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PWR Renaissance 2018: The Official Smark Henry Review

 

Hey everyone! It's GCP here, tag teaming with Nicolo Parungo for the first time to bring you our PWR: Renaissance review. It was a reluctant team-up too, as we argued for days and nights as to who should review this show. In the end, we decided to put our writing skills together and give you guys a review with TWO perspectives.

Spoiler alert, but to celebrate the Naughty Boys winning the PWR Tag Team Championships, we’re going to go through the details of each match and point out what we liked and didn’t like with the tags "NICE" and "NOT NICE," respectively.

Now, on with the show. And pre-show.

Let’s get on it with it….

Pre-Show Matches:

Apocalypse def. Kapitan PWR

Nico: A nothing match, this was a simple squash done to get Apocalypse somewhere on the card. He did debut the TKO as his new finisher, so that’s kinda cool. He appeared later on in the show, though, so the monster could have debuted the TKO then.

NICE:
  • Apocalypse’s new finisher.
NOT NICE:
  • The match was pointless.

George:

NICE:
  • It was a squash match primarily made to show us that there is now a universal way of selling The Apocalype’s Death Bell. That’s like 4.25 stars right there.

McKata vs. Brad Cruz never started after Samoan Papa beat down Cruz


Nico: Not gonna lie, seeing a stable as weird as this has my interest. How McKata got a ninja by his side was weird enough, but now he also has Samoan Papa, who adds some serious muscle to the group. It’s pretty unorthodox; but I’d like to see where this goes.

I’d dock off some points since there was a match advertised, but it’s doubtful that anyone actually wanted to see it happen. No offense to the two individuals involved; but this match wasn’t on anyone’s radar when the event was announced.

NICE:
  • The start of a weird, new stable.
NOT NICE:
  • This easily could have been an angle and not an advertised match.


George: It's great to see some welcome developments on the pre-show. As last year has shown us, one cannot simply sleep on the early segments of the card. It may not be as deep as the Trabajador story arc of last year, but it's still something not to miss. It adds a NICE touch to what lies ahead.

  • Who is Samoan Papa? We don't know much, but teaming up with McKata and the Ninjas is something I want to see get fleshed out more in the future.

  • Brad Cruz friendship arc possibilities

Main Show Matches:

The KakaiBros def. The YOLO Twins and The Deadly Sinns

NicoNICE

  • As the show’s opening bout, it did not disappoint. From the get-go, we were treated to plenty of fun spots and non-stop action. It definitely set the mood for the rest of the night and kicked off the show with a bang. 
  • All six performers worked at a fast pace and the crowd was into the match all the way till the end. The KakaiBros’ opening promo probably helped with that since their broken Taglish endeared them to the audience. 
  • Madrigal remains fairly over as a heel, getting plenty of jeers and “kupal” chants whenever he did something. 
  • The YOLO Twins will always be over as obnoxious upper-class dicks so seeing them lose was fun, especially since it was a result of them not paying attention.


NOT NICE

  • It wasn’t perfect. The Deadly Sinns (Mike Madrigal and Vlad Sinnsyk) just got back together as a team, so having Madrigal turn on Vlad in their first match together lacked any impact. 
  • Why announce the return of this team if they aren’t even going to last one show?


GeorgeNICE
  • 2rd win! Are we looking at future contenders for the PWR Tag Team Titles? The KakaiBros continue to showcase why they're the crowd favorites. Mh4rkie and Kh3ndrick can really draw in the crowd with their appeal. The way they work as a tag team shows as they added new double team moves to their arsenal.
  • Consistent output from the YOLO Twins. Despite getting robbed of a much-deserved win, they are still the best tag team flyers in the local scene. They're doing what they do best, which is to show everyone that before there was Quatro, Zayden, or Koto Hiro, the YOLO Twins were already doing those crazy dives to the outside.
  • Sweet cheezus, the action just flowed so well. And this was just the first match!

NOT NICE
  • Mike Madrigal betraying his partners feels like a broken record. The Deadly Sinns... oh boy. It seems that one simply cannot enjoy a throwback to happier times without constantly looking at Madrigal to not break our hearts once again. When will Vlad Sinnysk finally learn not to trust his former partner?! It hurts... it hurts, you know?

Martivo def. Chris Panzer

Nico: NICE

  • Going in, this felt like a throwaway match to get both guys on the show. Somehow, without a strong storyline, this proved to be a very good match. In terms of in-ring technicality, this had the smoothest performances and had great pacing so there was never a dull moment.
  • Having Martivo win was interesting as it gives him momentum for the next show. I was surprised that he wasn’t named number one contender for the PWR Championship.

NOT NICE

  • Both wrestlers are in a similar spot; being talented and popular but not in line for a big push at the moment.
  • Where Chris Panzer goes from here is unknown, though it does make his path a little more interesting. Maybe he gets booked in a seemingly meaningless singles match in the next show, loses, and gets frustrated, which could start a losing streak or a heel turn. He could also form a tag team with someone and try to get his hands on some tag team gold. There are plenty of possibilities.


George: When the match was first announced, the first question that popped up in many people's minds was "Why?" The two had no prior reason to be in a match. But then again, it did make sense for two wrestlers with great technique to give us one hell of a match, and that was exactly what they delivered.


NICE
  • Panzer's back has developed more definition. Yes, we notice these things.
  • The matchup allowed the Revo-Nation to see the potential of Martivo. It takes all parties involved to make a stellar match, and it showed the skills of both men. The wrestling was crisp and exciting, with the back and forth action displaying the athleticism of both wrestlers.
  • Martivo getting a much-deserved push. With Martivo focusing more on a singles role, this win against Panzer deserves the fans' notice. The booking team has something exciting planned for Martivo. I can just feel it.
NOT NICE
  • So… what happens now to Panzer? Is this the start of another drought in the win column for the stupid sexy Panzer?


Bolt and Revo Ranger def. Super VintendØ and Jan Evander


Nico: NICE

  • This match was harmless fun and the audience was mostly into it. All four men worked harder than expected and it resulted in a fine match.
  • I was really digging Super VintendØ’s repackaged look, though I had a hard time knowing which game his character was based on.
  • Really digging VintendØ’s partnership with Evander and it wouldn’t surprise me to see these two eventually become tag team championship contenders for the Naughty Boys to take on.
  • The aftermath of the match was pretty interesting, as The Apocalypse has seemingly aligned himself with Evander and VintendØ. PWR’s resident monster took out Bolt and Revo Ranger with his new TKO finisher.
  • Seeing Bolt cosplay as Ken Kaneki from Tokyo Ghoul was fun, Hopefully, no one tells him that the second season of the show is complete ass. 


NOT NICE

  • Originally billed as a handicap match, Bolt surprised his opponents by revealing that Revo Ranger had recovered and would help him out. This didn’t really surprise the audience.
  • Revo Ranger had a new helmet but was still the same Super Sentai-esque character we’ve seen in other shows, for better or worse.
  • It was a shame that Super VintendØ lost his first match after debuting a new look.

George: First off, I’ll have to credit all those times I’ve spent in arcades to even have a basic guess of who the costume peg for Super VintendØ’s costume was. I love this. It shows how much of a raging gamer Vintendo is by showcasing a boss character from (insert not Tekken or Street Fighter).

It was a great match overall and continued the string of intense action that the earlier matches had built on. We’re getting to see a definite improvement in Bolt and Super VintendØ, which is always welcome.

And yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss, that Powerbomb-Chokeslam-Cutter combo was awesome.



NICE
  • Revo Ranger Resurrection Story Arc. Loving his new gear. Jan Evander P.W.D. has repeatedly reminded us that Revo Ranger was dead. True, the old Ranger was dead. In his place now stands Revo Ranger (insert random letters). New gear from top to bottom indicates a new and improved Ranger, and it definitely showed.
  • REVOOOOOOOH BUSTAH! That was a thing of beauty, and definitely a welcome addition to his moveset. That was something that I felt was always lacking in him. More throws and takedowns, please. Maybe even a move where he uses up all that built-in power for a massive throw? Kinilig ako at the thought, actually.
  • Jan Evander, or Thin Bálor as some may say, continues to impress the PWR faithful. He doesn’t have the mass that other members on the roster have, but dat definition doe. And it’s not just thin guy abs, that’s for sure. Yes, he showed that he can fly; but his ring work, in general, is always fun to watch. More, Jan Evander, please.
  • Super VintendØ is shaping up to be a great upgrade for his gimmick.
  • Finally, some character development as well for The Apocalypse. It’s a wacky combination for sure, with Jan Evander P.W.D. and Vintendo at his side, but we’ve seen our fair share of weird matchups that turned out great (ehem, Naughty Boys).

Alexander Belmonte III def. SANDATA, Quatro, and Dax Xaviera to retain the All Out War Championship




Nico: NICE

  • While not a completely hardcore match, this was really well done and all four competitors worked their asses off.
  • The financially stable All Out War Champion received a nice pop for getting the win after a Michinoku Driver from a Fireman’s Carry position to SANDATA. It’s clear that they’re trying to build up AB3 as a credible champion and more matches like this will do that.
  • Quatro and SANDATA continue to show why they are some of PWR’s best performers. These two had some of the show’s best spots.
  • Dax Xaviera is getting genuine heel heat and has been doing a good job since turning.


NOT NICE
  • There were a few botches that hurt the match. Namely, SANDATA's attempted sunset flip powerbomb and Head-First Huracanrana
GeorgeNICE
  • Flipping off of the top rope… and landing a Frankensteiner… to someone on the outside. WTF, Quatro. Someone give this guy a title sho… oh.
  • AB3 acting more and more like the WARLORD that he is. Keep the facepaint and the menacing look on AB3. It works on him.
  • Slingblade count: 6

NOT NICE
  • The least impressive spots seem to be the ones involving both Dax Xaviera and SANDATA. They’re not as fluid as with other pairings. When it’s just the two of them, it feels like they’re not as in sync as the rest of the people involved. With how there’s a story going on between the two, that’s something that raises legitimate concern.
  • Drop the Mr. Financially Stable tagline already. It hurts… but we have to *sniff sniff* move on for now.
  • I’m with Nico on this one. Why isn’t this the main event? The Warlord was heavily featured on the promotional materials, after all. With the PWR title main event playing out the way that it did, wouldn’t that have been a welcome break from the intensity of the preceding matches before the All Out War title match?

The Naughty Boys (Trian Dela Torre and Evan Carleaux) def. John Sebastian and Crystal to become the new PWR Tag Team Champions


Nico: NICE:

  • If this match proved anything, it’s that developed characters, audience investment, and good booking can carry an average match.
  • The audience was hot for the Naughty Boys and they got the biggest pop of the event when Sebastian tapped out to Tech Noir. 
  • When GrabCamus first came out, everyone was expecting him to turn on his friends since his face looked pissed but it turns out that was a semi-swerve, which was smart. 
  • Jhemherlynn only came out near the end but it did result in a huge reaction from the audience, showing how popular she’s been since debuting. It will be interesting to see how her star grows from here.


NOT NICE

  • The wrestling itself was pretty average. It’s a good thing that the audience was hot for the whole bout because Trian Dela Torre’s in-ring work isn’t that great. He does make for a good babyface in peril, but we’ll need to see more improvement from him now that he’s a champion.
George: This title win took so long to happen, but when it finally did, one simply couldn’t help but feel the immense energy in the room.




NICE
  • That Camus-debut level pop when TDTxECX won. You just had to be there to see everyone standing up.
  • The level of storytelling from the Trianverse... Betcha by golly wow, there were a lot of questions that needed answering here. No, the Naughty Boys did not break up. Although they did lead us to believe that maybe the Power of Friendship may not be all that powerful. I’m happy to say that I got worked and worked good. And that, dear readers, is NICE.
  • It was a hell of a run by John Sebastian and Crystal. The power couple of PWR made the Naughty Boys earn their belts. Crystal, especially, adding some more moves to her repertoire, such as the shiranui and a scorpion kick. With her possible return to singles matches, it's great to see her upping her game.
NOT NICE
  • There was a level of improvement from Trian Dela Torre’s in-ring work. As a champion, we’re gonna need a bit more. Let’s face it, the level of in-ring work coming from TDT doesn’t rank anywhere near the top of the roster. There are just much better guys in that aspect. Double champ ka na, so more innovative moves, please.

Jake De Leon def. Ken Warren to become the new PHX Champion

Nico: NICE

  • The moment JDL answered Ken Warren’s open challenge during Way of the Champion, fans knew this was going to be magic. This was easily the most anticipated match of the night, due to the reputation these two have built as PWR’s very best; and they did not disappoint. 
  • The two performers have great chemistry; and as someone who has mostly seen JDL wrestle as a heel, it was a breath of fresh air to have him play the babyface throughout. 
  • Warren proved how capable he is as a performer by fitting into the “heel” role like a glove. The Social Media Sinister is technically a tweener, but after being the face during his matches with Rederick Mahaba and Mike Madrigal, this was a pleasant surprise. 
  • The ex-champion not shaking JDL’s hand was great since the two clearly have beef with each other. It’s clear that there’s respect between the two but they don’t like one another, which is always intriguing. 
  • Best match of the night.

NOT NICE

  • If I had to nitpick, JDL suddenly acting like a babyface was pretty jarring. To be fair, he doesn’t get booed anyway so the move isn’t too problematic. I just would have liked some sort of official turn.
  • Tengu’s return video was pretty intriguing at first but the moment he started running towards the victim with a JDL shirt, it had the audience laughing since it looked so goofy. Probably not the intended effect they wanted.


George: On a night full of memorable matches, Jake De Leon and Ken Warren knew how to stand out. It’s simply what they do. With how the Philippine Excellence Championship was on the line, it required nothing less than the very best from both men. And boy, did they deliver.


Oh, one more thing. THE YAKUZA ASSASSIN, TENGU IS BACK… and he’s gunning for JDL’s new title! If his match with Dr. Hertz against the YOLO Twins is any indication, then the PWR faithful are up for a damn good fight.


NICE
  • You want damn good action? These two are among the very best in the company. So much so that they both deserved the two reigns of their respective divisions. The company trusted them that much. Their in-ring work is a thing of beauty.
  • You want crisp selling? This was truly excellent. I distinctly remember one of them egging the other on by saying, “Hit harder, bitch”, which the other gladly obliged. That was what this match was: a crisp, hard-hitting, over-the-top fun match.
  • You want JDL’s stupid sexy calves? This match had them.
NOT NICE
  • No indication of why the alignment changed during the match. One thing that long-time viewers asked during the match was a confusion on the alignment of both wrestlers. Coming in, JDL was considered the heel and Ken Warren took the face role. However, as the match played out, it became more and more apparent that a switch happened with JDL eventually getting the clean win. An Instagram post on his account would later explain things, but the change did leave many wondering during the match itself.



Last night for me was truly a RENAISSANCE. . . I've been on this crusade to raise the level of competition here in @pwrofficial to the point where I push my opponents harder than they've ever been pushed before and I challenge them to go beyond and exceed their limits. In this crusade, however, I have lost sight at how I should have been continually pushing myself and exceeding my limits as well. . . That is why when I challenged @thekenwarren for the PHX Championship, it meant so much more to me than money or a title. It meant the world. I needed to know if I was still the Senyorito of old. I needed to know if the JDL Level was still at its highest peak. I needed to know if I was still Mr. Philippine Wrestling. And I did. . . I am now the symbol of #PhilippineExcellence. . . Ken Warren, you are a true competitor and one I will respect until the end of my days. Thank you for pushing me and for making sure I earned this title. We pushed each other to our limits for sure. You were on a different level last night but I just couldn't lose. . . All the men who have come before me holding this title are true testaments to what Philippine Excellence is but now that I am holding this belt, I make it my sole duty to show everyone just what Philippine Excellence can be. . . And next month on September 23rd at the Power Mac Center Spotlight for #PWRLive, it starts with @tengu_pw. 👺 . . 📸: @hubitall
A post shared by Jake De Leon (@senyoritojdl) on

Mainstream Mahaba def. Zayden Trudeau and Koto Hiro

Nico: NICE

  • This was a pretty good match and it’s a shame that this will be the last time we see Zayden for a while. Seeing Zayden and Koto take on a powerhouse like Mahaba made for a nice mix of styles and some very cool spots.
  • I thought it was weird to have Mainstream Mahaba win at first, but then it was announced that both Koto and Zayden were leaving. It made Mainstream’s win make sense since it's an old-school tradition to leave on your back.
  • Zayden cut one hell of a goodbye promo and he did it in front of the PWR roster. I can’t do it justice, so all I’ll say is we’re gonna miss you Zayden.


George: This sucks. Not the match, mind you, but seeing two talents having to leave. We knew our time with Koto Hiro in PWR was already limited. Zayden Trudeau, however, surprised everyone with his own decision to put a hiatus on his local wrestling career to pursue his education back home (let us pause in respect).

Speaking of respect… MAINSTREAM MAHABA, BABY! (with P.A. Arty in tow)


Koto Hiro will be back for sure, and Zayden Trudeau has hinted that his pro wrestling career is far from over. For now, let us all bask in the glory of Mainstream Mahaba.

NICE
  • It’s like the pro wrestling version of langit-lupa. From hitting a double Air Canada on Mahaba, to a mid-air betrayal via cutter from Koto Hiro, these two barely spent time on the ground. It’s what they do best, and they gave the PWR faithful a farewell match to remember. Canadian Destroyer as a setup for the 450? Hot damn.
  • Mahaba's inclusion in the match was a welcome development, in my opinion. This way, the two high-flyers can have their amazing match and still give Mahaba that mainstream push. Mahaba was even able to add new moves to his repertoire like the shoulder block-splash combo. It was high time for the other half of MTNH to step into the spotlight. 
  • P.A. Arty and his unusually sturdy camping chair. Seriously, I need one.

NOT NICE
- ZAYDEN TRUDEAU AND KOTO HIRO ARE LEAVING. THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT NICE.

Ralph Imabayashi def. Main Maxx to retain the PWR Championship


Nico’s POV: Hoo boy…

While fans looked forward to this event, no one in particular was too excited for Main Maxx’s title match against the longest-reigning PWR Champion. He’s far from the most over guy in the roster and his wrestling skills are pretty average. Still, this was the main event and we were hoping that the match would surprise us.

NICE

  • The match itself was decent but the lack of heat hurt it. 
  • It was revealed that Quatro is the next contender for next month’s Homefront. 
  • Choosing Quatro as the number one contender was a bit odd, but Mahaba and Imabayashi made it work. He wasn't picked out of respect, but because Imabayashi wanted to lengthen his reign against a plucky opponent, which is very good heel work. Another reason is how Quatro's exciting, high-flying style, would ensure a good match for the champ. 


NOT NICE

  • You could hear a piso drop in the venue during this match. Fans were more excited about the post-match announcement.
  • Before the match started, Mr. Sy got a microphone and, God bless him, tried to get Maxx over by pointing out how Maxx was a family man and a true Filipino patriot. A babyface who fights for his or her country/family is pretty basic and feels cheap, and it didn’t endear us to Maxx. Mr. Sy also tried to start a chant for Maxx later on in the match but got booed for his efforts. 
  • Maxx doesn’t have much of a character and it’s hard to get invested in someone who hasn’t been fleshed out enough. You could argue that someone like Chris Panzer is a bland babyface, but he’s got charisma and wrestling skills, two things Maxx desperately needs to work on.
  • Speaking of wrestling, Maxx also repeated a number of spots that made the match feel more sluggish than it should.
  • Quatro didn’t get any mic time during this segment so we didn’t get to see him respond. The Light Bringer has a lot to prove in Homefront since he’s only being given the title shot to make the champ look good.
George:


NICE
  • Ever since putting Chris Panzer away, Ralph Imabayashi has been on a tear as the new longest reigning champion in PWR history. Devious as it was on how he first took hold of the PWR Championship, his subsequent defenses were pretty much all his effort alone. 
  • In this match, Imabayashi retained by his own merits against a much bigger opponent. True, Rederick Mahaba got in the occasional cheap shot in this match, but it never had a significant impact on the match. 
  • There seems to be a concerted effort in legitimizing Imabayashi as the most dominant and longest-reigning champ in PWR history. I like how Imabayashi is moving on from Mahaba as a necessary component in his defense, letting Mahaba stand on his own too, but I’m also kind of torn on how Imabayashi doesn’t deserve to get his comeuppance from the devious way he took the title anymore. After all, Imabayashi really did beat all of his opponents fair and square. Despite all the drama that he had leading up to his title defenses, none of it truly mattered when the bell rang. He’s repeatedly made that loud and clear.

  • Quatro being announced as the next contender doesn’t seem all that odd, to be honest. The next event is a PWR Live card, after all, and top contenders don’t usually get their title shot during one of the smaller shows. He’s an exciting wrestler, one who the PWR creative team seems to be grooming to be the top acrobatic high flyer in Zayden Trudeau’s absence. Whether he wins or loses, he deserves a more exciting match than what just transpired at the main event.
NOT NICE
  • Main Maxx seemed to have an off-night. He looked slow and gassed. For a hybrid heavyweight who supposedly moved like a lightweight, Main Maxx didn’t seem to have that usual spring in his step.
  • Mr. Sy's attempt at getting a chant going. Short and sweet is the key to chants. The more syllables there are, the harder it is to get people to chant along.
  • Why was Mr. Sy trying to get himself thrown out by pulling the ropes away? Was there another alignment switch we didn't hear about?
  • Quatro not having a chance to get on the mic when he was announced as the new contender. We get that he's being touted as a tune-up fight, but come on, sell it to us a bit.
  • Not a fan of the line "ang p********** Pilipinas".

Announced Matches for PWR Live: Homefront

  • YoLo Twins vs. Kap Tutan & GrabCamus
  • Martivo vs. SANDATA
  • Vlad Sinnsyk vs. Mike Madrigal
  • Chris Panzer vs. Ladykiller – If Ladykiller wins, he gets a shot at the PHX title
  • Ken Warren vs. Crystal
  • Naughty Boys vs. The KakaiBros for the PWR Tag Team Championship
  • Jake De Leon vs. Tengu for the PHX Championship
  • Ralph Imabayashi vs. Quatro for the PWR Championship

Event Awards:

  • Match of the Night - Ken Warren vs. Jake De Leon for the PHX Title

  • Wrestler of the Night - Zayden Trudeau
  • Spot of the Night - Quatro’s Frankensteiner on AB3 after jumping off of the top turnbuckle to the outside.

Event Grade:

  • Wrestling quality - 4/5
  • Storytelling and Creative 4/5
  • Production Values 4/5
  • Audience impact 5/5
Overall Score: 4.25/5

Final Words

Since Nico started off the review, GCP here to wrap it up. Let's give credit where credit is due. PWR: Renaissance was one of the best shows that PWR has ever produced. Despite the lukewarm main event, the rest of the card was a fun ride through and through. The Camus debut-level pop that followed a PWR crowd standing in anticipation for the tap was a sight to behold. You just had to be there to feel the energy. Major props to all the wrestlers in that event. You guys and gals are simply awesome. Thank you for giving us a wonderful time.

As we look forward to PWR Live: Homefront, we're getting back a familiar face... and a stupid sexy handsome Ladykiller one as well. With what we've seen from them both online and in Tengu's previous visit here, the next show is definitely not one to miss. TENGU ICHIBAN.


Please come back soon Koto Hiro and Zayden Trudeau. Miss na namin kayo.

*****
PWR LIVE: Homefront has been announced for September 23, 2018 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight . Tickets are now on sale. Enjoy early bird discounts and barkada bundle deals when you pre-order your tickets. 

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

All photos from "Stupid Sexy" Hub Pacheco. Full album can be found here.

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