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    Saturday, October 13, 2018

    Ladykiller 101: The Business of Seduction

    The pro wrestling universes have started crossing. Grapplers from the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia have begun working together.

    I don’t care who you think are the Avengers and who are the Guardians of the Galaxy, but this past year has demonstrated we’re all in the same Marvel Universe.

    Think about the comic books for a second. Who are the irrelevant characters? Exactly. The ones who haven’t been adapted for the big screen. The ones who have no interaction with the others because they haven’t been made into movies.

    Did you envision a career of irrelevance? No. So it’s time to make our paths cross, with more deliberate effort.

    Who Am I?

    They call me the Ladykiller. I am a two-time champion, and together with Greg Glorious I co-founded Grapple MAX in 2016.

    My involvement in this story has been extremely direct and personal, because of my dual roles as wrestling talent, as well as in management. Last September 21, I debuted in Manila, and by the end of 2018 I would have wrestled in six countries.

    But let’s focus our discussion on the Philippines, because I can see it becoming one of my favourite stops on the independent circuit.

    A Quick History of PWR x Grapple MAX

    Jake De Leon & John Sebastian

    In December 2017, Asia Wrestling Entertainment (AWE) hosted a tag team match between Grapple MAX and PWR.

    It was the first time I met Jake De Leon and John Sebastian, and outside the ring both are bubbly gentlemen who are fine leaders and ambassadors of the Philippines. While the rest of Asia’s established wrestling companies had already begun working with each other, PWR had largely kept to themselves. Matches rarely featured international talent. The brand’s success was primarily built upon the backs of driven, homegrown Filipino men and women.

    And that’s why this AWE match excited Filipino and Singaporean fans and got them talking. How often were Manila’s own facing off against their international peers?

    It was this first lock up that set things rolling. Having already established an extremely close working relationship with Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MyPW), Grapple MAX identified PWR as a potential new partner. And it was not a difficult choice to make; the fanbase was loyal, communication was easy, and geographically, it made sense. Greg Glorious and I decided to make it work.

    Chris Panzer

    So it began with Chris Panzer. We first met in 2016 in MyPW. He was soft spoken but confident. A Malaysian fan said he looked like Legolas—a freaking immortal elf.

    Fast forward to 2018, and booking him was not a tough call since we were both popular babyfaces who adopted the Rock Bottom as our signature moves. That became the angle. The only way to win was to pin your opponent immediately after a Rock Bottom.

    Panzer and I busted out 7 of those electrifying Rock Bottoms in that match. It was a unique stipulation. The fans loved it. They chanted “Fight Forever.” And so we did, in Manila, at PWR Live: Homefront—again to an outpouring of appreciation.

    SANDATA & “Ruthless” Rosales

    Earlier this year, the "Pinoy Tecnico” SANDATA reached out to us to arrange a training session to learn our Japanese-influenced style of wrestling at Grapple MAX.

    That attitude impressed us and eventually we gave him a spot on the card of our biggest show, Enter the Ring, together with an appearance by Fighter 4 Hire “Ruthless” Miguel Rosales.

    The Pinoy Potential

    The Philippines has a long heritage in fighting.

    From the Thrilla in Manila—Ali and Frazier’s third boxing match—to Manny Pacquiao, to WWE’s Batista and TJ Perkins, the spectacle of combat sports appeals to the country.

    This country celebrates the vitality of the human spirit.  And that’s where we see so much potential. Philippine Wrestling Revolution and Manila Wrestling Federation both bring a degree of social media polish that is superior in the region.

    That stands out to me, because as a marketing guy, it doesn’t matter how good your product really is at its core. If it fails to attract attention, or it looks like shit, you’re wasting your time. You get scrolled past on.

    Boosting Engagement

    One of the immediate benefits we observed from having such crossovers was the social media outreach that came as a result of each wrestler bringing more eyeballs to the product.

    For example, Greg Glorious and I noticed the number of shares on Grapple MAX’s Facebook posts was as much as 85% higher than on comparable posts, simply because of the introduction of the Pinoy variable. We had captured Manila’s attention. Same thing happened when I gave a promo video to PWR to set the stage for my rematch with Panzer at Homefront. The viewership on that clip was extraordinarily high (five times that of the average comparable promo), because I was bringing Singaporean interest to the product.

    Grapple MAX’s Key to Success

    Filipino fans are passionate and friendly. They have expressed a desire to see more collaborations, and this is one of Grapple MAX’s strengths. In the last two years, we have created a reputation for ourselves as the pro wrestling collective. Collaboration is our game.

    We work with anyone who wants to give pro wrestling a chance. We designed it that way with our non-traditional set up, wrestling without a ring. Crazy? Maybe. It is precisely this that has allowed us to perform shows in offices, in bars, in universities, with poets, with pole dancers, and in front of thousands.

    So, work together with another wrestling company? We can absolutely, definitely do that.

    My 2019 Goals

    I’m gonna lay it out clearly: my goal is to build the bridge for more talent crossovers to happen in 2019.

    At Grapple MAX, we provide another stop on the regional circuit for Pinoy wrestlers to build their careers. What’s in it for us? I want to give our boys and girls from Singapore more international opportunities competing against Filipino fighters.

    Additionally, I’m coming after one of PWR’s titles. Champions, watch out. I haven’t decided which one of you, but I will give one of you the match of your life, then I’m taking your belt home. Come find me in Singapore for the rematch.

    The one thing that PWR and Grapple MAX have in common, and only to a very slightly lesser degree MWF as well, apart from our slick branding, is we have the highest event frequency in Southeast Asia. We both consistently put on one show per month, sometimes more.

    Still, we are a long way from calling wrestling a full-time career. Let's share our fanbases and pool our resources. The two companies with the highest output therefore need to leverage off each other to grow in step.

    We have a strategy.

    Follow me. We can win together.


    Dennis "the Ladykiller" Hui is the co-founder of Singapore-based promotion Grapple MAX Dojo and is the current Wrestle Square Intercontinental Champion.
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    Item Reviewed: Ladykiller 101: The Business of Seduction Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Smark Henry
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