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    Wednesday, May 31, 2017

    #SGQ: The Great Jacket Wars of 2017

    Welcome to another catwalkin', Fashion Police stalkin', style-critiquing, savagely-nitpicking edition of #SGQ, our semi-irregular column here at Smark Henry where we cast a side-eye on anything to do with fashion and aesthetics in the pro wrestling world.

    We're coming off of a ridiculously-fun show by the Philippine Wrestling Revolution last Sunday, and for whatever the show venue was lacking in ventilation, it more than made up for in in-ring action. But even more exciting for the Smark Henry style editors? All the crazy new jackets on parade, that's what!

    Jackets are pretty much a staple of a wrestler's entrance gear—can anyone imagine Bret Hart without his trademark leather-and-epaulet jacket, for instance, or Chris Jericho without his crazy light-up piece-de-resistance? They're a fun way to add dimension to a wrestler's character, and allows them to make a statement without having to spend $15,000 on a feathered robe like Ric Flair's.

    Funnily enough, the four main parties to have rocked some slick jackets at PWR Live: Resbak have started a new hashtag war, asking their social media followers to vote on who wore theirs best: "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon, Ralph Imabayashi, "The Golden Boy" Chino Guinto, Ken Warren, and the YOLO Twins.

    With one week left to vote, we're seeing Chino Guinto in the lead.

    Now all we've got is one vote, but we sure as hell can raise a stiff argument as to who the grand champion of the #JacketWars should be.

    Here we go!

    Honorable Mention


    The best thing about PWR's Huling Mandirigma is the cool contrast in everything about him. He's mysterious and masked, but also has one of the flashiest movesets in PWR. By all rights, he should be wearing the zaniest, most flamboyant gear in the company—except that he prefers to mute down his accessorization with simple, non-descript pieces that let us know he's all business in the squared circle.

    That's why we love his collection of hoodies so much. The man favors either black or gray Uniqlo jackets that both reinforce his mystique and show off his preference for functional wear. They go beautifully with his Nike fight gear, and evoke mental images of fighters going through a training montage in an old-timey sports movie.

    The only thing is that perhaps they're too generic sometimes. We'd love to see some added detailing to connect further with his character—the "wings" that garnish his iconic OG mask perhaps, or some continuity with the chain-mail pattern on his tights.

    We won't nitpick too much though. We're just saying that compared to the four other combatants in the Jacket Wars, he's probably pre-show at best.

    The Main Event

    Jake De Leon

    Okay, we just have to come out and say this: "The Senyorito" may be a two-time PWR Champion, but that old black superhero cape he used to wear to the ring was lame. Juxtaposed against De Leon's boyish features and mango-yellow colorway, he looked more like a kid playing dress-up than one of the country's best pure wrestlers of all time.

    We love the varsity jacket he's been rocking to the ring the past few months though. It evokes classic memories of the old Varsity Club stable from WCW, which starred "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, Rick Steiner, and Mike Rotunda, or instant cred as the resident "Big Man On Campus" in the mold of a Stan Hansen or John Bradshaw Layfield. Not a bad group to pay homage to!

    The yellow-on-black scheme makes it tough to wear outside a wrestling show, but hell, we'll take it. At the very least, it's a subconscious cue for the iconic symbol for biohazards—perfect imagery for a man as lethal and dangerous in the ring as anyone in Filipino wrestling today. We just wish it matched perfectly with the shade of yellow on his tights. Coordination, man.

    The thing we like least about it? The fact that the back just bears his name. That veers slightly towards the tacky end of things—it violates the Magnificent Bastard manifesto of avoiding anything legible—and probably would have been more wearable if it featured something more discreet like a monogram.

    Verdict: *** 1/2

    "The Golden Boy" Chino Guinto

    We're unabashed fans of the newly-crowned PHX Champion and love how he's so unapologetic of his innate douchebaggery, his new-found status as a fan favorite notwithstanding. With his trademark double-popped collar, his old beltbag and colored Wayfarers, nobody screams #sorrynotsorry louder than the Hotshot Hustler from Alabang Hills.

    So we'll forgive his jacket for looking completely douchebaggy; that's the point after all. From the eye-searing shade of iridiscent green that clashes completely with the red-and-white varsity piping to the massive #BLESSED applique woven across the back to the giant rose and lightning bolt patches sewn all over the damn thing, it's one massive eyesore.

    But that's precisely what makes the Chino Guinto jacket so great. It's supposed to scream for attention the way its wearer does in the ring. Who cares about complementary hues and discreet detailing when you can look like a champ?

    It violates the principle of minimal legibility too, but at least it doesn't sport his name; on that point alone, "The Golden Boy" scores a slight advantage over the field.

    Verdict: **** 1/2

    Ralph Imabayashi

    First of all, guys, that's not a jacket. It's a damn coat.

    It's regal and majestic, we'll confess, and is a huge leap forward from the dainty little bathrobe Imabayashi used to wear to the ring before giving in to his dark side. But the fact remains: a coat does not belong in the #JacketWars.

    Verdict: Nuisance candidate

    Ken Warren & The YOLO Twins (Yohann & Logan Ollores)

    One of our all-time favorite pieces of pro wrestling apparel to date? Ken Warren's infamous sandong may mukha. If  takes one kind of jerk to wear gear with his own name on it, it's an even greater kind to wear merch featuring his own damn face.

    That's the only reason why we're docking points from this crew of scummy millennials—the fact that they already had a great thing going with face-bearing merchandise, but took one step down and settled for their names.

    Sure, it certainly helps us settle once and for all which YOLO Twin is Yohann and which one is Logan (clue: Logan is the whiny one, but he's also the one in red), but in this case we'd have wanted more flamboyance over functionality. The font doesn't work for us as all—all the tails and notches get a little bit busy, and it's not a typeface that doesn't truly work for an all-uppercase treatment the way these dudes wanted. Goth and millennial just don't mix, guys. Sorry.

    Here's a softball for these dudes. Remember that old Ultimate Warrior jacket with his likeness spray-painted all over the back?

    That's the kind of supreme statement we'd love to see from this powerhouse new stable, and for now, these jackets just don't cut it.

    Verdict: ***


    What's your favorite jacket in the great PWR #JacketWars of 2017? Got any suggestions on how to improve any of them? Click on over to the Twitter survey hosted by PWR and cast your vote—you have one more week to make your voice heard!


    Photos by "Heavy Metal" Hub Pacheco.
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    Item Reviewed: #SGQ: The Great Jacket Wars of 2017 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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