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The Smark Henry Hip Toast: "Beautiful" Billy Suede

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Photo from "Beautiful" Billy Suede's Facebook Page

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Smark Henry's recurring series, a little something we call 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 and women behind the personas and giving you an intimate look at the people who are helping build this wonderful sport and turning it into something really special in this country.

With his return to PWR on the horizon, we catch up with former Kampeon ng Pilipinas, Beautiful Billy Suede, to see what he's been up to since his PWR days as well as what's next for the him!



*****

Picture this: one of the greatest wrestlers that has ever graced a Philippine wrestling ring, one who made an immediate impact in the span of a few months, announcing his departure from the Philippines to return to his home country of Canada, all while inside a wrestling ring. Fans and wrestlers surrounded the ring to show their appreciation for the multi-time champion that helped elevate an emerging wrestling scene and everything he accomplished in the process. With a farewell speech prepared, this wrestler thanked everyone for everything he experienced and vowed that one day, in some way, shape, or form, he would come back to the Philippines.

Fast forward to two years since that speech at PWR Live: Oktoberplex, "Beautiful" Billy Suede will keep his promise to return to the country in a big way. Not only will he be a part of Philippine wrestling's biggest show to date, PWR Special: Homecoming. But just a few weeks before that, he will return to the ring already at PWR Live: Beautiful. For longtime PWR fans, his upcoming match against Mike Madrigal should be worthy of the "sulit bayad" chants. For those who have never seen Billy Suede in a match before, they are in for a treat!

All comeback stories have their beginnings. And for The Beautiful One, his return to the Philippines had to start with the return to his home country.

"When I came home to Vancouver, I immediately went to eat at my favorite sushi place," the Beautiful One recalled. "Soon after, I went to visit my newly-born niece who was just two months old at the time. It felt great to be back home in Vancouver. Getting to see my friends and family was something well worth the wait."

And how about his wrestling endeavors, you might ask? Besides taking on a coaching position with four other wrestlers at their Lions Gate Dojo in Vancouver, he continued to compete in the Canadian indies, with his first show being at ECCW's Pacific Cup Tournament. The tournament highlights the best of the Pacific Northwest scene, and it's a tournament that Billy himself won back in 2008. He also had the opportunity to compete for another promotion in the United States that once featured a WWE Hall of Famer.

"I also had the privilege of working for DEFY Wrestling a handful of times," Billy Suede mentioned. "DEFY is the premier indy wrestling promotion out of Seattle, Washington. That Seattle crowd is bananas! I once wrestled on a card that featured X-Pac in the main event. It was unreal."

As fans can tell, the grind already continued for the former Kampeon ng Pilipinas as soon as he returned to his home country, business as usual for the renowned journeyman. However, the Philippines still holds a special place in his heart. And while Zayden Trudeau was the closest Billy Suede had as a PWR connection in Canada, with the former having recently disclosed that he was training at Billy's school on the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast, there was much to miss from the motherland, as Billy would tell you himself:

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Photo from "Beautiful" Billy Suede's Facebook Page

"Every visit to the Philippines is a blast," he recalls. "Some of my close friends from back home in Vancouver sometimes make the trip out, and we get to explore and hang out in Manila for a couple weeks, and we absolutely love it.

"Honestly, what I loved and missed the most was PWR. I extended my trip [in 2017] because I believed that there was something brewing. I saw the potential of a wrestling promotion thriving here in Southeast Asia. I noticed the wrestling scene growing along with other scenes and promotions in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. I wanted to be a contributing factor to this young and up-and-coming pro wrestling promotion on this side of the world."

And true enough, he did. In his first stay in the country, he not only had one of the greatest PWR matches in history against Jake de Leon, a match people can argue set the standard to what a great match can become in the growing local scene, but he also became a PWR Champion by defeating Chris Panzer, further cementing the legacy of the top championship in the promotion. It is no wonder Billy Suede became such a revered figure in Philippine wrestling as he was the first man from outside of the country to help elevate the scene with his performances, solidifying Philippine wrestling's place in the growing professional wrestling world. And with that, fans continue to miss his appearances in PWR.

Philippine wrestling has steadily grown since his departure, with MWF finally making its presence felt to PWR's continued elevation. And it was not like Billy Suede didn't notice any of this as he continued to put his finger on the pulse of the wrestling scene even from Canada. And when it came to PWR's progress in the two years since, he had a lot of great things to say.

"The growth that PWR has experienced over the two years is phenomenal," Billy Suede said. "Hats off to all the performers and to the office for working hard to get PWR to where it is now. I think it's awesome that PWR is flying in talent, especially those from around the Southeast Asian wrestling scene. That really shows growth in the promotion."

Time has a way of making things happen for some reason or another, and it has a lot to do with PWR Special: Homecoming. With the likes of TJP and Jeff Cobb making their Philippine wrestling debuts in October, it is only right that the man who once helped elevate the scene would make an appearance on the show. When asked why it took two years for the Man of Renaissance to make his return, his answer was short and sweet:

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Photo from "Beautiful" Billy Suede's Facebook Page

"It's all a matter of timing," he admits. "You gotta let things happen and take its course. PWR’s growth over the past two years is amazing. And after two years, it now feels right to come back.

"Honestly, I don’t really have any expectations at all. I'm just really excited to be back and hop in the ring with everyone and see first-hand the improvements that everyone has worked hard for."

But it simply wasn't enough for Billy Suede to just return for PWR Special: Homecoming. As he wanted to experience the improvements much earlier, there was another opportunity to make declaration to come true: September 22, 2019 at PWR Live: Beautiful.

His opponent? Former PHX Champion Mike Madrigal. And he could not ask for a better opponent, much less his first opponent in the Philippines in two years, as he and even fans can attest.

"A competitor who is full of promise should never be taken lightly, especially a guy like Mike Madrigal," declared the former PWR Champion. " He’s a guy that's been in the PWR spotlight for a long time and has an impressive track record. I’m gonna be bringing my A-game when I step into the PWR ring with him on September 22."

This was, on my end, the perfect opportunity to ask him who he wanted to compete against, especially when you look at who has emerged in the professional wrestling scene in the Philippines since then. From the likes of stars he never faced in PWR like the Naughty Boys and QUATRO to those from MWF such as Jorelle Liwanag and Robin Sane, there's a buckload of talent that would be fun to see Billy Suede compete against. However, he has a different yet understandable stance when it comes to dream matches.

"Quite honestly, the whole dream match list isn’t really my thing," Billy shares. "I’m a competitor and will gladly step into the ring with anyone, especially here in Southeast Asia."

It only feels right that Billy Suede, who once helped hasten the growth of Philippine wrestling, would be given a marquee spot at PWR Special: Homecoming. And when you look at the Filipino competitors that have made their name in the world wrestling scene, and those who continue to do so, we really have come a long way. From the days of thinking that Filipinos could probably never make it in wrestling, there are more Filipino wrestlers than ever before, and Billy will share the spotlight with the first WWE Cruiserweight Champion of the Reality Era, TJP, as well as ROH's Jeff Cobb. The October show is bound to be the biggest wrestling show in the Philippines to date, and the magnitude of it can be felt, even by the Canadian star.

"Man, this is an absolute an honor. I’ve shared locker rooms with both guys (TJP and Jeff Cobb) on separate shows, but PWR Special: Homecoming is different because it's taking place in the Philippines," Suede proudly shared. "It's like being on the same card as Manny Pacquiao in Manila. TJP and Cobb are bonafide studs and carry hefty pedigrees. I’m so very thankful for being a part of this historic event and I’m so excited to share the stage with both TJP and Cobb and the rest of the PWR locker room. It’s gonna be unreal."




With many Filipinos already making their names known all around the wrestling world, it is amazing that the Philippines can now become an ideal destination for these Filipino wrestlers to ply their craft in two different wrestling promotions that are on the rise. Billy Suede was kind enough to offer some suggestions on which other Filipino wrestlers from abroad he would recommend to get booked in the country when the opportunity arrives:

"The first name off the top of my head would be B-Boy," he points out. "[He's] Filipino-American. He’s a true stud on the indy scene and a PWG original. B-Boy and TJP were actually the two names that I knew of when I first started my career and I hoped to meet them one day. Sure enough I got to meet both of them, and in B-Boy’s case, I had the honor of wrestling him at a show in Seattle for a promotion called 3-2-1 BATTLE!

"Another Pinoy wrestler that would kill it in PWR is Carlo Cannon from Australia," he mentions. "He’s a fellow Storm Academy graduate and when I spent a year in Australia, I lived with his family for a couple of weeks. He’s my brother from another mother, and I’m pretty sure he’s fluent in Tagalog."

Having become an integral part of the growth of Philippine wrestling is an amazing feather to have in his cap of achievements from his long career as a professional wrestler. And yet, there is so much more for Billy Suede to do in his career, both for himself and for others. When asked what else he wants to do in the future, he talks about coaching and training as an option.

"I’ll continue to pass on the knowledge and help out the up-and-coming wrestlers in our territory for as long as I can," says Suede.

"The Pacific Northwest indy scene continues to grow, and I want to be a part of it as well. But being a part of the Southeast Asian wrestling scene, especially PWR, has always been on my radar. I will continue to do whatever I can to be a part of this growing industry here in Southeast Asia. Being able to perform for the Revo-Nation means a lot to me and I hope to continue this in the years to come."

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Photo by Jacky Ting-Rosales

His first stay in the country should have been a short one but it turned into a fruitful number of months not just for himself, but also for a promotion and a scene that has continued to grow at a healthy rate. Who knows what would have happened if Billy Suede never showed up in PWR two years ago?

Fans are thankful for a reality where the Beautiful One impacted the scene in ways no one could have imagined. And if that's what kind of an impact he had during part one, imagine what he can do in part two.

*****

Photos from Jacky Ting-Rosales, Billy Suede's Facebook Page


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


PWR Live: Beautiful takes place on Sunday, September 22, 2019, at 2 PM, and will be held at the 500 Shaw Events Pavillion, Mandaluyong City. 


Tickets are at PhP 399 each and are also available at PhP 1099 for a barkada bundle of three (3) until Saturday, September 21. Tickets will be at PhP 450 at the door on Sunday.


For ticket inquiries, visit ticket2me.net or email PWR at pwr.tickets@gmail.com.

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