By William Elvin Manzano
Greetings, mga #KapaFED!
Before I begin answering your questions this week, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for supporting MWF’s Insider Online initiative. As most of you may have figured out, we’re using the FB group and the blog to closely communicate with you, hardcore fans of the Philippine wrestling scene. We are trying our best to get more of the mainstream entertainment viewers to check out our programs, but we know that it will always be you that is the heart and soul of our fanbase.
With that being said, let’s start the discussion!
EJ NepomuXennial: When will be your next bootcamp? Is there any possibility for a bootcamp to be held around Quezon City? It is because I am from Valenzuela. I admit not being much athletic-looking and already around late 30s but I have ample martial arts background and used to be active in some extreme sports, can I still join? Thanks in advance.
Naturally, we receive this question quite often, in the form of “Paano maging wrestler? Gusto ko mag-apply.”
We will soon welcome people to train with us, which is exciting especially with the growing knowledge we are gaining from our visiting guests, such as Ho Ho Lun and Eurasian Dragon. We are making steps to make the bootcamp as organized and systematized as possible before we open it to new aspiring professional wrestlers.
Just a quick tip I want to share to those who dream of stepping into the ring: Please, stop worrying about your gimmicks and learn how to work first and foremost. Remember, the legendary rock and roll band KISS learned to play their instruments first before putting on their make-up and elaborate costumes. (Sorry kids, this old man can’t think of younger references.)
It’s ok to dream up something, and have ideas on how you want to present yourselves once you learn how to wrestle safely and effectively. But please remember, you are not a video game create-a-wrestler where you can just decide your gimmick and moveset minutes before your first match.
I’m saying this because I’ve met aspiring wrestlers who become frustrated and disappointed because their mindset was wrong in the first place. You learn to work first, and then you become a wrestler with a gimmick that suits you and your abilities. It doesn’t work the other way around.
Maow Del Rosario: When are we gonna see the young talent such as Frankie Thurteen, Hanzello Shilva, Morgan Vaughn, and Aldrin Richards in the main event scene? And what would it take to get them there?
Kristoff Sison: I appreciate the openness to discuss long-term booking! With that, how do you decide who becomes a main-eventer and who gets feuds and matches in the mid- and under-card? Recently, it seemed to move from Lucha-Sane, to Lawin-Stryker, and now back to Lucha-Sane. What does this mean for crowd favorites such as Aldrin, Fabio, and Moises? Is this a challenge considering there isn’t a championship in the promotion yet that creates divisions?
Don’t worry about all those names you mentioned. We have very definite and specific plans on where to take each and every one of them in the next year or two. Here’s what I can tell you: We basically know what we want to happen to all our characters and all the stories we want to tell for the next three years. Of course, nothing is set in stone, as we may have to adjust details when we hear crowd reactions and feedback, but it really helps to have a road map of where you want to go before you set out on a long journey. We’re definitely taking a comic-book style story arc approach to this thing we’d like to call the “ManilaVerse”.
This is also why we prefer to keep our main roster a bit small, so we can focus on everyone and tell their stories as clear and tight as possible. We will have new characters along the way, of course, but rest assured that everyone in the current roster, including the ones you mentioned, have definite and hopefully satisfying destinations.
Carlo Agoncillo: How does your creative process work? Can wrestlers give creative input when they get into feuds? Do they have creative freedom to select their feuds or storylines?
The MWF creative process generally works like this: The Management agrees on a big picture long-term plan, then me and MWF Commissioner Mike Shannon convene to lay out details before we come back to the Management to finalize things. Our wrestlers can pitch their ideas, and we will see if and when it could fit in the ongoing arcs we’re writing. In fact, some of them already have given pitches that are now being incorporated in the stories.
Most of the time, we approach them about a seed idea that we have, and we work with them closely on fleshing out the details.
Maow Del Rosario: Follow up question to one from the last Q&A. You said that you’d only bring in a championship belt when absolutely necessary. My question is, if there is no belt around yet, what is it exactly that the roster is fighting for, or what is their current goal that they are working towards (kayfabe / storyline-wise)?
Yes, we will not bring in a championship title if we don’t feel that it is a necessity. That being said, it is also our duty as the creative team to plot out a situation that would introduce the title in a meaningful, important and special way. So in this regard, we ask you to sit back, relax, and wait for it soon.
To answer the second part of your question, the MWF wrestlers are all jockeying for the top spot as they await the main prize. Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha organically become the figureheads for our new promotion due to them being the pioneers, but it is a free-for-all until someone climbs the mountain.
Maow Del Rosario: How would you fantasy book a cross over event between all Philippine Wrestling promotions?
Hopefully, I won’t have to fantasy book anything and book that crossover show for real. MWF is currently taking steps to have a cross-promotional charity event this year, involving the other two wrestling promotions in the country. This is intended to be a part of the MWFoundation, an initiative being planned by the Management.
Exciting, yes? If you guys believe in a higher being, this is the best time to close your eyes and pray for it to happen.
Romeo Moran: why did you kill moises?
Moises is not dead. In fact, the Liwanag story is just about to start. Borrowing from the gimmick a bit, we ask you to have a little faith.
Crisencio Galvez: pro wrestling is always tied to the use of performance enhancing drugs what is your stand on it.
I am against anything that can harm wrestlers’ long-term health. My theatre mentors always told us that there is no substitute for hard work. I believe this applies to every genre of performance and art.
Carlo Agoncillo: That article was very informative do you think you can do articles on Asian wrestling stars like Poppy, Afif Ahmi Greg Glorious or Shaukat so Filipino wrestling fans can get to know them better?
It’s a nice idea to write articles introducing guest wrestlers from around the world when they come in and work shows with us. For now, we plan to write articles to feature members of our roster one-by-one, so you may know them more. But yes, the possibility of eventually working with all those names are huge.
Martin Vicencio With your musical background, any plans on composing or making MWF entrance themes? (if you have done such already, which ones were they? etc.)
I wrote and recorded the current MWF theme music, the one you always hear in our videos. Regarding the entrance themes, we’re currently conceptualizing original music for the wrestlers with Teresa Barrozo, who has years of experience writing music for Filipino movies and stage productions.
Mark De Joya: Between Mike Shannon, Tarek, Robin Sane, and Fabio, I’d have to say that MWF has the best hair game among the Philippine feds. What brands of shampoo do you each use, and can you share your haircare tips?
I just received a message from Tarek, which said this: This Friday’s edition of Tarek’s Take will now be all about his hair care regimen, from scalp, to face, to chest, to parts unknown.
I’m just going to share some interesting tidbits about this whole hair thing.
I used to have long hair and a bushy beard too. During the early days of PWR planning, I remember a day when we met the representatives of Joshi+Jam Manila at Seattle’s Best Tomas Morato (where Bryan Leo and I used to spend whole days just talking about wrestling non-stop). The representatives – a housewife and her daughter – met Mike a week earlier, and were only meeting me for the first time that day. When I arrived, they both said “Ay, ayan na si Mike”. I told them I was not Mike, but kept on calling me Mike throughout the meeting.
Also, in 2014, I co-wrote an original musical titled Breakaway Antigone for Tanghalang Ateneo. This was where I met Tarek El Tayech, who was an actor there. Multi-awarded writer and director Floy Quintos, who wrote the musical’s book and lyrics, legitimately freaked out during rehearsals one night, when Tarek was standing behind the lights booth and Floy thought he was my doppelganger.
Now, I know what Tarek would say: I look waaay better than you, Will. Tarek, I know you’re reading this. I agree.
That’s it for this week’s “No Curtains Needed”! Let’s continue the conversation and just send me your questions for next week! And, see you on April 8 for MWF 1: Kasaysayan!