Local Smack: Back at the 'Homefront'
First off: Apologies for the long break in writing about the Philippine wrestling scene. The last few months have been hectic, to say the least. It still is hectic right now, but I think I owe it to the world to share what our own wrestlers have been exhibiting and what stories they have been telling inside the square ring.
Without further ado, here's a new column to hopefully make up for everything: Local Smack.
Fighting for our country and defending against invaders are noble duties that can come in different forms. For some wrestlers at Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR), their chance to do so took place in the ring at PWR Live: Homefront.
On Sunday, September 23, PWR wrestlers fended off foreign challengers, as well as a mainstay from their competitor, the Manila Wrestling Federation (MWF).
"The Senyorito" Jake de Leon, the newly-crowned PHX (Philippine Excellence, or formerly Philippine Hybrid X) Champion, accepted a challenge from returning Britain-based wrestler Tengu. Their Homefront main event match was nothing short of enthralling.
Ever the enigma, the barong-wearing Tengu kept JDL and the crowd guessing with incredible, unorthodox moves. We can learn a thing or two for real life from Tengu, like keeping calm and meditating while in an arm lock.
The champ countered with his patented athletic offense like the flying armbar and the corner cannonball. In the end, JDL's submission game hit its mark when Tengu tapped out to the Inasal Lock.
The Senyorito retained his belt, but his troubles didn't end just yet. Tengu congratulated JDL for the win, but he suddenly attacked the champ out of nowhere. This prompted a save from ex-PHX champion Ken Warren.
Tengu scurried away, but it was Warren's turn to target De Leon. Chris Panzer then rushed in to talk some sense into his on-off rival. This gave an opportunity for JDL to recover and kick both competitors' head in.
This sets up a three-way PHX Championship match at their next show. Will JDL retain? Will Warren regain? Or will Panzer score his first PHX Title?
Speaking of Panzer, he thwarted Singapore's The Ladykiller in a fast-paced face-off prior to the main event.
PWR fans were treated to a feast in more ways than one. Besides their impressive physiques, Panzer and Ladykiller brought the house down with amazing back-and-forth offense.
The deceptively ruthless Singaporean almost put Panzer down with a bullet-speed Spear, while the Panzer Army leader nearly knocked out Ladykiller with a daring moonsault.
Panzer later hit a Rock Bottom – the same move Ladykiller utilized to gain the upper hand in their first encounter in Singapore – then followed it up with an Eagle Splash to stop the Ladykiller in his tracks.
Chris Panzer (@chrispanzerph) lands a Rock Bottom of his own, then follows up with an Eagle Splash to win versus Singapore's The Ladykiller.— Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) September 30, 2018
Their rivalry stands at 1⃣-1⃣, with victories in their respective turfs.#PWRLive #Homefront @pwrofficial pic.twitter.com/ubGYqx5ykm
Panzer and Ladykiller now have one win apiece in their respective homelands.
Opening Homefront was a literal high-stakes defense: John Sebastian put his 50% PWR stake on the line against MWF's very own Robin Sane. Sane made the challenge after he was fed up with Sebastian's recent antics.
A former PWR alumnus himself, Sane brought the fight to the self-proclaimed Wrestling Lord and Savior, but Sebastian had the MWF daredevil scouted.
Sane's 450 Splash met Sebastian's knees, then a Killshot sealed the deal for the wily Sebastian, who retained control over PWR.
Ralph Imabayashi, the longest-reigning PWR Champion, continued his winning ways at PWR Live: Homefront, but his title defense against Quatro might be the most controversial one yet.
Quatro was on fire throughout the match. But Imabayashi methodically dimmed the Lightbringer's chances of taking home the gold by working on his legs.
At one point, Quatro accidentally struck the referee, giving an opening for Imabayashi and his buddy Mainstream Mahaba to strike. Ralph propped up his challenger, then Mahaba charged with the PWR Title belt, but Quatro ducked and Mahaba hit his partner instead.
Quatro quickly nailed his patented Destino. The ref slapped the mat thrice for the pin – sending the entire PWR crowd into a frenzy – but suddenly saw that Imabayashi's foot was under the ropes.
The nail-biting bout resumed. Ralph flipped Quatro for a pinfall long enough for the ref's 3-count, to a chorus of boos.
After the match, Imabayashi rubbed his victory in Quatro's face, but he knew the title almost slipped away from him. He blamed one person for it. To everyone's surprise, the champ pointed to his own partner in crime, Mainstream Mahaba.
Mahaba told the champ to chill, to think his frustrations over as they headed backstage. Suddenly, a dude who also has no chill attacked Imabayashi with a kendo stick.
That dude was the kupal lord himself, Mike Madrigal.
Post-PWR Title match: After Mainstream Mahaba told @RalphImabayashi to chill following an outburst, guess who had no chill... Mike Madrigal (@YouredeadPWR)!#PWRLive #Homefront pic.twitter.com/ZyXTCBRJNM— Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) September 30, 2018
The other PWR titleholders likewise had tough Homefront debacles, but managed to hold on to their belts at the end of the night.
Alexander Belmonte III cooked up pain and pandemonium in his PWR All Out War Championship defense against Mainstream Mahaba. With baking pans strewn in the ring, both men made the crowd shout "Holy sheet!" after multiple unnerving pan shots to each other.
Cameras didn't pan away from the action, however, when AB3 hit a modified Van Daminator – or a Pan Daminator, if you will – on Mahaba to retain his title.
PWR Tag Team Champions The Naughty Boys (Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux) also put their titles on the line against Mh4rckie and Kh3ndrick of the Kakaibros.
With their respective posses at ringside, both teams rolled out their brands of mischief to the delight of the fans. Kh3ndrick even declared that he was "ready to be wooed" by the Naughty Boys' intern, Jhemherlhynn, instead of the other way around.
But a devious band of brothers pulled off a trick of their own. Yohann and Logan Ollores – who earlier protested of "mistreatment" in PWR – disguised as members of the Kakaibros' "jeje" posse. After the Brothers from Mother Another landed their finisher on Carleaux, the YOLO Twins pulled the referee to stop the 3-count.
The Olloreses backed off, and in the ensuing mess, the Naughty Boys double-teamed on Kh3ndrick to extend their championship reign.
Before Warren and Madrigal made their presence felt after the PHX and PWR Title matches, both men secured victories earlier in the show.
The Social Media Sinister earned a possible rematch against PHX Champion Jake de Leon after beating Crystal in a #1 contender's match. Warren was profusely apologetic after hitting Crystal with some of his moves.
However, for another man, "sorry" seemed to be the hardest word – and possibly the only word – to utter to the Queen of Philippine Wrestling.
John Sebastian tried to mend fences with the queen of his heart Crystal by belting out "I Want It That Way" mid-match. It didn't help his cause: Ken Warren went "Bye Bye Bye" on Crystal when he countered her Solemate with a roll-up.
Guess who'll be walking in the rain after this.
Meanwhile, Madrigal and former tag partner Vlad Sinnsyk unleashed hell on each other in a grudge match. Madrigal, who betrayed Sinnsyk in their tag match last month, tried to dismantle The Hand of Justice, but Sinnsyk stepped up the crazy and absorbed Mike's attacks.
A kendo stick came into play, care of Madrigal. Vlad foiled Mike's charge and got hold of the cane himself, but he surrendered it to the referee. Madrigal then hit a low blow on Sinnsyk behind the ref.
Moments later, Vlad passed out while in an STF hold by PWR's resident kupal.
Here are other chops and stomps at PWR Live: Homefront.
• The now-sinister Slingblade master Dax Xaviera brought his trusty arnis in a match against Mr. Sy's manok (prizefighter) Main Maxx.
Not just one arnis, though. As Main Maxx declined to use the stick against Dax, the deranged warrior pulled out another arnis from under the ring, nailed Mr. Sy with it at ringside, then struck Maxx in the ring to pick up a victory.
• SANDATA brought his arsenal in a singles match against Martivo, but the Man-Doll – who has been on a roll in recent shows – forced the Huling Mandirigma to add another notch in the loss column.
Mr. Sy then offered his services to SANDATA, now a card-carrying member of the MSG or Mr. Sy's Group of talents. Will this new arrangement bode well for him?
• The YOLO Twins – dressed in high-end clothes – aired their frustrations on how they were being treated in PWR, then acted on it by defeating GrabCamus and Kapitan Tutan of the Naughty Boys, despite the latter team's best (and well-oiled) efforts.
Afterwards, the twins said they deserved better, and warned that it wouldn't be the last time the PWR crowd would see them. Turned out, and as mentioned earlier, they delivered on that threat later in the show.
• The Endgame – the trio of Super Vintendø, The Apocalypse, and Jan Evander – continued to hound Bolt and the Revo-Ranger at the pre-show.
After the Anime-zing Fighter and the bright-yellow superhero tagged with Brad Cruz to defeat McKata, Samoan Papa, and one of the PWR ninjas, the Endgame struck once again, hitting Bolt with their triple powerbomb.
• Handshakes and hand raises seemed to be the recurring theme at Homefront, with mixed results. Oh, and Roman Reigns' "uh-waaa" taunt, too. Who knew there were lots of big dogs roaming around in PWR?
• Trabajador Supremo, the chieftain of the Secret Council of the Trabajadores, really sounded familiar when he put his support behind ex-protege Quatro before the PWR Title match. His voice boomed like someone who deserves some goddamn respect.
Overall review: The local-versus-international showcases were undoubtedly the matches of the night. Three bouts were then tied together – JDL versus Tengu, Panzer vs Ladykiller, and Warren vs Crystal – to advance the PHX Title triple threat match.
Meanwhile, the PWR Championship match made sure it wouldn't be forgotten even if it was two matches behind the main event. Ralph Imabayashi and Quatro brought the PWR crowd along in a wild rollercoaster ride with the false finish. Post-match, the surprises kept on coming, with Imabayashi lashing out on Mainstream Mahaba, then Mike Madrigal striking out of the blue.
Two other matches also stood out at the show. Ken Warren and Crystal's match was well-structured that it being an intergender match would just be an interesting side note. Its hilarious ending was also nicely done.
The All Out War Match between AB3 and Mahaba maximized the use of the baking pans to make everyone cringe. I was told that the cookie sheets were soft and safe to hit each other with, but those hits to the head still sounded and looked scary.
Overall, the PWR crew held their ground at the solid Homefront show.
PWR Live: Homefront quick results
- Pre-show: Bolt, The Revo-Ranger and Brad Cruz defeated McKata, Samoan Papa, and one of the Ninjas
- John Sebastian def. Robin Sane to retain ownership of PWR
- Dax Xaviera def. Main Maxx (w/ Mr. Sy)
- The YOLO Twins (Yohann and Logan Ollores) def. The Naughty Boys (GrabCamus and Kapitan Tutan)
- Ken Warren def. Crystal to earn the right to challenge for the PHX Championship
- Mike Madrigal def. Vlad Sinnsyk via TKO
- PWR Tag Team Championship: The Naughty Boys (Trian dela Torre and Evan Carleaux) def. The Kakaibros (Kh3ndrick and Mh4rckie) to retain their titles
- All-Out War Championship: Alexander Belmonte III def. Mainstream Mahaba to retain his title
- Martivo def. SANDATA
- PWR Championship: Ralph Imabayashi (w/ Mainstream Mahaba) def. Quatro to retain his title
- Chris Panzer def. The Ladykiller
- PHX Championship: "The Senyorito" Jake de Leon def. Tengu via submission to retain his title
Their next show is PWR Live: Shake, Rassle, and Roll on Sunday, October 21, at 500 Shaw Events Pavilion in Mandaluyong City. – Rappler.com