The (R)evolution of Pinoy Wrestling

It’s been decades since Max Buwaya, Joe Pogi and The Bakal Boys were part of the zeitgeist, but these are the characters that an entire generation remembers when you bring up Pinoy Wrestling. Back in the glory days of Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, local wrestling fans were treated to a similar spectacle – despite far less impressive physiques and a much lower arena budget. Pinoy Wrestling is a relic as fondly remembered as carabao-pulled caravans and “plastic balloons” that come from an aluminum tube.

It was a relic – until the Revolution came.

Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) is coming off its biggest show in its one year of existence. “Wrevolution X”, held on May 23, packed the Makati Cinema Square gym area despite it being a makeshift sauna in one of the least glamorous malls in the city.

PWR’s Wrevolution X is a far cry from the Joe Pogi era. Just like the WWE has evolved from cartoonish gimmicks like The Ultimate Warrior to more reality-based superstars like John Cena and Seth Rollins, the local wrestling scene has adapted from personalities like Sultan Bato to the “Social Media Sinister” Ken Warren. Just like modern-day pro wrestling, PWR puts premium on mic skills just as much as it does in-ring mechanics.

pwr2One of the key personalities of PWR – who was crowned the PWR Champion that night after cashing in an opportunity granted by PWR Chairman Mr. Sy – is “Classical” Bryan Leo. Leo does not have the look of a pro wrestler. In fact, he barely looks like an athlete. Sporting a belly that betrays Leo’s love for beer and pizza and wrestling trunks that are studded with beads, Leo is hard to take seriously as a wrestling villain. That is, until he picks up a microphone. “Listen up, you sons and daughters of pokspoks!” he exclaims before going on a rant about his opponent. And after the crowd showered him with chants of “You suck!” Bryan Leo rebuts, “I don’t suck as much as your mothers on Burgos street!”

Apart from microphone mavens like Bryan Leo, PWR also features surprisingly well-trained ring technicians like “The Senyorito” Jake De Leon. Billed from Bacolod, “The Senyorito” has an impressive moveset, especially for a rotund guy who kind of looks like a member of the Itchyworms. During his match with Bombay Suarez, De Leon unleased a Kevin Owens-like cannonball while Bombay was laying on the bottom turnbuckle. On another occasion, he replaicated Rob Van Dam’s rolling thunder. For anyone familiar with pro-wrestling, these aren’t moves that even the most athletic amateur can pull off.

Philippine Wrestling Revolution is exactly that – a revolution. It’s the revolution of a genre that’s been buried and long forgotten. It’s the groundswell of passionate people who share a love for wrestling. Part violence, part comedy, part technique, all in all very entertaining. This is the kind of show that PWR is building its reputation on. If that loud Cinema Square crowd was any indication, this Revolution is here to stay.

Featured Image from Philippine Wrestling Revolution Facebook Page

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