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    Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    PWR Live: Homefront—The Official Smark Henry Review

    Resling! PWR will once again receive the #NitPickRick treatment because ya boy Ricky didn’t slack off on a Sunday afternoon and actually went to see his second PWR show. Admittedly, I am two shows behind but trust me, I’m up to the task. It’s like I didn’t skip a beat as you will see in my straight fire commentary and my irritating habit of pointing out the smallest of details.

    So yeah, enough about me, let’s discuss Homefront, a strong contender for show of the year. And as always, we’ll be dissecting the show and categorizing them under three tiers of awesomeness. But why am I explaining this? You already know what’s about to go down. So go ahead, scroll to the match you liked because that’s what you’re going to do anyway. Who reads an entire article, amirite?

    Tier 1: Arthur the Aardvark

    Because Homefront had kids in the house, let’s keep the theme of our tiers kid-friendly! I’ll award the top tier to everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur! Just look at him and bask in his glory. All we need him to do is clench his fist and we’ve got a meme on our hands.

    JDL Stands Tall After Chaotic Main Event

    This is, without exaggeration, the best match I have ever seen live. I was jotting down notes the entire show; but minutes after the bell rang for this one, I gave up and just enjoyed the freaking show like I’m supposed to. It had everything I love about wrestling; entertaining personalities, fast-paced blink-and-you’ll-miss action, great storytelling, and a chaotic post-match segment as if the aforementioned weren’t enough. I loved every bit of it. Jake de Leon and Tengu made me love resling all over again. Thank you.

    It was my first time to see Tengu live and it was an absolute delight. He made wrestling in a barong look effortless and elegant, as well. He’s basically a luchador Shinsuke Nakamura, but that's not enough to describe him, really. You have to see him live the next time he’s around. It was the right call to have him face the country’s best in JDL because who doesn’t want to see JDL kicking a foreigner’s ass in the ring? Y’all remember Billy Suede? Exactly.

    And since PWR is seemingly allergic to cut and dry endings (oh, we’ll get to those in a minute), they had to turn the tables by having Tengu disrespect his worthy opponent with a sneak attack. Ken Warren came out for the save but then attempted to blindside JDL himself. Enter Chris Panzer to stop Warren from clocking JDL with the PHX Title. Wait, what is happening? And before you know it, JDL decked both men with a superkick each to close the show on a defiant note. The end, cue “Sulit bayad!” chants.

    This show had a lot of post-match segments, but this was the only perfect one in my book. It was well-executed and it didn’t ruin the emotion of the previous match. Tengu was quietly written off as a sore loser and the seeds for the next possible matchup for the title were carefully planted. What a fantastic way to elevate the Philippine Excellence Championship.

    If there’s a flaw I could nitpick on, it’s that the result was too predictable. Because c’mon, why would you give an import a PWR title? Like it or not, imports always leave, and sometimes, they just leave when you’ve already invested time and effort in supporting them. So good job defending the homefront, JDL. Don’t let the invaders break our hearts again. But Tengu, I hope you could come back someday for another exhibition match.

    The Battle of Heartthrobs Ends in Respect

    The second main event of the night didn’t disappoint, either. Okay, that’s an understatement. It tore the house down, no question. How could it not when it involved Chris Panzer in all his glory taking on Singapore’s Ladykiller—a man so brazen, his ring name implies that he philanders women on a daily basis. Preserve this man’s balls in a museum. Kidding aside, he’s so much fun to watch as he worked the crowd with his overconfidence and showboating. Who knew there was someone who could out-man our main man, Panzer?

    But of course, Panzer didn’t let the cocky Singaporean treat us like idiots as he fought tooth and nail para sa bayan. Panzer faced the imposing invader with heart and perseverance. One huge Eagle Splash later, Panzer stood tall over Ladykiller in a thriller of a matchup. The show of respect at the end was the cherry on top. Bonus points for not making Ladykiller look like a sore loser. I’d be pissed if the foreigners did back-to-back sneak attacks on their Filipino opponents.

    SANDATA #TrustsTheProcess After Loss

    I was going to complain about how short Martivo vs. SANDATA was, but I just had to let it slide after another great post-match segment. Martivo continues his winning streak by besting the Pinoy Tecnico in a straight-up babyface vs. babyface match. I love me some competitive wrestling. The crowd was completely behind the Man-Doll that SANDATA became the temporary heel of the match. That’s good news for Martivo’s rising stock.

    The bombshell of this match came afterward, when Mr. Sy offered SANDATA a spot on Mr. Sy’s Group of Talents, or MSG. Now we’re talking. I’m surprised Mr. Sy just started adding wrestlers to his agency now when he could’ve asked around for more new talents months ago. This better not be a setup for a Main Maxx vs. SANDATA feud because I want Mr. Sy to successfully form an honest stable in PWR for once.

    Love Ultimately Costs Crystal a Title Shot

    The love quarrel between PWR’s power couple, John Sebastian and Crystal, continues to erupt after Sebastian cost the Queen a PHX Title shot against Ken Warren. It was an entertaining battle between the two as both their bodies and personalities literally clashed. Warren made this match better with his undeniable charisma as the kind gentleman, apologizing to Crystal after almost every move he made. Crystal refused to hold back as she dished out some of her acrobatic flair; but in the end, it was love that caused Crystal her downfall.

    Your Wrestling Lord and Savior (and apparently, your lover boy as well) came out to serenade Crystal to the tune of the Backstreet Boys' “I Want It That Way” in front of a very participatory crowd. Warren capitalized on the distraction and picked up the roll-up win to keep his PHX Title rematch clause intact. Now I don’t really get PWR’s obsession with adding friction within tag teams, but it was still a fun match so I let it slide. Sebastian has enough comedic timing to make a light-hearted LQ angle work anyway. I just hope they don’t take themselves too seriously with this one.

    Unhinged Xaviera is Good Xaviera

    I never thought I would like Unhinged Dax Xaviera this much but here we are. Aside from being a mentally unstable fella, Dax has also become a sneaky S.O.B. who will pull out dirty tricks just to get ahead. His match with Main Maxx had the right amount of psychology and viciousness, but oddly enough, didn’t have enough Sling Blades. Five isn't even close to the bare minimum, Dax. I expected so much more from you.

    I can also take the tainted win to keep Main Maxx looking strong. Great job helping Dax Xaviera ease in to his new role as a villain. Hopefully, this huge win will inch Dax closer to his beloved AOWrora. As for Main Maxx, he’s gonna be fine now that he has SANDATA as part of Mr. Sy’s Group. It’ll be interesting to see whether Maxx and SANDATA will gun for some tag team gold or will chase separate singles title under Mr. Sy’s unwavering support.

    Tier 2: Clifford The Big Red Dog

    I call the second tier the #NitPickRick tier because this is where we get a little nitpicky. For the second tier, I’m dedicating it to this huge-ass dog, mainly because a certain biqq dhawqq made his presence known in this tier.

    Quatro Almost Becomes Champion, Kupal Rises

    If there’s one match that almost took home match of the night, it’ll be Ralph Imabayashi vs. Quatro for the PWR Championship. Ralph may have thought this was just a warm-up match, but Quatro had other ideas. It was a beautiful clash of styles as Quatro’s explosive offense met Ralph’s calculated rage. Out of all the matches, this one had the most nail-biting nearfalls. I’m actually surprised this match didn’t get a “Fight Forever” chant. And add the pre-match introductions from Mainstream Mahaba and Trabahador Supremo (Shadow!) himself and you’ve got a recipe for an instant classic.

    But then we reached the final moments of the match. Ref got knocked down, Mahaba and his deer-in-headlights PA (personal assistant), Artie, got involved and almost ruined the match, but Quatro got rid of them somehow and hit Ralph with Destino for the three-count. The place almost crumbled down in celebration of a new champion until the referee reversed the decision because Ralph’s foot was under the ropes. Um, okay, I guess. Glad to know the referee’s decision isn’t final in PWR. But fine, I let that one slide. It was still a fantastic match after all and it masterfully worked the crowd.

    The match continued and Ralph was able to capitalize on Quatro’s shock with an inescapable pin to retain. The crowd was obviously heartbroken for the challenger as the champion stood tall once again but from out of nowhere—because fuck alliances and partnerships—Ralph and Mahaba teased a rift on their once solid friendship in an out of place post-match segment. Way to water down the emotional trainwreck of Quatro’s loss. And before everyone could take a breather, Mike Madrigal blindsided the champion and staked his claim as the next challenger for the gold. All of these happened in just one match. Overbooked much?

    I understand they wanted to stuff this match with as much drama as possible, but they have to learn how to quit while they’re ahead. Quatro’s defeat was drama enough and opens up a possible rematch in the future, but did we really need another breakup tease from MTNH of all people? And somehow, they had to add The Kupal One to the mix when he’s not even done with Vlad Sinnsyk. If this was done to setup a Monster Five-Way for next month’s Halloween-themed PPV, then I’m all for it. I just wished they set it up without degrading a great match.

    Naughty Boys Triumphs in First Defense

    Speaking of great matches ruined by their endings, we have the Naughty Boys defending the PWR Tag Team Championships against the team I hate to love, the KakaiBros. The Bros stole the show with their loud and cringy-ass promo, with Kh3ndrick telling everyone he’s ready to receive Jhemherlhynn’s affections. Tita Baby definitely had a mini-heart attack during that time.

    It was a rather slow match for my taste but they balanced it out with cool tag team combos and some entertaining spots here and there. Trian dela Torre even pulled out an Orton that one time (don’t Google that, kids). After some nipple-twisting antics and some dives, the YOLO Twins tried to interfere as they hid among the jejemons at ringside. But that wasn’t the end of it as the match dragged on with a couple of nearfalls and with Mh4rckie nowhere to be found. It’s like they couldn’t decide on how to end the match and when it finally did, the moment was gone. The Naughty Boys retained as the match ended with an anticlimactic plop.

    John Sebastian Gets to Keep His Half

    Homefront kicked off with a great opener from Robin Sane and John Sebastian fighting for 50% ownership of PWR. It’s my first time seeing Robin Sane live and now I’m one of his believers. He’s just plain awesome! Even in the presence of one of PWR’s trashiest talkers, Sane was able to match Sebastian’s moves and wit inside the ring. Needless to say, this match easily got the crowd pumped up for the rest of the show.

    My main problem with this match was the stipulation. This match was better off without it because it made the outcome too predictable. It’s not like MWF would let go of their top star just so he can book matches for PWR. Remove the stipulation and we would’ve seen an exciting battle that would put everyone at the edge of their seat in anticipation of who’s going to win. The show of respect in the end was just irritating because Sebastian can’t seem to decide if he wants to be a good guy or a bad guy, making it harder to invest in his character.

    Mike Madrigal Sends His Friend to Sleep

    Who knew Vlad Sinnsyk could be an effective babyface? I am now convinced that literally anyone who goes up against Mike Madrigal will easily gather fan support. That’s how effective The Kupal One is as a heel. Sinnsyk and Madrigal tore each other apart, dishing out big moves one after the other, resulting in thrilling nearfalls. But during the closing moments of the match, Sinnsyk and Madrigal pulled off an undeserved Gargano/Ciampa moment as the supposedly demented Sinnsyk stopped himself from brutalizing the guy who betrayed him.

    I get that Vlad Sinnsyk is a babyface now, but when exactly did they establish that these two had an emotional bond? Forced emotional spots like this really ticks me off. And because he’s kupal and all, Madrigal took advantage of Vlad’s soft side to apply the STF for the choke-out win. From exciting to disappointing, this was another match crippled by a lackluster finish. But it’s safe to say we’re not done with these two. This match just made me want more of good guy Vlad Sinnsyk. *snarling noises intensifies*

    Tier 3: Finn the Human

    We’re now in the third tier, where I put the matches that I didn’t necessarily like that much. It sucks that I had to put Finn the Human in here because, as you will read below, he made an appearance during the lackluster part of the show. Sorry, Finn.

    AB3 Brings the Pa(i)n to Mainstream Mahaba

    This is just a personal thing, but I’m not fan of only-this-weapon-is-legal stipulation matches. It’s just way too predictable and it’s not like they could do much with baking pans. Y’all know they’re just gonna whack each other on the head with them. The match was fine for what it was and I’m glad the All Out War Championship was defended in a stipulation match like it's supposed to be. I also hope Mainstream Mahaba wins a FAMAS award for his raw performance of a warrior who wishes to continue but whose vessel simply won’t. Bravo, Mainstream. Bravo.

    YOLO Twins’ Expensive Statement Made

    In probably the most expensive statement made in PWR, the YOLO Twins wrestled the team of GrabCamus and Kapitan Tutan (let’s call them GrabTutan already... or y'know, CamTutan) in casual wear worth PhP 4,000. In a promo that garnered them “Divisoria” chants, the twins ended up being restricted by their clothes while GrabTutan showcased their raw power in only their second proper tag match. But of course, the YOLO Twins had to take the win and solidify their claim for better competition. The match achieved what it wanted and that’s pretty much it. It's really uncomfortable watching the twins wrestle in those tight jeans though.

    Quantity Doesn’t Always Mean Quality

    The only part that I can probably place under the “bad” column was whatever it was they were doing in the pre-show. McKata and his cronies didn’t really do much and they didn’t even commit to their gimmicks. The Ninja barely did anything related to his gimmick (he did have great moves though) and Samoan Papa (the only Papa in PWR that matters) is basically just a dude in a skirt. Is he supposed to be Roman Reigns or Umaga? Pick a side, man.

    And wasn’t this supposed to be a confrontation segment between Brad Cruz and McKata? It was barely a promo and then Revo Ranger and Bolt the Human came out and it’s now a match, I guess. After a botched double team move by Brad Cruz and Bolt, the babyfaces shoddily won the impromptu match. The Endgame then came out and laid waste to Revo Ranger and Bolt. Shouldn’t this brand new heel faction gun for bigger fish by now? I’m not sure but I’m glad this all happened in the pre-show.

    Overall Thoughts

    PWR knocked it out of the park once again with a show that flipped the Power Mac Center Spotlight upside down by providing everyone a fun night of resling. The invading foreigners did a great job pushing everyone on the roster to perform better while showcasing their skills to a wrestling-hungry crowd. As the crowd chanted after the show, Homefront was indeed worth the admission price and more.

    And don’t think that giving the foreigners the rub was the focus of the show. The entire roster unpacked a lot of new storylines and advanced the rest, wrapping everything in one great show with a ribbon on top. Really, you’ll be exhausted from all the awesomeness this show produced. If they ever plan to release the full show on YouTube, kindly show it to everyone. It’s the perfect show for fans and non-fans alike. Enough pandering, here’s another strong A from Smark Henry’s lowly nitpicker.

    Star of the Night: Jake de Leon but just by an inch above others
    Match of the Night: Jake de Leon vs. Tengu
    Promo of the Night: Trabahador Supremo's introduction for Joseph Vivian
    Holy Sh*t Moment: Quatro almost winning the PWR Championship
    Kilig to the Max Moment: #Kh3nMerlhynn. 1 b3L13v3 in L0v3 phowz!
    Sling Blade Count: Seven, one of them from Main Maxx. Go figure.

    Some Homefront Thoughts That Didn’t Make It

    • I was so stupid not to realize that I was standing next to Kapitan PWR/Mike Madrigal the entire time I was watching the second half of the show. I could’ve easily asked for a selfie or something. Damn you, taking down notes!

    • Just a reminder that crowd members who treat every show like it's their own Netflix comedy special are no different from the assholes who throw beach balls around during WWE PPVs.

    • Bro Worm > Killer Worm. Change my mind. 

    • We have to remind the referees that they are allowed to be assertive while officiating matches. Wrestlers are poking each other in the eye and they just shrug like it’s nothing. C’mon guys, you’re part of the action too.
    • This goes out to the non-wrestling talents as well. Mahaba’s portrayal of an injured man was great and all, but what spoiled it for me was the medic with the brightest smile in the ring like she was happy about it or something. Everything felt legit until the medics came. C’mon guys, commit.
    Images from Hub Pacheco Photography and Philippine Wrestling Revolution


    Smark Henry is independently owned and managed by a group of Filipino pro wrestling fans, but includes members affiliated with the Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
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    Item Reviewed: PWR Live: Homefront—The Official Smark Henry Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Ricky Jay Publico
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