After a week of mulling over it (or more like being lazy), I finally mustered the drive to write about this event. For their very first proper show, outside of showcases like that in History Con and so on, Manila Wrestling Federation hasn’t done too badly at all. There are certainly growing pains, but the talent and passion are indeed there as MWF has finally officially thrown their hat into the local pro wrestling scene here in the Philippines.
There were quite a few things lacking and outright wrong in this show, like the audio, the lights, the positioning of the ring and the audience, and so on. There were jitters, which may have then led to mistakes during the show. As a debut effort, sketchiness was to be expected. But considering everything that was going against it, this first show by Manila Wrestling Federation was actually quite good. It was entertaining and the audience was certainly getting into the ring action.
DISCLAIMER: I was the ring announcer for this event, so this is not an impartial review. Reader discretion is advised. For a more thorough review of the event, please read this article on Smark Henry.
Also, this is the first official post related to professional wrestling in this blog. I shall cover it every now and then from here on.
Manila Wrestling Federation: MWF x MCS Main Card
Comments made here are solely about the matches and the participants. I have yet to figure out how I should exactly write about wrestling on this blog, especially that of local promotions, whether I write in complete kayfabe or do some of it in shoot. Right now, the latter is more apropos for the overall tone of this blog.
1st Match: Fabio Makisig vs. Ninja Ryujin
I somewhat botched the announcement by waiting too long to introduce Fabio Makisig. However, he was the first wrestler I introduced and I’m not that familiar with the subtleties of the entrances just yet, so I do have an alibi.
Fabio is really good at working the crowd as a heel, making him a fantastic opener. He also has skills and can work well, so he’s able to back his big talk. He has a standing shooting star press and a fat shaming angle, which are both done well.
Ninja Ryujin isn’t bad himself, and he has enough prowess to hang with Fabio. However, his character does need more fleshing out. All we know right now is that he dresses and runs around like a ninja, and a green ninja at that.
The match itself was a bit spotty. It had its moments, but it lacked a certain X-factor as a whole and the offense they showed wasn’t as diverse as I would’ve liked. It was still alright for an opener and their work can be improved over time.
2nd Match: Moises Liwanag vs. Hanzello Shilvah
I also botched the announcement for this match. I did recover quickly, but it taught me that being able to think on your feet is more of a thing in a pro wrestling show compared to a combat sports event.
Hanzello Shilvah’s character is far from fleshed out, and I don’t get him even now. But he does have a good bit of talent and his seated busaiku knee finisher is cool as hell.
On the other hand, I’m absolutely behind Moises Liwanag’s gimmick of a headstrong and holier-than-thou pastor of sorts. He had the crowd chanting “Alien” ala-Brod Pete, which was surprising as that just came out of virtually nowhere. This could be the Pinoy Bray Wyatt that might make a big splash in our scene, and I hope he continues to improve.
3rd Match: Gigz Stryker vs. Rex Lawin
I personally know Gigz and Rex—we’re friends and training partners in the same martial arts group. The stiffness was called for as they both can take the punishment needed for a more realistic match.
The segment with Gus Queens introducing himself and being challenged by Gigz Stryker was fairly entertaining, and it also gave a motivation for Rex Lawin’s debut. It does look like people were confused as to whether Gus is a face or a heel, but I think he did well enough posing as an authority figure. That role isn’t about being with or against the crowd; it’s about being the boss of the company, which means putting forth an aura of being able to do whatever you want.
Mind you, that’s a subtle art in itself.
Gigz is perhaps the most fleshed out character in the Manila Wrestling Federation roster, in my opinion. His gimmick is easy for Filipino fans to relate to and his kicks and mvoes are pretty cool. Meanwhile, Rex did well in living up to his monicker of “Filipino Strong Style” with his strikes and that gutwrench finiisher he used to avenge his loss (to put it lightly).
4th Match: Frankie Thurteen vs. Morgan Vaughn
I found the 45-minute intermission rather odd. That decision had me worried, but that’s what ended up happening.
I thought Morgan Vaughn had something with his “Do you wanna see something cool?” line. It can work wonders, but annoying as hell if spammed like he did in this match. It shouldn’t be overused, but be a lead-up to a spot like seasoning to a steak. But he was indeed annoying enough to get heat from the crowd, which was perhaps the point.
On the other hand, I was quite amused with the “Daddy Long Legs” chants for Frankie Thurteen. His moveset makes the most of his height and lankiness, full of knee strikes and that double stomp finisher. I also think that plaid shirt he likes to tie around his waist can be used as a prop, perhaps by heels to use as an illegal weapon or to conceal something.
Overall, there is a ton of potential in both these guys, and I’m looking forward to what they can pull off in future Manila Wrestling Federation events.
Main Event: Robin Sane vs. Mr. Lucha (Manila Rules)
These two are easily the best workers in the Manila Wrestling Federation roster. The match was full of incredible spots, including the 450 splash and the tope con hilo (or was it a plancha suicida?) by Robin Sane, as well as Mr. Lucha’s DVD X finisher. The David vs. Goliath dynamic they had going on with Robin Sane being the plucky underdog against Mr. Lucha’s superior size and strength also set the tone for the entire match.
There’s a lot of potential in the Manila Rules stipulation, despite the flaws in its execution here. For instance, 4 minutes per round is rather odd, and there doesn’t seem to be any other point for having separate rounds other than having a longer match with breaks for both the wrestlers and the audience to not get too tired.
But I do like the interaction between wrestlers during intervals; there’s a lot of play that could be had there and it adds to the overall “shoot wrestling” tone of the match (makes it a bit like World of Sport).
Through this, I now get to compare how it is to announce for a combat sports event and a pro wrestling event. In time, I should be able to have an extensive list of differences between the two. But for now, I shall wait until I do more announcing gigs (hopefully) to have more experience to base my findings.
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