‘LET’S GO LUCHA! RO-BIN SANE!’ ; ‘Omigahd I’m Back Againnnn!’ [Tarek’s Take]

By Tarek El Tayech

 

Kamusta mga #kapaFED?!

Taas kamay kung sino excited na sa buwan na ito! Ang daming ganap sa local wrestling scene natin, at nakaka-excite!

I just want to apologize for not making it up here last week. Big thanks to Sig Pecho for stepping up, and stepping in for me while I was away. You can check out his awesome article hereย  if you haven’t already, and please do let us know what you thought of it. Gusto nyo ba ng more guest articles written by members of the ManilaVerse? Sound off sa comments!

Sooooo…

SINO SA INYO ANG HYPED UP FOR THE MWF CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT???!!!

AAHFHRYTSHLAJNVKKGKRKKKKKAJWJJRHRI!!!

Ever since Commissioner Mike Shannon made the announcement a week ago, the entire ManilaVerse has been abuzz! Couple that with the fact that Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane are facing off in the first match, first round???!!! That is shaping up to be a battle for the ages. The best of friends turn into the fiercest of foes once again as they square off for an opportunity to prove they are the best MWF has to offer.

I, for one, cannot wait for this match! After the events of MWF 1: Kasaysayan, where Mr. Lucha assisted his best friend to the back (after said BFF was BRUTALIZED by an irate Ho Ho Lun… also DON’T TOUCH OUR FLAG, GUY!), I’ve noticed that Robin Sane has been keeping to himself a lot lately, and whenever I see him, di na nya suot ung MWF History Maker medal nya. Malala ang galit ni Robin Sane sa isang Mr. Ho Ho Lun… and who can blame him? Ho Ho desecrated something Robin holds so dear, and takes great pride in. This analyst wonders if the speed chaser is 100% focused on the match against his friend. He will need to be, if he is to stand any chance of making it to the second round.

As for the amiably awesome Mr. Lucha, where will his focus be on the 27th? Ever the consummate professional, Lucha prides himself in maintaining strong mental focus before each bout… but with his two wards facing off against each other on the same night, will The Pride of Sagada be able to keep his emotions in check? How will this affect his preparations? After the events of the History Maker Battle Royal, he is fully aware of the lengths Robin Sane will go to. Is Mr. Lucha prepared to eschew his principles and do whatever it takes to win? This analyst wonders how Mr. Lucha will approach this matchup given the friendship, the complexity, the animosity, the respect… the sheer history that is shared with his opponent. Can he maintain that iron focus needed to eek out a win? We shall see…

To be honest, I always expected Mr. Lucha vs Robin Sane to be the finals of the tournament, but fate has decided to switch things up (and what a great opportunity this is for all the Young Tigers of MWF to try to usurp the established order) and give us this slobber-knocker of an opening round match.

#kapaFEDs, you are not gonna want to miss this! PRAMIS! (Huy! Naj! Nuod ka! Labyu!ย ๐Ÿ˜) Kayo po, sino sa tingin nyo ang aabot sa tuktok ng MWF mountain?

Join me again next week when I preview and predict the card of MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot!

#TuloyAngLabanKapaFEDs!

Tarek’s Mini-Takes

  1. Super excited to catch PWR’s Wrevolution X (and not just cause Robin Sane and The YoLo Twins (ugh) are gonna wipe the floor with TDT x ECX x 3rd (wo)man (actually a fan of that whole gang butttt… la eh, nandun si Robin #Bias #Road) Can’t wait to see kung sino ung 3rd person joining the fray. Will The YoLos mesh well with Robin Sane? MWF’s resident trailblazer’s last foray into the tag team world didn’t exactly work out too well last time (see MWF 1: Kasaysayan). Can the more cohesive unit of The Naughty Boys prove that they’re more than just ‘joke team’? (Ugh YoLos so mean talaga. DON’T SUE ME OR ELSE WALA AKONG MAGAGAWA!) Kita kits #kapaFEDs sa Wrevolution X on May 20, 2018, 2pm, iAcademy Auditorium at supportahin natin sila Robin Sane at ang mga iba nyong paboritong mga wrestlers, at ang buong Philippine Wrestling scene! Woohoo!ย ๐Ÿ˜ƒโค๏ธ
  2. This is the only time I’l feel bad for Fabio. Ang hirap kaya makipag away sa Mystery Lady na yun. PANO KUNG DI SYA CORPOREAL OMG??!!ย ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ตย Sino kaya ang maloloko ni Fabio na maging partner nya doe? Hmm…
  3. Big congrats over to our friends at Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) for the event they successfully held recently, and a big WOOOOHOOO CONGRATS!!! to our friends and #kapaFEDs, The Eurasian Dragon and Mighty Mighty (Mighty Dragon) for retaining their Southeast Asian Tag Team Championships. I think I’m not the only wrasslin’ fan who wants to see those belts defended in an MWF ring… hmm… sino kaya pwede? Sound off in the comments and let us know!
  4. SINO MAGDADALA NG PILLOWS PARA SA PILLOW FIGHT?! AKO MAGDADALA AKO NG THROW PILLOW, NG HOTDOG PILLOW, MEMORY FOAM PILLOW (wag na yun pala, baka ma-memory pa ung pagka-Hypebeast ni Kyle…) DALA NA MGA #kapaFEDs! All pillows will go to our MWFoundation initiative!ย ๐Ÿ˜ƒโค๏ธ
  5. BINALIKAN BA NI GIGZ UNG MENUDO NI ATE GURL??!!!

LAST COUPLE OF THINGS!

IM NOT THAT HAIRY!!! Ugh… who am I kidding? You suck, subtitles guy…

To make myself feel better, I made memes of Fabio’s frightened face (Salamat Sonny Go sa picture)

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA ANG FUNNY KO TALAGA! TALENTED PA AT MARUNONG MAG SPELL (CHECK)

GAWA PA KAYO NG MEMES ABOUT FABIO #kapaFEDs!!! DALIIII!!! PARA MAASAR PA LALO SI FABIO!!! WAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA ITO GAMITIN NYO OH!

Salamat po sa pagbasa, #kapaFEDs!ย ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

P.S. Please ask Creative Director William more questions para makapod na sya at makapagpahinga.ย ๐Ÿ˜‚ย Seriously, the guy is a dynamo working non-stop with the Commish, along with the rest of the peeps in the back! Shoutout! Woot woot!

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ATTN: Gus. This one’s for you! (Tarek’s Take #7)

Spotlight, please?

Kamusta mga #kapaFEDs?

So… yep. That happened.

First off, I just want to say what an honor it was to be a part of this historic event. As MWF continues to push forward, we hope to create more memorable moments with you, our fans, and we here at MWF just want to thank you all for joining us on this journey. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to entertain you. We hope you continue to create and share more memories with us in the years to come, kapaFEDs

Since we started on such a high note, I won’t give Gus Queens what he wants the most – the spotlight. You know what… I take it back. Since you want the spotlight so much…

GUS! BUDDY! HELLO! Hope you’re reading this instead of running some scam life coaching session. WHERE ARE YOUR OTHER LIFE COACHEES, GUS?! Granted, ‘Danger’ Rex Lawin IS a formidable life coachee, so you get a pass there.

But loook Gus, pal, whatever issues you have with New Management coming in and stripping you of your CFO title, and whatever issues you have with Mike’s commissioner-ing of MWF… don’t take it out on me. Take your problems up with New Management, with William Elvin, or Commisioner Mike. You don’t need to sic your… life coachee, ‘Danger’ Rex Lawin on me. OUCH, GUS, FRIGGIN FUDGING OUCH! THAT HURT MAN! WHY? JUST WHY?! I WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHY GUHHHSSSS! YOU SUCK, GUS! YOU SUCK MAJORLY!

Look Gus, amigo… you may have some of the #kapaFEDs fooled with you life coaching… whatever???… but the rest of us see through your little temper tantrum, mmmkay?

So Gus, tsong… since you want to get New Management’s attention so much… iz cool. They heard you. They will grant you your CELEBRATION TIME… whatever that is that you requested…

BUT… GUS!!! PAAAAARRRREEEE!!!

As a… SPECIAL TREAT!!! For our Isko #kapaFEDs in da Bahay… Commissioner Mike Shannon has granted a certain Isko’s punishment suggestion…

SO!!! At MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot, at the UP Bahay Ng Alumni (show starts at 6pm) we will see… FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER (AGAIN)!!!

Life Coach Gus Queens (in his in-ring debut! Yay!) vs. RG from UP (DOBOL YAY!)

in a DILIMAN STREET FIGHT! TRIPOL YAYYYYY PALAKPAKAN! Have fun, Gusssss! This really makes getting choked out in front of my mother (Hi Mom! ), family, and loved ones SO WORTH IT OMG! Hahahahahahahaha ay sorry. Bias… inappropriate. Oh well

Aww Gus… you thought you could get away with it… Sorry buddy, pal, amigo, tsong, pare…

Not tonight.

KasasaYOWN! [Tarek’s Take #4]

By Tarek El Tayech

 

Kamusta mga kapaFED?! Excited na ba kayo?! Little more than a week, and MWF 1: KASAYSAYAN na!!!

What’s good in da hood this Good Friday? A blessed Holy Week to those who celebrate it. As for me, my religion is wrestling, and sinasamba ko ung card (which is always subject to change; see Morgan, Aldrin, Ninja, Hanzello gosh anlala nun) na ito cause it looks amayzin. It’s gonna slay, as the kids say. #Slaymazin #TitoTarekStrikesAgain

 

 

So, kung san man kayo on this holiday, sit back, relax and join me as we take a long at each match on the Kasaysayan card, starting wiiiittthhh:

Aldrin Richards and Hanzello Shilva vs Ashura and Khayle/Kyle/Khyle/Khaeyle Sison

Grabe talaga tong Sison na to. Everytime naguusap kami, laging nagiiba ung spelling ng pangalan nya. Grabe sya. Umayos sya ples. Anyway, that little nomenclature issue aside, this match has a lot of differing personalities involved. Originally, Aldrin was to team up with Morgan, but that proved to be too combustible a pairing so Commish Shannon had to change things up by bringing in ‘The Howling Hunter’ to partner with ‘The Bae City Bruiser’. While this seems a team more likely to coexist, it doesn’t necessarily mean things will be smooth sailing for these two friends. Will there be growing pains for ‘The Bae Wolves’? Will they be able to gel right away? Looking back at their epic battle at Balikbayan, these two certainly gave it their all that night, thus cementing a friendship that sees these two constantly trying to push the other to be better. Hopefully lends itself to tangible tag-team chemistry on the 8th. On the other hand, things have not been as rosy with Mr. Lucha’s students. Still failing to heed the instructions of their mentor, Sison in particular, seems to be having difficulty with the whole ‘work together as a team’ aspect. Sison eliminated his teammate Ashura at Open House: Level UP, and was subsequently dismissed by Lucha and both were sent to the back… after a sermon or two. Can these two come back stronger at Kasaysayan? Will Lucha’s lessons finally stick? Will the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one? Prediction: I am expecting Sison and Ashura to be more united than ever. Aldrin and Hanzello, will put up a hell of a fight. If Kyleshura can somehow negate the athletic advantages of their opponents, they have a chance and given that they have been working together longer, I will be expecting better teamwork this time around. If ‘The Bae Wolves’ click, then the sky is the limit for this team. Can they set aside their egos and work together as a unit? I hope so, but given the ‘do whatever it takes to win’ mentality of the other two, I will give the edge to Ashura and Khayle/Kyle/Khyle/Khaeyle Sison.

Brother Jomar vs Fabio Makisig ‘O Brother, where art thou?’

For those who thought Brother Jomar would flounder after being seemingly abandoned by Moises, think again. Jomar has embraced his new role as the sole progenitor of the House Of Liwanag, and is looking to make Fabio Makisig his first disciple… #MaliwanaganNawaSiFabio. After miraculously having his sight restored at Noche Buena, Jomar is looking to translate that new found vision into strengthening the foundations of the House that Moises built. Jomar is looking to make a statement by blinding the ‘backyard bully’ of MWF with his light. On the other hand, Fabio has never been one to accept his shortcomings. I, personally, have never been a fan of his antics. While his constantly flapping mouth tends to get him into more trouble than it should, he manages to back it up by being one of the more viciously conniving performers MWF has to offer. He is undefeated, after all, and I expect that to remain unchanged… unfortunately. Prediction: Fabio Makisig wins. (Sorry, my bias is showing and while I’m not a fan of his actions, I am aware of his immense talent.) I’m sure Fabio will find some way to weasel his way to another victory as he always does and remain undefeated (put an asterisk next to that 6-0 record ples, he so sketch) I’m hoping Brother Jomar surprises everyone by showing off untapped energies previously hidden to us, to start his reign right. But yea… Fabio’s probably just gonna find someway to sneak out a shady win, cause he lacks integrity. Moving on…

‘The Glitch’ Morgan Vaughn vs Ninja Ryujin
Daldal ni Morgan noh? Kung ano ano sinasabe. Well, his mouth got him into a match with the mysterious Ninja. Ever since it was revealed at Level UP that Ryujin had difficulty verbally communicating, I have been thoroughly impressed with the renewed focus that he has brought to the ring. 2018 seems to be the year where Ninja looks poised to cement his place as one of the threats in MWF that should not be overlooked. Morgan, on the other hand, seems to be spiraling. That kid needs help. He certainly seems to be riding high after his win in the Fatal Four Way (Noche Buena 2017), but this is a ‘what have you done for me lately?’ business, and looking at what he has done lately… Not taking practice seriously, bragging every chance he gets, picking fights… looks like the person behind the mask is just as bad as the mask itself. When I was first brought in, I thought Morgan Vaughn was a decent kid who has lost his way. The longer he seems to be around that mask… The kid needs help, is all I’l say for now. Prediction: Which is why I think a loss here might actually do Morgan Vaughn some good, and bring his ego crashing back down to Earth. Hoping, and looking forward to seeing a Ninja Ryujin win here. Ninja is hungrier, and has more to prove. Never count out Vaughn though… he always has a ‘Glitch’ up his sleeve.
‘Danger’ Rex Lawin w/Life Coach Gus Queens vs ‘The Grunge Grappler’ Frankie Thurteen
This one is gonna hurt. Coming off his win at Open House Level UP, Frankie is looking to carry his momentum over to Kasaysayan and try to derail the runaway freight train that is ‘Danger’ Rex. Good luck. Lawin has entered 2018 with an unmatched vigor and intensity. We saw how he dismantled RG (all credit to RG for his valiant effort defending his alma mater) in his last bout. If Lawin maintains that energy, he is close to unstoppable. Thurteen will have to resort to his unorthodox style to try to throw Lawin off his gameplan. Or he might have to use concrete infused donuts as a secret weapon. Prediction: I’m a fan of the tortured-soul artist Frankie… but ‘Danger’ Rex Lawin scares me more than the monsters under my bed soooo… yea… I pick the Dangerous One.
MAIN EVENT: Mr. Lucha and The Eurasian Dragon vs Robin Sane and Hoho Lun
This promises to be one hell of a main event, and not just because the talent involved, but all the combustible elements that could set off this powder keg. Robin Sane, having just come off a monumental battle royal win at Open House Level UP, has a lot to deal with. Will he be able to get reconcile with his long time friend, Mr. Lucha? I’m sure Mr. Lucha is none too pleased that one of his best friends eliminated him from behind. What will his medal look like? Will it be bagay sa suot nya?! Will he get along with former foe turned friend, former WWE and NXT star, and now current King of Pro Wrestling champion Hoho Lun? Their styles lend themselves to meshing well together, and they certainly will need to utilize every bit of their size advantage against the bigger team of Mr. Lucha and The Eurasian Dragon. For Mr. Lucha, and for Mr. Dragon, they have numerous advantages. Dragon recently won (full name tag team titles) with his partner Mighty Mighty, and so has that tag team championship winning experience. Add in the extra motivation of wanting to usurp Hoho Lun as the top dog in the Southeast Asian scene, and you can expect The Eurasian Dragon to be at his most focused when he steps into that MWF ring. His friendship with Mr. Lucha will help mesh this particular team quicker, which could give these two an additional advantage over their opponents. Mr. Lucha will be looking to bounce back from his elimination at the History Maker Battle Royal with a strong outing here. What Mr. Lucha lacks in accolades and awards, he more than makes up for with innate instincts and talent. Mr. Lucha may be one of the most jovial characters in MWF, but once the bell rings, he brings a focus that is unmatched. Hopefully, he will be faced with less distractions as compared to the battle royal. With Mr. Lucha and The Eurasian Dragon honed in, it’s hard to bet against these two earning a hard-fought victory. Prediction: You can basically flip a coin and pick. There is no wrong answer here. Anyone of these four men can change the outcome of a match in an instant. My mind is telling me to go with Sane and Hoho, but my heart is going with Lucha and Dragon. I’l leave this one open ended.ย #TitoCopsOut
And there you have it! Don’t forget the special world premiere featuring Gigz and RG! That looks like it’s going to be wild!ย 

Kasaysayan is shaping up to be a jam-packed anniversary show, with preshow guests, and possible surprise celebrity guests, this looks to be a show that people will remember for a while… and we are doing our best to give you all the best show possible. So if you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, or if you’re still on the fence… stahp. Don’t think. Don’t miss this show. I personally promise you… you will regret it if you do. Nuod na, kapaFED, be like YOLO, wag kang FOMO. (Yehey! Youthspeak!)

Lastly, I’d like to give a special HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Shoutout to our Graphics Designer Manuel Mesina III! One of the most talented people I know, we are all thrilled to have him be part of the MWFamily. ENJOY YOUR DAY! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’ฐ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰โค๏ธ

That’s not PG!… Ay… Wait… [Tarek’s Take #3]

By Tarek El Tayech

 

Sooooooooo… MWF ‘went PG’, mga kapaFED… YES! The rumors are true! I kid, really I do. In light of Commissioner Mike Shannon’s nostalgic article earlier in the week, I wanted to take a look at new management’s decision and how that affects the Manilaverse we’re hoping you all fall in love with.

When the directive came down from new management, it was met with a bit of hesitance, all around. Internally, not everyone was thrilled, to say the least. Some thought it would be restrictive. Others believed it would hinder or restrict character growth/development. A few were worried that the storylines would not be as interesting.

Those fears eventually faded, as the group came to understand how freeing it all actually is, thanks to all the fantastic work being put in by the Creative, and Training departments respectively. The reason, I believe, why rules matter is that the everyday person might not be equipped to deal with the freedoms of choice that life has to offer. When parameters are set, when boundaries enforced, when focus is narrowed… it makes it easier for a person to keep track of all that is happening in one’s surroundings.

Now understanding that, the aforementioned departments had the unenviable task of honing the roster’s talents in a short span of time. They went about instilling the guidelines needed for the roster to be able to perform optimally, for the enjoyment of the fans in attendance. It was a concerted effort to continually adapt to the new rules (#SupDuaLipa #TitoTarekIsHipYo) set in place, and I’ve seen firsthand the struggles everyone has had to deal with, all to give our audiences an ever-improving show each time out.

Speaking of audiences, new management’s ticketing scheme hopefully gives you an idea as to their mindset when it comes to how seriously they want to give more kids watching in attendance an opportunity to become the next Mike Shannon โ€“ just a wide eyed kid in the audience watching something spectacular and being injected with the incurable virus that is professional wrestling.

Cause whatever type, style, genre, presentation, parental guide rating we all love the art of pro wrasslin’. It’s a parasite that hooks itself in your brain and never lets go.

So, why not hook ’em young? ๐Ÿ˜

 

Lastly, I’d love to give my hot take on MWF Creative Director’s William Elvin Manzano’s well-received piece that went out midweek but since we are only weeks away from Kasaysayan, I’d rather keep all me eyes looking forward. I am salivating at the thought of that main event and all that might happen, the implications now that Ho Ho has championship gold around his waist again… what does that mean for this monumental main event? How will it change all the dynamics of each team’s partnerships? Will, and can, egos be set aside for the good of each respective team? AND THAT’S JUST THE MAIN EVENT!

Next week, I take an in-depth look at each match and give you my thoughts on what’s going down April 8, 2018, Elements @ Centris. MWF 1: Kasaysayan is shaping up to be a doozy of an event! โ€˜Til next week, mga kapaFEDS! Ingat po!

I Keep Coming Back to Manila(verse) [Tarek’s Take #2]

Kamusta mga #kapaFED?

Since Commissioner Mike talked about the subject of kayfabe earlier in the week, I wanted to talk about the world that MWF is attempting to build… the ‘Manilaverse’ (as mentioned by Creative Director William Manzano).

Manila. Where our creative universe lives.

The term ‘Manilaverse’ was coined by one of our performers (Bismillah Constantino), and we now use said term to refer to the ecosystem that we are looking to create here, in Manila Wrestling Federation.

Now, every system must have its own set of rules in order to function. In order for anything to make sense, one must first understand the mechanisms of said system, in order to properly comprehend it.

This is one of the many challenges that plagued both Mike, and William throughout the entire creative process. In my many discussions with them, they laid out to me how the ‘verse must function as a world outside of the real… they had to go for the hyperreal.

Because wrestling IS fake. It’s NOT real. But, if done correctly, it’s better than ‘real’. ‘Real’ is paying a bazillion dollars for a ringside seat to see a MMA main event that lasts only a few seconds. Unless you are a fan of those five second fights, one might be left feeling a bit short-changed, no offense intended. That is where wrestling, for me, works better than ‘real’.

Goldberg vs. Lesnar – High Profile Squash Match

In wrestling, we grew up expecting grueling bouts, traditionally, between a force of good, and a force of evil. That is why, for example, the Brock Lesnar vs Golberg match at Survivor Series 2016 worked so well, because people weren’t expecting it. They were able to use their ‘rules’ to shock the system, so to speak.

Now with all that in mind, what does the creative team intend to do with the ecosystem they are looking to nurture? The Manilaverse will have its own set of rules, some are already in place, others will come about organically. This is why kayfabe, or the complete suspension of disbelief, will be one of the main initiatives the Creative Department is looking to cultivate.

From the moment one steps inside the venue for an MWF event and that bell rings for the first match, they are looking to whisk you away to a reality where closed fists are illegal, rest holds actually mean something, and every action each performer makes has meaning, and consequence. They want you to pick your favorite performer, and cheer for them, because you empathize with, or relate to that particular performer, to cheer as loud as you can for said performer, and to feel the anguish or joy with each victory or defeat.

Every single time I’ve watched a wrestling event, I’ve always put on my mark goggles and just let the emotions of the laid out story take me on a ride.

Watch as a mark first, then analyze as a smark after. We’ll all be the better for it.

Additional:

Lastly, for my hair care regimen…

I used Hana shampoo pero wala na kaya olats, switched back to Head and Shoulders cause ugh… flakes ๐Ÿ˜‘

I clean my beard with soap. Sometimes. My girlfriend is not amused.

Just simple soap and water for the rest of the hair.

Follow these steps to have long, luscious hair as myself. Or be Arab or something, I dunno.

And yes, William, I do look better than you. Pero slight lang. Labyu po.

What a good-looking guy.

How I Met Your Mike(rs) [Tarek’s Take #1]

By Tarek El Tayechย 

 

I honestly cannot remember what day it was when it happened. Many of the details that led up to it, what was said, what pleasantries exchanged.

All I remember was that it was a Smackdown show, at Araneta Coliseum , if I’m not mistaken. I recall watching with my cousins, that I was rocking some classic Kurt Angle merch (The shirt with a bald eagle, and ‘American… something’ on it), and I managed to snag a couple of photos with a few local celebrities who were in attendance.

What I do remember vividly, was making my way to the back of the arena, outside, to catch a glimpse of my favorite superstars. I don’t know what drove me to it. When I eventually made it there, the bus carrying the superstars was already pulling out of the arena. I muscled my way to the front of the crowd, started waving at the folks inside the bus, trying to get their attention as frantically and frenetically as I could.

Poster for the 2009 Smackdown Live Show in the Araneta Coliseum

Then the bus was gone. Poof. The crowd eventually dispersed, and I found myself in the middle of a conversation with this unique looking fellow, long curly hair. I can’t even properly recall what he was wearing, if he had a replica belt with him, if he was wearing some wrasslin’ merch, all I really remember was he had a ‘good smile, good aura’.

That’s how I met your Mike(rs).

We started chatting, like we were long lost friends, and after what seemed like eternity, we exchanged contact details. It was at that point I had thought to myself, ‘I’ll probably never see this person again’.

Boy, was I wrong.

One of the earliest meetings regarding the foundation of what was to become Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR), at Starbucks Shangri-La Mall. (On photo: Emjay Lapus, Yusuf Meer, Ouel Babasa, Nelson Aman Jr., William Elvin Manzano, and Mike Litton)

We kept in touch, mostly through social media, and it was on social media where Mikers (better known to our #KapaFEDs as Commissioner Mike Shannon) invited me to be a part of a Revolution. Unfortunately, that Revolution never materialized for me, Mikers (You can read his thoughts on the matter here), or MWF’s Creative Director William Elvin Manzano (do check out his article as well, and ASK HIM MORE QUESTIONS PLES KTNXLABYUKAPAFEDSBYE).

We drifted apart, but kept in touch. Like Mike, my heart had been broken too, by wrestling, and I chose to bury that pain. Mikers, along with the other pioneers of MWF forged a new path, and I was overjoyed to be able to support them as a fan. I honestly thought I had found a different path.

Then my father passed away last year. I had been away from work for a month at that time, and by the time I had gotten back—

Tarek at Toycon 2014, with Mike and friend Alessandro Pacifici.

2017 was a blur. I shut myself out from the world. It was a feeling of empty loneliness that I simply cannot articulate. I had injured myself (fractured clavicle) on the football pitch late in the year, and in my painkiller infused perpetual haze, I saw MWF had managed to snag itself former WWE and NXT talent Ho Ho Lun for its year-ender, MWF Noche Buena.

I called Mikers, to offer my congratulations, and offered whatever help I could provide. I ended up missing that show, but I did not miss my chance to say yes when Mikers (Sorry, Mike Shannon) asked me to be a part MWF’s commentary team. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

And now, here I am. Funny how these minute moments in life, turn out to be life-altering. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be one of the voices of the hottest rising wrestling companies in the region, but life — the universe, destiny — has a way of bringing order back to the chaos, of putting you where you were always fated to be.

Wrestlemania 30 Viewing Party, Googel Restaurant, Mandaluyong City. (From Left: Kirk Castillo, Mike Litton, Emjay Lapus, Ouel Babasa, Yusuf Meer, Ace Victor, Jason Dimayuga, William Elvin Manzano and Tarek El Tayech)

It always had to happen this way.

 

In the end, the important thing is that it did happen, that fateful meeting. That one night, that one exchange, led to a friendship and a brotherhood that is now poised to break new ground in how wrestling is consumed here on our shores.

 

This was taken from me once. I’m not going to let anyone take it away from me again.

 

For me, for my mom, for my loved ones, for Mike, for Will, for everyone who #LEFT,

 

But most importantly, for my Dad, who grew to appreciate wrestling because I did.

 

This one’s for you, Dad.