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    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    #WTFWednesday (3/29/17): Bad Luck Imabayashi

    Let's be blunt about things: Ralph Imabayashi is having a terrible year as of late. Actually, it's been way more than a year. It's not that he's been having poor performances. Far from it. He's been chugging on at full steam ever since he lost his PWR title to "Classical" Bryan Leo (pucha siya). In fact, at the pace he's going, every single mishap has been one step closer for him derailing out of control.

    Choo-choo-choongina niyo.

    Some people have lucky streaks. Imabayashi's been having an unlucky everything. Each time shit happens in his matches, his fans (more on that later) fear he may finally embrace his dark side.

    Nobody can have that much bad juju following him around, you might say. Well folks, since it is Wednesday, we might as well list the chronological order of the sick game life has been playing on him.

    Royally Flushed

    I want to say that losing the belt is the start of where it all started to go to shit, but in reality, the seeds were planted during the previous event, PWR Live: Road to Vendetta, The Royal Flush attacked Imabayashi right after a hard fought title defense against The Apocalypse. "Classical" Bryan Leo (pucha siya) made it known then that he was invoking his rematch clause at PWR Vendetta 2016 in February of last year.

    None of these four would still be friends by now.

    Okay, none of that was out of the ordinary. What should irk Imabayashi was the fact that when he won the title shot after beating John Sebastian, all of his friends were there to celebrate his good fortune. When he was laid out on the ground after eating the entirety of the Royal Flush's finishers, where were his friends? No one showed up to help.

    Losing The PWR Championship

    A friend turning on you is the knife that makes the deepest cut. This was what Ralph Imabayashi had to endure at the hands of his now-former friend, Peter Versoza. An errant Sonic Crusher on the referee after getting his eyes gouged was the opening that Versoza needed to sever his ties with Imabayashi. One Royal Flushdown after, and the title reign of the Fil-Jap Sensation came to an abrupt halt.

    It could've been worse. It's only the second shortest title reign in PWR history

    Manila Madness Miscalculations

    Right after losing the gold, Imabayashi got his chance to get his hands on "Classical" Bryan Leo (pucha siya) in a tag match the month after. Better yet, he had his friend, Jake De Leon, to back him up—also known as the guy who was guaranteed a shot against the man who took his belt. Also, Main Maxx. No biggie.

    If anything could go wrong in that match, it did. Imabayshi was accused of attacking John Sebastian with a weapon, which caused him to throw a tantrum at ringside. This in turn made him miss a much-needed tag attempt by Jake De Leon. He wound up at the wrong end of a misdirected Senyorito Kick that set them up for a Blitzkrieg/ Royal Flushdown and a loss against the Royal Flush.

    I'm noticing a pattern here.

    Imabayashi wound up shoving De Leon, and it seemed that both men would come to blows, but they were separated at the last minute.

    Not His Time at Wrevolution X

    After drawing the lines with a faceplanting Sonic Crusher on fellow PWR title challenger Jake De Leon at PWR Live: Road to Wrevolution X, Imabayashi finally had his chance. Whelp. A Sonic Crusher through two tables was not enough to get him the win that night, and he would be nowhere near a title shot until a year later.

    Now, this is just heartbreaking.

    Back to Basics

    Okay. New year, new venue, new faces. New opportunities, right?

    Oh, come on.

    Imabayashi continued his losing ways at PWR Live: Shawdown, this time at the hands of a wrestler making his debut, Vlad Sinnsyk. It didn't help things that James "Idol" Martinez came out to rub his recent misfortunes in his face.

    and gets a Sonic Crusher to his own face. Much therapeutic-deska.

    Their little spat paved the way for a PWR Renaissance 2016 match between Imabayashi and the Top of the Pyramid.

    All Tied Up

    On paper, the Japanese Fireball had this one in the bag. He was up against the scrawny Idol, with championship experience in his favor. However, stats don't tell the whole story,

    When life wants to mess with you, it'll find a way. In the second straight event, a debuting wrestler hands him a loss, although this time, indirectly. "Mr. Financially Stable" Alexander Belmonte III was waiting under the ring for Ralph Imabayashi, ready to handcuff him and give Idol the countout victory.


    Imabayashi would get his revenge at PWR Live: Suplex Sunday, but there's no erasing the memories of kinbaku at the hands of Belmonte.

    Low Blow at Bagong Yugto

    In what possibly could be a sign for things to come at Wrevolution X, Chino Guinto continued Imabayashi's winless streak in singles matches. An opportune blow to Ralph's "Yamashita treasure" gave Guinto the opening to secure the win. All that was left was one Gold Digger to seal the deal. To add insult to injury, the crowd was very much on Chino's side.

    I need healing.

    Still No Love for Ralph

    At the Path of Gold tournament, the final three men that stood in the ring were Guinto, Imabayashi, and Chris Panzer. The crowd was clearly pro-Guinto, with good reason. The Golden Boy was eliminating people left and right, including two former champions in JDL and Bombay Suarez. The moment that he was finally put away, boos rang loud and clear on Panzer and Imabayashi, and then solely on Imabayashi, who dealt Guinto the Crusher that knocked him out cold for Panzer to pin.

    "Wait lang. Si Panzer yung nag pin. Bakit sa akin kayo galit?"

    Panzer was the one with the hot streak, and it would add another notch to his Panzer redemption tour. And we all know what happened, Panzer got the win after getting 5ue final elimination on Ralph, and Imabayashi, once again, remained winless.

    Losing His Partner

    It wasn't just the Path of Gold trophy that Imabayashi lost that night. He also had to give up his chance at PWR tag team gold. Rederick Mahaba "suffered" a neck injury after being brutally attacked by The Apocalypse. What sucks even more was that Apocalypse wasn't even included in the Path of Gold tournament at all! Well, there was nothing he could do except let his teammate heal up and recover from his injuries.

    Ano baaaaaa?!?!?
    Did the two secretly discuss Mahaba's intent for revenge or was this all just a pile of poopoo luck? It doesn't matter. It was still unfortunate that the attack happened in the first place.

    Really Just Bad Luck

    Since Panzer will be cashing in his Path of Gold opportunity for a chance at the PWR title, that leaves the PHX title up for contention against the reigning champ, Peter Versoza.

    Imabayashi, having taken second place at the previous event, faced SANDATA at PWR Live: Mainit for a chance at the belt around Versoza's waist. Throughout a grueling back and forth bout against SANDATA, Imabayashi wound up defending against the Ankle Lock. He went for the rope break with his foot, but the ref failed to notice it. With the pain too much to bear, he was forced to tap out. He was angry, and rightfully so.

    I think the universe has something against you.

    Back during the inaugural PHX Championship tournament, the ropes would likewise play a huge role in screwing Imabayashi over. Ken Warren used them as leverage to pin Imabayashi and deny him of the PHX title.

    Dammit, ref.

    PWR General Manager Mr. Sy, in an attempt to make things right, has offered Imabayashi and Chino Guinto a chance by making the PHX title match into a three-way bout—but only for whoever wins their one-on-one earlier in the card.

    Will we see Imabayashi finally catch a break, or will Guinto join those who screwed a golden opportunity out of Ralph's hands once again?

    Honestly, I wonder why Imabayashi hasn't yet gone over the edge and went full rage mode on the PWR roster's candy asses. We know he's prone to outbursts and violent reactions. I say, go and embrace it. After 15 months without a singles win—arguably the worst stretch in PWR history—he desperately needs a turnaround in the worst way possible.

    Teach them how to #RespectProWrestling by showcasing how strong you truly are.
    You do your best work when you're Angrierbayashi. Let the akuma inside your soul break free and attack all those in your way.

    You know you want to.


    PWR: Wrevolution X is happening on Sunday, April 30, at the Unilab Bayanihan Center. Gates open at 2 PM. Pre-selling for tickets is ongoing via email or the official PWR Facebook page.

    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 "treat kita ng Burrito as thanks for all the hard work" Pacheco and Jonathan Guillermo of WhenInManila.com
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    Item Reviewed: #WTFWednesday (3/29/17): Bad Luck Imabayashi Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Carlos Pastor
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