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    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    PWR Live: Mainit—The Official Smark Henry Review

    Hello again, Smarks! GCP here with the review for the recently concluded PWR Live: Mainit.

    Let me just say, right off the bat, that if you missed this event, I feel sorry for you. With all confidence and honesty, this has got to have been one of the best lead-ups to a major show I've seen since my very first PWR show back in 2015.

    Sooooo, so, so, so much has changed since then. :(

    Back then, there was a three-way tag team match between Dual Shock, Beer Promdi, and the Fighters 4 Hire. Fast forward to 2017, we've just concluded the first round of the PWR Tag Team Tournament and three teams are once again heading to Wrevolution X this April 30 to finally determine who's the best around.

    "Champ ba kamo?"

    As with any lead-up show, rivalries are coming to a head as they prepare for the grandest event of the year, Wrevolution X. The action was non-stop, bodies were literally flying in and out of the ring. Sweet baby Cheezus, practically everyone brought their A-game that night. Deceit, deception, and danger were all present that night. It was wild. Like Iverson's-first-birthday wild—the poor kid who had the misfortune of having his party right next to a wrestling show.

    Don't let the innocent looking sign fool you. Iverson's party was L.I.T.

    Yes, with hits come some misses, but they were thankfully very few. It happens, but don't let that take away how awesome this event was.

    Alrighty, then. Get some coffee, make some popcorn, and get ready for our full review.


    The Ranking System

    Los Ingoburritos de Pinas has wowed the Revo-Nation with its amazing take on that ever-popular Mexican delicacy, the burrito. Since PWR Live: Bagong Yugto, the crowd has taken it upon themselves to consume each and every last piece in stock. With PWR Live: Mainit, they've unleashed a new flavor to match the heat of the action: The Sisig Burrito.

    No better pics were available because it somehow teleported into mah belly.

    In honor of such a delightful dining experience, this event's review will use a 5-burrito rating system, with five being the best, and one having the lowest grade. Because honestly, eating just one burrito will leave you craving for more.

    Five Burritos

    It's 6 am in the morning, and I'm torturing myself with all of these image searches.

    Jake De Leon vs. Chris Panzer

    Originally, the rankings were only supposed to go up to four burritos. However, I was staring at my notebook and started to think long and hard. Yes, the original four burrito matches were great. They earned their accolades. But this match showcasing The Senyorito against The Leader of the Panzer Army, it was at a whole different level.

    All eyes on Panzer.

    Where do I even begin with this one? The attempted Alipin Drop as Chris Panzer hops over Jake De Leon? That sweet, sweet high kick to the Senyorito's face? Or this? The OG of PoG and Papa of Gold put on one hell of a performance.

    "Ay, punyeta"—JDL

    It was an amazing match charged with the emotions of two men. One who has seen what it takes to wear the mantle of champions, the other a man who's out to prove that he's worthy of said mantle. They're friends, there's no doubt about that. But the weight of being on top of the heap is an amazing burden to bear—something JDL knows all too well. He also knows that Panzer has had numerous chances to take the gold but has always fallen short. There was truly only one way to see if Panzer was ready to shed his "choke artist" mantle, and it was to test his friend himself.

    "If one more wrestler tries to stop me, there's gonna be some Panzer Army in the lobby."

    After all was said and done, Chris Panzer walked away from the match victorious, with his biggest signature win to date. He's continued to give his fans hope, securing a third straight win against a former champion after pinning Ralph Imabayashi at the Path of Gold match and Ken Warren at PWR Live: Bagong Yugto. Will we finally get to see him wear gold this time around? John Sebastian's definitely waiting for him.

    ("Beautiful" Billy Suede attacked JDL after the match, in retaliation for The Senyorito coming to McKata's defense earlier that night. More on this later.)

    Chris Panzer def. Jake De Leon via Eagle Splash

    Four Burritos

    The First Round of the PWR Tag Team Tournament: The Deadly Sinns vs. Delirium, Fighters 4 Hire vs. The Network, The Punk Dolls vs. The YOLO Twins

    I waited two long years for the tag team division to finally be legitimized by a championship all its own. I know I'm not the only one. And by all that is good in this world, the PWR tag teams did not disappoint.

    Nobody gave Delirium much of a chance. After all, they were going up against one of the favorites to win the whole tournament, The Deadly Sinns. As two of the most successful from the New Breed since PWR Live: Shawdown, Mike Madrigal and Vlad Sinnsyk have shown that kupal and crazy are a scary combination. However, that did not prevent Delirium showcasing to the entire PWR nation that they did not believe one bit what the odds had to say.

    This was very satisfying to watch.

    Despite their best efforts, Dax Xaviera and Dan Ericson were still overwhelmed by the sheer brutality of MadVlad. Ericson ended up at the business end of Sanus Mortem, and The Deadly Sinns booked the first slot for the three-way final match happening at Wrevolution X.

    The Deadly Sinns def. Delirium via Sanus Mortem (Advances to the Tag Team Tournament Finals)

    Prior to the Tag Team Tournament, the Fighters 4 Hire and The Network have had no real beef with each other. It was weird seeing them facing off, actually. Other than butting heads at the Path of Gold match last month (which really involved Chino Guinto, rather than James "Idol" Martinez or Alexander Belmonte III, thrown against F4H), there was no storyline between them to drive this match forward.

    They don't get it either.

    The way it seemed to me then was that it wasn't about Tito & Kuya vs. The Guys In Green, but more about something we've been dreading for quite some time. Goodbye, Network.

    "A Fiesta of Friendship for me? Thanks Boss!"

    Martinez started the match with a quick commercial, relaying what Mr. Sy would say earlier regarding the Chino issue: that the Network would deal with it internally. Idol would troll the crowd and Chino fans everywhere, by making them believe The Golden Boy would show up. Not gonna happen. Belmonte got his chance to prove himself as the better choice that night.

    Like helping the boss lift heavy titos.

    The Network was doing quite well, actually. They managed to hit the Pay-In on Miguel Rosales, but Joey Bax saved the day. This eventually led to the tide shifting in F4H's favor, and Belmonte pleading to his boss to help him. To the shock of everyone, even to Bax and Rosales themselves, Idol walked away, letting his Downline endure the combined power of Fighters 4 Hire with a jaw-jacking Death Warrant on the way to their victory and the second ticket to the Tag Team Tournament finale.

    (Checkout the Talking Points below to see more about our Network Theory.)

    The Fighters 4 Hire def. The Network via Death Warrant (Advances to the Tag Team Tournament Finals)

    (Yessssss, we're finally at my favorite first round match!)

    As what's been said in the Tag Team Tournament Tactics article, both teams had key strengths going into the bout. The Punk Dolls beat the Katipunan Conyos in their initial meeting, but The YOLO Twins are the ones riding the momentum off of a win. At the get go, both teams were evenly matched. The action was going back and forth when the action spilled out of the ring and Martivo launched himself at the Twins. And then...

    "Bahala na si Batman!"

    But just as Martita was cleaning house with the last slot for the tag finals within their grasps, The Network showed up to distract the Punk Dolls long enough for the YOLO Twins to hit stereo superkicks and a Two Night Stand on Martivo.

    This was actually earlier in the match, but Martivo's got his revenge

    The Network would then attack Martivo and Robynn, until Crystal ran in to ward off The Gang in Green and share a tense handshake with the Punk Princess. Check out the Announcements by Mr. Sy section below to find out the aftermath of this interaction.

    The YOLO Twins def. The Punk Dolls via Two Night Stand (Advances to the PWR Tag Team Tournament Finals)

    Rederick Mahaba Announces His Retirement

    There's something incredibly heartbreaking when a wrestler has to get in the ring and tell his fans that he's done. At the beginning of the PWR Live: Mainit main show, Rederick Mahaba stood in front of the Basted Club and said exactly that. Due to a pre-existing condition in his neck that was exacerbated by that attack from Apocalypse, The King of Schlong Style would sadly have to hang up his gear.

    Pardon my French, pero TANGINAAAAAAAAAA

    Thoughts raced through my head. As a big dude myself, all the weight was bound to cause some lingering injuries at some point. Did it have something to do with work/life balance? All I knew for sure was that I was not the only one saddened by the news. His doctors had not cleared him yet to compete, and it was definitely a risk he didn't want to push. He had so much unfinished business with The Apocalypse. Why was hate and anger winning over the power of love?

    And with that, he went back to enjoying wrestling as a fan. As a man content to watching from the seats as one of us. 

    During the PHX title match between Peter Versoza and Apocalypse, however...


    With the referee knocked down and Apocalypse waiting for the count to claim the belt, Rederick Mahaba would storm the ring, weapon in hand, and viciously attack him with a crowbar.

    The Bayanihan Center guards need new security equipment.

    Exacting sweet, sweet revenge on the one responsible for his Path of Gold loss, Mahaba capped it off with an It's More Slam in the Philippines to take gold away from Apocalypse's hands as well.

    Much to the surprise of everyone, it turns out that he was medically cleared. But he chose to bide his time until the right moment to strike. Parang abangers lang.

    The med cert had a box that read: Can you describe the cause of the injury?

    Seeing this as a great opportunity to settle the score, PWR General Manager Mr. Sy announced the addition of another bout for Wrevolution X. And seeing as how these two would definitely tear into each other once the bell rang, it was declared to be an All Out War match.

    PHX Contendership Match(SANDATA vs. Ralph Imabayashi)

    From the opening bell, this was a highly technical match. Both men were looking to take out the heels of the other guy, with SANDATA obviously trying to set up his Ankle Lock. Ralph Imabayashi, on the other hand, was trying to rake in the damage on the Pinoy Tecnico. It was never going to be a quick match with these two.

    The hand flair adds +17 damage

    The most noteworthy part of the match, though, was the ending. With Imabayashi down near the ropes, SANDATA secured the Ankle Lock and squeezed with all his might. Imabayashi, displaying his ring awareness, immediately put his foot on the ropes to break the hold. Unfortunately, the ref was unable to see the escape attempt and Imabayashi was forced to tap out due to the pain.

    Imabayashi seriously cannot catch a (rope) break

    An angry Imabyashi (well, angrier than usual) lashed out at all who would listen, even making his way to the sound area where he tried to confront Mr. Sy. Unable to find him, the  Japanese Fireball could only seethe in anger as his string of bad luck continued.

    "NASAAN NA TALENT FEE NAMI...oops, wrong guy"

    Could this be the final straw for Imabayashi? Seriously, this guy is super unlucky. He's been on the wrong kind of a streak since losing his PWR title. The only real respite that he had was winning against The Network, but its been definitely outweighed by everything else. You definitely can't blame him for wanting to lash out at something...or someone.

    SANDATA def. Ralph Imabayashi via Ankle Lock (earns PHX title shot at Wrevolution X)

    Three Burritos

    Crystal's Bootcamp Challenge

    Let it be known that Crystal is a generous PWR wrestler. She's captured the hearts of the PWR fanbase with her gung-ho attitude and bring-all-challengers mentality. What better way to share the blessings she was given than to let another bootcamper shine on the stage?


    Sorry, smarks. Poch isn't going to suddenly tear off his suit and showcase his awesome mic-themed moves. That honor belonged to the other guy in the pic, referee Trian Dela Torre. After dispatching the first Young Boy to step up, he revealed his touching story on his journey towards the PWR ring. 

    Also a midget wrestling champion. Didn't know Ringside had their own promotion.

    He provided quite a challenge. Claiming he was declared The Little People's Champion, he showed his heart was definitely super-sized. As they say, its not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

    Careful, Crystal. Ground techniques are his specialty.

    Despite losing in his attempt against Crystal, Trian dela Torre showed the PWR roster that they'll need to start improving their lower body defense. Unless they want a Superkick to the toes.

    "Oh, 5pm na. Nap na" - Young Boy

    Crystal def. Trian Dela Torre via Solemate (Dela Torre's debut match)

    Two Burritos

    Evan Carleaux vs. Bolt

    As this match was the one that kicks off the night, I was expecting it to end pretty quickly. Here you had Evan Carleaux, fresh from his PWR debut at Path of Gold, going up against Bolt. "Who's Bolt?", you might ask. Well, he's a ninja, it seems. He did pretty well against Carleaux, being able to implement some of his own offense. In the end, he still falls to Carleaux's Tech Noir submission.

    "Eteauxng sayeaux, Jhepeauxy Dizeauxn!"

    Truth be told, I'm not much of a fan of these kinds of debuts. There was practically no buildup to the Bolt character, it's like he just appeared out of nowhere. Like... a ninja. This isn't a diss on the guy, we all saw that he can hang with Carleaux. He's proven it.

    (Edit: As some of my fellow staff members have pointed out, pre-show debuts are hardly canon. Sorrymase, Bolt-san)

    Evan Carleaux def. Bolt

    "Beautiful" Billy Suede vs. McKata

    It's a squash match, not much we can say about it except for two main things.

    First off, I don't know whether McKata botched his lines or if his incoherent mumbling was intentional against the English-speaking Billy Suede. Suede covered for him perfectly, improvising to make it look all natural.

    "Paki translate, please"

    The second part was that after the match was done, Jake De Leon ran in to save McKata from further punishment. Suede was unhappy with the degree of opponents he's had, hence he took out his frustrations on McKata. The clash didn't end there, as Suede would attack De Leon after the Senyorito lost to Chris Panzer, setting up a match for Wrevolution X.

    If you listen closely, you can hear Darly's ovaries going overdrive

    The match makes sense, as it settles both men's problems. Suede is hungry for quality competition. Jake De Leon, arguably one of the best wrestlers in the PWR, has no opponent leading up to Wrevolution X. Of course, let's make the two clash. It'll be a damn good match for sure.

    "Beautiful" Billy Suede def. McKata

    One Burrito

    PHX Championship Match: Apocalypse vs. Peter Versoza (C)

    Maaaaaaaaaan, this was disappointing to me. It's not because the match lacked action. Far from it. I used to love watching Peter Versoza wrestle. Lately though, there's something missing in the equation. He still does great work, but there's a certain disconnect from the Revo-Nation when it comes to his matches. For a title match, the crowd was eerily quiet. 

    The same goes for Apocalypse. He used to be such a force, someone that you didn't want to have opposite you in the ring. Nowadays, he's just another wrestler, one who has lost his air of invincibility. He used to put his victims out of commission for weeks or months at a time. Now, he's already used a crowbar and Rederick Mahaba was still left standing, medically cleared to snatch Apocalypse's chance at gold.

    "HR, nasaan kayooooo?"

    The highlight of the match was actually the ending. Mahaba inserted himself in the match after a tense confrontation with the man who supposedly aided in cutting his career as a wrestler short. 

    Peter Versoza def. Apocalypse via pinfall after a Mahaba interference (retains the PHX title)


    PWR Championship Match: Main Maxx vs. John Sebastian (C)

    If you don't know yet by now, the main event of the PWR Live: Mainit ended rather abruptly. Main Maxx, after landing a routine stomp on John Sebastian's leg, dislocated the knee cap of his supporting leg and was visibly in pain, unable to get up anymore. It was an unfortunate ending to an otherwise impressive card.

    John Sebastian delivered some punishment on his former friend and ally, raining blows with his kendo stick on the face of Maxx. Panzer came out afterwards to brawl with Sebastian and the action eventually spilled backstage.

    "I can't see shit"

    Main Maxx is taking some much needed rest after his kneecap was popped back in place, and we here at Smark Henry and the rest of the Revo-nation wish him a full recovery.

    No-Contest due to injury (John Sebastian retains the PWR Championship)

    Talking Points

    Is The Network in danger of imploding?

    The signs point towards a bleak future for The Network. An increasingly frustrated James "Idol" Martinez has refused to listen to the pleas of the masses to #FreeChino from his suspension. I get it, it's his prerogative. 

    However, at the first round match for the PWR Tag Team titles, Idol left Alexander Belmonte III hanging. True, they did show up together again to attack The Punk Dolls after their match. But when Crystal showed up to Robynn's aid, Idol looked on as Belmonte ate a Solemate to the face. His reaction? A simple shrug as he continued to attack Martivo.

    "Big boy na siya."

    It could probably be nothing more than Idol letting Belmonte take the licks to toughen him up. Maybe it was just him exhibiting good leadership skills by making sure that his subordinates develop good discipline by not pandering to the whims of others. I really hope I'm just overanalyzing these things.

    Finally, a PWR Women's match.

    Let's face it, Robynn and Crystal are the real pioneers of women's wrestling in the PWR. They've no doubt put in the work to make their much-awaited clash one to watch out for. They've both faced tough competition, celebrated victories, and learned lessons through losses.

    "Wag ka biglang magreretire ah"

    A much awaited match between the first two women in the PWR fizzled when Scarlett abruptly retired from pro wrestling before PWR Live: Shawdown. It wasn't exactly a huge loss for the women's division, as it allowed Crystal to showcase her moves against one of the baddest men (at the time), Main Maxx. Previously losing to Peter Versoza, she has since wowed the Revo-Nation by breaking any misconceptions one might have regarding women and wrestling. She can definitely go toe to toe with the best of them.

    Robynn is no less a competitor with a huge heart and a fiery fighting spirit. The Punk Princess has proven that the ring knows no gender, but the desire of whoever steps in through the ropes. And I'm a firm believer that Robynn has that burning desire.

    "Don't worry, I'll show up."

    Ralph Imabayashi the Dark Incoming?

    Is Ralph finally going to turn heel? Well, you really can't blame him if he does. After losing his PWR title back to "Classical" Bryan Leo (pucha siya) he hasn't quite regained his winning ways. He's lost two rematches for the PWR belt, lost his took out his frustrations on a friend, lost to a bootcamper making his debut, been tied up under the ring by another debuting wrestler, was cheated out of a win by The Network, and lost his chance at a PHX title match because a ref messed up. Oh, and Chino Guinto gets cheered instead of him.

    Desperate times.

    Shiiiiit, I'm surprised he hasn't blown up months ago. Someone check his blood pressure. Go on, Ralph. Embrace the anger.

    Announcements by Mr. Sy

    The normally suit-wearing Mr. Sy transforms into his Alola form during the summer months

    1. Trian Dela Torre gets a contract
    2. Apocalypse vs. Rederick Mahaba in an All Out War match
    3. "Beautiful" Billy Suede vs. Jake De Leon
    4. Robynn vs. Crystal in the first ever PWR women's match

    Event Accolades

    Wrestlers of the Night: Chris Panzer & Jake De Leon

    Match of the Night: Chris Panzer vs. Jake De Leon (Duh, guys)

    Move of the Night: Robynn with the Bahala na si Batman on The YOLO Twins

    Best Crowd Reaction: Trian Dela Torre and the heights he had to scale to reach the PWR ring

    Event Rating: Four Burritos


    PWR Live: Mainit was a damn good event. Really, you can't deny how great a card this was, even without our beloved Chino Guinto.

    FANS OF CHINO! (Chino's Fans!)

    The go-home show for Wrevolution X set forth a great momentum for the biggest annual event for pro wrestling in the Philippines. It pushed certain wrestlers in the right direction, setting up for what could arguably be awesome matches when April 30 arrives.There were some concerns, but we trust the PWR to take care of business on their home turf.

    Pucha guysssss, I'm really excited for Wrevolution X naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!


    George Pastor writes our weekly #WTFWednesday column as well as all things MMA-related. He got into judo because it was the closest sport available where it was perfectly fine to slam someone without getting expelled.

    Photo credits go to Hub "For Podcast" Pacheco
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    Item Reviewed: PWR Live: Mainit—The Official Smark Henry Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Carlos Pastor
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