Flamethrowers or Lasers? Tarek or Mon Confiado? [No Curtains Needed]

By William Elvin Manzano

 

Hello, my beloved #KapaFEDs!

11 days to go before “MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot”, and the full match card has been announced and made official today! Of course, if you’ve been paying attention to what we’re doing, MWF 2 will be filled with surprises and you’ll go home feeling and believing you’ve spent P299 (or less, with discounts) on the best wrestling show you can see live this month.

I just booked my flight to the Philippines for that weekend, and I can’t wait to once again hear the crowd roar for something we put much of our hearts and souls into.

Time to answer your questions:

Ritz Sy: Can you picture out how will a feud between Tarek El Tayech and Mon Confiado would go? Could this be a continuation from that movie?

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen “Hitboy” yet. But a feud between Tarek and Mon Confiado with the MWF wrestlers involved will definitely get more eyeballs for our show! Without giving so much details (‘cause, you know, there might be a big possibility for this to happen in the future), I’d put Mr. Confiado – one of the best working film actors in the country today – in a heel role, setting up a feud with Commish Mike first before he actually gets Tarek, who knows a certain 90s action hero to be his ‘kasangga’… Now, that is something to sports-entertain all of us, yes?

Naj Siplon: Will we ever see William Elvin in an onscreen role in MWF?

Last week, we got a question if I would ever go back to a managerial role for MWF, and now this from Naj!  Do you actually want to see me involved in MWF stories? Man, just thinking about it kinda gives me a mini-heart attack, with so much stress and anxiety involved there!

I enjoyed playing the William Melvin character in PWR’s test show 4 years ago, and I consider it to be one of the most memorable performances in my life. I’m sure I’d have so much fan doing it in front of a waaay larger audience this time, but only if I’m really, really needed. Right now, as I have mentioned last week, I’m more needed behind the scenes. But we’re not ruling out some simple, minor appearances.

Christopher Sandico Pepper : Thank you for answering my past questions. Your favorite fan has another question.

The Manilaverse has Supernatural long haired wrestlers that appears when you open a book, a mask the cause glitches in sound system (which affected your first video in MWF relaunch ) and light systems , mind controlled ninja and future resurrected prophets. Will MWF be more fantasy with fireballs and lightning or sci fi with flame throwers and lasers?

The Manilaverse will be what it is needed to be, depending on what story we want to tell. Our great multimedia production team, led by our visuals director Juan Carlo Tarobal, has opened up a million doors of possibility with the films we’re producing, so nothing is impossible – we can do fireballs and lightning or flame throwers and lasers whenever our creative ideas point to those directions.

***

Will be a very busy week for all of us, but we are happy to know that you’re all there for us! See you on May 27!

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Sagot Kita: The Musical? The Return of Mr. William Melvin? and More! [No Curtains Needed]

By William Elvin Manzano 

 

Good evening, mga #KapaFED!

It’s been a long day for me, but as I always tell Senior Analyst Tarek, who sometimes asks me if I’m beginning to get overworked, thinking about the MWF and the hard work we put in will always be among the highlights of my waking hours.

So let’s get to more work and answer your questions, shall we?

***

Christopher Sandico Pepper As your favorite fan, my questions are always answered.

Are their going to be individual wrestler shirts available for sale? So we could support our favorite wrestlers!

and

Maow Del Rosario When can we expect to see tshirts of the MWF wrestlers at the merch booth?

(I want my Aldrin and Frankie merch!!)

Yes, there will be shirts and other merch for your favorite wrestlers! It just takes a bit of time because – and we ask for your understanding – as a company, we want all our merch concepts and items to be consistent in quality and design, so we always take a lot of consideration in all of the stuff we put out. So we ask for your patience. It will come soon. Remember when you guys were asking me about the MWF Championship? It came sooner than you all expected, right? So keep an eye out for the merch, too. For now, please buy our MWF shirts and other miscellaneous items, to keep our engines running.

 

Martin Vicencio as your favorite fa…wait..that’s someone else.

*AHEM*

With MWF drawing elements of Theater into their craft..is a musical episode/segment/show of MWF a remote possibility in the future? (a.k.a. MWF: The Wrestling Musical)?

You trying to compete with my favorite fan Pepper, who already went to WIP PH to buy his ticket for “MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot”?

Well, last I heard, MWF’s Creative Director has written a few original Filipino musicals… So, it may really be possible. 🙂

Also, one of my dream productions to direct (it’s posted here for the public to see, so I’m claiming this idea as my intellectual property :p) is a pro wrestling-themed staging of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The play’s themes of power-grabbing and corruption fits perfectly in a wrestling arena setting, so if someone gives me about 1 million pesos to produce this, I definitely will start in a heartbeat.

Also, there’s a recent off-Broadway play titled “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”, which is a comedy/drama about a professional wrestler. It’s in my theater direction bucket list. If ever I mount these productions, you’ll support me, right? Hope so.

 

Sebs Daniel Argarin Is there still a chance that we will see you sir in a manager role again at some point in the future?

No immediate plans for that, because our shows need me calling the shots for all technical cues, and I always loved being behind the scenes more than performing. But who knows, and why not? You might be seeing me cut simple promos soon, that I can say.

 

Naj Siplon Are there any plans to do a show outside of Quezon City? I’m from the south and I work weekends so it’s really hard for me to watch your events live.

Jaems Relativo Follow up question to this:

Would the MWF consider doing shows in the provinces/outside NCR lalo na’t masang Pilipino ang target audience ng Federation?

Crisencio Galvez follow up to this question:

what would it differ to the previous shows attempted by other promotions. like the batanes incident.

 

Naj, I hope to meet you in person soon in an MWF show. If the opportunity comes, we hope you can take that long trip to the north to see the MWF product we’re all so proud of.

To answer the questions, not only do we consider having shows outside Metro Manila, but that always was a part of the big plan. But in order to successfully achieve that, we have to build a solid fanbase and following first, like what we’re doing by holding our shows in Quezon City at least for the first few months.

And how would our shows be different from the ones attempted by other feds? I personally don’t know what really happened in Batanes, nor is it my business, so I can’t comment on that. However, when we do those shows, we’ll run as we have been doing so far: treat it like how we’ve done it professionally in events and theatre, and always put on the best show possible.

 

Ritz Sy I remembered the Reboot MWF show inside the UP campus, which is also my first time inside the university. Now that you’re going back to UP, I would like to know your opinion if the MWF brand is perfectly suited within the university turf.

MWF Open House: Level Up Promotional Poster, featuring Mr. Lucha.

Being a UP alumnus, I’d like to believe that I have a firm grasp on how UP students think and feel, and so far, most of our UP friends who saw the shows instantly got what we’re trying to do creatively. The best thing is, we’re already creating new wrestling fans in the University, with quite a few having MWF as their first exposure to the artform.

We hope to continue getting more new fans, whether they’re from UP or not, with the help of you, our core followers. If you like what you’re seeing, bring your friends and have fun with us! It’s easy to go to UP even if you’re not UP students, either by private vehicles or commuting. So tara, let’s go and join us!

 

Charlie Salmon You ever think of doing a Royal Rumble style contest? They’re always good crowd pleasers and it’s fun to have surprises from other feds show up.

Personally, I think the Royal Rumble is the best match concepts ever conceived. When the right time comes, and when we have a bigger roster to play around with, having a Pinoy-style Royal Rumble will certainly be at the top of our ideas list.

 

Mark De Joya Without giving away any overt spoilers, can you tell us about the design inspiration behind the MWF Championship? You have a very unique design language in your company.

Ohm David, MWF’s ringmaker and one of the best technical directors and set designers in the country (not even exaggerating here, he really is considered by everyone as one of the best in the whole damn country), will design the MWF championship belt. We can’t even describe how excited we are to show you the MWF Championship belt on December.

Ohm David, as featured in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2013 (Photo credit: Walter Ang, Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Carlo Agoncillo Do the MWF wrestlers use original music in their entrances? If yes who composes their music?

Not yet, though it is inevitable for us to use original music soon to avoid copyright issues. When that time comes, the music work will be split between yours truly and Teresa Barrozo, who scored most of the MWF videos that you have been seeing so far.

***

That’s it for tonight, my friends. See you in about two weeks at UP Bahay ng Alumni. Much love to all of you.

Sadako Girl, Wolfman Issues and Front Row Seats [No Curtains Needed #7]

By William Elvin Manzano

Hello mga KapaFEDs!

I’m so sorry this article is coming late tonight, since I had a lot of things to write for my day job today. Not to mention the fact that there are so many questions and discussions at the FB Insider group today! I can’t thank you all enough for the interest in the stories we tell, and your love for the wrestlers who work so hard for this whole MWF project to work. Words won’t give justice to the hard work they all put in, so thank you for all your support!

Let’s start answering these questions…

***

Ulysses Galapon Cedeño If there will be a championship that can be defended locally between AOWW, MWF and PWR, what would you name it and who should be the inaugural holder?

Whoa we’re starting off hot tonight. Forgive me for being a bit bitchy with my answer though.

I’ll call it the Philippine Ego-Rub Champion. :p

Seriously, I wouldn’t put myself in a position to book something like this. My 31 years of existence have already been filled with more than enough stress, depression and anxiety I can handle, so no, I will never book something like this, even in fantasy.

 

Ritz Sy Just needed to get this off: I love how the promotion gets a theatrical touch.

Now my question is, do you plan to have a standard annual big event with twists? Four famous examples to that is WWE’s Big Four PPVs.

Hey thanks, Ritz! We are happy that most of you appreciate all the creative efforts we’re doing.

Creatively, we do, and always will, try to book things with the same effort for every show. We want the storytelling to be solid and steady, and all characters developed as much as possible in each show. However, in terms of production scale, we plan our “Big 4” events to be Kasaysayan, Republika, Road of Fate and Noche Buena. But don’t ever think that some shows are creatively lesser than the others, because we don’t treat our shows that way.

Carlo Agoncillo After the debut of the Sadako girl who frightened Fabio at the last event. Will you be introducing other supernatural characters similar to the Undertaker and Kane in your future shows?

We don’t have plans about that yet, so I can’t answer with a yes or a no. However, I really feel like any character or gimmick could work within the right context, story and character treatment. So, anything is possible within the ManilaVerse.

BJ Recio Bakit wolf si Hanzello Shilva, eh wala naman tayong wolf sa Pinas? Nagtravel ba siya at nakagat ng werewolf habang nasa Tate? Isa ba siyang askal-variant na wolfman? Loyal din ba siya gaya ng ibang aso, at hindi maghi-heel turn?

So, this one got quite a few comments and thoughts in Llermo’s FB post. All of them are interesting, guys. I love that discussion.

But, Occam ’s razor guys. The simplest explanation is the one that works best.

See, Hanzello Shilva is an exceptionally athletic young man who’s got a bright future ahead of him in wrestling. He sees himself as having the physical strengths and virtues of a wolf, so he embraces the wolf as his spirit animal. As we progress, we will see more of Hanzello’s journey, and we will see him grow and succeed.

Naj Siplon When are you guys going to have an official youtube channel? I haven’t gone to a show since the relaunch but it seems that the production values of the promotion has improved. It will be a waste if it can’t be shared on the internet.

AND

Christian Benedict Javier Why is there no individual FB pages for the wrestlers? (Dunno if this was asked before)

AND

Jaems Relativo Have you ever thought of utilizing Facebook/Youtube streaming? Like, if ever MWF makes an Internet Championship belt, I think it would be cool if all of its title defenses would be free on live stream (WCPW did this before). If the fans would want to see the rest of the event’s matches, they have to buy a ticket (or wait until it’s uploaded on Youtube after a few months hehe). So parang maganda siyang patikim without giving everything to the audience agad-agad.

The answer is because we’re a small company with big ambitions, and our vision just can’t be fully realized in a short period of time. We want to streamline all of our online content so it becomes as consistent as possible with our vision of the ManilaVerse. The individual FB pages can definitely happen sooner, but we’re strategizing everything as of the moment.

And while there are no YouTube content yet, all our video packages and show highlights/clips can be viewed on Facebook, where we promote our shows, stories and angles. So if you haven’t checked out the video packages yet, go there and view them now!

Of course, we want you to come to our shows and experience the fun! There’s nothing like being there, cheering and jeering with your fellow fans.

About utilizing Facebook Live and YouTube streaming, every possibility of promotion is being considered, but as I said, we’re still a small company, and we’re strategizing everything for maximum benefit.

But if you want something to watch on YouTube to get a little taste of our shows…

 

Mark De Joya Superstar Shakeup, Pinoy Version. Who would you draft from the other feds to beef up your roster? Who would you trade to another, for learning and exposure?

I’m afraid I’m gonna have to give an answer that, on the surface, would feel like a non-answer.

MWF works with a singular creative vision, so all our decisions are narrative-based. Every single one of our roster members understand that, and are working with us to make sure that their efforts as wrestlers align well with our vision.

To answer your question, anyone who is ready, willing and able to work with our company dynamic would be very much welcome in the future. Right now, all of the MWF rosters have definite and specific plans until about the 2nd or 3rd MWF year, so I wouldn’t add to or subtract from it until the time is right.

Maow Del Rosario Personally, what would you say is your creative process when coming up with show names and poster designs?

Man, you wouldn’t believe how much ideas are thrown out for show names. We usually just drop whatever we can drop, no rules and no inhibitions. Some are ok, some are crap. We’d just know we had it good when everyone else stops pitching and we all say “That sounds good. Let’s run with that”.

In terms of poster designs, we want our posters to look like the Filipino komiks of old, to emphasize that our shows are uniquely Pinoy-flavored episodic storytelling events.

 

Christopher Sandico Pepper As your favorite fan. I expect a lengthy answer to my question.

With Robin Sane having his return match at PWR after being stretchered the first time around , due to Frankie Thurteen being assaulted by Trian dela Torre, would you tell your talents to avoid sitting on the front row sits of other PWR events to prevent this from ever happening again?

Hey, yes Robin Sane will have his return match at PWR Wrevolution X, one week before MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot. Told you, it’s nice being in touch with old friends and acquaintances. We hope you guys support and watch both shows!

If everything was my call, I would make it a written law to only allow MWF Senior Analyst Tarek El Tayech to be seated at the front row of PWR and AOWW events, so I would always see his big, overly theatrical reactions in  all videos I watch. All the other MWF wrestlers who want to watch should wear black hoodies behind Tarek and try to mirror everything he does , so he’ll look like a crazy cult leader and it will be weird and disturbing for everyone.

 

Crisencio Galvez what would you name the sadako girl the spooked fabio makisig.

You’ll know her name on May 27 evening.

 

Akashi Urai Kitado I wiss that kyle sison have a open challenge in our audience

Thanks for your enthusiasm, Akashi! But, we will only allow trained wrestlers to step inside the ring for a match. So, unless you get trained soon, I hate to burst your bubble.

 

***

That’s it for this week! Leave your follow-up questions at the comments sections here and on the FB insider group! Thanks a lot, and I look forward to seeing you all again on May 27! #TuloyAngLaban

Cross-Promotions, Tournaments and Deathmatches [No Curtains Needed #6]

By William Elvin Manzano

 

Hello, mga #KapaFEDs!

MWF 1: Kasaysayan is in the books, and we thank you all for the overwhelmingly warm and positive response we’ve been consistently getting. We were all very anxious and nervous in delivering you a narrative-based and character-driven wrestling show with Pinoy sensibilities, and we are happy to know that you are willing to ride this adventure with us!

Let’s answer some questions today!

***

Christopher Sandico Pepper Being your most favorite fan I have one question with a potential sub question , have you fully killed Moises by presenting the Sadako character? And if you did , could I go fully Annie Wilkes from Misery on you?

The introduction of the mysterious ghostly lady is not in any way, shape or form designed to kill any character or storyline, especially the Moises Liwanag arc. Without spoiling the next story beats, all I can say is that we are exploring the whole Liwanag cult backstory, which personally is delightful and fulfilling to imagine. 

And, if you ever go through all the trouble to go full Annie Wilkes on me, I consider myself an artistic success, that my work has affected you so much.

 

BJ David Will the AldrinxHanzhello ship have cannons? #GitDatFujoSHIPMoney

On a serious note, the December shows featured Fabio Makisig joining Coach Gus Queens’ stable, but Open House and Kasaysayan seemed to have scrapped this development. Is there a reason for that or was it just something the was arbitrarily dropped?

If by cannons, you mean a nice, satisfying payoff to the Aldrin/Hanzello storyline, I say YES, when all the stars align.

Regarding Fabio and Gus, Fabio just wanted money from Gus to buy yosi last December. Gotta hustle.

Creatively, we see Fabio more as a leader rather than a follower. If he will be a part of a faction, he will lead it rather than just be a lackey. We explore Fabio Makisig’s character more in the following shows, as well as Gus’ attempts at global domination.

Carlo Agoncillo Kyle and Ashura seem like an odd couple (hypebeast and Ninja Girl) will we be seeing a Ninja Ryujin /Ashura tandem in the near future?

 

Hey, I like odd couples because it brings out character dimensions in both individuals through contrast. Ashura and Ninja have faced each other before, and I definitely see them crossing paths in the future again. Ashura is more of a volatile, still-finding-her-place-in-the-world character, and Ninja is the wise, open, one-with-the-universe type, so there still are layers to that story when we decide to run with it.

Sebs Daniel Argarin What is your opinion about the deathmatch genre? Do you think it has its place on the southeast asian wrestling scene?

If you’re talking about the Japanese-style or CZW-style deathmatches, then I think they should have no place in professional wrestling. See, the point of pro wrestling is to tell athletic and physical stories in the ring without legitimately hurting anyone, as safely as it is convincing. When you hit guys with light tubes and other harmful weapons that shorten wrestlers’ careers, especially in front of only a few people, I don’t really see a benefit to all that.

 

Kenneth Tongol Magkakaroon po ba ng tournament in the future for a title or an accomplishment, if yes ito po ba ay single bracket elimination or round robin katulad po ng G1 Climax?

I won’t spoil anything, but you will get an answer to this question REAL SOON. J

 

Ulysses Galapon Cedeño Will we ever see an MWF vs AOWW event, or an MWF vs PWR one?

Not sure about whole cross-promotional events. I think it’s really early to think about something like that. However, we’re at a great time where MWF is on good terms with both AOWW and PWR. Personally, I’m happy to be in touch with old wrestling friends and acquaintances from both promotions. As Vince McMahon would say, NEVER SAY NEVER.

***

That’s it for this week! Leave your follow-up questions at the comments section, so we can continue the discussions. Also, wait for the official announcement of the 1st ticket giveaway raffle on Friday in Tarek’s Take.

Meanwhile, congratulations to the winners of the Void Blaster ticket giveaway promo:

Kenneth Tongol

Syk Cabigon

Bon Evangelista

You win one ticket each for MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot!

See you there. We’ll give you a good show, as always!

Photos by Francis Lumahan

My Exciting 8 for April 8 [No Curtains Needed #5]

By William Elvin Manzano

Hello, KapaFEDs! It’s the last Wednesday before MWF 1: Kasaysayan. Yes, 4 days to go before we give birth to this hopefully beautiful baby of a wrestling show. It’s been a hell of a ride, one that people in the events and live entertainment industry often experience, especially in the two weeks leading up to opening night. In Dulaang UP, we call this period the “hell week”, and I thank God he made me an atheist, so this is the only hell I am worried about in my life. :p

Alright, let’s get on with it. Here are the 8 things I am most excited about for our April 8 presentation of MWF 1: Kasaysayan!

  1. Working with the whole MWF talent roster in person

Due to my being away from the Motherland, I have only collaborated with many of the MWF boys and girls through Facebook chats and in our roster threads. I have met most of them in person, some of them from way back in the early PWR days, and some of the newer members in that Jollibee meeting in July last year. I am also fortunate to have closely worked with the non-wrestling talent roster in my theatre run before this – Tarek El Tayech, Sig Pecho, Kathrina Paula – and the addition of talented wrestling enthusiasts Sonny Go and Tristan Creed makes the experience much more invigorating.

When I started putting creative ideas together with Commissioner Mike (CM) and the new MWF management, I just instantly felt that discussing their characters with the roster were some of the most wonderful creative moments of my career. It’s just so awesome to be able to help develop their artistic ideas, and I can’t wait to be in the venue with them in person on April 8. I love each and every one of them.

  1. Working with an ultimate dream production team

I cannot even fully describe how amazing the production team we were able to put together really is. I am stoked to work with Ohm David (our main theatre technical go-to guy and ring maker) and Meliton Roxas (our lights design master). I am proud to say that the three of us have been working together in a substantial number of our stage careers’ highlights, and we just might be adding another one with MWF. It is also a great deal to be working with fellow musician Teresa Barrozo again, whose music work in Philippine theater served as one of my inspirations. Lexi Bartolome, who I recall was only a few batches lower from ours in the UP Theatre Arts program, is now one of the best production and stage managers in the country, and exponentially helped the production to go way smoother.

Juan Carlo Tarobal’s video work is nothing short of fantastic, and will definitely fill the show’s highlights list. We asked A LOT out of him, and he was 100% with us along the ride. Eshei Mesina’s graphic design also turned out to be one the most astonishing aspects of the production, as his Pinoy komiks concept poster really captured the spirit and emotional hook we want for our product.

Needless to say, something as ambitious as this project needed a lot of helping hands to achieve. And we are very lucky to have the trust, support and enthusiasm of all these people and their teams to help us pull it off on Sunday.

  1. Finally working closely with Ho Ho Lun

It almost feels like it was only yesterday since I first shook hands and shared milk tea with Ho Ho Lun at a Fairwood café in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, or when I first introduced the greatness of Jollibee Chickenjoy to him in Central, HK (which he described to be better than KFC, or any fried chicken he’s tasted in the city). We also discussed a lot of potential wrestling projects for years (in between our Chickenjoy eating meet-ups), and here we are now, finally working a show together for real.

  1. Working with Kenneth “The Eurasian Dragon” Thexeira

From the first time I met him in Singapore, I felt all the good vibes in his aura. And true enough, pretty soon we were talking about our favorite Netflix shows and comic books! Kenneth is one of the coolest dudes you will meet in your life, and I am happy to be sharing the same wrestling spirit with him on Sunday.

SPW

Additionally, the success story of Singapore Pro Wrestling and their roster’s individual achievements are some of the most inspiring things in wrestling today. Check out this link and watch the video to further understand how truly inspiring SPW, and The Eurasian Dragon, can be!

  1. Seeing our creative ideas fully realized

I tell you, we wrote TONS of creative content for MWF 1: Kasaysayan, and ALL OF THEM are pulled off by the roster and production team. I don’t want to mention any further detail about this, but the whole thing is a labor of love from all of us – days of sleepless nights, tiring but satisfying efforts – and we all can’t wait to show you what we’ve done.

  1. New stories that will begin this Sunday

Of course I won’t spoil you anything, but damn, there is just so many surprises and story beginnings waiting for all of us..

  1. Surprises… LOTS of it

You know that blurred film actress’ face that we posted a few days ago? That’s just one of the surprises we have for you. We have a lot of thrills for you to experience, so I tell you, you don’t want to miss this show, because we really aim to make history with it.

  1. Visiting Manila again

If I love Hong Kong for its “organized chaos” feel, then I love Manila’s pure craziness and chaos (not for my everyday life, though, not this soon anyway). 3 days before I fly to my home country, I am already dreaming of its sights, sounds, smell, feel and taste. It’s a blessing to be able to take a very short break with my wife, amid all the stress of the busy Hong Kong life.

***

There you go, kapaFEDS. Those are the 8 things I am most excited about for MWF 1: Kasaysayan. I gotta tell you, if you only have a slightest idea of what we have in store for you to enjoy, you’ll be more excited than our whole team.

See you on April 8!

***

QUESTION CORNER:

Richard James Mendoza Are there any future plans with “TNT” Greg Bownds, seeing that he made an appearance last December?

Definitely! We’re just ironing out TNT’s schedule and ours, but you will absolutely get a storyline with Greg Bownds involved in it when our schedules align, hopefully sooner than later. TNT is one of the first few wrestlers to help out MWF, and we treat him as family.

Lessons from History… on a Pole Match [No Curtains Needed #4]

By William Elvin Manzano

Hope you’re all having a great mid-week, mga #KapaFED! We are 12 days away from “MWF 1: Kasaysayan”, and I can’t wait to be home in Manila for a while to watch the show unfold, see familiar faces/old friends and most of all, to see all you fans who I never get to meet as much as I would love to.

Before I answer your questions today, I would first like to thank many of you for the appreciative words we have received regarding last week’s column, where we laid out my recollections about the early days of PWR up to my departure. Unfortunately, and perhaps understandably so, a few people have misconstrued it as a “hit piece”, or an attack to some individuals involved. It was never meant to attack or put people in a bad light, and as I have said, we’ve all changed and hopefully grown out of many of the mistakes we did. More importantly, its real intention is to acknowledge that painful bit of our scene’s history, so that we may learn from it and move forward.

And, we’re ready to move forward! Let’s answer some questions now.

Maow Del Rosario: Who are William Elvin’s top 5 favorite wrestlers in the local wrestling scene?

I’m excluding MWF wrestlers in this list, because it’s my actual job to give my thoughts on all of them within our company.

Also, this list is actually my “Most Interesting Characters/Gimmicks that I Would Love to Try Writing For Given A Chance” list. I’m not commenting on in-ring work, because it’s not my area of expertise.

In no particular order, of course:

Martivo

Because it is a progressive character with lots of storytelling possibilities, Martivo is one that would be  fun and inspiring to write for.

Crystal

I think a very good thing that PWR is putting her over as a serious contender, and being the first one to really establish herself as a Philippine women’s wrestling pioneer (all respect due to Crystal’s rival Robynn too) gives a wrestling booker so much material to work from.

Rederick Mahaba

Rederick Mahaba cuts great promos. Nothing to be surprised about that one. When given great stories and material, he can take stuff to great heights with his mic talent.

Machine

His whole look-and-attitude package is a great addition to any roster, and it is a dream for any wrestling booker to have someone like that to work with.

Classical Bryan Leo

With all the history behind Bryan Leo, his story is one that basically writes itself. In a perfect scenario, when somehow the opportunity to work with CBL again presents itself, his mic skills and presence would definitely open up lots of doors for great storytelling.

Carlo Agoncillo: How did you find AOWW genesis? Will we see a future collaboration between MWF and AOWW?

I can’t give any comment because I wasn’t able to see the show, except for the clips and highlights being shared. I’m happy for everyone involved, and I look forward to their next shows.

Will there be a future collaboration between us and AOWW? I don’t know. Nothing is certain. Hopefully, it happens.

Mark Datiles May training na po ba ?😊

I believe we’ll be accepting new trainees on April 8. That’s not an official announcement, but we’re getting there.

Christopher Sandico Pepper: In honor of Terry Taylor’s gimmick: Who is your favorite fan? And why is it me?

To brighten up your day, Christopher, I will say that you are my favorite fan. The universe just whispered your name to me in my sleep one night.

But sincerely, thank you for your support and interest for our product. We hope to see you in our shows every time. This goes out to all of you.

Martin Vicencio Thoughts on the “*insert item* on a pole match” match variation? How do you think such a match like that can be executed perfectly?

It’s just a shame that pole matches have been associated with the hokey-ness of Vince Russo’s post-WWF booking, but one of the matches that affected me most as a kid was Mankind vs. The Rock in a “Pink Slip on a Pole” match from a December 1999 episode of Raw, where the two competitors’ jobs were on the line. The Rock beat Mankind in this match, implying that Mankind was going to be fired from the WWF.

Mick Foley is my favorite wrestler of all time, and as a fat and ugly kid who got his fair share of ridicule and bullying, I really connected with the Mankind character. I also hated The Rock so much, regardless if he was face or heel, because he reminded me of the pretty boy bullies at school.

This just goes to show that when the characters and stories connect to your audience, no matter how strange the match stipulation may be, amazing results can be produced.

That’s it for this week. Leave me more of your thoughts and questions for next week’s edition! Thank you, and see you all on April 8!

Have a nice day!

PWR 2014: From My Side of the Fence [No Curtains Needed #3]

By William Elvin Manzano

I wanted to write a long-form article about dirty, controversial finishes and its place in today’s modern wrestling landscape, but unfortunately, a question from Martin Vicencio derailed that plan. Also, since this will be a very long one, I will only be able to answer one question for now. I’ll save the other ones for next week.

Martin Vicencio: Since CBL did give a shout out to Mr. Elvin and Mr. Litton, any chance to hear your side of that story that happened back in 2014?

Obviously, this would be a more interesting topic. So, the thing about controversial finishes would have to wait.

Alright, here is the PWR story from my perspective, the way I remember it. You can ask the people involved for more details, but here is my account from when I got involved to when I quit the promotion in 2014.

And just a bit of a heads up, if I may make one. These events happened four years ago. The story I will tell involves younger, inexperienced, naïve and immature versions of ourselves – way different from the characters you now know, love or hate. We’ve all changed since then. We are all different people now from when we first knew each other, for better or for worse. But regardless of what happened to us, whatever hurtful or painful memories we may have caused each other along the way, I will always be proud of the fact that I was among the ones who first built the dream. Yes, the Philippine wrestling dream that we are all living in today.

Beginning

I’m not sure about a lot of details on the earliest days of PWR’s foundation, and a lot of this article’s segment may be told in the wrong order. All I’m sure of is that it started with a Facebook group of wrestling fans in the Philippines. For reasons I really can’t remember, I was already friends on FB with Ace Victor (you may know him now as PWR’s Kanto Terror), who I believe was the one who added me in.

I also do not remember much about how I ended up being in the core group of the PWR founders. I remember that we all had a lot of ideas on the group’s name, and finally settled with PWR – Philippine Wrestling Revolution. I recall Enoch (now known as MWF Frankie Thurteen) and a graphic artist named Kirk Castillo had a lot to do with this name, along with the contributions of the others in the group.

One thing I can remember is that the first guy in the group I met in person was Bombay Suarez. We spent hours talking about wrestling over cigarettes (and coffee, maybe?) over at the open area near the cinemas of the Shangri-La Mall.  We then formed a core group of 9 members to start building the promotion: myself, Mike Litton, Yusuf Meer (Classical Bryan Leo), Nelson Aman Jr, Ace Victor, Ouel Babasa, Bombay Suarez, Emjay Lapus, and a guy named Jay Alfonso who dropped out of the group early on.

But, being inexperienced and naïve people we were back then, energies and ideas were all over the place. There was no clear leader, and everyone was just voicing out their opinions and insisting on them. This was when we decided to elect officers within us, in a meeting I sadly wasn’t able to attend. Around this time, I was also in the creative development of “Maxie The Musical”, a stage adaptation of the film Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, and we had a meeting the night of the PWR election.

I was driving home when Emjay Lapus called me up, informing me that I had been elected as Vice President to Yusuf, who was elected as the group’s leader. I am not sure how true this was, but Emjay told me that I was getting a bit of push to be the president, but reasonably, they opted not to because of my busy schedule. So from there, Yusuf was President, I was the VP, and Mike was appointed to be the head booker, with Ouel also working with us creatively. Nelson Aman was our trusted secretary, Emjay took care of the early legal inquiries, Bombay was in charge of training, and Ace was put in charge of logistics (if I remember this correctly). In that group, it was myself, Yusuf and Mike who grew the closest. 

I’m not sure if most of you are aware of this one, but the real public debut of PWR was when we made up about 95% of the very small audience at REINA and Wrestling New Classic’s Joshi+Jam Manila in January 2014, held at the Ynares Gym in Pasig, which featured Tajiri, Mia Yim and Filipina-Japanese Syuri Kandou. To this day, I am baffled by the lack of effort by the producers to promote this event. According to Mike, he was friends with the promoter on FB, and passed the details to Nelson who got in touch with the contacts in the Philippines – a housewife and her daughter.

We met with the contact persons a number of times in Seattle’s Tomas Morato, with the understanding that they wanted to work with us. We inquired about if we can have the ring they will use after their show, in exchange with our help in promoting it. Ouel got a good promotion deal with one of the top local pop stations, but aside from that, the producers themselves never really did a thing, as far as I know and have observed. The housewife and her daughter were very nice and sweet to us, but they seemed like they didn’t care about the venture at all. 

Anyway, all we got from that deal were free tickets, a commentary spot for Yusuf and Mike (which no one heard), a quick spot for Bombay doing a Northern Lights Suplex and getting choke slammed during intermission, as well as great pictures. To us, that night seemed like enough motivation to really start getting serious about the promotion.

It was around that time when more people were becoming aware of PWR’s existence, and talent started pouring in, including Josh Bauserman (a trained wrestler who helped teaching the basics to the early PWR wrestlers), Jake de Leon, Ken Warren, Robin Sane, Rex Lawin, Mr. Lucha, etc. Tarek El Tayech also started helping out, and the group just grew bigger and bigger.

Perhaps the most notable character to come out of this batch — at least for purposes of this story – was Jason Dimayuga, a Fliptop rapper that goes by the rap name of Ice Rocks, and who gave himself the ring name Mayhem Brannigan.

PWR Revolution Now

Because we really had no clue what we were doing then, we were ready to get and take advantage of all the help that was being offered to us. It was around this time when I co-wrote a musical in Ateneo de Manila, which included Tarek El Tayech and veteran sportscaster Bill Velasco in the cast. Bill said he wants to check PWR out, and maybe even feature us in his sports show in the ABSCBN News Channel. I introduced him to Yusuf, leading to that fateful meeting in Xavierville Avenue where I was food poisoned and was sent to the hospital by Yusuf and Bill. (You can ask Yusuf for stories about my misfortunes and unfortunate incidents with him, he can tell you quite a few)

Anyway, Bill asked us for a proof of concept, one where sponsors can see the wrestlers and the wrestling product. That was how PWR’s first show, Revolution Now, was conceived.

It was only when we were booking Revolution Now when creative differences between Yusuf, Mike and myself became apparent. I won’t go into details, but I was forced into being the middleman between two of my closest friends at that time, and believe me, it really did not feel good at all. I got non-stop calls from Yusuf about how the guys are complaining about Mike’s booking, and I got Mike to defend his ideas often, causing more stress for all parties. It was very tiring, and contributed to a lot of stress I was already dealing with from my theater career and personal life. Not to mention, I was already thinking seriously about permanently moving to Hong Kong during this period. It was just negativity from all aspects of my life.

We were able to overcome all the differences and worked well together in booking Revolution Now, but the friendship between Yusuf and Mike were going downhill from there, and me being their third best buddy just made it worse. Apart from all the creative disagreements, I could say that our younger selves also got overwhelmed with the real world responsibilities of actually putting up a company, so our efforts and energies only became more scattered.

Wendy’s Glorietta – the meeting from hell

As a 13-year theater arts veteran, I have dealt with and got involved in a lot of backstage drama and heavy politicking. But to this day, nothing compares to that Wendy’s Glorietta meeting PWR had, which had one specific purpose: to get rid of Mike Litton in front of the whole roster, without him even expecting it. The worst part of that day, which still makes me kinda sick of it until now, is that I knew everything that was about to happen but chose to not even warn Mike. From what I remember, the two leaders of that cause were Ice Rocks and Yusuf.

Before that fateful meeting, I remember gathering up with Yusuf, Ouel, Ice, JDL (not sure but I remember him being there), and Tarek at a nearby Family Mart to discuss the afternoon’s proceedings. We were about to put Mike on the spot by asking him to book one whole show right then and there, and compare it to what Yusuf came up with. This was going to happen in front of the whole roster, seemingly designed to totally embarrass Mike. Unfortunately, I went along with it.

But damn, when I saw Mike in that long table at Wendy’s – one of my very few true friends – being in that horrible situation, I had a sudden change of heart. With the help of a few members of the PWR talent pool, including Mr. Lucha, we were able to maneuver the conversation to save Mike’s spot as PWR’s booker for at least one more day, and made Yusuf and his group more frustrated. Ice saw this as us being “spineless”, but in that situation, personally, I was saving Mike from further embarrassment while still trying to hold on to Yusuf’s friendship.

The end of my PWR run

Needless to say, Mike’s and Yusuf’s friendship, as well as Mike’s grasp in the PWR roster, grew thinner quickly ever since. Me, I knew I was almost done. Emotionally beat up with my life’s drama around that time, I decided to just leave the country and build my life here in Hong Kong, away from all the negativity.

A day before I left the country in August 2014, I visited the PWR training for the last time at Fitplus Gym Bicutan. I was approached by Ice and JDL. “Ok, so now that you’re leaving, we’d like to take the VP spot,” Ice said. Take note that it was all Ice speaking, and JDL was just there. JDL was always nice to me, and I have nothing but good memories with him during my time in PWR. I told them to call Yusuf up, to make it official. Yusuf agreed.

“First order of business, we’ll get rid of Mike,” Ice continued. There were many reasons given as to why they wanted to totally get rid of Mike, but none of them ever warranted such hostility, at least in my opinion. I just told them to call up Mike and tell him their decision in person. I was tired of all the drama. I was willing to let go.

I was still part of the booking team for PWR Renaissance 2014 with Ouel and Yusuf, which I remember to go smoothly. I remember Tarek being in charge of putting together some of the angles, too. Aside from booking the show, I was away from all their affairs at that time, and was just happy to be writing wrestling from Hong Kong.

However, that all changed when we were booking Terminus 2014. It was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, as the saying goes. Leading up to it, we were encountering difficulties in running ideas with Ice, who often insisted on his own ideas regarding the Mayhem Brannigan character. If I remember it correctly, we were running a storyline where Mayhem, an anarchist, was suspended by PWR management. To continue this story, I pushed for him to not have a match at Terminus just yet, and instead do angles throughout the show. I called the idea for the series of angles “Brannigan Brigade,” where a number of PWR bootcampers were to invade the show wearing the Mayhem mask and gear. The show was meant to end by having him featured heavily in a big angle.

He insisted on having (and winning) a hardcore match against The Apocalypse, and, as told to me by Ouel, was refusing to do what was being asked of him. I tried talking to Yusuf about it, but he told me to just adjust the plans according to what Ice wanted. We had our last stressful argument about the script and the details he wanted me to change. I was totally spent and done dealing with PWR.

I remember just telling Ouel that I’m quitting the promotion, which he took with much respect. He thanked me for all the things I’ve done and the memories we shared, and we agreed to go on separate ways. However, Yusuf basically giving Ice the key to just change his booking according to what he wanted really frustrated me. Call it an attack to my ego, or a bit of jealousy because a friend chose another guy over my ideas, but I admit, it really felt like I was betrayed. So I chose to attack Yusuf back.

I talked to the other guys in the PWR talent pool who I know were also frustrated with what was happening in the promotion,  and fed their disappointments. I was among the ones who riled them up against Yusuf and in effect the whole of PWR, which, from what I remember, was the first real division in the Philippine wrestling scene.

I own up to that. It could have been dealt with much more peacefully. I could have just walked away and left the whole thing. But, I didn’t. I was among the ones who built the dream, and was also among the ones who first fanned the flames, hoping to burn it down. All the negativity just piled up, and exploded into one big ball of anger and more ugly emotions.

Epilogue

After a few months, I sent a personal message to Yusuf, with Ouel and JDL as witnesses, and apologized for all the trouble and ugliness I helped create. We forgave one another, and patched everything up. After that, Yusuf was giving me updates on PWR’s success, and I have been genuinely happy for the promotion ever since.

Around the same time, Mike was setting up Manila Wrestling Federation with Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane. Mike would message me from time to time, and we exchanged some ideas about wrestling. This opened up the doors to where we are now, with me and Mike working together again to establish MWF in 2018.

So here I am, running wrestling shows with dear friends again. And happy.

***

 

That’s it for now. I would imagine all of this would take some time for all of you to digest. Here’s my side of the truth, now, if you can, ask the other people for their take, and for them to fill in the details.

Thank you for reading. Thanks for your question, too, Martin V.

 

Special thanks to Nelson Aman Jr., a.k.a. THE Nelson Jr., for the photos.