MWF Republika — Freedom and Progress
MWF Republika

Up against what could be a sophomoric jinx, Manila Wrestling Federation came up with a card that had less gimmicks and fancy stipulations, depending more on better booking and building storylines to carry things through. There are still some stumbles (like me announcing the wrong guy again), but there is indeed significant progress. With that progress comes freedom to do more things that can make for better shows in the future.

MWF Republika is a celebration of Philippine Independence through what MWF is best at—wrestling. While hearkening back to the days of brave men driving imperialists back to whence they came through showcases of grappling prowess in the squared circle may seem ridiculous in the long run, it is also the theater of it that makes it a truly appropriate way to look back at what our national heroes had sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy now.

DISCLAIMER: I’m Manila Wrestling Federation’s ring announcer, 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.

MWF Republika Main Card

Opening

I opened MWF Republika with a promo to introduce myself and the gist of the show. (If anyone has video of it, please send it to me through email or private message. Thanks.)

As I detailed in the vlog above, the first part of the promo wherein I introduce myself had been written two months before the event, so I had plenty of time to take it to heart. The second part didn’t give me as much time as I wrote it only a week before and was done to fill more time. Perhaps the second part wasn’t really that necessary and I got a lot of it wrong in the end, but it did help set the tone for the show, so I don’t regret doing it too much.

I then introduced MWF Commissioner Mike Shannon to the ring and things went from there. Gigz Stryker came in with his challenge, Robin Sane answered it, then Rex Lawin squeezed himself in the conversation. After a bound-and-gagged Mr. Lucha came out, accusing Rex Lawin of subduing him, the main event became a double-header.

Perhaps this segment did end up taking a lot of time, especially with my ill-advised promo, but it did set the tone for what would happen near the end of the show.


1ST MATCH: Moises Liwanag vs. Frankie Thurteen

Perhaps the most creative promo of the night (because mine certainly wasn’t). Moises Liwanag (“The Man of Light,” as I’d like to call him) heals the figuratively sick, then proceeds to cure Frankie Thurteen of whatever illness he may have had, much like he did with Hanzello Shilva in MWF Live.

Frankie provided much resistance, carrying his new epithet “The Grunge Grappler” with him as he used his height and long limbs to hit Moises where it hurts. However, Moises then found a weakness in Frankie—his strength is also his weakness. He focused on his back, thus wearing Frankie down and slowing his movements.

The coup de grace was a backbreaker that put Frankie out for good. Moises then grabbed his holy book and read from it as he pinned his foe. It was a convincing victory, and perhaps Moises can now gather more followers for his “Cult of Light,” as I like to call it.


2ND MATCH: Aldrin Richards vs. Fabio Makisig

Announcing the wrong guy in this match was not a mistake per se. Aldrin Richards is just some guy, so he got lost in my cue cards. I was supposed to announce Fabio Makisig first anyway, so him coming out to music was not only intended, but also rather disrespectful for some nobody like him.

The kid did have a lot of fight in him and he may have been able to do more than what Fabio should’ve allowed him to, but Fabio did end the match with his Primera Klasika Sipa roundhouse kick to put Mr. Richards down for good.


3RD MATCH: Morgan Vaughn vs. Hanzello Shilva

If people thought I had made enough of a mess in the event, they hadn’t seen much yet. For my encore, I announced Morgan Vaughn as Hanzello Shilva, then had to announce him again, then announced Hanzello again when he did come out. There are quite a few things going on here, but it all boiled down to me making a mistake again.

We now have to make doubly sure of who is coming out first and who is second. I can only screw up so many times.

Both competitors were evenly matched, but Morgan did get the better of Hanzello in the middle of it. He then got him in a pin too close to the ropes and Hanzello got the rope break, but the referee hit the 3-count and Morgan thought he had won. I rung the bell and was about to announce Morgan as the winner, but the referee restarted the match.

(Take note, this is not a mistake, but a part of the match.)

From there, having spent his reserves in trying to get that pin, Morgan was then taken to town by Hanzello. “The Wolf of Pasig” then got him in position for his Bel-Earth knee strike for the win. After the match, Hanzello took out a portrait of his recently-departed mother, dedicated his victory to her, and paid her tribute in the ring.

It was a great show of emotion that concluded the first half of the show. This time, the intermission was 15 minutes long and not 45.


4TH MATCH: Rex Lawin vs. Mr. Lucha

(This was when I had enough confidence to whip out my “good” camera and record the matches. After some time, I got comfortable enough to start commentating. Once I got going, I couldn’t stop.)

The Gus Queens-sponsored proponent of Filipino Strong Style, Rex Lawin, was made to face Mr. Lucha, who had been bound and gagged in the locker room before the show to be unable to answer Gigz Stryker’s challenge. To settle the score, Mr. Lucha had to combine his own blend of Lucha Libre and Pinoy wrestling to combat Rex Lawin’s MMA-based skill set.

Rex is a formidable opponent, but Mr. Lucha had hard-hitting strikes of his own to tip the balance. It was not with the DVDX, but with a new finisher—the Lucha Elbow Drop—that Mr. Lucha defeated his foe with. The Filipino Strong Style is now 0-2 in Manila Wrestling Federation, making it seem like Coach Gus Queens had made a bad investment.


5TH MATCH: Ninja Ryujin vs. Ashura

Facing Ninja Ryujin was this mysterious female competitor who seemingly came out of the blue and put up one hell of a fight against “The Master of Ninjutsu.” Ashura was covered in blood-stained bandages and looked dangerous. As the match progressed, more of the bandages came off and she became more verbose.

She had both strikes and throws, including one hell of a headscissor takedown similar to La Mistica. However, despite this great threat, Ninja Ryujin remained centered and was somehow able to soften Ashura enough to hit his Asai DDT (the move I once called a Shuranui Kai because I suck) for the win.

For her MWF debut, Ashura did quite well. As of this writing, this match is the most viewed one among those I posted, most likely due to her.


MAIN EVENT: Robin Sane vs. Gigz Stryker

Unfortunately, I announced the main event as a 15-minute match, even though it was supposed to be 30 minutes. That is totally my fault and it teaches me to do my homework better. It just goes to show how the ring announcer is crucial in setting the audience’s expectations in each match.

The match itself was a half-hour game of one-upmanship between the two evenly-matched competitors—Gigz Stryker’s martial arts against Robin Sane’s agility. In the middle of the match, Coach Gus Queens shows up to mess things up for both men.

Gigz Stryker had a chance to win the match from Gus’ interference, but he vehemently rejected it with a loud declaration of it being demonstrably wrong. It then led to both wrestlers being fed up with Gus and teaming up to keep him out of their match. They then finished their showdown with Robin Sane going to the top rope and hitting his patented 450 Splash for the win.

While defeated, Gigz Stryker still came out of the match on a fairly high note as fans commended him for his performance. But as he was about to leave, Rex Lawin comes back out, seemingly recovered from his earlier trouncing, and attacked Gigz to force Commissioner Mike Shannon to give him a rematch.

The rematch has now been set as the main event for the September return of Manila Wrestling Federation in Makati Cinema Square Arena. It will be Lawin-Stryker II, which should look pretty good on a poster.

Future Plans and Other Comments

Aside from refining my announcing and ironing all the kinks out, I also have a plan set for recording matches with commentary. While plans are still mostly up in the air, including the prospect of a dual commentary, I do have the equipment necessary for a much better viewing experience, including a field recorder, lavalier microphone, and so on. Perhaps I should buy an extra battery for my camera so I can indeed record everything.

The bell also needs some work. As I stated in the vlog, I should do something like fix a wooden base to it for more stability, and I should also find a smaller hammer. Other than that, I think I got the flow of MWF live events down at this point. As long as I be more diligent with my homework this time around, the next event should be awesome.

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