Before We Say Goodbye to Pride Month [Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do]

By Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon 

Two months ago, I decided to go ahead and shave what had apparently become an iconic strip of facial hair above and beneath my lips. I had kept it for two reasons:
1. It hid my resting bitchface
2. I hate shaving my face
But it’s novelty had worn off. While I had plans and I had learned to work around it, my face was itchy, I was getting regular fits of dysphoria and it was evident I was in need of a different kind of blade job.

FML, right?

What is Dysphoria?

Dysphoria, also known as Gender Identity Disorder, is the feeling shared by a substantial number of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.  It can affect people in a number of ways. I deal with somewhat mild dysphoria in the sense that while I’m not too crazy about it, I’m comfortable enough with my body. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments when I look in the mirror and dislike what I see.

I’ve learned how to block of negative energies from my life. I mean, I’m crazy enough to get myself involved in the wrestling business, which is loaded with negative energy- so it’s pretty evident that I’ve managed to block out negativity for the most part… But dysphoria, that’s a silent kicker that lurks in the shadows of my mind; chipping away each and every day until I break down and something has to be done.

Mike with MWF Creative Director William Elvin and Senior Analyst Tarek El Tayech

“Cool Rock Boy”

Through most of my life, I got by as “Cool Rock Boy”, a gimmick I created for myself to survive. Growing up, I experienced homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia first hand. Any part of myself that had come across as remotely gentle (not even feminine) was met with ridicule and violence – like, I got a busted lip back in my first year of high school just for being an *NSYNC fan.

In the years that followed, I caved in, mentally put everything that could be feminine about myself away and pretended to be a “regular guy”, under the idea of being a “cool rock boy”- an image that I continue to keep, for the most part because it’s easy, convenient, and somewhat not too far from home. Ish.

Discovering Myself

When I was twenty-two and in the process of finally growing my hair out, something inside me changed. I still to this day don’t know what it was- maybe it was a spiritual awakening, maybe it was the accumulation of so much stress going on, but something in me snapped. I woke up one morning, just feeling like I wanted to own up to all the feelings I had spent so many years keeping away.

I felt feminine and for the first time in my then two-decades of existence on planet Earth, I felt like myself.

You’d think that after having opened myself up, I’d be okay and I could just go about my normal life without a care in the world. Years, even decades of repression, forces the opposite, because now I was forced to spend the next seven years catching up with myself. I had to get to know myself from scratch, while trying to get by with a career and dreams that we’re almost too impossible to ignore.

For the first time in the mirror, I could look at my own face and recognize the person I was looking at. It was beautiful, it was terrifying, and I didn’t even know where to begin… How can you lead an honest life if half the world didn’t want to understand you.

And so, I jumbled between gender identities and pronouns, until just a couple of years ago, I accepted the fact that I’m transgender. A transgender woman, no less. A transgender woman who likes girls. (Think Angie King, but with a steel chair instead of a race car!)

Mike feeling the love from his MWF brothers

Coming Out

The advantage cis people have is that whenever they meet someone new, they don’t feel compelled to describe themselves to whoever they meet. It’s very “what you see is what you get”. People simply take for granted how easy it is to present themselves when they aren’t part of a minority, a minority that faces regular violence and discrimination.

Being an out and happy transperson isn’t just an act of free will, it’s a political statement because we face so much shit on a daily basis to just be ourselves.

In my experience, while I don’t know what to expect when I come out to people, it’s always been generally supportive. People try to understand and accept it. Some of my friends weren’t surprised. To some, family members in particular, it’s been hard to accept because who I am defies every expectation that was set on me.

It’s not easy or ideal, but I do recognize that compared to other trans girls, I’m lucky.

Thankfully, this acceptance has managed to extended its way to wrestling. I’ve got so many people in the scene as friends on Facebook and I’m sure I’ve dropped enough hints with the memes I share… Most of my closest friends in the business are aware and have accepted it, even encouraged it. MWF management supports it which more than an actual wrestling ring, is more than I could ask for.

Not speaking as Mike Shannon, but speaking more as Mikers Litton (my real name is too anglo and masculine for my liking)… I was ready to keep who I really am as a secret if it meant MWF had a shot at success. So having this support is overwhelming, and as I write this in the middle of my office, I’m trying really hard not to cry by pretending I’m about to sneeze.

I’m Mike Litton, a queer transwoman in the wrestling business. I’m lucky to be part of a vibrant minority in a community that have done so much to advance the industry as a sport and an art form. I am proud of who I am and it’s an honor to be among a minority that has given so much to wrestling.

Here’s to a future of more ass-kicking, innovation, and acceptance!

I leave now with a quote from Elvis Costello… “You can call me anything you like, but my name’s Veronica.”

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Musings from the Tech Booth – Part 2, and Your Questions Answered [No Curtains Needed]

By William Elvin Manzano 

 

Before anything else, I’d like to apologize to you Insider #KapaFEDs for being very late in posting this article for this week. Aside from being busy juggling all the responsibilities for “MWF 3: Republika”, I also had to dedicate some family time over these past few days. I’ll make it up to you. Here we go.

***

“Kuya Will, dito ka lang please. Kailangan ko po ng next cue,” says Mara, who, if I would have to guess, only understood what pro wrestling really is when she got to work with us for MWF 1: Kasaysayan. I was trying to catch some, if any, fresh air because I was starting to get really dizzy. Also, in a few minutes, I will cut a promo to announce the MWF Foundation, in front of people who don’t know or don’t care about who I am, including those who have negative pre-conceived notions of me because of some online arguments I started last year. 

It has been more than an hour of holding my breath in almost all of the segments, and I already missed a cue for a lights spot in the opening tag match when we were monitoring Ninja Ryujin’s arm/shoulder that looked like it got injured. I was also feeling so nervous in the Pillow Fight match, not only due to Ashura having a sprained ankle, but also in wondering if all the right pieces and pillows have been prepared and if the finish we planned will work smoothly.

Sandata and Rex Lawin had an unbelievably solid match, set up by the awesome segment featuring PWR’s Stan Sy sharing the spotlight with MWF Commissioner Mike. Jorelle’s debut match with Jomar, Gigz and Fabio also turned out as we all hoped and envisioned it to be, with all four in-ring performers displaying their impeccable instinct to tell the stories we need to tell.

Photo by Trixie Dauz

Despite having set up the big finale we’re planning with Coach Gus and RG’s Diliman Street Fight, I assume that the crowd has no clue how we were going to tie the show up with them. And here I am, stepping out of the gorilla to cut a promo while dizzy and nervous.

I tried to speak as calm as possible, going over all the basic points that need to come across and pitch the main event between Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane, which will come after. I get out of the ring as quickly as possible, eager to get back to the tech booth. I was still confused, as I asked Sig Pecho, “Saan ba ako dapat dumaan?” in front of the audience. I heard some laughs. F*ck it, I’m not supposed to go over with a brilliant rousing promo anyway.

It’s time for the main event. I’ve known these two men since the scene’s humble beginnings. The first time I met Mr. Lucha was in PWR’s test show “Revolution Now”, where he was in the small audience who was chanting “walrus” at me while I was doing my managerial duties for Classical Bryan Leo against Mayhem Brannigan . With him, among others, was MWF co-founder Tala Haliya, who blurted out a loud “pisting yawa” directed toward me. Now, he’s putting on an essential Philippine wrestling match against Robin Sane, who four years ago was asking me if his character could be a spider. Yes, Robin Sane wanted to be a spider.

Photo by Noel Tanjeco

These memories made the match much more emotional for me. So much memories, both good and bad. And here they are, showing the fans what they can really do.

I’m not going to lie about this. I am now in tears watching this match from the 2nd floor of the UP Bahay ng Alumni. What makes these tears flow more freely is I’m watching this beside Frankie Thurteen, who is also crying, and who I remember as the very young boy who wanted to be a pro wrestler but was too young.

The main event’s finish was done perfectly. We’re getting the reaction we want. We made these people happy, and feel good about pro wrestling. There is hope. There is a future for what we’ve all been building for almost five years now.

And personally, this is the first time when I felt like I perfectly belonged somewhere.

But sh*t, I almost forgot. I have a flight back to Hong Kong in just a few short hours.

Let’s do this again on July 8.

***

QUESTIONS!!!

Richard James Mendoza What do you feel about wrestlers doing promos? Should it be scripted, off the top of the head, or a combination of the two?

Also, to subvert the usual question, are there any non-wrestling roles available for MWF? Wala lang, just curious.

Should always be a combination of the two for me. In MWF’s case, we just write down the key beats and points of their promos in our production outlines, so we can relay the stories we want to tell through their characters. Then, we listen to the promos they come up with before the show rolls on, and we fine tune them from there. Sometimes, some of the wrestlers submit their promo ideas to us first, and we try to work them in the show if they make sense.

For the second part of your question, we don’t have any non-wrestling roles available for now, but we’ll surely inform you guys when something comes up. For now, we really need you guys to be in the audience, making the shows more awesome with your participation.

 

Kenneth Tongol What is the ring made of?

You’d have to ask our production design expert Ohm David that question when you meet him.

 

Bon Evangelista Nasaan na po yung dating manager (?) ni Fabio Makisig? Can’t remember kung aling show last year siya lumabas. Huhu

I think Fabio himself answered this one. Apparently, the manager is now an OFW.

 

Paul Nikko Degollado A friend noticed from the last show that Ninja Ryujin was actually doing FSL (Filipino Sign Language) during his promos, was this the case of his promos ever since? Could his booking be angled towards an advocacy of some sorts for FSL and for representation of PWDs in general (though medyo stretch na ito for me hehe)?

No, it’s not a stretch at all. We really want our PWD audience to identify with Ninja Ryujin, and WE CAN’T THANK HIM ENOUGH for really studying sign language for his promos. I’m not sure if they already did it that way before the new management came along, but it’s really our idea to develop Ninja Ryujin’s character from this. Thank you for noticing the details! KapaFEDs, please take note. We do a lot of small details that will make your viewing experience much more enjoyable.

 

Maow Del Rosario Will there be an Aldrin Richards t-shirt for sale at Republika

I am not in charge of merch in terms of when they’re scheduled to be rolled out, but creatively, we’re already finalizing designs and concepts for a number of wrestlers. So, I may not be able to promise the when, but I could definitely tell you that there is a big possibility of you getting your hands on your favorite wrestlers’ merch soon!

 

Christopher Sandico Pepper Your Favorite Fan has a question from the farthest parts of Asia.

Any plans for an earlier time? 6-10 event is prohibitive to some members of the Fabulous Early Birds. Not for me coz anytime is fine.

Hey, I hope you’re getting the most out of your great holiday experience. I envy you so much right now.

Let’s see what the future brings, but I don’t think the MWF shows would look good at an earlier time, as we really need that dark, evening atmosphere to make our shows much more aesthetically appealing. However, we have no plans of ever going beyond 3 hours. If you haven’t noticed yet, Kasaysayan and Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot were only 2 hours and 40 minutes, and we’re really strict on production time.

This means that if we start by 6 PM, we’d basically be done by 9 PM. So, we hope you can just come out and stay a bit late for a few times in a year, because, you know, we really don’t end our shows really late.

AAAND… I hope it’s getting a bit clear now, after 3 shows, that we always make sure to put on a fascinating show everytime.

 

Carlo Agoncillo In MWF kasaysayan coach Gus and Rex Lawin challenged TNT Greg Bownds. So far he hasn’t answered their challenge. Will we still see Rex vs TNT this year ?

TNT vs. Rex Lawin is one match that will surely happen. The important factors to really consider are people’s schedules, especially with TNT, and when the match will really mean something and would make sense story-wise. But don’t worry, we’re often in touch with TNT to make sure that match happens. And when it does, it’s going to get  a major, important match treatment that it deserves.

 

***

That’s it for this week! I’ll try my very best to be more in time for next week. Thanks for all your love and support!

Year Zero: Republika [Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do? # 12]

by Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

In June 2017, the then-struggling Manila Wrestling Federation made its return to the Makati Square Arena for the promotion’s second standalone show, Republika. After putting all our efforts into making MWF: Live the best show imaginable, we knew we had to take things a step further. We didn’t have a lot, but we had a lot of nerves as a promise to keep to our budding Kapa-FEDS to give them the best wrestling show in the country: And we succeeded.

Match Card with sponsorsAs I’ve admitted in a previous entry, running shows at Cinema Square was incredibly stressful. And this continued from Live into Republika. If anything, we were faced with a far greater task: where Live was our chance to show the world what we had, Republika had to become their reason to stay. So while there was a focus on wrestling, we wanted to emphasize the stories we could tell given what little we had.

In the week leading to the show, the turnbuckle at the Makati Square Arena snapped during training. This would the first of many instances where the MCS ring would give out on us. So, with just weeks before the show, the decision was made to pay for the welding repair out of our own pockets. But even then, when it was time for the show, we still had no idea what to expect. All we could do was hope and pray that this show would be better than our last!

The Power of the Liwanags

In what’s one of my favorite moments in our short history, Moises Liwanag took to the ring with his newly christened disciple, Brother Jomar. The crowd loved Moises and the decision was made to give him the time greet his budding congregation. Moises took to the microphone and after a brief sermon, promised to “heal” members of the audience that included PWR’s Alexander Belmonte III and future MWF Senior Analyst, Tarek El Tayech.

mwf-republika-when-in-manila-moises

This moment alone proved to be a showcase of Moises’ powers. With his arm locked in a cast, Moises placed his hand over Tarek’s head and blessed him with the power of the light, giving this injured, yet dashingly handsome man, the chance to regain feeling and movement in his arm for the first time in months.

You would have thought this was enough to weak Moises, but it just made him stronger. Frankie Thurteen rushed to the ring and gave the enigmatic leader the fight of his life, but even then, it wasn’t enough. One impaling backbreaker was enough to give Moises the highly-coveted victory.

The Young Lions of the MWF

In another showcase of talent and passion, the young Hanzello Shilva took to the ring to face Morgan Vaughn. Vaughn used his wiles to get the better of Shilva for most of the match, but through sheer will and attitude, the hungry cub defeated the Glitch.

Hanzello had poured his heart and soul into that match, dedicating it to the memory of his mother who had unfortunately passed a month earlier. It was a very poignant moment for the young Wolf, who proved to everyone that no matter what it took, Hanzello Shilva was a wrestler who would always stand for honor.

An Evening of Debuts

In the weeks before Republika, the Manila Wrestling Federation found itself with a handful of new recruits who were willing and ready to prove themselves inside the ring. Fabio Makisig took the ring first and used the moment to prove why he was one the nastiest and endearingly entertaining wrestlers in the Philippine Wrestling.

Enter: Aldrin Richards. Richards was young patient and ready to prove himself as a legend in the making. Richards stormed to the ring and took a beating from Fabio Makisig, but when he saw the opportunity, he bested Fabio and proved to everyone there that he too was worthy of calling himself a wrestler. But one rookie mistake later, Fabio got the better of him and left the ring, antagonizing the audience along the way.

Later on that night, another hungry young wrestler by the name of Ashura took to the ring. Initially, plans were for Ninja Ryujin to face off another wrestler, but somehow, Ashura came into the ring instead and gave him a hell of a challenge. Like Richards, she too was hungry. But unlike Richards, she had a point to make.

mwf-republika-when-in-manila-ryujin-ashura-2

Ashura is someone who does not want to be regarded for her gender. She is a wrestler first, before anything else. So if there was anyone on the roster who had the hardest job to get that through it was her. And who better to guide her though her first match than Ninja Ryujin- a wrestler with all the patience in the world who understands that each and every opponent commands a different approach in the fight.

Because of this, both Fabio Makisig and Ninja Ryujin have become the defacto ‘boss’ battles of the Manilaverse. If a new wrestler can make it through either of them, they have a chance of surviving everyone else.

A Battle of Power

If there’s any re-match I would love to see, it’s Rex Lawin vs. Mr. Lucha. Both these guys are the biggest and baddest the Manila Wrestling Federation has to offer and on our second show, they collided head-to-head in a battle for the ages. Before the show, Lawin and Queens had bounded Lucha in an attempt to get a rematch against Gigz Stryker. But Lucha called him out and the match was set.

mwf-republika-when-in-manila-elbowdrop

Both these guys are incredible powerful and are highly skilled warriors. Where Lucha knows how to balance athletic proficiency with brute force, Rex Lawin uses his own brute force with his knowledge of kickboxing and ground-based combat. For that, these two beat the hell out of each other.

Lawin was able to ground Lucha and control him for most of the match. Lucha was able to get the better of Lawin and in order to even score the victory, Lucha put everything on the line (including the rest of the show) and drive a flying elbow into Lawin’s chest.

An Award Winning Main-Event

For the second show in a row, Robin Sane headlined the main-event of the evening. In the weeks leading to the show, Gigz Stryker offered a challenge to both Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane. And while Lucha was ready, if anyone wanted him more, it was Robin Sane.

Robin Sane understood what happened during MWF Live- after taking that historic 450 splash off the top rope, his performances became a standard of excellence that had to be maintained in each and every main event. And because of that, he accepted Gigz Stryker’s challenge and gave him a match worthy of the marquee.

But unfortunately, Sane’s victory was short lived. Rex Lawin and Gus Queens hit the ring and assaulted Gigz Stryker, forcing the entire roster to pour into the ring in order to separate them and me to give Rex his re-match.

To Wrap This Up…

mwf-republika-when-in-manila-segment-1

In hindsight, Republika was the show that set the tone for everything else that followed: It gave us the unexpected debuts of Jomar Liwanag, Aldrin Richards and Ashura, Rex Lawin proved that he had what it takes to hang with the biggest the MWF had to offer, and Robin Sane began to establish himself as a main event mainstay.

Not bad for a tiny wrestling show, on a tight budget, and a decent crowd of 90+.

Photos by Martin Vicencio and Jonathan Guillermo

 

 

Through sickness, and in health (Tales from the crowd) [Tarek’s Take]

By Tarek El Tayech

Kamusta mga #kapaFEds?

My apologies first off, for not being up here more. Personal matters, as well as MWF 2 prep made me unable to do so. But it is good to be back, and my god, what an event MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot turned out to be.

I was going through an illness on the day of the show itself, and I thank the marvelous production crew, as well as Commish Mike, Creative Director Will, Mr. Lucha, Robin Sane and the rest of the roster (special shout-out to our guests Mr. Sy and Sandata for making their presence felt) for giving the fans the best show possible.

After being unable to continue performing in the show, I decided to watch the rest of it from the audience area, my personal favorite viewing space for any live wrestling event. Nothing really beats being out there, among the energy of the crowd. This crowd was wild all night! From the surprising victory of Morgan Vaughn and Ninja Ryujin over Aldrin Richards and Hanzello Shilva, the shocking way Kyle Sison won against Ashura in their brutal pillow fight, ‘Danger’ Rex Lawin throwing a superkick party with special guests Sandata (with a valiant effort) and Mr. Sy, Brother Jomar and his… friend, Sister Jorelle outlasting the tandem of Fabio Makisig and Gigz Stryker, and then that main event…

There are no words to describe the roller coaster of emotions I went thru watching that main event. What a ride! Robin Sane relentlessly going after Mr. Lucha’s neck along with the sustained attack of Mr. Lucha on Sane’s back had me on the edge of my seat. With each move, you could feel the desperation from each competitor growing. One mistake was what it took for The Daredevil Himself to eek out a victory.

A moment etched in MWF History. Photo by Noel Tanjeco.

Those two competitors shared two hugs in that ring, both with different but similar contexts. These two brothers may go to hell and back just to prove who is the best, but their friendship was something that was never going to be broken, because of it. I loved every minute of it. This was my personal Match Of The Year in the local wrestling scene, and there have been so many great matches put on by all promotions… and we are only in June! 2018 is proving to be a great year for the local scene and hopefully all three companies continue to improve and give the audiences what they crave – great wrestling entertainment.

Don’t think I forgot about the Diliman Street Fight! Gahd that Coach Gus… he is something else, isn’t he? I know I’m not supposed to get involved with matches and stuff but when I saw that Coach Gus had requested for a marching band I got some of my friends from UP to help (to rub it in Gus’ face when he lost), as well as helping out mah boi RG with the baton… I mean… c’mon… after he had Rex Lawin beat me up during MWF 1: Kasaysayan, could you really blame me for wanting a little payback?

By the way!!! Coach Gus, after the events of MWF 2 asked for his release from the company!!! Can you believe it?! I have no words!!! Unfortunately for him, New Management failed to grant his request as it seems there are still a few… irregularities that need sorting from during his tenure as MWF Chief Financial Officer soooo yea…

Anyway, my beloved #kapaFEDs, thank you for taking time to read this shoddy excuse of an article. I promise to do better words next time. Are you all excited for MWF 3: Republika?! UP Bahay Ng Alumni will be rocking once again July 8 as the MWF Championship Tournament FIRST ROUND matches take place! Sino ang mga pick nyo?! Along with our main event grudge match between Ho Ho Lun and Robin Sane, MWF 3 is promising to be even more amazing than MWF 2!

Reserve those tickets now at ticket2me.net! Physical tickets will be going on sale real soon! See you at the Bahay, mga #kapaFEDs! ❤️

Musings from the Tech Booth — Part 1 [No Curtains Needed]

By William Elvin Manzano

 

I’ve been in this position countless times before. I’ve mastered this craft of orchestrating everything – from the script, to the stage, to the lights and sounds. This is where I’m supposed to be most confident, relaxed and comfortable.

But my nerves are going haywire. Yes, I spent more than half of yesterday at the airport, with about 4 hours of it in a cold, boring, flying tube. Yes, I still have a plane to catch just hours after this show. I don’t think those are the reasons why I feel like I just shot uppers and downers at the same time, though. No, not at all.  I’m just not totally sure how this show would go, and unlike every event or show I’ve manned before, there are hundreds of factors that are out of my control tonight.

Unlike traditional theatre, where directors are gods who can manipulate every detail of a show, professional wrestling is way more of a collaborative work. Most of all, I am nowhere near godlike in this one. My main purpose is just to highlight what the MWF roster can do, and provide a theatrical spotlight to their unbelievable talent.

Times like these, all I could do is pray to the Universe, and hope that my cosmic karma is enough for us to have the best show possible, with all my beloved friends and colleagues safe and healthy when the show ends.

As the seats fill up, I suddenly feel nauseous. I go to the holding room, where the wrestlers oddly feel relaxed and ready. They’re the ones who will risk their bodies out there tonight. They’re the ones who will be heckled by the unforgiving crowd. They’re the ones who will make or break this show. Not me. I already did 75% of the work, weeks ago when I turned in the final production script. It’s their game now. But I’m the one who’s getting pale as f*ck.

“You need water,” says a laid-back Robin Sane. I’m pretty sure that’s not what I need, unless there’s a tablet of valium that goes with a cup of it. “Where did you come from? Why are you there?” asks Tarek El Tayech. “I don’t even know where I am right now,” I reply. All I know is I’m surrounded by kids with drumsticks, who should be standing by for their cue outside the building very soon, Sandata who’s quietly taping his wrists, and a limping Ashura, who is working through a sprained ankle this evening.

I feel like passing out. Is this because I’m actually living a dream I’m not totally ready for? Or, am I just getting too old for this sh*t?

***

“Kuya Will, pa-cue na po kung magsastart na,” says Mara Agleham, who’s manning the tech booth with Mikko Angeles on video. On my right, our lights designer Meliton Roxas is taking his seat. “Hanap ka ni Sir Tony sa baba,” he says, referring to Sir Tony Mabesa, theater/film icon, Dulaang UP founder and one of our mentors in the craft of theater. This night just got more bizarre. I look for Tarek, so I can share my nervousness of having to show this rather unique form of drama to one of the most vicious critics of all time. He’s nowhere to be found. I look down the audience area, and apparently, he’s already talking the old man.

I grab the headset and talk to Mike, who’s on gorilla.

“That sounds like a wrestling crowd,” I say, referring to the buzzing noise of an audience who can’t wait to consume what we’ve been working hard on for the past month.

I remember my wife’s voice. “How can you top Kasaysayan with your UP show?” she asked. I don’t know, and I’m not sure if we can.

Let’s try, anyway.

“Mara, start na tayo.”

The lights dim. The show starts.

I’m still dizzy as hell.

— to be continued —

 

QUESTIONS!

Gary Agustine L. Lantoria Why are you all conniving against Coach Gus?

Ugh. Coach Gus is not a victim, so stop treating him like he’s one. He’s an arrogant prick who thinks too highly of himself. If he wants to whine, let him whine. Ugh.

 

Crisencio Galvez bootcamp

I wish I can tell you our plans. But it will be open very soon. And it will be so worth it for new trainees.

 

Naj Siplon Can we expect more wrestlers to debut on MWF this year?

Let’s see about the new trainees who will be joining us soon. If anyone will be as good as Jorelle in a short period of time, why not?

 

Carlo Agoncillo Since the MWF foundation is helping UP rebuild the shopping center will we see an UP based MWF store in the future ?

Brilliant idea! We’ll credit you for that when it happens, and I hope the Shopping Centre will be rehabilitated very soon. We’re happy and excited to help, and we are working day and night to make sure the MWF Foundation becomes an integral part of our administration.

 

Aaron Lemuel Alvarez Will we see another Manila Rules Match in the near future?

I can’t say how near that near future is, but we sure have the Manila Rules match in our booking notes.

Thanks for your questions, and that’s it for the week! See you again next Wednesday, #KapaFEDs!

Tales From Gorilla [Rune Stones & Voodoo Who Do]

Okay, so before I get any further, I would like to announce this: Manila Wrestling Federation will be at HistoryCon 2018. On Friday, June 1st, 2018, representatives of this promotion (namely myself and Senior Analyst, Tarek El Tayech) met with Jacque Ruby, president of A&E Networks Philippines, to discuss the promotion’s involvement in this year’s event.

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Mike Shannon & Tarek El Tayech with Jacque Ruby, Country President A&E Network Philippines

Since the inception of the Manila Wrestling Federation, HistoryCon has always been a very important weekend on our calendar. During the inaugural convention in 2016, MWF worked the Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) and Australiasian Wrestling Federation (AWF) to produce a series of back-to-back weekend shows that would launch the careers of a number of our more tenured performers.

The chance to entertain and showcase our skill at the very event that brought us to dance is truly an honor, and on behalf of everyone at the Manila Wrestling Federation, we look forward to seeing our Kapa-FEDS there!

Now, onto today’s blog:

wYOr2i0g

Tales From Gorilla
by Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

It’s six o’five on a Sunday night. MWF 2: Maki Wrestling Wag Matakot was supposed to start five minutes ago. And while the fans have taken up every seat in the venue, many are still filling themselves with all the different snacks and treats we’ve got at the concession stands in the front of the venue.

I’m not nervous. But I’m not calm either- I’m somewhere in between. I have to be. In the days leading to the show, a lot of people would ask me if I was excited. I’d reply, “Ask me that again after Sunday”. Granted, I do have fun. But as far as I’m concerned this is work. And I’m going to treat it like work.

Coach Gus opened the show, earlier than originally scheduled. He was set on making a real impact on the show. As much as I hate it when he does this, I couldn’t ask for- let alone expect- anything less. For the last year, Coach Gus (and Rex Lawin, to an extent) have tested my patience time and time again. And while I allow him to get away with this behavior in small doses, the night promised some sweet revenge that’s been a long time coming for many of us.

Gus Standby Tanjeco
Coach Gus standing by. Photo by Noel Tanjeco.

And so, at exactly 6:10, the show started: following the national anthem, Coach Gus Queens burst into the Bahay Ng Alumni with a marching band. He took his moment to antagonize the audience (again), to which the signal was given for R.G. to rush to the ring to cut him off with some well-deserved punishment, after of course an exchange of choice words.

While R.G.’s work ethic as a wrestler was a given, I couldn’t help but find myself pleasantly surprised with how well Coach Gus handled himself. He actually trained for this match and it showed. He took what R.G. gave him and dished it right back. The match was hot, and it wasn’t long before both men spilled into the university grounds.

Show Proper

For the first time, the MWF locker room just felt electric. While many of us arrived to the venue in the morning, our backstage team and ring crew had been in the venue since 4:00 AM that morning. Their hard work enabled the boys and girls of the Manilaverse to get the some last minute training before the show began later that day.

Every single wrestler who was scheduled to wrestle that night came into the Bahay Ng Alumni prepared, and absolutely ready to storm into that ring and prove themselves to every Kapa-FED who had paid to see an unforgettable night of wrestling. Yes, there were a lot of nerves floating around that night. Every one of them came into the show to ultimately get the better of their fellow wrestlers, but even then, there was this sense of team spirit that was hard to deny.

In short: it didn’t matter who you were, who you were facing, we were all in this together!

An Unexpected Surprise

During the middle of the show, I came to the middle of the ring to thank our audience and announce the first round bracket for our upcoming MWF Championship tournament. But before I could announce any of the other matches, I was cut off by a man I never expected see face-to-face in the center of a wrestling ring: Stan Sy, the longest tenured general manager in the history of Philippine wrestling.

Granted, we had met informally several months before during Star Wars Force Friday, but this was the first time we ever faced each other in that capacity and we did give a moment to sink in. I had no idea he (and his ‘manok’) were in the building, but here they were, and I welcomed the surprise and allowed history to unfold.

Sandata
Sandata and Rex Lawin gave us a memorable fight. Photo by Trixie Dauz.

Sandata came into the ring decked out in U.P. colors, looking for a fight. And that was answered by someone who wanted nothing more than to kick my ass.

For the next fifteen minutes, Rex Lawin and Sandata- two wrestlers with two completely different histories and fighting styles- tore the house down. Sandata had Lawin on the defensive, keeping himself one step ahead, until Rex Lawin found his opening to brutally overpower Sandata.

If Rex Lawin proved himself to be the most dangerous wrestler in the country today, Sandata showed just why he’s one of the best, most-rounded technicos in Philippine Wrestling. Selfishly, I can’t help but want to see him back at MWF ring. This time kicking Rex Lawin’s butt so hard that he stops pestering me about that stupid medal!

Family Values

Another treat was the premier of Sagot Kita II. After a long hard search and two bottles of gluten-free mango juice Fabio chugged like Zesto, Gigz Stryker answered the call in, well, typical Gigz Stryker fashion! Together, the bully and action star went head-to-head with two of the most unexpected superstars to ever grace the Manilaverse: The Liwanags.

Jorelle
Jorelle. Photo by Trixie Dauz

I’ll just say this:
1. Jomar is an absolute talent
2. Jorelle (a.k.a ‘Friend’) is a beast
3. I don’t know if Moises is dead or alive. Jomar and Jorelle keep to themselves backstage and have yet to answer this question. For legal reasons, we have to know as Moises has a backlog of uncollected checks that Management is close to donating to their church!

Sane – Lucha II

If there was any that kept on me the edge of my seat, it was the main event. Now, I knew what a big risk it was to book this match, but I also knew that there was no other way we could kick off our long journey to the MWF Championship. As so, as I watched two of my best friends destroy their bodies I thought of how long I had dreamt of this.

Years ago, I imagined the long road to a championship that wouldn’t just serve as a crown to the best wrestler in the country. No, I imagined something else: a crown that would have the power to unite ever single Filipino under the dream of a hero that represented all of our best qualities.

Robin and Lucha were nervous. We all were. Somehow, they carried all that nervousness, put their friendship on the line and fought, knowing full well that only one could return with their footsteps cemented on the road to history.

I’m proud of both of them. I have spent the last three years watching over Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha. And while I could never give them all the riches I secretly promised them, they are both my boys. And I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Sen Luch
A moment etched in MWF History. Photo by Noel Tanjeco.

 

Republika

The show didn’t end after Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha. After a brief interruption, Gus an R.G. stumbled back into the Bahay Ng Alumni. They ducked it out in the center of the ring, working past interruptions from Rex, Sandata, and Mr. Sy. In all the commotion, Tarek snuck backstage and saw a baton sitting on our table. We didn’t know how it got there, but Tarek picked the baton and looked at me with a nod before returning to ringside.

On the monitor, I watched Tarek slowly approach the ring as Coach Gus looked for a misplaced baton. Someone must have returned it backstage after the events at the top of the show. With a coy smile, Tarek tossed the baton to R.G., who in turn, decked Coach Gus Queens right in the head before taking him down with a modified Kalibre 3:16. Oh my God- that felt so good I needed a cigarette.

And so, with the sound of a marching band who had dawned their school colors and the sound of hundreds of screaming wrestling fans, we closed Maki Wrestling – Wag Matakot with a bang.  I took a deep breath, knowing full well that despite all our nerves and personal vendettas, we all put together the best wrestling show this country had ever seen.

We shared hugs and tears, knowing full well that we made it. I gave myself that moment to celebrate, but I couldn’t bask for it too long, because we are just one breathe away from MWF 3: Republica, and there’s a lot of work to be done.

Being in Gorilla, in control of the show felt right. It was my first time with the headset. And for the first time ever, this Commissioner thing felt right. It felt so right.

Mike Gor

Final Takeaways

  1. Ninja Ryujin is one heart and soul of the Manila Wrestling Federation. The Baewolves injured his shoulder but he went on and finished the match.
  2. Morgan Vaughn is a star in the making. That said, I should start keeping a closer eye on him.
  3. How amazing are the Baewolves?! Can we all agree they’re fangirl worthy?!
  4. Ashura and Kyle Sison tore the housedown. As wrestlers, these two ave grown so much in the last year. They’re more confident and because of that, they’re more deadly.
  5. My “friendship hug” with Sandata was long overdue
  6. No Rex. That’s not your medal and you can’t have it.
  7. Fabio Makisig is such an incredibly multifaceted wrestler.
  8. Every Gigz Styker match puts me in a good mood
  9. The Liwanags are insane! Jomar, too, has grown to become an amazing wrestler and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for.
  10. Lucha vs. Robin Sane is my MOTY contender!
  11. Writing, producing and directing MWF shows with Tarek and Will is ❤
Trio
Photo by Tita Toots Tolentino

Dear Manila, My Art Has A Body Count [A Piece of Frankie Thurteen]

Art is limited, my friend. It is not infinite, it is very finite. But Art is also a small velvet coated room for people like me, and I work best in a place that limits me because oddly enough, it makes me feel … infinite.

Greetings, Kapafeds! It is I, the Grunge Grappler, The tortured Soul Artist, and the young blood wrestler from Katipunan, Quezon City.  I’ve been wrestling for a year now and I’ve learned a lot not just inside of that canvass but outside, however, this piece isn’t just about  the tokens I attained in this game but also for all of you Kapafeds want to know  who I really  am and who think they know exactly what I’m about.

So go ahead, crack your knuckles, grab your sodas, play some AFI (Just to set you in the mood I am in as I write this with my left hand, oh the struggle.) and let me help you sink your teeth into my mind.

Adrienne
Photo by Noel Tanjeco

Ever since I started walking I was already deeply in love with art and everything about it. I grew up with a family of Portuguese descent who’s deeply into classical music and piano, everything about them was pleasant and classy, but I, I was the one sneaking into the living room at night just so I can go watch wrestling and pretend my hair was all colored up, kikwear pants on, looking like an angst child, looking like Jeffrey Nero Hardy. I grew up wanting to not be like my family, I refused to walk in their leather shoes  because I had my own combat boots that only I can walk into and I had my sketchpads that easily became my best friend. Just like Jeff Hardy, I was drawing weird graphics on my sketchbooks and I would make stories for them, I like to think of my art as not just my ownership but as my peers, my friends, and when I really feel alone…my family. The first ever painting I ever did was of this mutated alien face, it had spiky red hair and a humanoid but an extremely anorexic face, Axl was his name. When I made Axel, my agenda was to breathe life into something  that can be put on a wooden chair beside my bed and talk to (because let’s be honest, humans can be terrible sometimes) and maybe even jam with when I play my guitar.  I thought I was invincible while creating Axl, I viewed art as a limitless medium, but I was wrong, I was very much limited. I couldn’t give Axl  a physical body, all I can give him was the power to listen to my grievances. However, the limitations that art gives us are only for our own good, you can never evolve as an artist if you only know how to work in a field where the accessibilities are infinite. Art is meant to be limited just for everyone to see who the real artists are, who can breathe life and spirit into a piece, no matter what it is.

Rex Frankie
Rex Lawin destroyed Frankie Thurteen’s arm at MWF 1: Kasaysayan. Photo by Vlad Gonzales

Axl has passed on but recently I fell in love with someone, someone who’s existent but at the same time, not really. It’s a very odd feeling, the latest work I made wasn’t even my full creation, she was already here before the others who I made. She has two eyes that can see my spirit, and a third one above her forehead that whispers and sings to me like an angel when I look at it, when I look at her. Her name is Adrienne, she is my angel, looks after me and counsels me while healing my wounds.  It’s a little unfortunate that the first time I was able to bring her along with me to meet all of you beautiful Kapafeds was the day when “Danger” Rex Lawin destroyed my right forearm. While Rex Lawin was attempting to kill my career, all I can hear was her screaming in agony.  Rex, that messed me up.  You might have took away my arm and my artistic outlet, my colors, but you left me color I can play with, the color of the bloodlust brewing in me. I might be limited with only one arm working fine, but I am an artist, and people like me… we find creative ways to get around when someone puts a barrier in front of us. Rex Lawin, I will never  forget.