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#ThemeSongTuesday: The Music of Mainstream Mahaba


With the local wrestling scene being very young, there aren't a lot of entrance themes that fans easily recognize. Yes, there are those that have already taken on a life (and presence) of their own like Ralph Imabayashi's, Jake De Leon's, and—God forbid someone actually records the crowd's sing-along version of it—The Apocalypse's. 

And then there's Rederick Mahaba, whose entrance theme has emerged as one of the best in the local industry because of the simple fact that it stands out. Mahaba comes out to "Agos," a ballad by singer-songwriter Hans Dimayuga. 

"'Agos' is a song about getting carried away into things," shares Dimayuga, "that might not be necessarily healthy for you anymore. But you still go with it because you love going with the flow, because your naïve and stupid, because you’re addicted. Why is she staying with you yet pushing you away? Why is this okay with you?"

Unlike most wrestling themes, which are loud and upbeat, "Agos" starts off with a simple, yet mellow riff—something Dimayuga knew would be noticeable right away... even in the context of a wrestling show. This then leads into his soulful vocals.

Bakit mo ako hinila? 
Hindi naman ako bumibigay 
Pero kusa rin akong nagiiba 
Ayoko na biglang humiwalay

Then we go to the pre-chorus, which builds up to the chorus, which itself builds up to a powerful instrumental interlude. 

Heto na naman ako, 
Heto na naman ako 
'Di naman ako gan'to, 
'Pag hindi ikaw kasama ko 

Huwag mong iisipin na hindi na mahalaga 
Ako'y nagbabakasakali lang hindi lamang to palubag loob 
Bago nga ako umalis ako'y may sasabihin

In a way, it's a different interpretation of the "pop-drop," a phenomenon that pop music latched on to earlier this decade alongside the rise of EDM. For context, a "pop-drop" is an EDM loop that serves as the hook of the song. It's pretty much the hook after the main chorus is sung, which only really served to build up to it. Prominent examples of songs with the "pop-drop" include Coldplay's "A Sky Full Of Stars," Major Lazer & DJ Snake's "Lean On" featuring MØ, and pretty much every David Guetta hit you know.

The line, "Hindi lamang 'to palubag-loob" in particular was a personal challenge Dimayuga took upon himself. He said he wanted to challenge himself to use the concept of "palubag-loob" in a song, and it led to the dramatic drop in the interlude.


It's that same buildup that Mahaba himself identified as the perfect cue for him to enter from PWR's own version of the "gorilla position."

Mahaba first started using "Agos" at Wrevolution X 2017, during his All Out War match against The Apocalypse. "At the time I used it," he explains. "I felt Rederick needed something to show that he’s changing—like a mark of a new chapter in his career." He added the contrast between his theme and that of the rest of the roster. "I love the tempo of "Agos," which is kind of a slow burn that builds up to a climax. That’s how I am with my character: Mahaba savors each step of his entrance, soaking in the glory, he’s like wading through thick air."

"Agos" itself strikes a personal chord with the man behind the Rederick Mahaba character, who goes way back with Dimayuga. "We were classmates in high school," recalls Mahaba. "Eventually, we were the only ones who really pursued the path of [being] a professional artist. He’s one of the great musicians/singers out there, who I feel like should be swimming in money now."

"We’ve been very supportive of each other’s work," Mahaba continues. "So when I asked to use his song, he let me use it without hesitation. At that time when I asked him, it was his latest single and he was gonna let me use it for free!"

"Of course, I'd say yes," shares Dimayuga. "Plus, he threw in some money, so great!" Mahaba eventually insisted on paying, saying that Dimayuga eventually agreed since they are both advocates of paying for the actual art, instead of just thanking someone with exposure.

Hans shares that he's never been able to catch Rederick Mahaba in action. "But I've had people hit me up saying they discovered my music through Rederick Mahaba," he says. "Hilarious and pretty amazing at the same time!" In fact, if you go to the YouTube video for "Agos," the top comment literally says, "Rederick Mahaba!"


"Agos" as a theme gets more nuanced when you consider it in the context of Rederick Mahaba's affiliation with Ralph Imabayashi, especially with how they've evolved together over the last few years.

"My character is a heel, but a complex one," details Mahaba. "He’s affiliated with Ralph and that's just because of his loyalty to him—which is why I love the lyrics of "Agos" lyrics. It works really well with what Rederick went through around the time of his turn." If you remember your PWR history, both Mahaba and Imabayashi turned heel at PWR Live: Resbak in May 2017, during Imabayashi's match against Jake De Leon.

Mahaba specifically identifies the line, "Bakit mo ako hinila,” from the song one that really resonates with him. "Rederick seemed helpless in making that choice of Ralph over everyone. Medyo reluctant, but he made a hard decision to side with him."

He also points out the line, “'Di naman ako gan’to pag di ikaw kasama ko” as another layer to the Mahaba character. "Since siding with Ralph, he’s been more of an asshole than his usual self. The entrance theme really just tells a significant part of Rederick’s character: how he is just this really loyal guy, whose loyalty led him to turning. That’s why I love using this song for him. The lyrics are just f’n great."

From his love of Hans Dimayuga's work, Mahaba—who produced his own one-hour stand-up comedy set over the weekend under his real name, Red Ollero—encourages both wrestlers and fans to listen to more local music. Who knows? Another great and memorable entrance theme might just be the springboard for a local artist. "There are more great songs out there," he says. "I wish more of our roster would invest in OPM."

You can check out Hans Dimayuga's music on his YouTube channel, or follow him on Spotify, where he most recently released "Tuso" as his latest single.

 Photos from "Hot Shot" Hub Pacheco

*****



Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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