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    Friday, May 8, 2020

    The Left Side of The Ring: My Wrestling Journey With Smark Henry


    Editor's note: Five years ago, Smark Henry was founded in the hopes of being a watering hole for wrestling fans to engage in critical discourse about our favorite sport or form of entertainment. We're celebrating our fifth anniversary this week through these feature articles to bring back that spirit, even through these troubling times.

    I've always followed the wrestling industry since my childhood days. From the days of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage on our VHS to the late-night viewings of Macho Franco and Joe Pogi in Pinoy Wrestling, wrestling was such a pastime that, even during my teen to adult years, I had carried my love for this kind of entertainment. It may have dwindled over the years (with the Attitude Era being my peak) and the early 2010s being a down period for me.



    By my mid-20s, adulthood had hit me and I put wrestling on the non-priority hobbies list. It didn't help that locally, most of the wrestling shows (WWE specifically) were cut from cable TV. At some point, my only source of enjoyment was the WWE games on video game consoles. That and the short one-hour shows that TV5 put on at very weird timeslots.

    Fast forward to 2018, I found out about the local wrestling scene (yes, I'm a late bloomer) through Smark Henry on Facebook. I don't remember the exact details, but I remember being surprised that 1) there was a local wrestling scene again, and 2) there was a local outfit covering not just the local scene but also wrestling in general. "Oh cool." I thought to myself as I visited their page to follow the latest results to all the local shows.

    I remember Smark Henry had put up ads by June of that same year. They were searching for their newest batch of writers. If my memory serves me correctly it was Wreddit_Regal (Finisher Friday), Nico Parungo (AEW Dynamite reviewer), and Pepe Serapio (former RAW Reviewer) and I (#SGQ) who joined the ranks of contributors for the site. I really wanted to join the site so I volunteered to do fashion duties for the unforeseeable future (watch out as the column will make a comeback soon) until I could take on other assignments as well.


    While I had minimal experience in writing, the Smark Henry office was very supportive of my work and I became more comfortable with my contributions as time passed. A few weeks later, I enjoyed immersing myself in the local scene. I dabbled not only in #SGQ by then but I also did my part in previewing and reviewing the local shows. It actually felt great because I've always thought wrestling shows were the type of shows wherein you just watch and go home afterward. I had the opportunity to meet new people (wrestling fans) and share ideas⁠—especially within the Smark Gilas Pilipinas Facebook group.

    When 2019 began, I took over Stan Sy's NXT review column and that's where I felt I grew even more. Smark Hen-XT was something that I'd look forward to weekly and while some days were rough, NXT was indeed the superior brand in the WWE. It didn't feel like a chore to watch and it received mostly rave reviews from me. It still got the occasional stinker even so. By then, I felt that my thoughts on wrestling and the industry mattered. It felt great to be able to voice out the things I enjoyed and those that I didn't. Sure, I'm no authority but from a fan's perspective, it was wonderful being able to share the experience with our readers.

    This also paved the way for me to tackle bigger writing projects. The NXT column allowed me to step up and meet the big stars such as TJP, Sheamus, Kevin Owens, Ali, and Jeff Cobb. I think I can refer to myself as the unofficial international correspondent of the group as I can't remember how many times I've volunteered to cover the meet-and-greets and press events. They were all such great experiences and I really hope I can add more to my list. That, and I do hope I get more personal one-on-one talks like the one I did with Jeff Cobb in the future.



    I'm two years in and I'm still trying to find new ways to contribute to the group. The columns have become so diverse that I'm starting to discover new things to follow. What started out as a mainly wrestling website has evolved into something more. We've got columns for wrestling-related videogames, music, health tips, and rumors. It's not strictly confined to reviews anymore and that's great.

    While some of my colleagues and I have expressed dissatisfaction with WWE's Black Wednesday and have decided to put our respective columns on hold, I believe this is going to help influence Smark Henry's evolution to provide newer content in the coming weeks. I expect the site and the group to grow even more and become a bigger brand in the future (this isn't me sucking up, by the way). This opens more opportunities for the site to reach a wider audience and that's what I'm looking forward to. Watch out because we're only getting bigger and better.



    I'm proud to say that I've enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) my time with Smark Henry and that I'm glad that I'm part of this wonderful group of wrestling fans. Thank you to my Smark Henry family. Shoutouts to our editors for always finding time to help us with our work. Shoutouts to our solid crew for finding new content to provide each and every week.

    Happy fifth Anniversary, Smark Henry! Here's to more years!


    *****

    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your master NXT reviewer at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz) while he pursues his musical career courtesy of his band The Mox (TheMoxRocks). You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE2K19 (or any PS4) skills. When not being a smark, he lives his life as an awesome architect, musician extraordinaire and armchair fantasy booker.
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    Item Reviewed: The Left Side of The Ring: My Wrestling Journey With Smark Henry Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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