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    Tuesday, August 27, 2019

    PWR Renaissance 2019: The Official Smark Henry Review

    PWR Renaissance is a big show that always delivers. It isn't a surprise that Philippine Wrestling Revolution goes all out when it comes to one of their "Big Four" shows. Now, they also went all out in hyping us up for a future show. We've got a lot on our plate today, so why don't we go ahead and start with the actual review?

    Per tradition, I'll be doing the review in tiers so it'll be easier to break down. In honor of Zayden Trudeau's exemplary performance, our tiers will be based on Canadian wrestlers who've made a mark (or lack thereof) in wrestling. These tiers are based on my personal preference so please don't judge me. Also, I'm avoiding Chris Benoit, so there's no tier based on him.

    Here we go!

    Tier 1: Bret "The Hitman" Hart

    Photo from WWE

    The best there is. The best there was. The best there ever will be. This is a tier to represent the most famous wrestling export that Canada has produced. If you mention Canada and wrestling in the same sentence, expect Bret Hart's name to follow soon after. Hence, this tier represents the best of the night.

    There's Something In Their Coffee

    I was a huge fan of the Zayden Trudeau vs. Cali Nueva match. I've been craving for this match since it was teased back at PWR Wrevolution X. If you enjoyed the three-way at PWR Live: Championship Spirit, then this one-on-one bout should seal the deal for you.

    These two were insane. From the start, they hit dueling high-flying moves: an elbow drop from Zayden and a 450 Splash from Cali Nueva. Then, they continued to amp up the exchanges with some high-octane, fast-paced action. If this is indeed Zayden's last match for a while, I'm sure he didn't hold back and thus, this became an instant classic.

    The best takeaway from this one is that Cali Nueva is now the #1 Contender to Chino Guinto's PHX Championship after the pre-match stipulation announcement. I'm glad they're investing time in building him up. I've always believed in the hipster's skills so I hope that Nueva vs. Guinto does not disappoint when it happens.

    Tier 2: Edge

    Photo from WWE

    The Ultimate Opportunist. The Rated-R Superstar. He has accomplished so much in the business and transcended many boundaries that he is one of the biggest legends Canada has produced. Well, he's not as big as Bret, though, but Edge is still a huge name in his own right.

    Just like Edge, these matches were great, but not on the Bret level. Still, they were awesome. If Bret is an S-Rank, imagine this as an A-Rank.

    MSG Is Still Not Bad For You

    Photo from PWR's Facebook page

    I'm putting both MSG matches in this tier because not only were they fun, they also advanced their respective storylines in such a splendid way. Okay, maybe I had too much of Mr. Sy for the night, but he was used effectively so I'll give it a pass.

    First, Mike Madrigal vs. Chris Panzer was spot on. The wrestling was great, the rivalry was fun and the outcome was the right choice. Panzer winning proves that aligning with MSG really does have its benefits. He is now slated to face QUATRO for the PWR Championship at PWR Live: Beautiful. If he wins the title, I wouldn't be sad about it because he deserves this run.

    Mike's loss had an interesting effect as well. His new #puso mantra caught the attention of "Beautiful" Billy Suede, who was revealed to be making his return for PWR Special: Homecoming. Before that, though, Suede will be facing Madrigal at PWR Live: Beautiful next month, so expect a top-notch contest.

    Moving forward, the most talked-about event happened during the MSG vs. Naughty Boys match. The match itself was hysterical as Mr. Sy teased in-ring action all throughout without committing to it. Meanwhile, the Naughty Boys returned to their peak tag team form. This, however, did not last long because the biggest OMG moment happened soon after.

    We all expected GrabCamus to ruin everything, but it was actually Kapitan Tutan who cost his team the victory! Tutan finally snapped as he hit the Boys with chair shots that could be heard around the arena. When it was all over, the sneaky Mr. Sy pinned Trian to cement his undefeated record.

    As of writing, Tutan hasn't given a statement yet but expect that this whole saga will be as interesting as the GrabCamus "Patalo" story. Heck, even Jhemherlhynn cursed Kap and that's somewhat uncharacteristic, so I expect some surprising developments.

    Baby Shark Doot-doo-doo-doo

    I was skeptical when the whole Australian invasion was first announced because they were all relative unknowns to me. Now, I'll be the first to admit that Andrew "The Shark" Carter won me over with his performance. He was fun to watch and served as the perfect foil for QUATRO. I would be glad to see him perform again in the future.

    Now, don't get me wrong. QUATRO also delivered (as he always does). I've seen him snag Wrestler of the Night plenty of times in the Smark Henry reviews. In this match, he was able to give us another facet of him that we've never seen. The guy has improved yet again—proving that he's a star that can match up with anybody.

    I actually think he doesn't even need the title anymore. At least he has the accolade of being a "former" PWR Champion if he loses it. In hindsight, it might even benefit him because he'll be able to mix it up with top talents from everywhere just as Jake De Leon does. Well, that, and I'm also rooting for Chris Panzer to win because it's the only way to go.

    The PWOG's Debut

    First of all, the newly released #PWOG theme is a banger. Seriously, I'm waiting for our TST feature on it.

    Yohann and Logan Ollores are two of the best tag team wrestlers in the local industry today. Add some Jake De Leon and Ken Warren magic, and we've got ourselves a hit. My expectations were already high when this match was announced and they did not disappoint.

    I'm glad Ken turned up as JDL's mystery partner because he needed a way to get back in the game. Ken hasn't really had much going on after Chris Panzer betrayed him, so this is a welcome development in my book. I just hope JDL doesn't turn on him because Warren has already been betrayed twice before and I really don't want to see it happen a third time.

    I just think they need to work on refining their tag team repertoire and they could easily compete for the PWR Tag Team Championships in the future.

    Tier 3: Kevin Owens

    Photo from WWE

    Kevin Owens is a great wrestler. He's accomplished a lot outside of the WWE and is currently in one of WWE's most interesting storylines. He has a lot of upside and potential but isn't quite on the level of Edge just yet.

    Just like him, these matches represent those which were fun and enjoyable but still have room for improvement. The potential to turn these stories and matches into something more is prevalent. Think of this tier as the B-Rank matches.

    Some Are Friends, Some Are Foes

    Photo from PWR's Facebook page

    Nina and Imabayashi have been through a lot. Their backstory aired out last year at PWR Live: Homefront, so we know this one has been brewing for quite some time. It might be a little late, but at least they found an opportune time to insert this into IMABAYASHI's redemption arc.

    It looks like Nina's stint at Santino Bros Wrestling Academy paid off because she was fun to watch. I do think that some of her move setups took time, but still, it was a great performance from her. She's an interesting addition to the growing women's roster of PWR and I look forward to seeing her mix it up with the others.

    Post-match, the two made amends which was good for IMABAYASHI. However, the feel-good moment didn't last long as the YOLO Triplets arrived to open some old wounds.

    The sins IMABAYASHI committed took some time to bite him back in the ass, but it will be interesting to see how these play out in his current story. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing if Rederick Mahaba can forgive him.

    Target Denied

    Similar to my comments regarding The Shark, I was surprised by Chris Target's abilities. His match against Chino Guinto was during the latter half of the show, so I wasn't too enthused. Plus, the ending felt like the referee botched the count. They got me hooked for some interesting spots, though⁠—including the loudest chops of the night. I wouldn't mind seeing Target return with The Shark in the future. It would be great if they could return as a tag team so we could see the Australian Dynasty as a unit.

    As previously mentioned, Chino retaining means he'll be defending the PHX Championship against Cali Nueva. It hasn't been announced when but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens at PWR Live: Beautiful with Nueva pulling off an upset. I wouldn't mind if this leads to Chino facing either Jeff Cobb or Billy Suede at PWR Special: Homecoming.

    Tier 4: Natalya

    Photo from WWE

    Natalya is a talented graduate of the Hart Dungeon. She's a reliable Superstar that has a solid footing on the midcard. While there are moments where she's given time to shine, she's mostly there to make other Superstars look better.

    Similarly, these matches helped make the PWR Renaissance card better but weren't enough to steal the spotlight from the top matches. These matches weren't bad, the others were just better.

    Maangas Pa Rin

    Jaye Sera and Crystal have each had blockbuster bouts in the previous months' shows. It was inevitable that their paths would lead to this one-on-one encounter. Sadly, I felt that this match was rushed and that the ending was too abrupt. Not to mention, I believe this was also the third victory via roll-up on this show, so it felt unoriginal by the time they did it. The only difference is Sera had her feet on the ropes to steal the win.

    On a positive note, I'm glad they gave Jaye Sera the win. Both Sera and Cali Nueva are high on a lot of PWR fans' lists right now so seeing this new generation of wrestlers flourish is a welcome development. Maybe we can do Sera vs. Nina next show? I know that would be awesome to watch.

    Blood And Tacks And No DQ Matches

    For the sake of brevity, I'll list these two matches together because I have similar reasons for not liking both bouts. Both Martivo vs. Killah and John Sebastian vs. Vlad Sinnsyk were No Disqualification affairs and that meant they spent their time brawling all across the Power Mac Center Spotlight floor.

    The I Quit Match between Sebastian and Sinnsyk was okay. I'm not saying this wasn't fun. The plethora of weapons brought a different vibe to this match. However, I did think the blood was unnecessary especially when it was noticeable that Sebastian took his time to draw blood early in the match.

    The Martivo vs. Killah match was in the same vein but had the All Out War stipulation instead. Martivo seems to be enjoying his stint as All Out War Champion and has been very original with the usage of foreign objects. To be honest, the match was actually okay but it went longer than I expected. Plus, the "Pull your pants up!" chant was a little distracting so it took away from my enjoyment.

    My main gripe with both is that there were times the action couldn't be seen. Whenever they'd fight on the other side, the ring obscured my view. Maybe in the future, PWR can invest in streaming on the live screen so that everybody can follow the action wherever it takes place.

    Ye Ye Ye Ye Ye Ye Ye Ye Ye... Kakaibros

    I sometimes lose attention in matches that have more than three participants. It's easy to get lost with so many things going on. Plus, like my previous point, when spots happen on the outside, it's hard to follow because it can't be seen.

    Additionally, since this match happened in the early half (or quarter) of the show, I'm not sure I was ready to hear long promos yet. The pre-match promo by Marco and Julio Garcia was fun but I zoned out because they took their time. It was also followed by The KakaiBros' promo⁠—which was enjoyable⁠—but suffered because there was a lengthy promo just seconds before.

    Still, the Garcia brothers were talented performers. They're not as refined as Chris Target or The Shark, but they have their own charm. Julio's power spots were very impressive as he lifted two competitors simultaneously for a Samoan Drop. Likewise, Marco was also fun and I didn't expect him to be a tall but agile dude.

    Sam Baltazar delivered another impressive performance, which was complementary to James "Idol" Martinez's style. I think that Idol works better in an underdog role being faced with impossible odds, rather than as a tag team competitor to Baltazar. This partnership does give the rub to Baltazar but Idol's appeal is in singles competition.

    As for the KakaiBros, they were hot on the mic as always. However, I hope they continue to find new talking points for their promos. I'm a fan of Mh4rcki3's wacky pronunciations and I'm looking forward to hearing more in the future.

    Bonus Tier: Jinder Mahal

    Photo from WWE

    Yes, Jinder Mahal is Canadian.

    Anyway, this falls into a different tier. Jinder as WWE Champion was a huge achievement. However, I believe this was a ploy by WWE to cater to the Indian wrestling market.

    This bonus tier is something like that. It was a huge achievement, but it probably was a plot device to cater to the mainstream entertainment market (that or it was a brilliant marketing strategy.)

    Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo

    I wasn't sure if this was included in the official program because it felt like it was either for a commercial or a movie.

    A lot of us were scratching our heads when it was announced that an extra challenger for QUATRO was present. Banal Na Aso was such a silly name that it felt like a parody of sorts. Nevermind that it was mostly a quick exchange that ended with a Destino.

    The kicker is that it was actually actor Jake Cuenca under the Banal Na Aso mask. The match itself wasn't the important part. I'm just glad to see someone famous showing appreciation for wrestling.

    [Disclosure: I missed the Trabajador Cinco vs. Gatilyo match and I arrived midway through the Dax Xaviera vs. Bolt match, therefore, I am excluding them from this review. Sorry, guys.]

    Overall Thoughts

    PWR Renaissance was a solid show. It helped set up both PWR Live: Beautiful and PWR Special: Homecoming and gave fans stories that they'll be looking forward to for the next months (and year) to come.

    As I said, I am looking forward to the next stories involving MSG, Naughty Boys, and QUATRO while preparing for the rise of wrestlers like Sam Baltazar, Cali Nueva, and Jaye Sera.

    Show Grade: B+

    Match of the Night: Cali Nueva vs. Zayden Trudeau.
    Wrestler of the Night: Cali Nueva and Zayden Trudeau. It's hard to pick just one.
    OMG Moment of the Night: Tutan turning on the Naughty Boys
    WTF Moment of the Night: The YOLO Twins shouting "I'll eat you up, Jake!" I don't even know what that was supposed to mean.
    Surprise of the Night: Jeff Cobb. Billy Suede. TJP. All the wrestling at PWR Special: Homecoming.

    Quick Hitters:

    • With Poch now being the sole GM, what will happen to his arc involving John Sebastian?
    • So is Jake Cuenca now part of canon in PWR? I can't wait for more random celebrities to give attention to Philippine wrestling.
    • The speculations begin regarding Jeff Cobb's opponent. I'd like to give Mike Madrigal, Chino Guinto or Revo Ranger the honors.
    • When is my boy Cali Nueva getting his own poster? #CaliNuevaForPWRPoster
    • Hold that thought, if you're not giving Cali Nueva the poster, how about Jaye Sera? #JayeSeraforPWRPoster


    What are your thoughts on PWR Renaissance? Will you be attending PWR Live: Beautiful and PWR Special: Homecoming? Hit us up in the comments section below.

    Photos and videos from Philippine Wrestling Revolution, unless otherwise stated

    Disclaimer: Smark Henry is independently owned and managed by a group of Filipino pro wrestling fans, but includes members affiliated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution.


    Miguel “The Migz” Llado is your supposed style icon and NXT reviewer at the Smark Henry offices. A lover of everything music, wrestling, videogames, and food, he lives his life tweeting his mind off (@the_migz) and ‘gramming random food items and locations (@tha_migz) as he sets on his journey to completely do things spontaneously. You can also add him on PSN (MigzLlado) to show your WWE2K19 (or any PS4) skills. When not being a smark, he lives his life being (and trying to be) an awesome architect, musician extraordinaire and armchair fantasy booker.
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    Item Reviewed: PWR Renaissance 2019: The Official Smark Henry Review Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Migz Llado
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