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31 Days of Wrestling (12/27/17): Billy Suede vs. Chris Panzer (Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan)


Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2017 produced for us.

Former Kampeon ng Pilipinas "Beautiful" Billy Suede may have graced this year's 31 Days of Wrestling series once already with his purist masterpiece against fellow PWR headliner "The Senyorito" Jake De Leon. But let's not forget another classic he put on for even higher stakes: his scintillating championship win against Chris Panzer at Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan that put an end to the Detroit native's first reign.


It's tough to get a consensus on which of the two matches was better, really. JDL/Suede may have had the better fundamentals, a more "pure" wrestling product, and briefly took over the front page of Reddit for a hot minute. It's just that it's equally easy to argue against it, i.e. the stakes weren't as tangible, it was slotted somewhere in the midcard, and it was a one-off match that didn't truly play a role in a major meaningful narrative (and no, once again, saving McKata's ass for the sake of "Pinoy pride" doesn't really count in the greater scheme of things).

Panzer/Suede, on the other hand, had tons more going for it, despite being more of a "sports entertainment" match.

We of course had this viral "Kiss Me" moment that saw PWR Creative expertly troll the audience and finally put an end to the lowbrow "Kiss! Kiss!" chants the local audience used to toss whenever wrestlers would get up close and personal.


via GIPHY

But beyond that—man, the high spots and near-falls galore!

From multiple false finishes that saw Panzer kick out of Suede's acclaimed shiranui finisher, Suede denying Panzer the win after taking a top-rope Eagle Splash, explosive superplexes, inventive offense, and an enzuigiri party to set up the match's ending sequence, this was a magnificently-paced (and performed!) piece that rode on the psychology raised by the two men's previous encounter at #UnFathersDay in Eastwood City.



Critics might say it was too much emotional manipulation on the audience, but heck, we know we were enthralled. The Revo-Nation must have had a bajillion mini-heart attacks during the home stretch.



Even when the supposedly heel Suede finally took the duke and the PWR Championship with a second shiranui to Panzer that had the Bayanihan Center audience on its feet, the crowd reaction that followed was one of the most astounding, authentic outpourings of thanks and appreciation we've seen on the local scene yet. Chants of "You deserve it!" from the decidedly pro-Panzer crowd had the new champ nearly in tears through his celebration daze—acknowledgement perhaps of how the Beautiful One had helped uplift the talent and presentation level of the company just through his presence over the past few months.

Panzer, of course, would go on to reclaim the title just a few months later, as word of Suede's impending departure from the Philippines started to make the rounds.


It isn't often we get to see Chris Panzer lose these days; in fact, this was the only one-on-one defeat he's taken in canon all throughout 2017 (although some people may consider his APCC 2017 follow-up loss canon too). Even now, as two-time Kampeon ng Pilipinas, he's generating tons of kick-ass matches with all sorts of foes. But we have no fear in calling this particular battle the best he's had in his whole career, and it was all thanks to the efforts of the Fil-Canadian maestro and certified Beautiful One, Billy Suede.

From a macroscopic view, this match also served as a magnificent capstone to a six-month stretch of Filipino pro wrestling that saw the WWE pay a scouting visit, the first ever 20-man gauntlet match on local soil, PWR's first woman-versus-woman match, and a second promotion in the form of the Manila Wrestling Federation make its debut, serving as a launchpad to an even better second half of 2017.

We're proud to be fans of Filipino pro wrestling, and believe it will soar to even greater heights in 2018. Matches like this one between Billy Suede and Chris Panzer only help cement our faith in how good it can get, and give all aspiring pro wrestlers out there a lofty goal to aspire to.

Do you think any other local match deserves to be featured in our 31 Days of Wrestling series? Hurry and let us know! You've got just four more days for a match inclusion.

*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2017.

Read our previous entries:

1. The Okada/Omega Trilogy
2. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)
3. The Mae Young Classic Finals
4. Billy Suede vs. Jake De Leon (Wrevolution X 2017)
5. WarGames
6. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres)
7. Fatal Four Way for the WWE Universal Championship (SummerSlam 2017)
8. Manami Toyota's Retirement
9. Jinder Mahal Wins the WWE Championship
10. Roman Reigns Tries To Take The Torch (No Mercy 2017)
11. Hanzello Shilva vs. Aldrin Richards (MWF Balikbayan 2017)
12. Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 Finals)
13. The Implosion of #DIY
14. Ubusan ng Lahi (PWR Vendetta 2017)
15. The First (and Second) Women's Money in the Bank
16. Cody Rhodes Wins the Ring of Honor World Championship
17. The Beginning of the Zo Train Era
18. Killshot vs. Dante Fox, Hell Of War (Ultima Lucha Tres)
19. The 16-Time Champ is Here
20. Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Special)
21. Kurt Angle Joins The Shield for the TLC Main Event
22. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (NXT Takeover: Chicago)
23. The Festival of Friendship
24. Christopher Daniels Wins His First World Title (At 47)
25. John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown Live!)
26. Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata (Sakura Genesis)

Photos by "Mrs. Ruthless" Jacky Rosales.

Disclosure: Smark Henry is independently run and managed by a group of Filipino wrestling fans, but includes members affiliated with the Philippine Wrestling Revolution.

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