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    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    PWR Renaissance 2016 Preview: James 'Idol' Martinez vs. Ralph Imabayashi

    At PWR Renaissance this Saturday, two men will be looking to end their respective misfortunes when they come face-to-face in singles competition. After a brief altercation at PWR Live: The ShawDown, James "Idol" Martinez and Ralph Imabayashi square off, and both will be raring to go at each other when that bell rings!

    Tale of the Tape


    Height: 5'7"
    Weight: 115 lbs
    Hometown: The Top of the Pyramid
    Championships and accomplishments: None
    Win-loss record: 3-2
    Streak: One-match losing streak
    Finishing moves: Pay-In (inverted DDT elbow drop)

    Since his debut, James "Idol" Martinez has cemented his place as one of PWR's most entertaining talents.

    While many see him as the fast-talking, all-hustle leader of the Network, Idol has proven that he can go in the ring as well. Kicking off his in-ring career with a victory over current PWR Champion Jake De Leon, Idol has since added a couple more victories to his belt, to go with some highlight-reel worthy moments. Couple that with his proficiency on the microphone, and his ability to capture a crowd's attention makes Idol one of PWR's must-see wrestlers.

    Before his tussle with Imabayashi at PWR Live: The Shawdown, Idol picked up a loss in the climax to his feud with longtime rival Rederick Mahaba. Expect him to try and get back into a winning position this Saturday.


    Height: 5'5"
    Weight: 151 lbs
    Championships and accomplishments: PWR Championship (1x)
    Win-loss record: 5-7
    Streak: 5-match losing streak
    Finishing moves: Sonic Crusher

    Heading into 2016, Ralph Imabayashi was on top of PWR as its PWR Champion. Since then, it's all gone downhill for him.

    After losing his title to "Classical" Bryan Leo, Imabayashi continued to be involved in the PWR Championship scene, crossing paths with Jake De Leon in the process. Amidst several losses to the Royal Flush, Imabayashi and De Leon continued to bicker heading into their triple threat match for the PWR Championship at Wrevolution X. That match was won by the Senyorito as he finally claimed back the belt he held but for a moment, but it also meant that Imabayashi's woes would continue.

    While the two have patched things up since then, Imabayashi's slump still stands. To date, the last PWR match the Filipino-Japanese sensation won was last January, when he successfully defended the PWR Championship against the Apocalypse. It's been a long nine months for Imabayashi and he hopes to end his woeful streak against James "Idol" Martinez and the Network this Saturday.

    The History

    Last July, at PWR Live: The ShawDown, Imabayashi squared off against a debuting Vlad Sinnsyk. Imabayashi looked to get back on track after losing his shot at the PWR Championship, and was put to the challenge by a vicious Sinnsyk. To the surprise of many, Sinnsyk picked up the upset victory after a well-placed Muscle Buster, sending Imabayashi to consecutive defeats.

    It was at that point that The Network decided to step in.

    James "Idol" Martinez offered Imabayashi a unique opportunity, one that he claimed would help turn the Fil-Japanese sensation's fortunes around. Promising to help Imabayashi end his losing streak, Idol offered Imabayashi the chance to join the Network as one of his downlines. He even launched a new product—the King Kong Kangkong—and offered Imabayashi the chance to become its first endorser.

    One Sonic Crusher later, and the message was loud and clear: Imabayashi would not be networking his way to victory.

    Idol's version of the events that transpired. Photo from The Network's page.

    Thus, a match was booked for this Saturday at PWR Renaissance. Idol maintains that he is there to help Ralph Imabayashi, claiming that he's lucky to be offered such a life-changing opportunity. Imabayashi, for his part, has constantly refused to "fall down to the level of scammed," and has promised to end the Network's farce when the two finally clash in the ring.

    Our Analysis and Prediction

    Both men are reeling off losses, and thus they'll see this match as an opportunity to get things back on track. However, it does seem like Ralph Imabayashi has more to fight for here, especially given this year's misfortunes. Look for him to be completely focused on picking up the 'W' and reestablishing his place as one of PWR's elite talents.

    However, Imabayashi needs to be careful around these "scammers," as the Network is an entity of many downlines. Idol can easily call on the rest of the pyramid for help, and they'll come rushing to his aid. Top network downline Chino Guinto might have his hands full against SANDATA and the PHX Championship, but there's still the rest of the organization waiting in the wings. We've seen the Network do this before, and come Saturday, they'll be ready to assist their Idol once more.

    Imabayashi has his hands full against the Network, but knowing his talent, this is something he can overcome. This is still one of Idol's toughest matches to date, and he might not be prepared for the tenacity and in-ring style of Imabayashi

    Smark Henry prediction: Ralph Imabayashi snaps his long losing streak with a win over Idol and the Network


    It's another fresh matchup PWR has set up, and come Saturday both men will be itching for a chance to get their hands on each other. Will Idol win and manage to pick up a new downline, or will Ralph Imabayashi put his misfortunes to an end? Let us know your predictions and thoughts in the comments section below!


    PWR Renaissance is happening on Saturday, October 8, at the Unilab Bayanihan Center. Tickets cost Php 400 and can be availed in a number of ways. For more information, stay tuned to the official Facebook event page.

    For the latest news and updates on Philippine wrestling, don't forget to like PWR on Facebook, or visit their official site.

    All photos are by "The Phenomenal" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: PWR Renaissance 2016 Preview: James 'Idol' Martinez vs. Ralph Imabayashi Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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