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The Smark Henry Wrevolution X Review



Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of watching Philippine Wrestling Revolution's Wrevolution X. I got to watch their previous show Vendetta, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first time watching local wrestling. I brought a couple of friends this time as well, as they wanted to check it out after I showed them some clips of previous PWR matches.

We kicked things off with Mr. Sy presenting the PWR championship belt, which does look good. It's not a flashy belt, but it's something a champion can hold up and wear with pride. The yellow lettering may take some time to get used to (I think they can make the logo stand out a little more from the title plate, but that's just me), but the stars and sun add a nice local touch to it.




Mr. Sy then announces additional stipulations for the Mayhem Brannigan vs. Bryan Leo Iron Man Match. If Bryan Leo wins, then a restraining order will be filed on Mayhem Brannigan, preventing him from getting near Bryan Leo for one full year. A Mayhem Brannigan victory, though, would result in the disbanding of Leo's stable the Royal Flush. This was a great way to build up the match, as it raises the stakes for each man to want that victory even more.

Match 1: Mayhem Brannigan vs. “Classical” Bryan Leo in a 30-Minute Iron Man Match





These two have been going at it for a while now, and this match looked to determine who would finally come out on top. Bryan Leo came out with the Royal Flush and a fancy first-world robe. Meanwhile, Mayhem Brannigan brought out the Brannigan Brigade to even the odds. Apparently, there's a whole group of them running around with masks on!

Both men tried to outdo each other throughout the 30-minute time limit, but no pinfalls were scored. Thus, the match was brought into sudden death overtime, where whoever scored the first fall would win the match (or, you know, how most normal wrestling matches go). Bryan Leo won the match via referee stoppage, and his post-match celebration was a great thing to watch. This is, after all, his conquest. He was finally able to get rid of the man who has hounded him for a year. Brannigan, for his part, sold his disappointment well. Fans love to see someone getting back on their feet, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Mayhem Brannigan will redeem himself in the months to come.

I was surprised that this match kicked off the show, as intense feuds like this usually take place later on. It was a bold choice. That said, though, I didn't feel the intensity that a match like this ought to have. Their strikes looked a little soft for two people who have been at each other's throats for some time now. It was as if these two were afraid of hurting each other, which makes no sense considering the history these two have had.

The Iron Man stipulation also felt odd, as it seemed that its sole purpose was to ensure that this match lasted at least half an hour. I think they could've played around with a couple more falls. For example, imagine Bryan Leo desperately going for a pin/submission with Brannigan taking an early lead, or Mayhem starting to get a little more reckless in the reverse scenario. That would've added more to this match while keeping it at the same length, making for a more action-packed ending to their feud. As it happened, though, I'd say the match felt lacking.


Match 2: “Cutthroat” John Sebastian vs. Ralph Imabayashi in a Grudge Match





This was a rematch from Vendetta, where Imabayashi picked up the victory. The two have been trading blows ever since, so both men were raring to go at each other last night.

John Sebastian came out looking very similar to NXT’s Finn Balor, still looking for his first win in PWR. This was a solid display from both men, as it felt like they took their previous bout one notch higher. Sebastian continued to mock his counterpart in the ring, but Imabayashi fought right back with some hard-hitting kicks.

In the end, though, John Sebastian ended his losing streak with a vicious knee strike to Imabayashi's head. Again, points to Bryan Leo for being at ringside to celebrate with Sebastian as he finally picks up a win. It's a small thing, but it adds character to the Royal Flush. Hey, they deserve to celebrate, they're 2-0 so far.

And while Imabayashi may now be the 1 in 1-2, his Ace Sonic Crusher is still a thing of beauty.




Match 3: The Apocalypse vs. Main Maxx in a Last Man Standing Match

Both men brought out EVERYTHING in this match. Wanted some hardcore weapon action? Sure, we had kendo sticks, plates, steel chairs, chains (“Fifty shades!” is the best chant I’ve ever heard, seriously), and even an Orocan container. Wanted to watch two men just maul each other? Yeah, we got that too.




The crowd was into this match, as Main Maxx (did he wear black to stop all those Baymax chants he was receiving?)  and Apocalypse tried to one-up each other with slams, weapons, brawls and more. Apocalypse picked up the win here after getting Main Maxx to stay down for ten counts. Sometimes people just want to see two men beating the hell out of each other, and that was what we got here. This was a fun brawl to watch.


Match 4: Ken Warren vs. Chris Panzer in a Submission Match

The Social Media Sinister once again locked horns with the Filipino-American from Detroit, this time in a submission match. Dueling chants of “Let’s go Warren!” and “Let’s go Panzer!” filled the stadium, with the Panzer Army out in full force while Warren had a fair share of support. Both men once again showcased their skill, with Panzer locking Warren in a beautiful surfboard for quite some time.




Chris Panzer eventually picked up the win after forcing Warren to submit, which came as a surprise to me. I thought the ending arrived too early, as I felt that Panzer didn’t do enough yet to beat Warren into submission.

Also, it seemed that they were not able to sustain the momentum throughout the match. The crowd started off hot, but I felt that it died down towards the end. I’m not saying this was a bad match. It was good, but it lacked that something special. I’m not sure if this is the conclusion to their feud, but if it is, then I’m disappointed. This feud needs to end with a bigger bang.


Match 5: Beer Promdi vs. Fighters 4 Hire vs. Dual Shock in a Three-Way Elimination Tag Match

The duo of Mark D. Manalo and Kanto Terror continue to school everyone in the art of getting over, with loud pops for both of them as they made their way to the ring. The match didn’t start out well for them, though, as Manalo spent the early part getting beaten up by the other teams as Kanto Terror looked like he was nursing a hangover in the corner. This match gave enough time for Dual Shock and Fighters 4 Hire to strut their stuff, with SANDATA and Peter Versoza hitting some impressive high-flying moves. Miguel Rosales channelled his inner Brock Lesnar as he took their competition to Suplex City, further drawing comparisons with the Beast Incarnate himself.




Fighters 4 Hire were the first to be eliminated, though, and their actions forced Mr. Sy’s hand, resulting in the termination of Miguel Rosales and Joey Bax. Kanto Terror pulled through just in time to help his partner Manalo, including a nice tribute to ROH tag team ReDRagon with the Beer Promdi version of Chasing the Dragon. Beer Promdi picked up the victory once again. After the match, Manalo took the mic and mentioned the PWR Tag Team Championship. Will we see Beer Promdi become our inaugural champions?




Match 6: Bombay Suarez vs. Jake De Leon for the PWR Championship

Bombay Suarez came out to a brand new theme song, reminding everyone that he is, in fact, out here to kill this bitch. Both men had their fair share of support from the crowd as the match began, with fans eager to see one of the two become PWR’s inaugural champion.




As previously mentioned, the Senyorito had some tricks up his sleeve against his mentor, the highlight of which was a hand stand right after Suarez connected with a huracanrana. That said, both men still hit their signature spots, looking for a way to put their competitor out and claim the top prize. This was an excellent show by both men, who I believe are the two most skilled wrestlers in PWR today. In the end, Jake De Leon managed to keep Bombay down for the count, besting his mentor and becoming the first ever PWR Champion.




A fitting end to a great match, but the night wasn’t over just yet...


Match 7: “Classical” Bryan Leo vs. Jake De Leon (c) for the PWR Championship

SURPRISE! Bryan Leo and the Royal Flush came out after the match, announcing that he wanted his title shot right there and then. Thus, we were treated to a second title match, and Bryan Leo wasted no time attacking De Leon, who was still reeling after a gruelling match with Bombay Suarez. With John Sebastian at ringside to make sure Bombay didn’t interfere, Bryan Leo scored the win to become the NEW PWR champion. Sorry, JDL fans.

After the match, Leo took the mic and thanked everyone involved in the show, before thanking his Royal Flush pals. He then resumed ripping on the fans in the attendance, closing the show out as the Bryan Leo we’ve all come to know. That Burgos street line was gold, by the way.



Alright, so how many of you expected that finish? Most of us expected the night to end with JDL or Bombay holding the strap, but Bryan Leo's actions put us in for a surprise twist. Moving forward, Leo will likely have the former champion JDL challenging him, which should make for a great match. Bombay, on the other hand, can either stake his claim for the belt (he did have JDL pinned, the referee was just out), or deal with the man who attacked him, the rising John Sebastian. Bombay is out to kill a bitch, so both scenarios could work.

Either way, it looks like he'll be dealing with some royal bitches in the months to come.

Some other things worth talking about:


  • It's very good to see rising attendance numbers. Vendetta packed Makati Cinema Square with fans around the ring, and Wrevolution X took it a notch higher with fans filling almost the entire balcony. If attendance continues to rise, PWR might need a bigger venue soon.

  • The venue was too hot (hot damn!) compared to the previous show. There were a lot more people in the venue, and given the current season, it made for an uncomfortable watch. I'm not sure how they can address this given the rising popularity of PWR, but I hope there's a solution to be found. No one wants to be watching wrestling while sweating to the point that they have to go out for a while and buy a towel from the merchants outside (those guys made a killing that night, by the way).

  • The ring announcer seemed off at times, particularly when calling the amount of time that passed during matches. The halftime raffle giveaway could've also been done better, as I thought it dragged on too long. Also, he needs to practice his throwing skills a bit more. Poor balcony audience didn't get that El Torito action figure.

  • Referee Lukas Hunter (the guy who worked the Last Man Standing match) needs to work on making his actions more pronounced. He could've made harder counts so that the crowd could have a better idea what was going on. There were some people at the back who probably didn't have a good view of the ring, and it would helped them know what was going on if they heard the ref counting.

  • Good job to whoever thought it would be a good idea to set up a burger stand inside the venue. I actually thought it was a set up for Jake De Leon to give out burgers to everyone after winning the title, but the stand disppeared sometime during the show.



Overall, this was a good show, but one that still had its flaws. Main Maxx/Apocalypse was a great brawl to watch, while the elimination tag match had some fun moments. The Panzer/Warren and Leo/Brannigan matches, however, could've done more.

PWR continues to rise up with this show, and while the fanbase seems to be growing, there is still a lot more room for improvement. Wrevolution X did enough for me to look forward to the next show, both for more great matches and to see if they can further improve.

What did you guys think of the show? Sound off at the comments section below!

Photos by Hub Pacheco


*****

Anthony Cuello is an HR professional and training designer. When he’s not sleeping or reading the Harvard Business Review, he covers NJPW and Lucha Underground for Smark Henry. A psychology nut, he tends to watch wrestling looking for these small nuances of in-ring behavior. He dreams of a wrestling business with good people management practices, and hopes to help make that happen one day.

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