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    Thursday, June 20, 2019

    MWF 9: Oras ng Liwanag (The Official Smark Henry Review)

    Oras ng Liwanag has come and gone, and here we are again for a storyline checkup. What happened during MWF 9? How does it affect the stories that MWF seeks to tell? What worked, and what could use some work? Let’s go through each segment and find out.

    A little caveat here: Since I work rigorously with data and numbers in my RL day job, I felt that it would be misleading if I rate segments on a show without applying the same rigor that I do with work. Besides, I am not being analytical here, and I am instead going with whether I liked it or not. So, I will just “grade” parts of the show with likes or dislikes, and then count them all at the end. Alright? Let’s start!

    Pre-show: Red Shirt versus Black Shirt

    MWF showcases some of its trainees who don’t have a gimmick yet by putting them in color-coded shirts and making them wrestle before the show starts. I’m not really a physical guy, and I have zero sports training, so I can’t quite call out spots and such. But the action was believable, and I was into it, up until the match abruptly ended when Black Shirt seemed to get legitimately injured. I hope he’s okay.

    Result: Red Shirt wins via pinfall.
    Verdict: Like. The wrestling was solid, but the ending was a bit of a downer.

    Bendeatha Opens the Show

    Special guest Bendeatha appeared for the opening song. It was enjoyable and engaging. Khayl then showed up to sing "S2pid Luv" with Bendeatha. Khayl was out of tune, but he still had the gall to say that he was the better performer. Bendeatha clotheslined him to close out the segment.

    Verdict: Like. Khayl being more of a comedy heel brings him more in line with the MWF’s intended kid-friendly product, and it’s always good entertainment to see him get some comeuppance.

    Liwanag Prayer Rally

    The House of Liwanag came out in full force (complete with a conservative, non-supernatural version of Jorelle). They thanked Coach Gus for granting them this event, and Moises basically said that he’ll defeat Robin Sane for the title later tonight. They called out three people from the audience to pray over them. And then, they called on a fourth person who was injured in a bike accident, and “cured” his arm.

    Afterward, Coach Gus himself came out and cut his own promo about how he successfully became the MWF Commissioner.

    Verdict: Dislike. I think they took a page out of the WWE playbook in the worst way possible. Long promos suck as an opener, and this was very, long. Given that Bendeatha’s opening was also a promo of sorts, and by the end of it, people were eager to just see some wrestling. Perhaps it would have been better if the prayer part of the promo just stuck to one “miracle.”

    Mayo Smells Weird when Combined with Sweat

    The first official match went underway after yet another promo, this time from the Youngblxxd. Rex Lawin then had the unenviable task of fighting Youngblxxd (Tristan Creed included) in a no-disqualification match. Youngblxxd had the upper hand for most of the match, to the point where Frankie Thurteen said he was bored (more on this later) and had a song played over to continue the beat-up with a beat. At some point, they even made Rex Lawin eat mayonnaise: There’s a reference here that I am probably missing.

    Towards the end of the match, Rex Lawin somehow found the upper hand and hit the Rex-trigger on both Frankie and Morgan, earning him the pin and the win. Youngblxxd ganged up on Rex after, and he was made to kiss the King of Manila’s feet, anyway.

    Result: Rex Lawin defeats the Youngblxxd.
    Verdict: Dislike. Far be it for me to disparage a match that did something new, but adding music to the match effectively removed audience participation from the bout. None of the cheers were heard, and soon it made more sense to just watch. And you don’t go to a wrestling event to just watch.

    Nuclear Launch Detected

    The next match introduced Nuke, whom I hear comes from Art of War Wrestling (AOWW), facing White Shirt in an intro match. Nuke won.

    Result: Nuke spears White Shirt for the pin and the win.
    Verdict: Like. Sometimes, the best way to introduce a powerhouse type of character is to just have him go out and beat the competition. White Shirt got too much offense in for my tastes, but that didn’t detract much from my enjoyment of this match. Besides, the trainees all seem skilled, and it makes sense to highlight some of what they can do while their characters don’t have a storyline yet.

    Matrix of Destabilizers

    Do you like more promos? It doesn’t matter – we’re getting more promos! PAC RG comes out and reveals an ouster plot, this early, into his term. He even showed a Matrix of connections from the ousted Mikers to the other members of the MWF. Fabio Makisig was also there, even though Gus, uhm, donated money to get him to choose the right decision.

    Fabio explained why he didn’t vote for Coach Gus, saying that he looks out for himself, and that he doesn't trust the new commissioner. He then demanded to know more about his supposed match, after which RG introduced Green Shirt, who attacked Fabio from behind. Despite this, Fabio managed to get his mojo back and defeat the trainee. He then advised Green Shirt against sticking with Gus, and asked for his name. Green Shirt introduced himself as Lukas Buhawi then left with Fabio and Khayl, apparently joining the group.

    Result: Fabio Makisig pins Lukas Buhawi
    Verdict: Like. Okay, so many things happened here. First off, it helps that the new RG is a funny parody of TraPos in general, so it helped make the promo quite entertaining. With that said, this was yet another promo. I know I say that I watch wrestling for the story, but at this point, it was getting ridiculous.

    The wrestling itself was good. The Green Shirt, Lukas, brings muscle into the developing stable of Fabio and Khayl, and Fabio sold his offense well. Overall, I liked this more than I hated it, though it was close.

    Ikasa Mo, Ipuputok Ko

    After a brief introduction of the cosplay Spider-Man contestants, we went to Part 2 of action star Gigz Stryker's Ikasa Mo, Ipuputok Ko. In it, Gigz is drinking with Kanto Terror, lamenting RG’s memory loss while drinking. Four guys then try to bully him, and a fight scene ensued.  Notably, Gigz got hit with a bottle, causing his vision to get blurry, so he didn’t quite find out who helped him out in the end. The vibe was very 90s. It was great.

    After that, Gigz Stryker versus PAC RG went underway. The main story here is that Gigz didn’t want to use Asintado on RG, while RG was perfectly willing to do the same. He even Montreal’d Gigz by making the ref call for the bell even though Gigz didn’t tap out yet.

    As RG celebrated, though, he got attacked by Red Shirt from earlier, who now had albularyo headgear on. He threw rotten eggs at RG and called him out for turning his back on him, whoever he was. I guess Red Shirt is a storyline character now!

    Result: RG wins via Montreal Screwjob
    Verdict: Like. Gigz Stryker “movies” are always a treat, and is a good way to tell stories outside of the usual wrestling promo. And as is the trend for this event, when we do get to the wrestling portions, they were all good.

    Submit to the Light

    The next match was a tag team  between Bahay ng Liwanag and Luchadonna and Kanto Terror. This was mostly a showcase of the Liwanag faction, who handily picked up the win. Luchadonna did get some impressive offense in, though, so I figured she’s capable of impressing us more in the future.

    Result: Bahay ng Liwanag wins via double submission.
    Verdict: Like. I was actually a bit concerned about this match before going in, as Luchadonna and Jorelle’s match last month wasn’t so good. I was wondering why that was, too, as Jorelle has proven to be very athletic, while Luchadonna seems to be no slouch, either. This match was a lot better. I think Jorelle, and I’m completely speculating here, can’t quite take on the role of the ring general yet, so her match quality suffers when she fights someone who is her junior. And this time, Jomar or Kanto Terror were there, so maybe someone else was calling all the spots.

    Also, Jorelle has never been pinned. That would probably come up in a future conversation.

    Wais to, Boy!

    Next up is Khayl Sison versus Mr. Lucha. Khayl seemed to have consulted Fabio for this one. They came up with a game plan to make Mr. Lucha chase him around the ring until he got tired. Once that started to happen, Khayl went for a ground game. But Mr. Lucha’s power game prevailed later, and he gained the upper hand. But when the ref got knocked out, Fabio Makisig interfered to secure the win for Khayl.

    After the match, Coach Gus (groan) came out and remarked that even his enemies were fighting against each other. He said he’ll deal with Fabio later, but he had someone special signed for Mr. Lucha. Former PWR champion Classical Bryan Leo then attacks Mr. Lucha from behind.

    Result: Khayl Sison pins Mr. Lucha to become the No. 1 Contender.
    Verdict: Like. This match had a different pace that played well Khayl’s character, so I liked it. Also, the idea of Khayl versus Robin Sane excites me somehow. But more on this later. For now, it’s interesting to note that we’re getting more and more transfers from other promotions to MWF.

    Rex Lawin vignettes

    Throughout the show, Rex Lawin has been seen on the big screen hunting the Youngblxxd. He seems pissed.

    Verdict: Dislike. I like the idea, but these segments suffered from technical difficulties.

    One Thousand, Three Hundred and Fifty

    The main event went underway. Moises’ mind games with Robin gave him an advantage in the first part of the match, allowing him to dominate much of the early action. Whenever Robin Sane seemed to get the upper hand, Moises distracted the referee so that Jomar and Jorelle could attack Robin. Towards the end, however, Robin’s heart helped him power through and defeat Moises with three 450 splashes thrice in a row.

    Afterwards, Coach Gus appeared (groaaaan) to announce that MWF is indeed going global. Next month, Robin Sane will defend his title against Hong Kong Mainland China’s Ho Ho Lun.

    Result: Robin Sane (C) pins Moises Liwanag.
    Verdict: Like. In the three years that I’ve been following MWF, this is the first time that I can say that Moises’s wrestling impressed me. He’s generally been more of a mic worker than an in-ring one, so it’s great to see him deliver here. I also like how Robin Sane decisively won this match. Prior to this event, I commented about how Robin Sane needed to look strong. And this time, he did.

    Other Matters

    • Wait, isn’t Khayl Sison the actual No. 1 Contender? Why bill a No. 1 Contender’s match if the plan is for Ho Ho Lun to challenge for the title anyway? Verdict: Dislike.
    • MWF is strongly leaning towards political satire. RG does the budots dance. The Gus administration promises to change everything in three to six months. A matrix of destabilizers. Billing Ho Ho Lun from Mainland China. I personally think satirical portrayals are useful and that it helps keep a nation healthy, but it might also bring strange, political heat to an entertainment medium. Will this help them or hurt them? Verdict: Withholding judgment.
    • They had a lot of technical difficulties. While this is not their fault per se, I feel like they should have redundancies in place to minimize these issues. Verdict: Dislike.
    • To keep MWF events free, they need to give time to their sponsors. This is the reality that MWF finds itself in, and in general I am okay with it. I think making events free is the best way to grow their audience, though they probably need to avoid upscale malls like Venice. That said, they should probably adjust their promo time to adapt to the necessity of sponsors. Verdict: Neutral.

    Total Likes: 7
    Total Dislikes: 5

    MWF will hold its 10th show, Republika, at Lucky Chinatown Mall in Manila on July 27. As with the past three shows, Republika will be free to the public. MWF Champion Robin Sane will defend his title against former WWE Cruiserweight Classic and NXT competitor Ho Ho Lun in the main event.
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    Item Reviewed: MWF 9: Oras ng Liwanag (The Official Smark Henry Review) Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BJ Recio
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