Skip to main content

Word Life: One Man's One-Day Pilgrimage to #WWESingapore



Last week, I went on a personal pilgrimage to Singapore to catch a WWE live event—my first since the SmackDown! show at the Araneta Coliseum in November 2006.


I wasn’t able to attend the SmackDown! show at the same venue in 2009 because that was the time I stopped watching wrestling. Looking back, it was a bad time for me to have hit pause on my fandom since a lot of my favorites growing up—Edge, Christian, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and Jeff Hardy—were the prominent names on that card. Welp.


Watching wrestling live is unlike any other experience as a fan. There’s the obvious kick out of seeing my favorite wrestlers live and in person. And then there’s the fact that you’re with other fellow wrestling fans. These are people who are just like me, and for a few hours, we all get to converge under one roof and enjoy the spectacle that is a pro wrestling show together.


WWE doesn’t visit Asia a whole lot, and it’s a shame that they didn’t even bother to include the Philippines in their itinerary this year. It’s big enough of a deal for me that they’re in Singapore, which is why I figured it would be worth the trip to fly out there. Besides, guys like Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor, King Barrett, Kane, and Cesaro are all booked for the show, and I love all of those guys. I missed out on the 2009 group of WWE Superstars who performed here. I wouldn’t dare miss this.


April 2015:
I first found out about the Singapore show through my bosses at NBCUniversal in the Philippines, when they told me that we’d be mounting a Total Divas promo locally that would send several winners to Singapore to catch the WWE live event and take part in a Meet & Greet with the cast. This would also totally count as my unmasking. Yes, I do work for NBCUniversal in a part-time capacity, which explains why I’ve always been the first to let the SGP Community know of any promos we’ve been mounting relating to Total Divas.


Before I even got around to asking my boss if I could get myself on the press list on behalf of this humble site and its podcast, she already told me that I’d be representing the company instead of her. Needless to say, I was beyond excited.


May 15, 2015:
My boss from NBCUniversal told me that I would no longer be heading to Singapore because of budget constraints. They said that they’ll just have the Singapore team take care of the winners from the Philippines. From a business standpoint, it made total sense. From a personal standpoint, DAPAT NO ERASE NA YAN, EH!!! Needless to say, I was floored.


May 23, 2015:
It's the afternoon of Wrevolution X and I was chillin’ like a villain with Friend of the SGP Podcast Red Ollero, and we informally agreed that we’d make arrangements to catch the WWE house show in Singapore. What started as shooting the shit turned real in about a week when I used my credit card to buy our tickets to the show.


June 5, 2015:
I booked the cheapest flight I could find, which was via Jetstar Airways. I was scheduled to leave for Singapore on the day of the show at 10:35 a.m., and my return flight was first thing in the morning the following day at 6:20 a.m.. That’s cutting it close, and any mishap would have thrown all of my plans into disarray.


June 30, 2015:
I have prepared out all my documents for the trip—passport, plane ticket, boarding pass, WWE ticket, certification of employment, and even my prescription for my post-LASIK eyedrops. Having a paranoid dad forced me to prepare everything in case the immigration officers here or in Singapore questioned why my flight schedule was unusual. Having a paranoid dad also forced me to check myself in my flights using the web check-in, which was of great help when I finally got to the airport.


July 1, 2015, 11:30 p.m.:
I find myself sleepless, mostly because I can’t seem to get enough sleep on the eve of something I’m excited for. This counts field trips, vacations/road trips, even PWR events. Instead of sleeping early, I cleared almost 9 GB worth of space on my iPhone, just so I can be assured that I’ll get all the good moments on photo or video.


July 2, 2015, 6:00 p.m.:
After getting roughly 4 hours of sleep, my alarm—to the tune of Kurt Angle’s WWE entrance theme—woke me up at 6:00 AM, giving me about an hour to get ready and do my last minute preparations before the flight.


7:15 a.m.: I’m all set and ready to go and I log on to my GrabTaxi app to hire a cab to go to the airport. This should be easy.


7:25 a.m.: Nope. No one’s biting. I should have remembered this is rush hour.


7:30 a.m.: Okay, seriously, this is beginning to bug me and make me nervous at the same time.


7:55 a.m.: YAAAAAAAAS! MAY KUMAGAT NA! *dials driver’s number*


7:57 a.m.: Hello? Kuya! Nasaan po kayo? Opo, dito ako sa Sta. Mesa! Malapit na po ba kayo? Sa Terminal 1—Punyeta, naputulan pa! Argggggh!


8:05 a.m.: I hear the door and it’s our kasambahay. She’s back… with a cab! She may as well have just come in using Eric Bischoff’s theme song!


8:10 a.m.: FINALLY! I’m on my way to Terminal 1! Might as well get some my dose of the Cheap Heat podcast while I’m here. This ride may take a while.


8:50 a.m.: Listening to the Cheap Heat guys talk about the WWE.com article on the Top 25 Superstars of the Millenium and the 2000 Royal Rumble was enough to distract me from—Wow, we’re along Roxas Boulevard! At hindi trapik! Thank you, Kuya Driver, for not taking us through Osmena Highway.


9:00 a.m.: Kuya Driver totally deserved his tip. Good God, look at that line at the Jetstar check-in counter. AND LOOK AT THE WEB CHECK-IN LINE! There’s only one person in line… and he’s being served at the counter!



9:50 a.m.: Time to post a quick status message on Facebook telling everyone how much I’m marking out all by myself at the airport.


10:20 a.m.: I'm firmly seated on my aisle seat next to a mother-daughter pair. The mother is the annoying kind of tita who's too excited to be on an airplane. Parang nagpapatawa ata si tita kasi ispokening-dollar siya pero pabaluktot. Kairita Avila, okay.


10:22 a.m.: Two minutes pa lang akong nakaupo, pinatayo na nila ako para kunin nila yung mga bagahe nila. Ang aga-aga, iniimbyernadette sembrano na ako. Nyeta.


At least ma-eenjoy ko ‘yung episode ng Tough Enough ngayon. Suddenly, staying up late to load my iPhone with videos for the flight wasn't such a bad idea.


10:23 a.m.: Ahhhh, pota, may kausap pala sila sa Skype/Facetime. Boypren ni tita. “Choffy” pa daw. Kasi may garalgal. K. Noted with thanks.


11:00 a.m.: The fasten seatbelt sign has just been switched off, at tomjones na tomjones na aketch. Mailabas na nga aking baon: isang container ng kanin at isang kalahating manok mula sa Savory!


11:40 a.m.: Pota. Di ako makatulog kasi iniwan ni tita na nakataas yung window shade. Hassle.


11:50 a.m.: I need to get some sleep. Ugh. Maybe my “Nap Time” playlist on my iPod will do the trick. Can’t go wrong with Tori Amos’s Sleeps With Butterflies.


12:00 p.m.: This. Is. Not. Working. What. The. Flying. Fuck. The. Glare. Of. High. Noon. Is. Killing. My. Eyes.


12:20 p.m.: Fine. I’m going to read. Buti na lang may dala akong libro.


1:00 p.m.: Sana magising kayo para ibaba ‘yung window shade. Sana lang po.


1:20 p.m.: Fuck it. I’m watching Tough Enough.


1:50 p.m.: Not enough Sara Lee in this episode. Wait, what? You’re telling me I have to “switch off” my electronic device now?! THEY’RE JUST ABOUT TO REVEAL THE BOTTOM 3 FOR THE WEEK!!! UGH.


2:10 p.m.: Singapore, I’m here.


Obligatory selfie at Changi Airport
2:25 p.m.: Out of the airport in about 15 minutes, and I only took a bit longer than expected because (1) I had to post that selfie on Facebook, (2) I was walking a bit slow because it felt fun to take in the experience of walking through the airport alone without my dad yelling at me to hurry the fuck up, and (3) MY EYES. THEY’RE IN FUZZY HD IN ANOTHER COUNTRY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE LASIK.


2:30 p.m.: I hop on a regular taxi and ask to be driven to Red’s hotel along Beach Road.


2:45 p.m.: Man, what a great city-state Singapore is. I was just here some two years ago, but it feels nice just taking the city in from the cab, and… oh, we’re here. I don’t miss Manila traffic at all.


2:50 p.m.: My driver drops me off along Beach Road, but not at the exact address I told him. Way, way off. I guess I’ll have to do some walking. No biggie. I could use some blood movement in my legs after that flight.


3:00 p.m.: After finding Red’s hotel, I immediately find him at the bus stop right outside it waiting for me. We exchange pleasantries like the rowdy fanboys that we are, and I give him my bag so he can store it in his room.


3:30 p.m.: Red and I walk to a nearby coffee shop where we get a drink while leeching off their free Wi-Fi. While scrolling through Instagram, I notice King Barrett post about his own “coffee date” with Cesaro in Singapore. I then ask Red, “What are the chances na habang naglalakad tayo, makita natin sina Barrett at Cesaro?”



3:45 p.m.: We settle our bill and hail a cab to go to the nearby Singapore Indoor Stadium, the site of tonight’s event. A minute into our cab ride, we see a couple of John Cena marks—one of them, a white guy—in the blue John Cena t-shirt, complete with the baseball cap and arm bands. Shit is about to get real.


4:00 p.m.: We're at the merch booth to meet PWR Photographer Hub Pacheco and his friend Jeff. While waiting, we notice that the shirts they're selling are disappointing. The best ones are the KO shirt and the Dolph shirt. The rest of these designs are old. Hell, the people here have better shirts than what they are selling.


What's up with these designs, WWE Shop?
4:10 p.m.: Hub arrives and we queue up for the t-shirt line anyway. The shirts are overpriced at 50 SGD, which is around PhP 1,700. That’s way too expensive for a wrestling t-shirt, but I’m already here, so I might as well get the Owens shirt.



4:20 p.m.: Man, it feels like show-and-tell day here. Ang daming japorms dito ha! Dala-dala pa nila ‘yung mga championship belt at MITB briefcases!







4:30 p.m.: Hub and Red both settle for a John Cena “Never Give Up” towel, which set them back 10 SGD each. That is the most expensive goddamned towel I’ve seen in my life. Pota, pwede naman ‘yan ipa-print sa SM eh.


The Heavyweight Turncoat, Red Ollero
4:45 p.m.: The four of us decide to go to the mall next door para magpalamig. While walking, I see a guy wearing the same Daniel Bryan YES Movement t-shirt. I yell, “I like your shirt, man!” And he waves back in approval. I’m not going to be in this country by sunrise, so I have no shame.


5:00 p.m.: We’re walking through the mall and it’s Smark City, bitch! I have never seen this many people wearing wrestling t-shirts at a mall.


5:15 p.m.: As I walk back from the toilet, I see a family decked out in wrestling gear. The daddeh’s wearing a John Cena get-up, complete with the t-shirt, baseball cap, wrist bands, arm bands, and shorts. The son’s basically a mini version of himself, and the daughter is… Brie Bella. WHY. WHY CAN’T YOU AT LEAST BE NIKKI. DON’T YOU FUCKING WATCH TOTAL DIVAS?!

5:30 p.m.: We’re having an early dinner, and I use the mall’s Wi-Fi to log on to WhatsApp. My contact from NBCUniversal just hit me up. I have thirty minutes to finish my meal to get to the assembly point for the Meet & Greet.


These guys were game enough to pose for a photo.
I borrowed the WWE Championship belt right after I took this shot.

See?
5:55 p.m.: The boys and I all make our way past what’s grown into a swarm of wrestling fans at the merch stand to get to the assembly point for the Meet & Greet. I meet the NBCUniversal team from Singapore for the first time and introduce them to Red, Hub, and Jeff. They then tell me that there’s only one Meet & Greet slot they can spare, and that they’re giving it to your humble scribe. Sorry, fellas.


6:00 p.m.: It doesn’t look like we’ll be brought in for the Meet & Greet anytime soon, so I ask the NBCUniversal team if any of them watch wrestling. I get the usual response from people my age, “Yeah, I used to watch a lot when I was younger, when Austin, Rock, and Undertaker were all on top. Guys like Triple H. I don’t know these younger guys very much.” It was kind of disappointing, since I’d have wanted diehard fans to actually be in this position. But, hey, wrestling fans are wrestling fans. They were good company just the same.


6:05 p.m.: I’m given a yellow Meet & Greet tag, which I quickly realize isn’t the only M&G tag around. Other fans are wearing red or blue ones. I would leave Singapore unaware of the differences of the colors.


6:10 p.m.: A guy walks out with a WWE Championship belt and an Adam Rose t-shirt. That’s an odd combination. Actually, this is the first time I’ve seen an Adam Rose t-shirt in person.


6:15 p.m.: A bald, rotund guy in a Hawaiian shirt, fedora and fake beard is clearly cosplaying as Bray Wyatt. From the other end of the area, a pair of relatively large guys is spotted wearing Erick Rowan’s sheep mask. The Wyatt cosplayer sees him from his end and yells out, “BROTHERS!” He approaches them and they share a hug. What a weird yet fun moment. Some folks quickly spot them and start taking photos.


Yep, this guy.
Photo from Hub Pacheco's Instagram
6:18 p.m.: I hear the word “Kane.” Are we meeting Kane? ARE WE MEETING KANE?! WHY IS HE NOT VACATIONING IN HAWAII?


6:19 p.m.: I notice the Meet & Greet winners from Sky Cable and start talking to them, feeling some bit of relief that I’m among Filipinos. I proceed to ask them if they’re hardcore fans, and they say “yes.” In my excitement, I begin to talk about how I excited I am that at least two of NXT’s top guys in Kevin Owens and Finn Bálor would be at the show. Seeing their blank faces and nonchalant replies made me see through the lies in their souls.


These belts and that MITB briefcase... Man, nakakainggit.
6:24 p.m.: I ask the NBCUniversal team if we’re even still meeting the Bellas. They say that we might not even meet a Diva anymore. So much for the spiel I prepared in my head. I wanted to tell Brie how much Bryan’s in-ring career and story arc resonates with my life, which is why I appreciate him so much. I wanted to add that if it isn’t in the cards for him to return, then he should put his health and his family life with her first. So much for that.


6:30 p.m.: An usher meets us and corrals all the fans wearing red Meet & Greet wristbands. She tells them to follow her and the red group leaves us there, making me wonder who they might meet as opposed to who we’re meeting.


6:35 p.m.: Another usher comes out and asks for all those wearing yellow Meet & Greet wristbands to follow him. HEY, THAT’S ME!


We walk through the side of the arena towards an entrance that leads to some rooms and offices. Oooh, swanky.


At this point, I realize that if we’re meeting Kane, I don’t think we’re meeting the Bellas.


6:38 p.m.: I notice a long line making its way towards the entrance. A guy with a blue wristband is wearing a Paige t-shirt. He’s also got a homemade sign with the Malaysian flag on it, which said, “I traveled 300+ KM to see PAIGE”. Since Paige does Tough Enough along with Chris Jericho live on Tuesday nights in the US, and Chris Jericho couldn’t make it to Singapore given that schedule, then it seemed logical Paige wouldn’t make it either. What a letdown. :( Anyway, I was in walang hiya mode just the same, so I yelled, “PAIGE ISN’T HERE!” just for funnies. There is a condo waiting for me in hell.


6:40 p.m.: I’m inside the function room at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and I’m trying hard not to lose my shit. In just a few minutes, I’m about to take part in a Meet & Greet with WWE Superstars. I’m not exactly sure who, but the fact that I’m part of this group right here is enough to keep me excited. If we really are meeting Kane, he isn’t a bad “consolation prize” at all considering I was originally supposed to just be part of the Bellas’ Meet & Greet.


6:42 p.m.: Somebody’s announcing the protocol for the Meet & Greet. He tells us to prepare whatever we’d like the wrestlers sign and to prepare our phones and cameras.


6:44 p.m.: There’s a camera crew here. Looks like they’re doing PR work for the cable company who organized the Meet & Greet.


6:45 p.m.: A door opens and… it’s KING BARRETT! ALL HAIL KING BARRETT! jsal;kawrfjkl;sjkl;as


He’s also sporting a new King Barrett t-shirt. I approve.

Maaaan, Red and I were just talking about spotting him in Singapore this afternoon, and now I'm in the same room as he is!


6:46 p.m.: Shortly after Barrett takes a seat at the table, the room roars in approval because Corporate Kane has entered! Man, he is a massive human being. He curtly acknowledges the crowd with a nod, and we get started!


6:50 p.m.: The line is moving and I tell the NBCUniversal team how grateful I am that they let me tag along with them. I also tell them that I wasn’t in a position to complain at all about who we were going to meet, so to just be in the same room as Barrett and Kane—two personal favorites of mine—was already worth the trip!


6:55 p.m.: I start thinking of things to tell them that wouldn’t be dorky or anything they’d heard before. I just have to tell them something they’ll take with them after the trip.


7:00 p.m.: I whip out my pen and get all excited, and realize I don’t have any merch for them to sign. I’m not letting them sign my KO shirt because I’d actually like to wear it.


7:05 p.m.: An usher gives me a glossy WWE-branded piece of paper that Barrett and Kane will sign with their own markers. That solves that, then.


7:06 p.m.: WHAT DO I TELL THEM?!


7:07 p.m.: I have always wanted an opportunity to meet WWE superstars, and they’re just a few steps away from me. I could literally spear these guys if I wanted to. THAT’S HOW CLOSE THEY ARE. I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO TELL THEM.


7:08 p.m.: IT’S MY TURN. I’M HYPERVENTILATING.


I approach King Barrett and his crown is on the table, and I reach out to shake his hand, saying, “ALL HAIL KING BARRETT!” as triumphantly as I can. He smiles and shakes my hand like a true English gentleman.


I tell him I love his new shirt, forgetting to add that if it had been at the merch table, I’d have easily bought one myself. He signs my ticket and my WWE-approved piece of paper. I tell him, “Thank you so much for taking the time out to do this. You have no idea how much this means to me.” Barrett replies by thanking me for coming over to watch the show.


I then move on to Kane, and at this point, I’m still struggling to come up with something to tell him. Do I reference Team Hell No? Do I tell him he’s my favorite big man of all time?


The PWR General Manager meets
The Director of Operations
I end up holding out my hand for a handshake and saying, “LONG LIVE THE AUTHORITY!” and he says hi back with a smile. I tell Kane that I’d really love to have a photo with him and King Barrett, and they gamely look towards the direction of my phone for a photo.


Dammit, Kane! Y U NO LOOK HUHUBELLES
7:15 p.m.: I’m walking out of the function room with my photos and my autographs, feeling excited and slightly overcome with emotion. At one point, I think I felt like I would actually tear up. I’ve waited so long for a moment like this, and then it came and went so briefly, and yet, I know it would be something that I can take with me for a very long time.




7:20 p.m.: I notice line after line of people flocking towards the four entrances of the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The lines are so long that they stretch from the entrances several stories above the ground all the way down to the roads on the ground level. They queues literally coil like a snake to maximize space. If you’re a UP student, think of the lines at the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) and multiply that shit by ten. Good God, I have to make my way through a long snake-like line to get in to the arena? Dammit.


I'M READY!
7:23 p.m.: I’m looking through my photos and realize that they weren’t all that focused… And that the lady who took my photos didn’t get a good shot of me shaking King Barrett’s hand. Oh, the lines are actually moving pretty fast. There isn’t a point where I’m just standing there, so it’s not really like the OUR.


7:25 p.m.: I’m finally inside the arena! This is my first time inside an arena outside of the Philippines, and it is beautiful. As I make my way to my seat, I hear the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” playing in the background. What a curious choice to include in the in-arena soundtrack. Hey, you can never go wrong with the Cure.


7:28 p.m.: I’m in my seat at Section 224, Row 14, Seat 14, and it is AWESOME! I’ve got a great view of the ring, the stage, the entrance ramp, and basically the entire arena! For reference, you can compare my seat to somewhere in between the Lower Box and Upper Box A of the Araneta Coliseum.


7:29 p.m.: Red and I start taking photos of ourselves with the ring setup. I proceed to tell him about my experience with King Barrett and Kane, to which he reacts with profanities like “Putanginaaaaa” and “Gagoooooo,” both of which obviously connote a level of awe beyond eloquence.


YAT-TA!
Customary in-arena selfie. WE'RE MARKING OUT, BRO!
We start observing the crowd around us, and he tells me that the two guys seated behind us did not know each other before the show. They just met each other after happening to be seatmates, and by the time I’d gotten there, it was like they’d been BFFs. I’ve said this time and time again: this is what wrestling does—it breeds instant camaraderie among fellow wrestling fans.


7:35 p.m.: The lights dim and we hear the voice of Eden Stiles, who does some pre-show announcements. Red then questions her presence, arguing, “WHY AREN’T YOU MOURNING?!”


7:43 p.m.: It’s time for the opening match, and…



IT’S THE MAN THAT GRAVITY FORGOT! THE NEW SENSATION! NEVILLE!


Red and I are total marks at this point and point our index fingers to the sky as Neville does.


Wait, why is Neville’s theme not in sync? Two tracks—both of which are playing “Break Orbit”—are playing, but are out of sync, resulting in a disjointed audio track that’s more bothersome than anything. But at least there are entrance videos involved at this house show. Red doesn’t recall a tron at the 2009 show in Manila, and I know there weren’t any entrance videos—much to my dismay as a high school student—when WWE came over twice in 2006.


7:45 p.m.: SINGAPORE! DON’T YOU DARE BE SOUR! CLAP AND FEEL… THE POWER! IT’S A NEW DAY, YES IT IS!


So Kofi Kingston is facing Neville two nights before he’ll be sacrificed to Brock Lesnar. Excellent…


This is the first time I’m actually watching the New Day’s entrance video. I did not know that it would pause at Kofi, Big E, and Xavier’s faces, and superimpose a quote right next to them. That is some corporate-presentation-level shit right there!


Seeing Neville in person is amazing. From my seat, I can still see how jacked he truly is. Hell, he’s so jacked he makes Big E look like a relatively normal-sized buff guy. And Big E is not a normal-sized buff guy.


7:47 p.m.: Chanting “New! Day sucks!” is loads of fun.


Kofi busts out his funny dance to get heat. I’ve been a fan of his funny dance since he started doing it, and it’s all kinds of brilliant and annoying all at the same time.


Good Lord, seeing Neville in action with your own two eyes is an amazing experience.


7:50 p.m.: There are no timeouts in the ring, Xavier. Don’t you watch Lucha Underground?! Some guy yelled, "Get in the ring, you pussy!" at Kofi. LOL


7:53 p.m.: Eh ‘yung takbong mayaman ni Big E pagkatapos niyang sabunutan si Neville? Benta!


7:54 p.m.: Xavier Woods's ringside game is on point. He knows how to rile up an audience. His current role is just perfect for him.


7:55 p.m.: There is nothing like seeing Neville do a standing shooting star press.


7:56 p.m.: The Red Arrow, ladies and gentlemen. What a gorgeous sight to see.
A video posted by Stan Sy (@_stansy) on

8:00 p.m.: Los Matadores come out with El Torito. Yay. /sarcasm


Look, I know I shouldn’t be complaining because wrestlers are humans, too, and these are three humans who put up with WWE’s ridiculous travel schedule to come out and entertain us. But I didn’t really want to see the matadors. I’d rather see Sandow and Axel… Ok, maybe not the Meta Powers. But why not Adam Rose and Fandango instead?


¡LUCHA! ¡LUCHA! ¡LUCHA! HEEEEEEEY!


8:02 p.m.: I’ve always wondered why the Lucha Dragons’ entrance video was a green background with red Spanish roses, and then seeing it in person on a tron made me realize: Teka lang, those aren’t roses. Those are Kalisto y Sin Cara’s silhouettes… in red! Dammit, eyes!


8:03 p.m.: Both teams shook hands to start the match. But at this point, it looks like Los Matadores are turning heel mid-match. The Lucha Dragons don’t trust them. Red predicts that they won’t turn heel, but that El Torito costs the Matadores the match.


8:05 p.m.: Remember when I said seeing Neville in person is such a wonderful experience? You can say the same about watching Kalisto. He moves with such fluidity and grace.


8:06 p.m.: The crowd is chanting for El Torito. WHYYYY


8:07 p.m.: Torito wants to fight Kalisto and they actually lock up! Kalisto counters a huracanrana attempt a la PWR’s very own JDL!


8:08 p.m.: Matadores turn on Torito and throw him out so now Torito tries to get the crowd going by leading a “¡LUCHA! ¡LUCHA! ¡LUCHA!” chant. Moments later, Sin Cara is superkicked out of the ring.


8:09 p.m.: Some mark just yelled “Boring!” What a dick and a fucking spoiled brat. I fucking flew over from the Philippines on my own dollar just to catch this, and I’m enjoying every bit of this goddamned show! Plus, this tag match came right after a Neville match. Of course, it’s going to look slow compared to it. And this is why, it becomes difficult to follow up a Neville match.


8:12 p.m.: Sometimes, you just forget how powerful Hunico really is.


8:15 p.m.: KALISTO HOT TAG TIME! Torito hits a Matador—at this point, it doesn’t really matter—with a huracanrana! Kalisto hits the SDS! Sin Cara with his Swanton Bomb FTW!


Yeah, the crowd was a bit dead after that match, again, a result of being too wowed by the first match. That, or they didn't know how to react to these two teams, particularly Los Matadores.


8:20 p.m.: IT’S MY BOY! IT’S KING BARRETT TIME! ALL HAIL!
He's cutting a promo and calls the crowd peasants, commoners and the putrid scum of Singapore. He then builds himself up as the KoTR and the king of the world, most specifically of Singapore. LOL. Too generic of a promo though. I mean, couldn’t he—or any of the writers with them—have thought of more country-specific insults? At least when Carlito was here in 2006, he took time out to tell the women in the audience that they looked like Manny Pacquiao with longer hair. Or how about Mr. Kennedy in 2006, when he yelled out, “TAHIMIK!” before cutting his promo?


8:22 p.m.: Barrett’s facing Dolph, right?


*the sound of a heart beating*


*lights dimming*


I’m pounding Red’s arm furiously at this point. GOOD GOD! HE’S ACTUALLY HERE! AND HE’S UP NEXT!


FINN BÁLORRRRR!!!


Ever since Finn Bálor debuted on NXT, I have always wanted to join him in his arms thing during the entrance, and to do it live is nothing short of awesome!!! This is also why I couldn’t get any photos or videos of this experience. I also may or may not have yelled, “YOU’RE TOO SWEET, DEVITT!” at one point.


8:27 p.m.: Princess Barrett chants LOL. I thought I heard Prin-su Devitt. Red couldn’t understand the chant altogether.


8:30 p.m.: WHAT A STIFF KICK TO KING BARRETT WHILE HE’S UP ON THE TOP ROPE! Finn Bálor follows it up with a plancha!


8:33 p.m.: Remember the two guys behind us who just met and became BFFs? Parang mga Cole Miner ‘tong mga mokong na ‘to eh. Lahat na lang ng mga linya ni Cole, gayang-gaya.


8:37 p.m.: I’m surprised that Finn Bálor actually won the match. Looking back, I guess they were building him up with wins in front of a live crowd to prepare him for the NXT title win. After celebrating, Finn bows to the audience Japanese-style as a show of respect. Thank you, Finn Bálor. Thank you.


Too sweet.
8:40 p.m.: Kane comes out for the next match and he’s greeted with a rousing ovation from Singapore! I’m not sure if this will be his first match in Asia, but I know he’s never been to the Philippines, and he wasn’t in Kuala Lumpur last year.


8:42 p.m.: Dolph Ziggler comes out as his opponent and he’s with... somebody who’s not Lana! Apparently, this dude he’s with won some contest. He’s also sporting a replica title belt. And he gets to show off while entering the ring to Dolph’s music. What a lucky guy.  To an extent, I know how that feels.


8:43 p.m.: Eden announces that this is a “Viewer’s Choice Match”, and the choices are… Singles Match or Singapore Street Fight. Gee, I wonder which will win. /sarcasm


Red starts a “Triple threat!” chant, hoping other fans would pick it up and chant along. They don’t. Y U NO FUN, SINGAPORE?! If this were in the Philippines, marami nang nakisali.


Singapore Street Fight wins lol


8:44 p.m.: A “WE WANT LANA!” chant breaks out. Dolph grabs the mic and says, “I want Lana, too.”


8:46 p.m.: Kane hits Dolph with a stiff uppercut and something visibly flies out of Dolph’s mouth. The Cole Miners behind us go, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT FLEW OFF!” Relax, boys. Gum lang ‘yun.


8:48 p.m.: Kane is using a Singapore cane. In Singapore. I’m done.


8:49 p.m.: Let's go Zigglah! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


8:50 p.m.: Jesus, Dolph makes a big boot look more painful than it already does.


8:53 p.m.: A table is set up after the crowd chants, “WE WANT TABLES!” Chokeslam attempt, but Dolph gets out of it. Dolph hits the Zigzag, but Kane kicks out at 2! Whew. Narrowly avoided an anticlimactic win.


8:55 p.m.: Ziggy attempted a diving elbow through the table but Kane got up and caught Dolph! Chokeslam through the table! SINGAPORE JUST WENT NUTS. AND ZIGGY KICKED OUT AT 2!

8:58 p.m.: Well, that was odd. Ziggy put Kane away with a shove to a table which broke it instead of smashing it, a superkick and a Zigzag. On the other hand, Kane hit a Chokeslam through the table and Ziggler still kicked out. That’s illogical booking right there. Way to book your monster. Welp. #LolFacesWin


9:00 p.m.: It’s intermission time and everyone just rushes to the bathroom and the concession stands. Luckily, our seats are near both. Since neither of us had to use the men’s room—which had a line as long as an MRT station’s—we just decided to buy some drinks before going back to our seats.


9:15 p.m.: Special guest timekeeper? We have another contest winner? Why isn’t he getting booed outta here? Why does he get the Skylar Grey song from WrestleMania Play Button as his entrance theme?! Why doesn’t he even get a real bell?! They’re using a stock sound effect for the bell, for fuck’s sake!


9:17 p.m.: Divas Championship time!


Tamina comes out first, and it hits me that her entrance theme is so backwards-ass and unprogressive. The tribal beats reduce her to a caricature of an Amazonian. And the lyrics of her theme? TAMINA… TAMINA… TAMINA… It’s her freakin’ name! Is she a fucking Pokemon?!


9:18 p.m.: Well, I guess Nikki is working face tonight. Lol Divas.


9:19 p.m.: Hold up. WHERE IS BRIE?! WTF. Nikki’s heel video is showing up on the tron instead of the Bellas’ video… and yet she's supposed to be babyface. How disjointed.


9:20 p.m.: God, Nikki is soooo hot in person. I take back what I said. Nikki >>>>>>>>>> Brie


9:22 p.m.: Nikki and Tamina are working strong tonight, but for some reason, mas rinig yung mics sa ilalim ng ring for this match.


9:24 p.m.: Wait, Nikki won via roll-up?! That was it?! WTF was that!


9:26 p.m.: If the show started two hours ago, then I’d feel a bit shortchanged if it were already main event time…


IT’S A NEW DAY, YES IT IS!
NEW DAY IS BACK! I LOVE IT!


So it’s Big E representing them this time… At this point, I have no idea who else is left on the roster.


9:28 p.m.: (insert Cesaro’s theme)


How could I forget?! IT’S CLAUDIO!


Cesaro’s arm pump thing is pretty fun to do, too. I do it a lot to wake myself up at work when necessary. It feels extra fun doing it alongside other wrestling fans.


9:30 p.m.: The crowd’s chanting “NEW! DAY SUCKS!” again, and I overhear the lady next to me asking her date in Mandarin why the crowd is chanting it. He actually goes out of his way to explain it to her. The best part is me understanding the entire conversation. Also, sosyal ng date nila ha, WWE show pa talaga!


The lady would later ask him why the crowd chanted for a “swing.”


9:35 p.m.: Cesaro caught Big E in mid-air from a leapfrog into a powerslam! Man, I’m so glad we actually get to see Cesaro live.


9:37 p.m.: Big E has clearly been learning from Xavier Woods on how to get heat from a crowd. He’s been learning well.


9:38 p.m.: Cesaro with three straight german suplexes, inciting a Suplex City chant from Singapore!

9:39 p.m.: The ease with which Big E manhandles Cesaro is impressive.


9:40 p.m.: Cesaro Swing! I’m pretty glad I actually got this on video! 
And Cesaro finished Big E off with a Sharpshooter for the win! Nice touch to have Cesaro start doing the Sharpshooter as a tribute to Kidd while his partner’s out for the next year.


9:45 p.m.: Alright! It’s main event time! My heart is ready!!!


9:46 p.m.: Kevin Owens comes out and Red and I are on our feet just screaming our hearts out. FIGHT OWENS FIGHT! FIGHT OWENS FIGHT! FIGHT OWENS FIGHT!


You can hear the older male segment of the audience actually cheering for Owens, while there is a slightly vocal section among the women and children who are actively booing him.


9:48 p.m.: BRRRRRRRRAPPLEDOUGH! Man, Singapore is just nuts for John Cena. In our section, it looks like, only Red and I are being smarks and booing him. These guys are no fun. :(


9:50 p.m.: “LET’S GO CENA!” “CENA SUCKS!” dueling chants now. Here we go. May smarks din naman pala dito eh! It took these fans a while to get their chanting cadence right.


9:52 p.m.: A kid in the front row of our section is clearly pulling for Cena, along with his kuya. While Red and I are yelling “FIGHT OWENS FIGHT!” they’re yelling “FAT OWENS FAT!” Yes, Little Jimmy. Kevin Owens is fat. The sky is also blue.


Red actually points out that “FAT OWENS FAT” is a pretty funny comeback hirit. It’s so simple and yet it’s so true, and it came from a kid! I… have to agree.


9:55 p.m.: At nagsilabasan na ang mga nakakapikon na smarks. “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE” chants… Really? Chanting “You can’t wrestle?” At whom? Cena? Come on, Singapore. You're better than that.


9:56 p.m.: CM Punk chants now? That's just flat out disrespectful. What the flying fuck.


10:00 p.m.: Little Jimmy and his kuya yelling “Never give up!” is just fun to watch. Red and I start directing our “CENA SUCKS!” chants towards them after they start yelling “LET’S GO CENA!” towards us. I have not enjoyed chanting this much!


10:05 p.m.: KO stealing the Five Moves of Doom gets a huge pop here. I feel #blessed.


10:07 p.m.: Cannonball! Gotta give it to Little Jimmy. Alam nya ‘yung cannonball. “Fat Owens Fat!” is still funny.
10:15 p.m.: What a fluid second rope moonsault from Kevin Owens! I never thought I could enjoy a fat man's aerial offense until Kevin Owens showed me otherwise.


10:18 p.m.: Yes, Singapore. This is awesome.



10:21 p.m.: Oh, oh, oh! Cena bust out the Cenadian Destroyer for us! This match feels eerily similar to Cena-Owens II.


10:24 p.m.: Cena puts Owens in the STF, and people are chanting for Owens to tap out. Meanwhile, I yell, “NEVER GIVE UP…” which make Little Jimmy and his kuya look at me, only for me to add, “...OWENS!” at the end. LOOOOOL


“NEVER GIVE UP… OWENS!”


10:27 p.m.: Aaaaaaand Owens hits a lowblow, losing via DQ. Man, we didn’t even get to see the Pop-Up Powerbomb.


Owens tries to hit Cena with the NXT title only to get hit with the AA. Maaaan. :(


10:30 p.m.: Cena addresses the crowd and thanks everyone for coming. And suddenly, the guy in front of me—who’s been mostly docile throughout the night—stands up to do the Cena salute. Twice. Wtf man. LOLOLOL


10:35 p.m.: Man, what an experience. I am on such a high right now. The lack of sleep, the travel, the fatigue, this was all worth it.


11:00 p.m.: While walking outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium, we see a guy in a Roman Reigns shirt who ranted, "Bro, can you believe this? I heard, ‘Who is Kevin Owen? You don't know who Kevin Owen is?!" HAHA Hilarious!


This guy dressed like Rey Mysterio was also
lurking after the show.
11:10 p.m.: The line at the merch booth is still too damn long. I hate how all of us settled with the crappy shirts they brought.


11:20 p.m.: Guys from Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) are handing out fliers to their show the next day right outside the arena. That’s hustle right there. I wish I’d stayed an extra night to catch their show.


A bunch of folks are hanging out by the parking lot and yelling. The boys and I figure that the wrestlers were making their way towards their buses. So we run in that direction ourselves, only to find that the bus is mostly full by this point.


Nikki Bella comes out to a rowdy ovation, and she walks like a diva. Ganun ba siya katagal maligo at mag-ayos na siya yung huling lumabas? I mean, after she gets on the bus, both buses take off.


It was nice of some of the boys and girls to wave back at us as we waved goodbye at them. I just wish I knew which ones actually did wave. ‘Yun pala, mga crew at refs lang ‘yung kumaway.


*****


12:50 a.m.: I end up spending the next two hours hanging out with the boys at a nearby 7-11, since all of the other nearby restaurants were closed. We recorded some commentary on the show, which you can listen to on the latest episode of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. After that, we parted ways, and I spent another couple of hours shooting the breeze with Red.


3:00 a.m.: I took a quick shower and got a cab to the airport, and unsuccessfully tried to catch some z’s. I’m still tired as I write this, as I never really got to make up for all the sleep I lost. But you know what, it was totally worth it.


5:00 a.m.: I’m eating breakfast at the airport and I’m reflecting on my Singapore adventure. I used to say that when I get my own job and start making my own money, I would do whatever I can to satisfy my fandom. Whether that’s buy WWE t-shirts, or buy a ticket to see a WWE show live—or in this case, both plus an airplane ticket to another country—I just have to make sure that I don’t waste my youth and actually pursue my fandom habang kaya ko.


And I’m glad I did it. Being tired and sleepless, being all sweaty and sticky from the humidity, being hungry and walking around Singapore virtually homeless—all of that was totally worth the brief moment I got to spend with King Barrett and Kane. All of that was worth being around fellow wrestling fans in Southeast Asia, screaming, cheering, jeering, and chanting. It was worth losing all shame, and calling out towards anyone wearing a shirt I loved to compliment them. It was worth borrowing a WWE title belt to pose with it, as I’ve always wanted to since my fandom began.


In many ways, I needed to go on a pilgrimage like this for my fandom. It reminded me just how much I love pro wrestling, and how huge of an impact it’s truly had on my life. And it also reminded me how glad I am to find friends, and an entire community for that matter, who feel the same way. It turns out, I’m not so weird after all.

*****



Stan Sy is a radio DJ, an events host, a freelance writer, one of the hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, and Smark Henry's official PPV reviewer. He enjoys watching WWE, NXT, Lucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. Every now and then, he dresses up in fancy suits to book matches as PWR's longest-tenured General Manager to date. Follow him on Twitter: @_stansy

Comments

Trending This Week

Can Crystal Become The First Wrestling Queen of Asia?

WrestlingCity.Asia Queen of Asia Throne Still Vacant

The Smark Henry RAW Report (10/18/17): Seeing Red

Why Kavita and Shadia Matter: WWE's Relationship With Asia and Women

Weekly Wrecap (10/16/17): October Surprises