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    Friday, September 14, 2018

    The Smark Henry Hip Toast: Quatro

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    Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Smark Henry's recurring series, a little something we would like to call 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 all an intimate look at the wrestlers who are helping build this wonderful sport and turn it into something really special in this country.

    Just in time for PWR Live: Homefront, we take a look at a man who has wowed the Revo-nation since his debut a year ago: Quatro!


    You can say that no one in PWR or in the local scene right now is a bright, growing star quite like Quatro. Ever since his debut last year at Bakbakan sa Bayanihan's pre-show as part of the Council of the Trabajadores, he slowly created a body of work that spoke more volumes than words could convey that lead to a surge of support throughout his rookie journey. From making pre-shows a must-see, to making a splash in the main show a year and two months after his debut, he is now in the cusp of claiming the biggest prize in PWR: the right to be known as Kampeon ng Pilipinas.

    This may very well be the fastest anyone has ever made it from pre-show debut to the main event. For all intents and purposes, this is nothing short of impressive. One can even argue that he is ready-made for this kind of journey.

    It's even more impressive when you consider how he got into the wrestling fandom to begin with.

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    "Love for pro wrestling? Hmm. I would say it's an on-and-off thing. First match I ever saw as a kid was Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon. It was a ladder match and I instantly fell in love with wrestling," Quatro said.

    But like most fans later in life, he also went through a bit of a cool-down phase in his wrestling fandom.

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    "The falling out happened after Eddie Guerrero's death. Nawalan ako ng gana after that and wrestling failed to capture my attention. Hindi rin nakatulong when JackTV stopped airing WWE programming," Quatro recalled.

    At that point, he would remain out of the loop for an entire decade. But in a stroke of luck, a chance resurgence in the local scene opened new doors for the man who would be known as Quatro.

    "I started watching wrestling again when a friend took me to a PWR show. PWR lang pinapanood ko months after that. Then I stumbled upon a match on Youtube," Quatro said.

    'Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito G1 Climax 26'

    "At that time, I didn't even know who they are, or what a G1 Climax is. And pagkatapos ko panoorin, I was blown away and I showed it to everyone dear to me: This is the best wrestling match I have ever seen.' And I still feel that way even to this day. That match is special to me," Quatro shared.

    From that point, it was easy to imagine who inspired him in-ring.

    "Sobrang obvious siguro sa NJPW marks but might come as a shock to everyone else, pero Kenny Omega. Everything else are probably from video games," Quatro said.

    Now you might be thinking: how did he become this athletically gifted at this phase in his life? Turns out, Quatro legitimately has the experience to back it up.

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    "I competed in Amateur Boxing matches, Kickboxing/Muay Thai bouts, a few Amateur and Pro MMA fights, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tourneys. But as far as pro wrestling goes, I try to keep it compartmentalized. I try to avoid my wrestling to be influenced by my combat sports background and vice versa," Quatro said.

    While he already has the physical fundamentals, it took him one more push to finally give pro wrestling a shot. You may very well thank two people for that—or, if you prefer, a friend and a savior.

    "Batchmates ko nung High School si Edwin (young boy and bootcamper) and John Sebastian. Long story short, they heard I was interested and they basically gave me the courage to join bootcamp," revealed Quatro, who became part of batch 7 or the batch that began training after Bagong Yugto.

    By this point, PWR was continuing to grow at a steady pace, evident from the visit by WWE officials during Bagong Yugto. Quatro, slowly but surely, managed to become part of the resurgence of local wrestling as he developed. But who helped him the most during bootcamp?

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    "Everyone was really helpful, but who helped the most? In-ring, JDL and Basti. Life advice and other stuff? Shoutout to Trian!," Quatro enthused.

    By this point, most people have already heard the infamous Trabajadores episode of the Smark Gilas Pilipinas podcast (personal pick for episode of the year), where he explained how his "Lightbringer" persona came to about. Prior to this, Quatro's athletic persona lacked one key component: character.

    "I was a clean slate. I didn't have a character and I didn't even think that I would wrestle in 2017. All my ideas were either half baked or basura talaga. Hahaha! So nung pinili ako maging trabajador, hindi ako aware na may "Lightbringer" story in the pipeline. I don't think na (Rederick Mahaba) already had me in mind for that role pero everything just fell into place and here we are," Quatro explained.

    Fans learned more about the once-mysterious Lightbringer post-unmasking, from the energy he didn't get to exhibit in his trabajadores days to his broad range of facial expressions. The number one thing that stood out about him, however, is his love for all things anime and videogames, particularly Street Fighter. True enough, when asked about this particular fandom:

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    "I've always been a fan of video games, but was never competitive. Casual gaming lang kumbaga, even till now. And like wrestling, fighting games are a part of my childhood and it's something that would always be a part of my personality, I guess," Quatro said.

    When pressed about the integration of his fighting game fandom to pro wrestling, clearly inspired by Kenny Omega, the man who helped bring him back to wrestling, he said:

    "Fighting games are awesome, man! Hindi ko na ma-enumerate yung mga in-apply ko from FGC to wrestling. From stances, to taunts, aesthetic, and most importantly, yung moves. If I see something that I could pull off, I'll definitely try to incorporate it."

    It was clear from the beginning of his career as a trabajador who yearned for the light to the one who thrives in the light, that Quatro is one of the greatest PWR and pro wrestling success stories we've ever witnessed. And we're only beginning to learn who this guy really is.

    Quatro's meteoric rise is something many have come to expect, but few predicted would materialize. Main eventing Homefront against the longest-reigning PWR Champion in history, Ralph Imabayashi, may be a case of being put in a high pressure situation too soon, but with high risks come high rewards.

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    "(I have) mixed emotions, to be honest," Quatro mused. "I am both thrilled and anxious. I feel like I deserve it because I worked so hard, but I also feel that I don't deserve it since I haven't earned my stripes, so to speak. But opportunities like this don't come very often so I'll make the most out of it."

    He hesitates before continuing: "To be honest, I am worried. I am worried in the sense na baka I'm too green for a main event match, or baka makakuha ng heat from vets that deserve the spot more. Main event or deep-in-the-card matches have a different demand also. Mas tough na yung crowd, mas pagod na yung tao and mataas ang expectations lalo sa title matches."

    But Quatro, if anything, thrives under high expectations.

    "I'm always pressured, I always feel na di ako ready pero I always perform better under pressure for some reason."

    The unfortunate departures of Miguel Rosales and Zayden Trudeau was somewhat of a blessing in disguise for Quatro as it put him in this unique position. And while Quatro matches have become must-see, fighting Imabayashi will be the greatest test so far in his young career. 

    But like the rest of the tests he's faced in his life, Quatro is ready to accept the challenge.

    "I'm never 100% ready in anything I did in my wrestling career. Pero since may backing ng trainers and bookers, I have to trust them, and that also gives me confidence. I'll just give my best effort when the time comes, and hopefully exceed everyone's expectations, including mine," Quatro assured.

    Being where he is now, it is only natural for The Lightbringer to show what he can do in the Southeast Asian scene and beyond. But as far as wrestling abroad goes? Quatro's taking it step by step.

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    "Short sighted ako when it comes to goals. Honestly, ang goal ko lang every show is to be different or do something new and improve, whether new para sa akin or for the local scene. I can't be the same wrestler 2 months ago," he said, adding, "As far as wrestling overseas, I would prefer making my mark in PWR first. Also, kasi wala pa akong passport."

    Quatro may be green, but one has to be impressed in what he's already done in his first year. Rest assured that as we continue to get to know the Lightbringer, with hard work, perseverance, a little bit of luck, and an amazing support system, Quatro's career will prosper until it lives up to his moniker.

    PWR LIVE: Homefront is on September 23, 2018 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight . Tickets are now on sale. Enjoy early bird discounts and barkada bundle deals when you pre-order your tickets. 

    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.

    All photos from "Hubba Hubba" Hub Pacheco, the Quatro Facebook Page, and Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Hip Toast: Quatro Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Lance Tan Ong
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