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PWR Live: Suplex Sunday—The Official Smark Henry Review


Another fantastic installment of the year-old PWR Live series has come and gone, and Suplex Sunday certainly lived up to its expectations (with a healthy number of suplexes too!). If you thought the wrestlers of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution would rest on their laurels following their successful Bayanihan Center debut at Renaissance, you'd be wrong. What we got was a non-stop, high-octane, hype-raising showing on one of their rare Sunday afternoon shows, a move that got new fans coming in and families bonding together all for the love of the pro wrestling game. And as usual, it is our civic duty to look at the best and worst matches and moments of the show. How do we do that?

Why of course, by bring back our scientifically-proven Sonsi Scale of Wrestling Greatness, inspired by the oh-so-awesome Sonsi House of Longganisa! Because fans, let's face it: we all love our food the way we love our wrestling. So, without further ado:



*****


Tier 1: Inihaw na Bacon (Undeniably Great)


You'd think a place that calls itself "The House of Longganisa" would have longganisa as the most glorious dish on the menu. That's where Sonsi takes us all by surprise with its sneakily good menu A-lister: its delightful platter of paper-thin pork belly slices flavorfully infused in a toyo-calamansi based marinade and charred Pinoy-style over some good ol' fashioned uling.

Sonsi's inihaw na bacon is ridiculously good, and its only fair that we assign the segments of the show we enjoyed the most under its mind-blowing awesomeness.

Photo via OpenSnap.com


A Redemption and A Revelation




Let's face it: when you have Chris Panzer, the most consistent, never-say-die professional in the PWR locker room, take on the wrestling revelation of The Network in Chino Guinto, you know sparks are going to fly like crazy. And true enough, the match not only lived up to the expectations, it downright surpassed them. It was an intense bout that saw both men deliver and take some outright painful moves, with each warrior hitting their respective finishers during the bout. In the end, it was a resilient Panzer that dropped Chino with his El Guerrero Frog Splash for the first win in a long time.

After a plethora of failures in the past months of Panzer's career, an enthralling bout against The Golden Boy was the best way to kickstart Panzer's redemption story. Honestly, no one was going to expect one more loss for a guy primed to be the next big face of PWR with his looks and talent. The only way to go now was to get the big 'W,' and in the process, both men gave a stunning performance that left fans tingling with excitement and anticipation. The right decision was made at the end of the day with a Panzer victory, with him ready to take the spot at being the next big shot of the promotion.



That being said, 2016 has been quite a revelation for Guinto. We have seen him evolve from unknown element to a proven commodity all within the span of a calendar year. 

Ever since his match with SANDATA at PWR Live: Road to Wrevolution X, he's stepped up his game to become a hot heel act with major in-ring credentials. While his act screams "douchebag" all around (with fans chanting "CHI-NO-PA," as usual), in an unexpected twist, fans have slowly started cheering for the Golden Boy in the vein of cheering for a "cool heel" like Chris Jericho or Kevin Owens. While this doesn't mean he'll be a face anytime soon (because let's face it: The Network as a whole is a hot act with a long shelf life), it does show that PWR is able to develop new stars. So even with the absence of some other top-tier names, expect the current crop to rise up soon enough. 

Both men deserve so much props, no doubt about it. Their in-ring performance and conditioning will take them far. Still, as usual, fuck you, Chino.

Result: Chris Panzer defeated Chino Guinto via pinfall after the El Guerrero



Dicks Contra Feelings and the End of the Flush?



Long-time PWR fans know that any Main Maxx match is a must-see match. Add in a much improved and conditioned SANDATA in a PHX Championship bout, and you get an explosive first-time encounter between two seasoned PWR veterans. True to form, both men brought everything including the kitchen sink, hitting each other with stiff strikes and excruciating submission maneuvers. On this day, it seemed as though it could really go either way. But unfortunately, SANDATA's vintage top-rope hurricanrana was countered into a Main Maxx powerbomb, leading to a pinfall and the show's first "this is awesome" chant.



While the match earned high marks for its stiff and physical exchanges, it was the events after the match that fans would be talking about. Particularly, when Peter Versoza once again attacked Maxx's beaten for. When Maxx tried to stop the Bulacan Babe Magnet's assault a second time, the latter would have none of it, bringing down the Ultimate Hybrid with the Petegree.



Given the events, it would be safe to assume that the Royal Flush is as good as dead (save for another scenario that would be discussed later)
simply because the concept of the Flush no longer makes sense at this point. Hopefully, new stories can be told moving forward. This is definitely a breath of fresh air considering that the Flush has been around as long as PWR has, and in a creative sense, we can't wait to see what happens next.

Result: Main Maxx defeats SANDATA via pinfall after a top rope powerbomb to retain the PHX Championship 


Bringing in the Chaos on Suplex Sunday




What started with a cheap shot from Mike Madrigal to Joey Bax at PWR Live: The ShawDown has escalated into a full-blown war between two fronts: the Fighters 4 Hire and the unusual yet fitting tandem of Mike Madrigal and Vlad Sinnsyk. And the animosity got even worse than ever in their scheduled tag match, after Mike miraculously managed to find a partner that loves to bring the pain in the new breed star, Sinnsyk. 

Both sides showed fire all throughout the bout, with Vlad showing why he is a hidden gem on the PWR roster and Miguel Rosales once again proving why he is one of the most intense wrestlers in PWR, embodying the theme of Suplex Sunday. But both teams eventually could not be contained, and after some high-impact dives, both teams were counted out. That didn't mean the war was over though as both sides still wanted to hurt each other, with PWR officials taking collateral damage.



Seeing this kind of chaos between two angry sides is a majesty to behold, something you don't get to see in today's wrestling scene. Two teams wanting to rip each others' heads off, this kind of rivalry not only invigorated the F4H as a whole, but also gave two talented rookies like Madrigal and Sinnsyk a meaningful program that can only serve all parties concerned very well in the long run, in the same way Rederick Mahaba and The Network became big names after a months-long rivalry with one another to open their respective PWR stints. 


Result: No Contest, double count out


Tier 2: Cebu Chorizo (Polarizingly Great)


Depending on where you're from, Sonsi's proprietary take on the sweet-and-spicy Cebu chorizo is either the best thing to happen—or the absolute worst. Some people salivate over the complex flavors that flood the mouth with each bite, while others say the caramelized jamonado richness is too umay-inducing.

Sounds like a fair comparison for the next tier of greatness.

Photo via Marc Weebly


The Bacolod Bullrope Benchmark



When the Bacolod Bullrope Match was announced, there was a nagging feeling that somehow, JDL would not be leaving Suplex Sunday with the belt around his waist. Champions losing titles under their own supposed specialty stipulations is a trope pro wrestling has long loved to use. And here we are, living in a PWR with a new champion (not to mention  our Wrestling Lord and Savior) after John Sebastian nailed The Senyorito with a cowbell-reinforced Killshot to the skull.



Given that this was the first time ever that a match like this would take place, it was nowhere near as perfect as it should be. But that being said, despite moments of confusion in the bout where it seemed like there was no direction, both men managed to pull off some creative spots during the match, adding in the brutality of the rope and the cowbell to much effect. 


Of course, due to the stipulation, it is safe to say that their previous encounter at Renaissance was better than the Bullrope match. Nonetheless, any JDL-Sebastian match is always something to look forward to, and hopefully they can improve from their experiences with this Philippine-first bout. In the end, it was a frantic and fun affair, regardless of the criticisms. And with this, both men have set the benchmark when it comes to future stipulation matches in the world of PWR.

The whole "end of the Flush" wrinkle was given new dimension, however, when Main Maxx showed up to congratulate Sebastian on his title win, which brings us to the question: What is going on between Sebastian, Maxx, and Versoza?


And with JDL's recent concussion taking him out of the game, who else is the most qualified to take on the new champion? Only time will tell.

Result: John Sebastian defeats Jake de Leon via pinfall after a cowbell-assisted Killshot to win the PWR Championship


A Network to Remember




The State of the Network Address accomplished so many goals in one segment, progressing varying stories while tying up loose ends from the past months. In one fell swoop, they were able to:

  • Address the absence of "Big Bank" Bruno Bernardo as he was effectively cut from the faction due to various circumstances deemed damaging to the Network 
  • Allow Chino to vent out about his recent misfortunes, namely the PHX Number One Contender's Match loss
  • Introduce the Revo-nation to the newest Network downline and the man that screwed Ralph Imabayashi over at Renaissance, "Mr. Financially Stable" Alexander Belmonte III
  • Give Idol some mic time, positioning himself as the "Uncrowned King of PWR" after his wins over two former PWR Champions in Imabayashi and De Leon

This led to Ralph Imabayashi coming out and challenging the Network, his backup being a familiar foe to the group in Rederick Mahaba, resulting to an impromptu tag bout against Idol and AB3. The duo, known collectively as MTNH (or Mahabang T*** Ng Hapon) is such an entertaining tandem, mixing in Ralph's aggressive style and Redrick's unorthodox big man offense. And despite competing for the first time, AB3 looks very comfortable in the ring, showing much promise as the new enforcer of The Network. Though there is always room for improvements, it is good to know that AB3 can be relied on in an in-ring capacity. Idol will always be Idol, and that is very much a good thing.


While MTNH picked up the victory with the Rederick-assisted Sonic Crusher from Ralph on AB3—officially dubbed "Fall of Ninja From Sakura Tree"—the war between the two teams is far from over. This entire segment was funny, entertaining, and physically competitive, everything you can ask for from these men. And everyone deserves much kudos for that.


Result: MTNH defeats The Network via pinfall with the Fall of Ninja From Sakura Tree

Crystal-Versoza II With A Retaliatory Twist



Okay, we all know that the first meeting between Crystal and Peter Versoza was one of the greatest matches in PWR history, so a second match should be just as amazing. And true enough, they both impressed the hell out of the PWR faithful. While this match was not necessarily on par with the first encounter given the novelty of the first intergender match in Philippine wrestling history, this match still lived up to expectations.


A twist did certainly happen though, as Main Maxx came out to get revenge for the Petegree he got earlier in the show, hitting Versoza with the Blitzkreig choke bomb while the ref was out and hiding in the audience afterwards.

Despite a kickout, P to the V fell for Crystal's Eat Defeat maneuver, giving the Bad-Ass Babe the first win of her career. You can expect the former Royal Flush stable mates to face each other for the PHX Championship sooner or later. Whether Maxx continues the longest reigning PHX title reign in history or not remains to be seen, but nevertheless, get ready to get hyped.

Result: Crystal defeats Peter Versoza via pinfall after the Eat Defeat

Tier 3: Vigan Longganisa (Inoffensively Good, Not A Showstopper)


Know anyone who hates the garlicky longganisa variant made famous by the town of Vigan? We don't. It's the B+ player of the longganisa world, inoffensive at best, pedestrian at worst, and not necessarily something people get all passionate about. Sonsi makes some of the best Vigan longganisa we've ever had (and believe us, we've had a lot of the stuff in our lives), but it just doesn't incite riots like some other stuff on the menu.

Here's where we'll rank the matches that were good, satisfying filler, but failed to break through to elite level.

Photo via FoodSpotting.com

Mr. Sy announces the 2nd Annual Path of Gold Match




Mr. Sy made an appearance after the intermission to announce that one of the best matches in PWR history, the Path of Gold match, will make a return at the next PWR show. But as if that wasn't exciting enough, he dropped another bombshell: the match will be a 20-man bout, making the pinfall or submission rumble match even more chaotic! So far, Ralph Imabayashi, Rederick Mahaba, Crystal, James "Idol" Martinez, and "The Golden Boy" Chino Guinto have been announced. And of course, the winner will get a PWR or PHX title match at next year's Wrevolution X.

As fans may have seen in last year's Terminus, the Path of Gold match was undoubtedly one of the most entertaining matches ever put on, inserting so many different personalities in one match, leading to some very interesting pair-ups. Surely, expect this year's bout to get as crazy as last year, or perhaps even more.

Tag Team Titles When?


One of the most exciting (and arrogant) tag teams in PWR today, the YOLO Twins, took on the Punk Dolls, Robynn and Martivo, in a competitive bout that should have been in the Pics of Katips' favor given their talent and brotherly connection.

Unfortunately, one of the twins got distracted by a foreign object thrown from the crowd, leading to a pinfall victory from the newly-christened Punk Dolls.


Both teams brought their A-game during the match, with the YoLo twins once again proving why they are one of the most thrilling tandems in Philippine wrestling today. Don't forget, they're the only team to have ever beaten Beer Promdi in a tag match. You cannot deny their teamwork and athleticism in the ring. Expect these guys to light up the tag division in the future.

And let's not forget the charismatic combination of the Punk Dolls, both possessing the undeniable underdog vibe and the never-give-up attitude of the two. Their teamwork is a work in progress, but when they get a hang of it soon, don't be surprised if they become a beloved part of the overall PWR picture while becoming great ambassadors to the brand.

One thing though: there are so many teams right now, more than past years. Is it now time for a set of tag team titles? It's high time.

Result: The Punk Dolls win via pinball after an O'Connor Roll


THE COUNCIL OF TRABAJADORES!?



If there is anything undeniably true when it comes to stories, movies, video games, pro wrestling, and other forms of medium, one thing consistently rings true: a consistent story that makes sense will always lead to great storytelling in the end.

So when Kanto Terror made an open challenge in the pre-show against any competitor in the PWR locker room, we did not expect Trajabadores #1 and 2 to show up alongside the leader of the Council of the Trajabadores, Trajabador Supremo, saying the Trajabadores is actually a group that hides in the shadows. And then, he introduced everyone to KT's opponent of the night, Trajabador Maximo, who KT immediately dispatches with the Lakas Tama elbow smash.

So now, we know that in canon, there is a legion of Trajabadores that has existed since the early days of PWR, and there is a sign that more are coming too. While this may be something akin to Lucha Underground storytelling, you gotta give props to PWR for giving life to the concept of jobbers, opening up a whole new set of possibilities as we look towards the next few months—sort of a throwback to the Machines of 1980s WWE programming. Man, pro wrestling may be crazy, but you just gotta love pro wrestling craziness. This whole concept alone puts it in this tier.


Where this leads KT, on the other hand, we don't know yet, but here's to hoping he can improve his performance at this time, moreso as he embarks on a singles career. As a veteran of the game, it is time for him to step up in a big way and show everyone that he deserves to be part of this new era of PWR, and this should hopefully allow him to step up big time.

Result: Kanto Terror wins by pinfall after a Lakas Tama 

Apoca-Pre-Show



The Apocalypse made his presence known at Suplex Sunday in a pre-show bout against Delirium's Dax Javiera. While Dax's excitement may have led to some sloppy moments, he was still able to hold his own against the experienced and domineering Apocalypse, until quickly falling to defeat via a variant of the curb stomp. And not even an assault by his partner, Dan Ericson, post-match could stop Apocalypse from hitting him with the Death Bell.


It is a wonder why Apocalypse, as imposing as he is, and the bloody damage he did to Panzer at Renaissance, ended up in the pre-show. Nonetheless, Apocalypse has always been a dominant performer that delivers, and this match was no different.

Delirium has promise as a tandem, but as of now, the only thing going against them is being too pumped and excited, inadvertedly slipping on some moves. Delirium has more time to improve, whether in singles or tag competition, but if they can allow pacing and timing in their matches, it can lead to better matches in the long term.

Tier 4: Kropek


Photo by Mac Centeno

Wintendo



After practically a year, Vintendo finally secured the first win of his PWR career against the debuting Keivan Skull. This first-time bout was David vs. Goliath, with Keivan playing the role of David. And after a power onslaught by Vintendo, a High Score chokeslam resulted in a long overdue victory. Keivan certainly did not leave without an impression though as he hit an official with a Skull-Crushing Finale in frustration after the match.

While you have to admire Vintendo for pulling off the victory after being in the company for so long, it did come out unfortunate that the Vintendo-Skull match was affected by coordination issues and, for lack of a better term, botches. The match even had a "Botchamania" chant (that wasn't even started by Heckler's Row!), the only one in the entire show. It also hurt that it also affected Keivan's stock given his debut match was the lowest ranked match of the night. As Vintendo finally got his first win, here's to hoping he can improve further as he is expected to be in matches with other talented stars and even more rising stars in the future. Not to mention, if he wants to progress further to the level of competitive and reliable big men like Rederick and Maxx, he's going to have to step up big time.

Same goes for Skull, who unfortunately debuted in a lackluster bout. Hopefully this is just an off night for both men because moving forward, all eyes are on these stars.

Result: VINTENDO WINS! VINTENDO WINS! 

*****

Conclusion


By setting up a show on a Sunday afternoon, there was much uncertainty as far as attendance goes compared to PWR's usual Saturday night event. But it paid off, with a huge turnout as far as attendance goes with loyal fans, families, and new fans coming by, a good sign of things to come for the promotion.

Overall, the product once again shined throughout the show, a comparatively better showing when compared to most other past events, and a good sign of exactly how far PWR has gone. With the in-ring product having been the highlight of the show, and even the new blood of PWR being given a chance to make an impression, they are already securing themselves a bright future. 

Suplex Sunday was a natural evolution to the PWR formula, giving the company some momentum it should capitalize on as they begin to expand even further. Everyone in PWR should be proud of Suplex Sunday, no doubt about it, and as long as PWR keeps it up, maintaining its perch as the premiere wrestling promotion in the country should be an attainable goal.


Singles Star of the Night: Chino Guinto (yes, hell has frozen over) 



Tag Team Stars of the Night: The YOLO Twins




Match of the Night: Main Maxx vs. SANDATA for the PHX Championship, Panzer vs. Chino Guinto (tie)



Moment of the Night: The F4H vs. Team Psycho Kupal brawl




Chants of the Night: 


  1. CHI-NO-PA
  2. Oniichan (to Rederick)
  3. #Poch4Partner, and singing "Can't Poch This" every time ring announcer Pocholo Estrada came to the ring
  4. Main Maxx Cares

*****

For more information about the Philippine Wrestling Revolution, like their official Facebook page and give their website a visit.

Sonsi House of Longganisa is located at unit 4B of Madison Square Complex on Pioneer, Mandaluyong City. Estimate a budget of P200-300 per head for a decent meal.

All wrestling photos are by the beautiful and talented Hub Pacheco

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