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PWR Live: Suplex Sunday Preview—Jake De Leon's Bacolod Bullrope Challenge




PWR Live: Suplex Sunday is less than a week from today, but fans of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution are especially intrigued over the main event, featuring the reigning two-time PWR Champion Jake De Leon putting his gold on the line a second time against the dangerous, focused John Sebastian in the world's first Bacolod Bullrope match.


While JDL may have escaped with his championship intact at last month's Renaissance 2016 after dropping his challenger with a devastating Alipin Drop, we do have to wonder about the wisdom in putting his crown up for grabs under such a unique stipulation, even if it did get PWR General Manager Mr. Sy his job back. So before anything else, lets look into the pros and cons of this match.


What is a Bacolod Bullrope match?


Much like the legendary Indian Strap matches made famous by the NWA and USWA in the 1970s and 1980s, this match features both competitors bound to each other by a sturdy 10-foot bullrope. In theory, this should be the kind of match that settles all scores, making escape impossible.


The rope itself is a legal weapon for the match, depending on either man's creativity. Whether using it as a whip, increasing leverage for submission holds (much like Rusev infamously used an iron chain to enhance the pain delivered by his Accolade on Roman Reigns), or using it as a catapult to add momentum to various throws or slams, it's all fair game. Don't expect either man to come out of this match injury-free.

Submissions, countouts, and disqualifications don't mean a thing, folks. One man is getting his shoulders pinned for the three-count.

Xs and Os: How The Bullrope Will Affect JDL's Gameplan


At first blush, you would think JDL's hometown specialty match would decisively tip the scales in his favor. He did, after all, choose this stipulation, and in theory should be a master of the multiple ways he can use the bullrope to deliver more punishment to the self-proclaimed Wrestling Lord and Savior, John Sebastian.

But looking at his in-ring style, one must figure that the bullrope may provide a bigger impediment than an advantage. Despite his Bacolod-bred heft, The Senyorito wrestles a helter-skelter style that sees him springing all over the ring with dropkicks, superkicks, rolling cannonballs, cartwheel splashes, and his signature Payroll senton splash. Anyone who steps into battle with him has to have his ring awareness amped up to 11; nobody wrestles a 360-degree match better than the Heir of Hacienda De Leon.


Mobility-wise, having the bullrope to tether him to his opponent may end up slowing down his dynamic style, forcing him to slow down the pace and pick his spots more efficiently. And that just may work out in John Sebastian's favor.

The Senyorito isn't particularly known for a strong submission arsenal either, which is perhaps the Achilles heel in his repertoire. He's been able to wrestle his way around this limitation thus far, but this also means that various submission moves that would normally be easily augmented by the bullrope may not be part of his muscle memory. JDL is all smash-mouth pyrotechnics in the ring, and it isn't immediately obvious how the rope will aid his offense.



An Ace Up His Sleeve: John Sebastian's Bullrope Possibilities


John Sebastian on the other hand is PWR's ultimate opportunist who shows no remorse over grabbing every slight advantage in a match. Whether it's relying on Main Maxx and Peter Versoza to bail him out of trouble, or unloading on unsuspecting foes with his trademark kendo stick, Sebastian is a king of shortcuts. We're pretty sure he's been burning the midnight oil the past few weeks, scheming up innovative ways to maximize the bullrope in his quest to become PWR Champion.


If JDL wrestles like PWR's Air Force, Sebastian is the epitome of trench warfare. Whereas JDL favors a come-from-all-corners assault, John Sebastian wrestles a more methodical, brutish style. He likes getting up in his opponent's grill, keeping things snug, and using his size advantage to pound them with such brutal grapples as his over-the-shoulder neckbreaker and Tombstone piledriver. The Royal Flush's Ace likes to wrestle with an economy of motion (perhaps the side effect of the huge amounts of mass he's built up over the past year), and having his opponent hamstrung by a rope plays right to his strengths. JDL may have the superior motor between the two (don't forget all those nights he's pulled double duty), but you may as well throw his cardiovascular conditioning out the window when he's ground-bound by the Bacolod Bullrope.

Sebastian likes wrestling a hybrid Strong Style-influenced offense, and this match will keep JDL in relatively close proximity for his vicious array of strikes, including his infamous Killshot finishing maneuver. Off the top of our heads, we can imagine multiple ways that the bullrope can aid his wrestling style—tripping up the Senyorito mid-cartwheel, yanking him off the ropes, binding him in place for a Killshot to the skull, and so much more.

Our Match Prediction


From all the times De Leon and Sebastian have squared off in the past, whether in singles or multi-competitor scenarios, we have to imagine both men have each other's strategies and tactics mapped out to a T. But JDL may have shown too much of his hand in their match at Renaissance

We noted in our official review that John Sebastian may have wrestled a very conservative match by his standards. But looking at how things played out, that may have been entirely by design. He now has a fresh, up-close read of how JDL thinks and acts in big match scenarios, memorizing and analyzing JDL's tendencies in the squared circle, and counter-planning against them. Is it too much to assume it was a case of deliberately losing the battle, only to win the war? Perhaps.


And don't forget, the only other time the two men faced off one-on-one was during Sebastian's first match as a fresh-faced rookie a couple of years back. JDL may have retained his status as PWR's gold standard, but John Sebastian has grown be leaps and bounds since then, at one point even racking up a record-tying five match winning streak over the likes of Bombay Suarez.

JDL may have unwittingly locked himself into a match where his advantages in ring awareness, cardiovascular conditioning, and mobility are severely hampered. The Bacolod Bullrope match stipulation literally puts the champ on a leash, keeping him within striking range of Sebastian's lariats and knees. There isn't much in JDL's offense that we imagine can be amplified by the bullrope. Sebastian can bide his time, leverage his size and strength advantage to slowly wear down the popular kingpin, and when the time is right, nail him right in the skull with a vicious Killshot to claim his first PWR Championship reign.

But that's our heads speaking.

JDL is the ultimate all-heart personality, a man who counts on his innate charisma and magnetism to connect with the crowd, and spark him out of defeat. We've bet against him countless times, only to see him rise to the occasion, no matter the odds.

The Bacolod Bullrope specialty match might not give any logical edge to the Senyorito, but heck, when has a JDL match been about logic and reason? We'll pull a rare emotional call on this one, and predict that Jake De Leon retains his treasured championship for another month.

Winner: Jake De Leon via pinfall.



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What do you think of our match prediction, Revo-Nation? Is the Age of Sebastian upon us, or will Jake De Leon continue his fighting reign? Let us know in the comments section, and we'll see you at PWR Live: Suplex Sunday.

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PWR Live: Suplex Sunday is happening Sunday, November 13, at the Unilab Bayanihan Center on Pioneer Street in Mandaluyong. Gates open at 2 PM, and tickets can be purchased at the venue for P400. For inquiries on advance discount sales, contact the Philippine Wrestling Revolution by calling +63 942 000 2007, emailing at pwr.tickets@gmail.com, or sending them a DM on their official Facebook page

Pre-selling partners until November 12 are The Appraisery at Cubao Expo, Wingman at the Collective on Malugay Street in Makati, or Playbook Video Game Lounge & Bookshop at Circuit Makati or Pergola Mall in BF Homes Paranaque. 

All photos are by "Hot Stuff" Hub Pacheco.

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