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31 Days of Wrestling (12/7/19) For You And Me! For All Of Us! (Jake De Leon vs. TJP, PWR Homecoming)


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 2019 produced for us.

When Philippine Wrestling Revolution announced that TJ Perkins vs. Jake De Leon would headline PWR Special: Homecoming, it sent shockwaves throughout the Revo-Nation. The 2016 Cruiserweight Classic Tournament Champion was set to make his way to his motherland. Facing him was none other than the country's best homegrown talent, the undeniably amazing Senyorito, Mr. Philippine Wrestling himself, Jake De Leon. The news alone was enticing, but what made it even better was the buildup.

Fans of Jake De Leon already knew from the start that they were in for a treat. This was surely going to be one of the classics. The level of technical wrestling that we expected from both these men would be more than worth the ticket price alone. But that's just part of why this was such a must-see, amazing match.


Yeah, let's talk about the feelings.








Both of these men have a point. TJP pushed for his heritage's inclusion into the greater wrestling world. He's been doing this longer than PWR has ever been alive. He, along with many others, have put the Philippines on the map! They were there to represent us on the big stage!

But JDL? He was here. Along with the rest of the boys and girls, he was grinding. The blood, sweat, and tears to improve each and every day was no joke—all to put out a product we can be proud to call Philippine-made. He was fighting the battle here, at home.

This was a clash of perspectives. Both valid, both understandable. Both defensible. And defend it, they did.

The PWR Homecoming crowd was treated to a spectacle. One would assume that it would be hard to follow up such a wild PWR Championship three-way match between Quatro, Chris Panzer, and ROH Superstar Jeff Cobb, and normally that would be correct. But the way these two icons of Philippine wrestling put on their match made you forget how tired you would have felt at that point. Finishers were traded and stolen, there were false finishes galore, but it never felt tiring. We were freaking pumped up! 

In the end, it wasn't a Detonation Kick or a TJP Clutch that gave Perkins the win, but a pin counter to JDL's Inasal Lock. It had the vibes of an older brother using his years of experience to pull off a crafty win.




And in truth, it was. Kuya TJ DOES have years of experience and countless matches on his side. JDL not yet being at the level of pulling off a win against him is okay. Of course, losing sucks. But what did that do for JDL? The announcement of the match lit a fire in him. He took his preparations to a whole new level. He hit the gym more and hired a coach to improve his physical prowess. He dialed in on his diet. He wanted to be in the best shape of his life to face TJ Perkins. Yes, he lost, but his training has not slowed down one bit. He's hooked and we love it.

This is why this match was so important for Philippine Wrestling, not just for the man who claims it as his moniker. The wrestling world out there is huuuuuuge. The PWR roster has already faced its fair share of international talent, but there's still a plethora of wrestlers out there just waiting to add the Philippines to one of their wrestling destinations. For sure, a good number of them are undoubtedly above the level of wrestling here, and that's great! Iron sharpens iron, losses teach lessons. Mr. Philippine wrestling is the best we have, and yet he knows that's no reason to sit on his laurels.

He's hungry for more.

***

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2019.


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