Top of the morning to ya la… damn it, wrong intro again. Ola, amigos! It’s another edition of SmackDown RunDown Live and you’ll be forgiven if you’re not hyped about WrestleMania Rollercoaster which will go down, let’s see… this Monday (Manila Time)? Seriously? This week’s a go-home show? Enough babbling then, let’s get down to it!

Randy Orton plunges a crucifix into Sister Abigail’s grave… and nothing happens




In a very poetic way, the Orton vs. Wyatt build was indeed a thrill ride. From the epic arson of Sister Abigail’s grave to this week’s crucifix nonsense, watching this storyline develop is like riding a rollercoaster with only one loop. I had really high hopes for this rivalry. Remember when I used to crap on Orton’s espionage mission to destroy the Wyatt Family from within? SmackDown Live was doing something great until the past few weeks when they decided to fuck things up slowly but surely up to the point where we’re just watching a B-grade storyline. Why the WWE title is on the line, I don’t even know. I have to remind myself every minute that WrestleMania Theme Park isn’t for me.



But hey, let’s talk about the main event, shall we? It was a valiant effort, really. Bray Wyatt faced off against his former follower, Luke Harper, in another great match. I was wondering what made Harper look good this week and then it hit me—the guy’s wearing a toupee! Finally, someone in the back decided to cover Harper’s bald spot and made him look 40% cooler for at least half of the match. Oh, and Bray acquired a new power: spitting ash. Actually, I’m not even mad, that’s amazing.


Then Orton came out and delivered some gibberish promo then stabbed the ground. I don’t even know what’s happening anymore. I think the writers are high or something. Let me remind you guys that this is SmackDown Live’s main storyline.

Cena/Nikki vs Miz/Maryse had the most satisfying segment… sort of




For a glorified squash match, the battle of the power couples had the better build of all the storylines this month. Miz and Maryse continued their Total Bellas skits, this time with an impression of Daniel Bryan. I was really expecting more jabs against D-Bry, but I guess they had to limit them so they can still focus on John Cena. I still enjoyed their skits the same way I enjoyed them last week. John Cena and Nikki Bella then came out and Cena proceeded to mansplain everything to the “shit couple.” Nikki didn’t really say much, and I guess that’s a good thing now that I think about it. Another fiery promo from Cena to hype up his wedding proposal their match.




We can also consider their storyline as a slightly better roller coaster with a few loops. The feud had a rocky start, but one scathing Miz promo later and a bunch of skits made everything fun and interesting. My only complaint about this storyline is that Creative didn’t even bother making us think Miz and Maryse could actually win. I mean, make us doubt a little, you know? They may be getting the best lines, but in terms of physicality, the Mizanins have zero ground. Cena and Nikki will roll through them come WrestleMania Carnival Ride, so they should have given their opponents some teeth.


Some Blue Brand Vibes and Blues—Live!


Blue: I love how they capped off the Styles vs. Shane feud on a high note by having a contract signing for their traditional one-on-one match. This is Triple H vs Orton at ‘Mania 25 all over again. Majority of Shane’s offense rely on weapons and crazy spots. It’s the same reason people are willing to see him wrestle in the first place. Now you’re taking what made Shane exciting all these years just so we can see him defeat AJ Styles, one of the greatest pro wrestlers of the modern era, at WrestleMania Sun? Good luck defending this one in your stupid videos, Simon of WhatCulture.


Vibe: Naomi’s back, you guys! I guess Creative revealed the surprise entrant this week since the SmackDown Women’s Championship match got bumped to the pre-show. I think she’s not 100% ready since she was still limping a bit. I really hope Naomi didn’t force her recovery or something. The women’s matches were kinda useless though. I just wish they just went ahead with the tag team match to save time for that Ambrose vs. Corbin interview, you know, to build the match that’s actually on the main show? Just sayin’. At least the stipulation for the match is now clear to me.


Vibe: Surprisingly, we had a fun 10-man tag team match this week to hype up the Andre the Giant Memorial Extravaganza Meteora Battle Royal. They are really giving Mojo Rawley some of the spotlight and I like it, not because I like the guy. I just like the fact that I was right. I predicted a few months back that Mojo’s gonna be big someday, and now we’re seeing the seeds are being planted. Slowly but surely, you guys. Mojo’s gonna be big and you’ll remember you heard it first here.


Blue: Oh, and in case you already forgot, Dean Ambrose will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Baron Corbin at WrestleMania Star City. Fun stuff.

SMACKDOWN RUNDOWN: I am deeply disappointed. We’ve seen how good SmackDown Live can be in the past. Remember when they were able to cram all the storylines in just two weeks to build up Elimination Chamber? This week, they can’t even sneak in an Intercontinental Championship segment, plus they gave the main storyline little time to wow us. I don’t know, I guess Creative just gave up trying. This week’s go-home show deserves another sloppy B and I hope they get their shot together after all these WrestleMania Disneyland happenings. Heaven knows how much I miss quality SmackDown Live episodes.


So yeah, not really hyped for WrestleMania Enchanted Kingdom. Nevertheless, I still hope you’ll enjoy the show, whether you’re #TeamMikes, #TeamFox, #TeamNetwork, or #TeamStream. I’ll be watching too, but expect the worst of critiques. And hey, if they end up tearing the house down, I’d be willing to eat my words. This is what we do, you know. Every time we make fun of wrestling, we secretly hope the higher-ups prove us wrong and give us a quality show. So yeah, that’s all for me. Let’s all unite again on Monday for WrestleMania!


*****


Ricky Jay Publico (@HarambeMustLive) is a wrestling fan who enjoys watching high flyers and brawlers battle it out in the ring. A known Botchamania binge-watcher, he claims to have memorized the chronological order of Royal Rumble winners, but fails to remember who won in 2004. He writes stories about life and nonsense.

For those of you who don't know, you should know—the Manila Wrestling Federation's first standalone show is less than two weeks away, and should be providing a completely unique pro wrestling experience.


Apart from the unusual "Manila Rules" format that breaks the traditional continuous-flow match format into sub-rounds, the characters who make up the roster will also present a flavour you won't find in any other local wrestling promotion.

While we know their A-list stars Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane will be competing in the main event of MWF Live on Saturday, April 8, at the Manila Square Arena, the promotion offers a diverse range of other signature athletes. MWF management promises we'll be getting a look at the rest of the roster in the days to come, but for now, let's check out the two who have officially been introduced via promo vignettes.

Ninja Ryujin


What do you get when you cross a fascination for parkour with MMA stylings and a Filipino street-style upbringing? Ninja Ryujin, that's who.

Ryujin doesn't say much, as evidenced by his recent appearance in a radio interview, but he's clearly someone who punches above his weight, and promises to outweigh his opponents when it comes to fighting spirit.



Looking like a character straight out of an 8-bit video game, we're not quite sure how he'll actually deliver in terms of in-ring skills, but he'll at least provide some sort of theatrical flair. The masked warrior actually had a pretty decent showing at last year's HisCON, going 1-1 in his matches after falling to Mr. Lucha but pulling off a major upset against Southeast Asian star Thaibarian.

"Fabulous" Fabio Makisig


The whirling dervish of Filipino pro wrestling could potentially steal the show with his array of flips and aerial pyrotechnics, but the man known as Fabio Makisig doesn't seem like the type to care much about crowd adoration.

The trash-talking loudmouth claims "walang kasinlupit, walang kasing-astig," and we're ready to believe that. Check out his moves.



The dude is jacked to the gills, and is clearly MWF's best physical specimen to date. Whether he can prove himself in the ring is the question he needs to answer—Makisig made an appearance at MWF's guest appearance at last year's HisCON, and couldn't quite overcome either Robin Sane or Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW)'s Alexis Lee. Let's see if the Master of the Moonsault can put on a better outing this time around.

*****

What's your take on these two talents, Henrinites? Do you like the flavour MWF if bringing to the local pro wrestling table? Let us know your thoughts, and we'll see you at MWF Live on April 8.

*****

MWF Live: MWF x MCS is happening on Saturday, April 8, at the Manila Square Arena on the second floor of Makati Square along Pasong Tamo, Makati. Tickets cost P250, and can be purchased at the gate. Doors open at 3PM, with the bell ringing at 4PM.

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.

Kinky.

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


We won't blame you if you didn't know, but the WWE sneakily added old NXT episodes back to the Network. It's a bit of news that only really got around by word-of-mouth; the official Network newsletter didn't even announce it.

For the longest time, the NXT archive on the WWE Network was missing the early years of the 2012 reboot—you know, the true glory days of the developmental show, featuring current young main eventers like Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, and Roman Reigns. You get to see them in their younger, fresher, and rougher selves. Soon after, they get joined by big indy names like Sami Zayn and Neville.

Check out a sample of the people you get to watch in those eps:



Yep, all of them you see on current WWE main show TV. I'll even argue that Bo Dallas wasn't as terrible as people made him out to be back then, just incredibly annoying.

A couple of important episodes you should go start streaming if you have the Network:


  • 8/29/12: Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal, NXT Gold Rush Tournament Finals for the new NXT Championship

  • 10/10/12: CM Punk comes down to NXT to have a quick chat with NXT Champion Seth Rollins

  •  10/31/12: Roman Reigns debuts, and Cesaro defends the U.S. Championship against future partner Tyson Kidd

  • 11/7/12: Luke Harper debuts as part of the Wyatt Family

  • 1/2/13: Seth Rollins defends the NXT Championship versus Corey Graves

  • 2/13/13: British Ambition (Oliver Grey and Neville) face the Wyatt Family for the new NXT Tag Team Championships

  • 4/10/13: Kassius Ohno vs. William Regal

  • 5/1/13: Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt, way before the main show feud

  • 6/12/13: Zayn vs. Cesaro 1

  • 7/24/13: Paige and Emma face off to crown the first-ever NXT Women's Champion

  • 8/21/13: AJ Lee vs. Bayley, Zayn vs. Cesaro 2-out-of-3 Falls

  • 11/6/13: Lana debuts

  • 11/27/13: Neville vs. Sami Zayn for the #1 contendership to the NXT Championship

  • 12/25/13: Cesaro vs. William Regal

Now if they'd only upload seasons 1 and 2 of the OG NXT, so we can relive how guys like Daniel Bryan came to the company, we'd be all set. Happy binging!

Photo from WWE



Good morning, and this is your daily Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the evening.

We have word on a certain All Red Everything's wrestling future:



  • Eva Marie seems to be done with WWE and pro wrestling. For anyone who may have noticed her posts on Instagram, other than dying her hair completely black again, she is hardly talking about her wrestling career. She's removed mentions of her WWE career on most of her social media accounts, although she is listed as a WWE Superstar in her Instagram profile. She was kept off TV after an apparent WWE Wellness Policy suspension last year. (Source: WrestlingInc)

We say: Well, that would make a lot of fans happy. That's one less woman on the SmackDown Live women's division, though.


  • Asuka has been added to SmackDown house shows last weekend, which may feed speculation that she's going to the blue brand when she gets called up to the main roster. However, it's been noted that she's still staying down at NXT for a while. (Source: Wrestling Observer Radio)

We say: That makes sense. As much as we want Asuka to get called up (and for SmackDown to get the boost) NXT needs her to hold the young women's division together. Ember Moon and Nikki Cross won't be able to do it on their own.

Let us know what you think of today's news in the comments!

Photo from WWE


On March 10, 2017, Ring of Honor held its 15th Anniversary show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show featured Christopher Daniels, one of the ROH Founding Fathers, finally winning the ROH World Championship for the first time.

Despite the feel-good moment however (and the good match that came along with it), the match of the night went to a three-way tag match for the ROH World Tag Team Championships. The Young Bucks and the Hardys have had beef for several months now, and RPG Vice got into this match by winning a tag team gauntlet to determine the number one contender for the titles.

A disclaimer by the way: If you are not a fan of car crashes and train wrecks, then this match isn't for you. This match was contested under Las Vegas Street Fight rules, and these teams made the most out of it. Everyone knows what to expect out of the Hardys and the Bucks when it comes to these kinds of matches. They will put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. The real surprise, however, came from Beretta (formerly Trent Beretta from the WWE), who took all kinds of sick and crazy bumps. He fell into thumbtacks, got kicked with thumbtacks in his mouth, and went through tables, just to name a few.



If you were wondering how the Hardys' BROKEN gimmick came into play here, it didn't, given their current trademark war with TNA. However, this didn't stop them from making slight references to it during the match. Matt and Jeff basically dressed in palette swapped versions of their BROKEN costumes, and they somehow snuck the "DELETE!" motion in through their chops. It was great.

It remains to be seen how long the Hardys will keep the tag titles, given that their contract with ROH is only short-term. If I were a betting man, I'd say they're going back to the WWE eventually. Despite this, it'll be exciting to see what the Hardys can bring to the table during their short tenure. This also represents a low period for the Bucks, given that they lost their PWG, ROH, and IWGP Junior Tag Team championships within a span of two weeks. They'll most likely bounce back. They're the Bucks, it's bound to happen.

PS: Watch the entire 15th Anniversary show! It's well worth your time.


  *****

Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.


No, really, they're not just vaporware.

After almost one year of teasing fans with their sporadic, unpredictable appearances and will-they-or-won't-they promises the talents behind the Manila Wrestling Federation (MWF) are putting their money where their mouths are with their debut show, MWF Live at MCS, for Saturday, April 08, 2017, live from the Makati Square Arena in Makati City.

The Manila Wrestling Federation is a new and completely welcome addition to the already-budding Filipino pro wrestling scene. With a colorful cast of wrestlers balanced with competitive and athletic wrestling, the MWF offers a family-friendly product entirely different from what most mainstream fans have seen.


Judging from the characters already revealed, the product looks to showcase a larger-than-life, comic book-influenced flavor harkening back to 1980s pro wrestling that fans Southpaw Regional Wrestling fans will most likely enjoy.

Main Event: Mr. Lucha vs. Robin Sane (Manila Rules)


Already scheduled for MWF Live at MCS is a main event between Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane in a Manila Rules Match. A signature format of the Manila Wrestling Federation, Manila Rules is a 10-round match system, inspired by traditional British pro wrestling. It’s certainly interesting, and while it may arguably prevent any kind of meaningful continuity in a match, it's certainly a novel format that should lead to some interesting pockets of storytelling and sub-structure vis-a-vis the traditional ebb-and-flow match format.

Robin Sane is perhaps one of the best high-flyers in the country today. Offering an all-around package of speed, agility, and stamina, Robin Sane embodies Manila Wrestling Federation’s competitive spirit and hustle and is also trainer for the House of Wrestling Academy. He's battled the likes of Singaporean star "The Statement" Andruew Tang and former PWR talent Mayhem Brannigan, and is famous for both his top rope Swanton Bomb and Spider Driver finishers.


Mr. Lucha is a Filipino luchador, who channels his Filipino heritage with the cultural traditions of the masked wrestlers who preceded him. Mixing up brute force with an amateur wrestling background and whirling lucha moves, Mr. Lucha has already amassed hard-fought victories over some of the best Singapore and Australia has to offer, including former MyPW World-to-Regional Champion The Eurasian Dragon.


While we have no idea how the rest of the card while shape up, look to this one match to best establish what the Manila Wrestling Federation is all about. The group certainly has the passion, but now it's about proving they've got the chops and commitment to become a true asset to the local pro wrestling community.

*****


MWF Live is happening on Saturday, April 8, at the Makati Square Arena on the second floor of Makati Cinema Square. Gates open at 3PM, with the action starting at 4PM. Tickets sell for P250 and can be purchased at the door.

For more details and updates, check out the official Facebook event page here, or
 contact Mike Litton at 0916-418-9334 or mikelittonmwf@gmail.com.


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...

HOYYYYYYYY, ANO YAAAAAAAN?!

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?

"Soon."—Poch

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)

Unranked



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


Conclusion


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
Copyright © 2013 Smark Henry | The voice of Filipino wrestling fans | Philippine Wrestling Revolution, WWE, and more
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