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#PHXcellence: Analyzing The PHX Tournament Contenders


The competitors for the #PHXcellence tournament to fill the vacant PHX Championship have finally been made official, and we're pretty #PHXtatic about the field.

There are some obvious filler contenders for sure, but it's otherwise a top-heavy lineup that guarantees some stellar matchups in the latter stages, regardless of how brackets are set up.

Let's take a look at the 12 men who'll be battling it out in the three-day gauntlet at this year's AsiaPOP Comicon Manila and assess their odds of coming out of it with the prized white-and-gold belt in their grasp.

Caveat: Bracketology is obviously going to be a huge decider—but in the absence of this, we're gonna go with what we know of the talents from the Philippine Wrestling Revolution. After all, the company doesn't have a huge history of booking upsets in its past tournaments for both the PHX and Tag Team Championships, so we do think the favorites will generally hold their form this time around.




First-Round Fumbles


"The Anime-zing Fighter" Bolt



We suppose that out of the 12 competitors, the weeaboo grappler has the closest thing to a homecourt advantage. But at 120 pounds and barely any match experience under his belt, he'd be hard-pressed to tough it out through all three rounds of a tournament as stacked as this one.

Prediction: Cannon fodder who's sure to get some love from the APCC attendees, but not much else.


"The Future" Evan Carleaux




On paper, it's easy to label the infuriating Carleaux as having one of the highest upsides among the current crop of PWR rookies. But after having come off of major surgery that's kept him on the sidelines, we're confident the fast-talking showman will have too much ring rust to truly find his pace.

Prediction: Sorry, Evan. Maybe next year.

Trian Dela Torre



Not many wrestlers can claim to have two wins over newly-crowned All Out War Champion The Apocalypse, but the alleged five-footer Trian Dela Torre finds himself on the short list (sorry) of those who've pulled off the amazing feat. He may have a mad social media game and an expanding army of Trianverse characters to support him (what's good, GrabCamus?), but we're not quite sure that's enough to pull off a win against the best of PWR.

Prediction: Short odds of making it out of the first round.

"The Man-Doll" Martivo



We'll always have a soft spot for PWR's resident Rainbow Squad leader, who's shown through the last year that he's most definitely not just a novelty act. With his shockingly solid fundamentals that shine through despite his flamboyant theatrics, Martivo certainly has the talent to put up a good fight against anyone on the roster. But someone's got to lose in a tournament format like this, and the Man-Doll probably won't make the cut.

Prediction: He'll charm the crowd and win their hearts—but leopard print just doesn't go with the white-and-gold.

Dax Xaviera



We love Dax. We named him the Most Improved Filipino Wrestler of the Midyear. He's gone toe-to-toe with PWR legend Bombay Suarez and is fresh off a pulsating upset win over inaugural PHX Champion Ken Warren. But powering through multiple waves of top-flight PWR wrestlers may be too much of a moonshot for the emerging young star.

Prediction: Future #1 contender, but APCC probably won't be his coming-out party.


Potential Upsets


"The Walking Death" Mike Madrigal



Probably the most painful name to put on this tier of contenders. On raw talent alone, Madrigal is possibly among PWR's best; he's incredibly polished and charismatic in the ring, and is absolutely fearless. Or maybe that's just him being kupal, we don't know. But he's grown more comfortable in a tag team setup, and has a notoriously short temper. That's a bad combination that will probably set him up for an early elimination.

Prediction: Please don't kill us (or spoil Game of Thrones), Mike. But we don't see you making it to the semis.

P.S. Love your burritos.

SANDATA



Let's face facts: Despite all the obvious reasons for all of us here at the Smark Henry offices to root for the Pinoy Tecnico, he's been ice-cold the last few months. His last three matches have all ended in disappointing losses against Koto Hiro, Billy Suede, and Vlad Sinnsyk. That's not a bad list of dudes to lose against, but he's not exactly inspiring confidence in us right now.

Prediction: SANDATA is going home empty-handed, but will deliver one of the more thrilling matches of the tournament nevertheless.

Movers & Shakers


Rederick Mahaba



Fresh off of a one-match suspension from PWR General Manager Mr. Sy, and with his partner Ralph Imabayashi potentially sidelined with a shoulder injury, you wouldn't think the massive 320-pounder would have much of a chance in this PHX showdown. But Rederick Mahaba is an absolute force of nature who knows how to use his massive girth to his advantage. He's gonna bulldoze his way through a competitor or two, and leave a trail of battered bodies in his wake.

Prediction: With the right bracket, he could roll all the way to the finals. Conditioning will be the biggest question mark; after all, big men aren't always known for their, ahem, lasting power.

Vlad Sinnsyk



You may not have noticed it, but the deranged madman Vlad Sinnsyk has sneakily been one of the best performers for PWR in the past few months. Off the top of our heads, we can't recall any instances where he's been pinned, save for a fluke roll-up by Jake De Leon at this year's Path of Gold tournament, and owns singles wins over the likes of Ralph Imabayashi and SANDATA. Sinnsyk could go far, potentially even sliding his way into the finals with the right luck of the draw.

Prediction: Our first real dark horse to shock the Revo-Nation and launch his singles career into the stratosphere.

The Big Guns


Ken Warren



Ken Warren is probably the streakiest shooter in the game today. His 2017 win-loss record may be pedestrian at best, but when the stakes are at their highest, he sure knows how to flip the switch. Remember when he went nuclear during the first PHX Championship Tournament, eventually claiming the crown while racking up an impressive five-match winning streak? We sure do.

Prediction: Some people say the PHX Division is the House That Ken Built, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the Social Media Sinister become the first two-time champ in PHX history.

John Sebastian



Our "Wrestling Lord & Savior" will be coming into this tournament fully recharged after a resplendent vacation in Singapore, and looks to be in even better shape these days than during his run as PWR Champion. We've pointed out how remarkably loose and relaxed the one-time "Cutthroat" has been in the ring lately, and that just goes to show how indestructible his confidence is. The best strategist and manipulator in the company today is likely to have some secret ace up his sleeve to get some gold back around his waist.

Prediction: Pretty much a lock to blow through to the finals, and leave a couple of victims with some Killshot-induced concussions.

Jake De Leon



Bacolod-bred and inasal-fed, there's nobody in the company with the in-ring pedigree Jake De Leon has. We're pretty sure he's still pissed over failing to become the company's most decorated athlete at the #UnFathersDay show a few months back, and he's not about to let history slip through his fingers a second time. PWR's company president also owns an undefeated streak at AsiaPOP, and could bring it up to a clean 6-0 record with a PHX Championship win to go with his two PWR Championship reigns and pioneering Path of Gold victory.

Prediction: JDL makes history as the new #HariNgHybrid, and goes on to face the unlikeliest of challengers: the elusive Kapitan PWR.

*****

What do you think of our PHX Championship predictions, Revo-Nation? Do you agree with our bet on JDL, or is some unexpected star swooping in to become the sixth PHX Champion in the record books? Let us know your thoughts, and we'll see you at the show!

*****

The 2017 AsiaPOP Comicon Manila is happening on August 25-27 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Tickets start at P600 for a one-day pass, and can be purchased exclusively through SM Tickets.

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