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The Smark Henry Hip Toast: Gigz Stryker


Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the Smark Henry Hip Toast—our happy place where we interview various personalities in pro wrestling, shoot from the hip, and raise them a toast. We will be looking at the men behind the personas and giving you an intimate look at the wrestlers who are helping build this wonderful sport and turn it into something really special in this country.

For this installment, we will look into the life and times of one of the cornerstones of the Manila Wrestling Federation, Gigz Stryker, who will main event their next show, Road to Fate, against Rex Lawin.

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When the Manila Wrestling Federation made their official debut in April 2017 in the aptly-named MWF x MCS at Makati Cinema Square, it was an exciting development for the Philippine wrestling scene. After years of anticipation, the promotion finally produced their first show, filled with a growing and promising roster waiting to make their mark in the industry. While it may be in its growing stages with much to learn and grow, as the old saying goes, "great things come from small beginnings."


In many ways, one can say that a unique selling point of MWF is its colorful characters, from Mr. Lucha, the masked hybrid luchador, and Robin Sane, the high-flying daredevil with an awe-inspiring 450 Splash, to Fabio Makisig, the brash yet talented douchebag that can back his words up with his actions.

But from the get-go, it has been clear that one of the focal characters of MWF is a 90s-inspired action star by the name of Gigz Stryker. For a man so inspired by the old school nature of the gimmick, he managed to make the FPJ-inspired persona work so well in 2017, a testament to his magnetic charisma. Coupling this with his great in-ring capabilities, it's no wonder why he has been situated in the upper echelon of the company. This guy is the complete package, but the journey has just begun for the wrestler wanting to make it big in this crazy world of pro wrestling.


Funnily enough, this journey and his love of pro wrestling, is deeply ingrained by the nostalgic wonders of the good old 90's, which actually is closer to home in real life as it is his in-ring persona.

Gigz Stryker recalled, "Batang 90’s ako! Nasimulan kong magustuhan ang pro wrestling nung WWF Superstars hanggang Attitude Era. Isama mo na ang panahon nila Batista ng mid-2000’s, galing Ruthless Aggression [Era]. Pero ang pinaka-impluwensya ko sa ring ay ang mga Pinoy action heroes. Masa-style, paghaluin na natin ang local at foreign, isama mo na ang video games. Pero sa wrestling naman, sina Bret Hart, Stone Cold, Gregory Helms, at may kapirangot na Shawn Michaels.


True enough, his heroes back in the day ended up becoming a huge influence, to the point that they really became heroes in the eyes of a young Gigz. And his dedication to his love for the wrestling game was very strong even in his younger days, one that would eventually help influence his life.

"I grabbed this opportunity (to compete) dahil nung childhood ko sa New Era University, na-bully ako dahil sa pag-idolo ko kay Stone Cold at [na-bully naman ako] sa Kalumpang, Marikina sa pag-idolo ko kay Bret Hart. Ngayon, gusto ko patunayan sa kanila na ako yung batang pinagtatawanan nila noon," Gigz reminisced.

His love and passion for pro wrestling had a strong foundation built in his early days, but a chance encounter years later in another hobby would eventually direct the course of his life to his long-lasting passion, making it more than just a dream. Even he himself did not see any of this coming, including the fact that his experiences would also lead to the birth of the Manila Wrestling Federation.


"Ang totoo, di ko inaasahan ito. Nagsimula lang kami maging magkatropa ni Fabs (Fabio Makisig) sa tricking," Gigz shares. "Siya ang tumulong sa akin sa mga community at mga ibang connections ko. Dumating ang time na may wrestling promotion na sumibol (Philippine Wrestling Revolution). Naging interesado kami pero wala kaming sapat na pera noon kaya kami mismo ang nag-train sa sarili namin. Since then, nagkasundo naman kami ni Fabs. 

Dumating ang time na nakilala niya si Robin Sane, Ryujin, at [Mr.] Lucha. At doon na nagsimula ang lahat."

Training was unorthodox, to say the least, given how they themselves became both the teachers and the students in their own training regimen, as Gigz would say himself:

"Kung meron man tumulong sa akin sa early development, kami-kami lang din, self-study and self-training. Walang may gusto ng pro wrestling sa tunay na mundo ko at pinagtatawanan lang nila ito. Ayaw nga ako pag-wrestlingin ng magulang ko."



Like most guys, it was during the developmental stages of his career where it felt like the perfect time to bring about his childhood influences and mold them into the character we would eventually see today: the 90s action star/wrestler that is Gigz Stryker.

Even during the early days of MWF, we saw vignettes of debuting stars who would end up competing in the first show. True enough, Gigz was included into the mix, complete with the full-on 90s nostalgia. And he wasn't kidding when he meant that his character was a complete tribute to the action stars and movies of days old, when Philippine cinema had its myriad of machismo through both local and international action stars and franchises.


"Inuulit ko, batang 90’s ako, medyo tisoy ako," he chuckles. Lumaki ako sa hirap at konting ginhawa at medyo squatter. Noong six years old ako, pagala-gala na ako sa Marikina para lang makipag-kaibigan kung kani-kanino. Wala akong nakikita sa paligid ko kundi bidyuhan ng masa ("Mortal Kombat", "Street Fighter", etc.). Puro si Robin Padilla, Jorge Estregan, Jr., Ronnie Rickets, Phillip Salvador, at iba pa. Bumubungad sa akin ang mga pinapanuod ng mga tito ko lagi. Isama mo na sila Arnold [Schwarzenegger], Sylvester [Stallone], at [Jean-Claude] Van Damme pag dating sa Hollywood. Tapos puro rock pa music sa paligid ko: Bon Jovi, White Lion, Metallica. TUNOG KALYE ng PINOY!. Yun, isa ito siguro sa nagbigay ng impluwensya sa akin. Bata pa lang ako, matikas at maangas na ako maglakad. Kaso ang payat ko. Binabansagan tuloy akong Robocop o FPJ, hanggang sa ma-bully na!"

All the training and effort would eventually pay off, leading to the official formation of the Manila Wrestling Federation. They made their public in-ring debuts soon enough, although in an unconventional setting in the form of the 2016 HistoryCon. It was certainly an unexpected match, but MWF made it work with support from wrestlers from Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) joining the fray. But no doubt, it was an experience Gigz would never forget in more ways than one.

While talking about his HisCon experience, Gigz narrates, "Iyung time na yun, may halong saya at inis kasi naghabol kami ng oras noon, at di ako gaano handa kaya maraming kalat. Isama mo na iyung natanggal iyung sapatos ko. Siyempre, first time nandoon ang kaba. Pero all in all, masaya kasi napapanood ako ng tao sa paligid at nakasama ang mga Singaporean pro wrestlers."

From their first public exhibition, this eventually led MWF to a landmark year in 2017, starting with the aforementioned debut at Makati Cinema Square, which has become a sort of home for the promotion in the meantime. And so far, it has been a blast for the vintage action star of the Federation, with some very memorable highlights thus far. Heck, one particular highlight for the star is something many of us who grew up in the 90's can very well relate to.

"Sa ngayon, ang pinaka-gusto kong moment ay iyung first time ko mag-entrance gamit ang "It's My Life" ni Bon Jovi kasi pumapasok sa isip ko kapag naririnig ko yung music, pang-last action hero talaga ang dating. Iyung tipong Robin Padilla na tumatalon kapag sumabog ang paligid. Kahit noong Grade 6 ako, ini-imagine ko na kapag tumatakbo ako nang mabilis, iniisip ko na "It's My Life" ang theme music ko. At dati ko na ding in-imagine: what if maging wrestler ako at ito ang tugtog ko?"

And while Gigz is put in the spotlight as one of its premier stars, he is sure to note that for all his experiences so far, there is so much for him to learn in the industry, putting humility and a positive outlook in life at the core of who he is.

"Kung tutuusin, di naman ako magaling at kulang pa ako sa skills. Siyempre di lang naman ito ang buhay ko. Ang hirap pagkasyahin ng oras at kailangan ko din gumawa para sa ikabubuhay ko. Kaya gumagawa na lang ako ng diskarte na maisingit ko ang pag-wrestling," Gigz stated.

"Ang hirap sa totoo lang, kasi may mga nakakasanggang oras, at isama mo na yung pag-discourage ng mga negatibong tao sa paligid ko. Pero dahil nagustuhan ng tao ang character ni Gigz Stryker, natutuwa ako. At nandito na ako eh, gagawin ko na ang makakaya ko. Tsaka di lang naman sarili ko pinapasikat ko dito, kung hindi lahat. Di lang MWF, pati lahat ng pro wrestling promotions sa Pilipinas. Ginagawa ko 'to dahil masaya ako. Dahil mapasaang promotion, iisa lang naman ang pinopromote natin eh: PINOY PRO WRESTLING."

And while Gigz is excited for the future of the Philippine pro wrestling scene, he also believes that MWF has the right formula for their own brand of success.

"Ang MWF ay unique dahil nakukuha namin ang dating ng old school WWF na may halong "Retro T.O.D.A.S." Comedy show 'yun noon. At isama mo na ang "Strange Brew" nila Tado. Naniniwala akong mas lalawak pa ang MWF at mag-iimprove pa. Kailangan lang manatili ang passion at respeto ng bawat isa. Pero siyempre, gaya nga ng sinabi ko nung una, kahit anong wrestling promotion pa 'yan, ang mahalaga ay may uniqueness at kanya-kanyang gimmick para maaliw ang tao. Ika nga, walang tapakan, stay grounded. Heto lang ang masasabi ko bilang Gigz Stryker, handang-handa ako sa ACTION!"

Interestingly, his life is somewhat akin to an underdog story, with a leading star starting from small beginnings and on his way to making his dreams come true. And while his story isn't finished yet, with a humble and grounded mindset, coupled with lessons from his life experiences, don't be surprised when Gigz Stryker makes a huge impact in the Philippine pro wrestling scene in the foreseeable future.

Gigz Stryker will be taking on "Filipino Strong Style", Rex Lawin, in the main event of MWF Road to Fate this Saturday at the Makati Cinema Square.


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MWF Road to Fate is happening on Saturday, September 16, at the Makati Square Arena on Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. Tickets cost P250, and can be purchased at the gate. For further details, contact the Manila Wrestling Federation directly via their official Facebook page, or through the Facebook event page.

Photos courtesy of MWF and "Humping" Hub Pacheco.

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