The Late-Night Ramblings of a Sleepy Commissioner [Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do?]

by Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

In just a few short days, we’ll be right there… In the center of the Manilaverse, surrounded by hundreds of Kapa-FEDS, as the Manila Wrestling Federation makes its return to UP Diliman. This time at the Bahay Ng Alumni, for the second show in our current canon: Maki Wrestling-Wag Matakot. Excitement isn’t even an understatement.

Every show we do is a labor of love, built from the hardwork and sacrifice from our roster, our management, and dedicated technical team- a wider family of hardworking men and women who go through so much every week just to make our shows happen. It’s this hard work that takes a toll on our personal lives and professional careers, but we do it because together we see the dream; we see the end goal. We know where all the sacrifice will take us, and we will do anything to get there.

Before I go any further, a brief apology on behalf of our Senior Analyst, Tarek El Tayech, who was not able to write on this blog due to personal matters.

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In a few short nights, I’ll be standing back at Gorilla, with a headset and a two-way radio, overseeing everything that goes down on what’s going to up a hell of a show. And because I know it’s going to be a hell of a show, I need to be on my toes- anything can happen and as much I don’t want to go out there, I prepare myself to step through the curtains in the event someone crosses the line.

Because I just know, someone is going to try something that’s going to interfere with what I can only hope would be a smooth show. But then again, this is what I signed up for as Commissioner of the Manila Wrestling Federation. It is my job to come in and lay down the law whenever someone steps out of line.

Which also puts me in an interesting situation, because while I could easily abuse my powers and do anything I want (Life Coach on a Pole Match LOL; the Cage of Ultimate Jeopardy), I instill a lot a control. I know that good guys will do good things and bad guys will try to do bad things, and in some cases, both faces and heels will be left with decisions that compel them to reconsider their moral alignment in the Manilaverse.

I see all this, and while I can’t help but hold myself from rushing in whenever someone crosses the line, I do know that every decision every man and woman in the Manilaverse make will leave behind an important mark on the tapestry of this promotions history.

Colorful words and big dreams, I know… But as I pull in overtime at the office, in my life away from wrestling, my mind can’t help but think of this weekend and all its great possibilities. It’s got its highs and lows, but I love wrestling and I can’t wait to see you all on Sunday.

Mike Shannon’s Lazy Predictions:
– Rex hurts someone
– Ashura vs. Kyle is going to be the sleeper match of the night
– Morgan Vaughn declares his secret love for Aldrin Richards
– Fabio Makisig makes Gigz Stryker do all the work for him
– The Mystery Lady turns out to be a really good wrestler
– Gus finds a way to beat RG, damn it!
– Robin Sane vs. Mr Lucha II = MOTY Candidate!

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Mike Shannon’s Top 5 Title Reigns of the last Twenty Five Years [Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do #9]

By Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

Kamusta, Kapa-Feds!

I know there’s been an awful delay in the production of my blog over the last couple weeks. With so much work going into our upcoming show, MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, Wag-Matakot, it’s hard to keep our focus away from what’s sure to be an incredible show. Plus, I’m down with a really nasty heat-related flu. Anyways…

With the MWF Championship looming on a horizon and casting its spell over the landscape of the Manilaverse, I thought it was only fitting to take a moment and briefly discuss some of my favorite World Champions in recent memory. So, if the Kapa-Feds will indulge me, I’m going to fangirl just a little.

Mike Shannon’s Top 5 Wrestling Championship Reigns of the last 25 Years

  1. Rob Van Dam
    ECW Television Champion
    e9ee90fed71e6fc0f0dde3e319d3b2a1--ecw-wrestling-vansI spent my teen years devouring any ECW video I could get my hands-on and a lot of that had to do with Rob Van Dam. While, championship belts in ECW were really plot devices that would get wrestlers and storylines over, Rob Van Dam’s historic run as the ECW TV Champion took that title to great heights thanks to his hotly-competitive and incredibly athletic performances. At his best, Van Dam made it a point make sure that each match was better than this last.Standout Matches:
    Rob Van Dam vs. Balls Mahoney (ECW Anarchy Rulz 1999)
    Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn (ECW Living Dangerously 1999)
  2. CM Punk
    WWE World Heavyweight Champion
    OTL12_Photo_1342011’s run of the Summer of Punk produced some of the best TV in years. Sure, I could have focused on his ROH title run, or even early reigns over in IWA-MS. But for a lifelong fan like me, the 2011 Summer of Punk was nothing short of a dream come true. CM Punk wasn’t just the Champion, he was our Champion. He was, like many of us, a fan who had wanted to see the WWF we all fell in love with back in the spotlight. And for a brief moment in time, the WWE felt a lot like that.Standout Matches:
    CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Summerslam 2011)
    CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio (WWE TLC 2011)
    CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Over the Limit 2012)
  3. Eddie Kingston
    CHIKARA Grand Champion
    tumblr_m5o9qiZSji1ql0k28o1_400If there’s a wrestler who’s seriously underrated, it’s Eddie Kingston. Eddie Kingston made a name for himself in the mid-00’s by wrestling in a number of indies that included Ring of Honor, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, IWA-MS, and Combat Zone Wrestling (as a member of BLK OUT). Eddie Kington is a prize-fighter through and through. His backfist to the future can knock anyone out, and he can back it up a strong and balanced fighting style.As CHIKARA’s Grand Champion, Kingston carried the title for over two years after defeating “Lighting” Mike Quackenbush during the tournament finals and successfully defended the title against a number of the best names in the business.

    Standout Matches:
    Eddie Kingston vs. Brodie Lee (Luke Harper) (CHIKARA: It’s How You Play The Game)
    Eddie Kingston vs. Sara del Rey (CHIKARA: The Great Escape)
    Eddie Kingston vs. Kevin Steen (CHIKARA: While The Dawn Is Breaking)

     

  4. Nicole Matthews
    Shimmer Tag Team Champion w/ Portia Perez
    Shimmer Champion
    ECCW World Heavyweight Champion
    nicole
    It’s no secret that I’m a huge Nicole Matthews fan! As a worker, it’s hard to find someone as well rounded as her. It doesn’t matter who she’s wrestling, with her combination of strikes, suplexes, the occasional high spot, or even comedy- every Nicole Matthews match is a main-event caliber must-watch! She throws the stiffest lariats and her northern lights suplexes are a work of art.Matthews found success with Portia Perez as the Canadian Ninjas. This heelish combo dominated Shimmer Women Athletes for over two years, carrying the tag titles on two consecutive occasions. In addition, she would carry the ECCW Heavyweight Championship three times.

    Standout Matches:
    The Canadian Ninjas vs. Cheerleader Melissa & MscChif (Shimmer Vol. 29)
    The Canadian Ninjas vs. Kana & Lufisto (Shimmer Vol. 49)
    Nicole Matthews vs. Bishop (ECCW Ballroom Brawl)
    Nicole Matthews vs. Jessika Havok (Shimmer Vol. 73)

 

  1. Shawn Michaels
    WWF World Heavyweight Champion
    Shawn-Michaels-Wearing-Belt-in-RingTruth, this list could have ended with either Shawn or Bret. I love both of them dearly, for different reasons. I had come in as a wrestling fan at the end of Hulkamania, just when Bret and Shawn were getting major pushes. While, I do think Bret is the smarter wrestler between the two and has a had his share of amazing matches, Shawn seemed to have the more consistent title-run, at least in terms of defenses (regardless of the controversy).I still remember watching Wresltemania XII on Star Sports and loving every single minute of the Bret-Shawn Iron Man match. The win launched Shawn into a short-lived, but incredibly memorable championship run that saw him going against every freak and monster the WWF could throw at him.

Standout matches:
Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (WWF Wrestlemania)
Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (WWF In Your House: Best Friends, Bitter Enemies)
Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind (WWF In Your House: Mind Games)

 

Fight Forever [Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do]

By Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

Kamusta, mga Kapa-FEDS!

Here we are, just under a month away from our upcoming show, MWF: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot, coming to you live from the UP Bahay Ng Alumni on May 27, 2018. As announced last week, the main event will be Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha, squaring off at the opening round for the MWF Championship Tournament.

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An emotional Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha share a moment following MWF Live, April 2017. Photo by Dove “Mrs. Luna Shannon” Subingsubing

It is no secret that there is so much history between these two men. And since I’ve already written about this relationship numerous times in the past, I thought it was only fitting that I used today’s blog to revisit some of my ‘Best Friend/Better Enemies’ match-ups from the past.

The concept of two best friends facing off is nothing new. And it’s always so engaging and emotional to watch two best friends go-at it; whether it’s a blood feud or a competitive contest for a bigger prize. The very foundations of this kind of relationship can really raise the stakes, producing a hard-fought and emotionally driven classic that fans remember for the ages.

So, without further delay, here are my favorites:

 

  1. CM Punk vs. Colt Cabana
    Punk: The Final Chapter (Ring of Honor)This was something I got into as a teenager, after having been introduced to the wonder that is CM Punk after his debut on (WW)ECW. I started to get into indie wrestling through tape trading and digital download, and one of the first things I did was look into everything I had missed about CM Punk in the years before.It’s hard to miss his exploits with Colt Cabana, and Ace Steel, as the Second City Saints. With a combination of Cabana’s natural athleticism and Punk’s in-your-face/never-say-die personality, the Second City Saints were one of the hottest tag teams on the indies during their time. The team formed after long-time rivals and (former?) best friends realized their combined efforts made a hell of a team.

    After driving Ring of Honor crazy during 2005’s Summer of Punk, CM Punk worked his last match for the promotion at Chicago’s Frontier Field House in a 2-out-of-3 fall match against Colt Cabana. A tearful Punk came to the ring decorated in streamers and walked away losing to his best friend.
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    The match was a back and forth classic. And if there’s anything I loved most about this match it’s how both Punk and Cabana were having fun out there. It’s something you hardly really see in wrestling on that level and it makes for such an entertaining and engaging contest.

 

  1. Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
    Wrestlemania X (WWF/E)I still remember watching this one so vividly as a kid. Growing up, I was a Bret kid, while my nephew (who’s a year younger and also a ‘Mike’), was an Owen kid. Like any other rugrat with a budding passion for pro-wresting, this feud was something that really meant something to us. It was personal- especially when we’d fight over a jar of cookies or who got to be Player 1 on the Sega.At the ’93 Survivor Series, Shawn Michaels and his knights squared off against the Hart Brothers. After getting eliminated considerably early into the match, Owen returned later to confront his brother. It did seem like all was good at the ’93 Royal Rumble, but after Bret supposedly cost himself and Owen a shot at the tag titles, the younger Hart lost it.
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    This match opened Wrestlemania X and gave fans an emotional technical clinic that saw Owen’s advantageous nature get the better of his older, more experienced brother. I still remember watching this on ABC 5 late at night on a Saturday and just blown away by the kind of wrestling I was watching.

 

  1. Kana vs. LuFisto
    Shimmer Vol. 44 (Shimmer Women Athletes)Before breaking out into the WWE a couple years ago as Asuka, the Joshi-superstar then-known as Kana set the US indies on fire with a tour that spanned across both Shimmer Women Athletes and (MWF’s senpai promotion) CHIKARA Pro. While, many fans remember Kana vs. Sara Del Rey, Kana vs. LuFisto has always been a favorite of mine, because if there was anyone in the Shimmer locker room who could kick as hard as Kana/Asuka, it was LuFi.
    f62f7d3c16ff79be3a7ba95f11209ed2127178a4_hq
    To the unaware, Lufisto is a twenty-year veteran from Montreal, Quebec. She has been in the ring with Sara Del Rey, Kevin Owens, Ember Moon, the Necro Bucher, among others – and she has beaten each of those wrestlers. After proving herself in the ultraviolent world of deathmatch wrestling, LuFisto resurfaced with a fury and a vengeance as the Super Hardcore Anime.Their match was fast-paced, intense, and incredibly stiff. Neither woman backed down from each other, but in the end Kana got the better of the ultraviolent goddess. Now, their chemistry in the ring would eventually give way to a fierce, yet short-lived tag-team Shimmer fans lovingly remember as LuKana.

 

  1. Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel
    In Your House: Best Friends, Better Enemies (WWF/E)Now, if there was any match that brought it and tore the house down, it was this one. We all know the story: Diesel came into the WWF as Shawn’s bodyguard, but within a year, his dominant force and good looks would propel him to the top of the World Wrestling Federation. It was always a friendly rivalry of sorts, but once you put the Winged Eagle in front of Shawn and Diesel, there was no turning back.x240-BIf
    The match was Shawn’s first defense as world champion and like any adorable pug in front of a fresh bowl of food, the Heartbreak Kid wasn’t going to let anyone come close to even breathing near his newly-won championship gold. Like Bret vs. Diesel a few months earlier at the ’95 Survivor Series, Shawn and Diesel clashed in one of the most underrated title defenses in the history of the WWF/E.

    Like if anyone thinks Nash cannot work, please give this match a watch. When he is with someone who can really bring in the ring, the guy is capable of making magic on a main event level.

 

  1. Kevin Steen/Owens vs. El Generico/Sami Zayn
    EverywhereThese guys have wrestled all over the world- either as partners or as opponents. No matter where they go, they always seemed destined to tell the same stories over and over. I know I could easily pick a match- an ROH Ladder War, a battle against the Briscoes, or an encounter in PWG or Canada.steengenerico_82068There’s a lot of great matches there that to me, by singling out, I’m taking away from a bigger story that only a handful of wrestlers get a chance to tell. They’ve been engaged in an on-again/off-again feud for almost two decades and we all just want to see them go.

    As a promoter and as a fan, I can’t help but hope for the same out of Mr. Lucha and Robin Sane.

 

Sig Pecho’s Wrestling Journey

By Sigmund Roy Pecho

Give me a too sweet if in 2018, you are still gaga about wrestling!

In my earlier years, whether you find it odd or not, the very first memory of TV that I have was sneaking under the pillow to hide from a surprisingly horrific and effective gimmick of a dead man coming back to life to annihilate lesser wrestlers in the  ring. He kept on playing mind games to his opponents — indeed, he was a psy war tactician with a dwarfish sidekick, who had a deformed facial expression (who, come to think of it, actually prepared me not to be frightened at Lord of the Rings’ Golum). Yes, that unique moment of watching and hiding from the Undertaker was my very first memory of watching TV.

Since then, I closely watched what was then known as the WWF. I also became a Bret “The Hitman” Hart fan, inspired by my childhood hero to be “The Best there is, the Best there was, and the Best there ever will be”. His excellence in the ring was undeniably one of the best ever witnessed in wrestling. He had stellar matches, and his in-ring storytelling taught me what empathy means at a very early age. He defied the odds, went toe-to-toe with anyone who tried to disrespect him, his brand of wrestling and the people he represented. He was a great technician who had amazing matches against big guys like The Undertaker, Diesel, Yokozuna; had heated rivalries in Shawn Michaels, Jerry King Lawler, Terry Funk, Mr. Perfect, Stone Cold Steve Austin, even his great late brother Owen Hart, with whom he had some of his most critically acclaimed matches.

Recognizing my love for the underdog Champion in Bret Hart, I felt the need to create my own path of excellence. Often did I imagine having a career of my own in the WWE, building a character that simply carried my second name “Roy”.  I had my dream tag team matches, dream rivalries, dream promos, and what have you. l remember being called weird by my youngest brother because he often caught me playing wrestling with sound effects up until High School. What seemed weirder was that I did not use action figures, and instead imagined my hands transforming as real characters. Indulging in those moments perhaps trained my hands how to work with puppets, how to make them alive, how to sketch my designs, and more.

Yes, I am a theatre practitioner now. I never thought of becoming a wrestler, because I never thought it would have been possible. But now, my craft introduced me to people who, like me, are still so gaga about wrestling; people in my field who were well-informed about the crafts and art of wrestling; people who spent so much  time studying great match psychology, interesting characters, historic crowd reactions, and the relevance of character associations in the art of wrestling. My love for the arts led me to meeting people who acknowledged the art in something that is supposedly “just a form of sports entertainment”. I knew I was close to being part of living in a dream.

Last January, I got a call from one of my wrestling fan buddies, and brought good news that there will be a new wrestling federation that would try to meet Pinoy sensibilities. I knew right then and there that I wanted to be part of that action-filled event. I initially expressed my desire to call matches or to introduce everyone. Lo and behold,  at MWF Open House: Level UP in the UP Film Studio, I became the voice of the MWF squared circle.

I stepped in the MWF’s newly constructed ring to do my thing. I held the microphone ala-rockstar Constantine Maroulis of American Idol or if you like a more wrestling reference, the loud Mr. Kennedy. I became a character. Once again, I was in my theatrical element, but this time it felt surreal — I was in my theatrical element inside a wrestling ring, the MWF ring.

I brought my Kasintahan (lover-beloved) with me, and was so happy that she enjoyed the show! What’s more interesting was her unexpected remarks recognizing heel tactics, babyface building up psy war through engaging promos, and the story in matches. It was insane hearing her observations, from someone who was not even a wrestling fan.

To me, it proved that we were doing the right thing. We were able to transform our colleagues as characters audience may relate to, characters with empathy, which  can be a great tool in reflecting on our personal battles and values system.

Right now, the Philippine wrestling business is beginning to unfold its potential as a new form for us Pinoys to hear and tell stories, to connect us with our own demons and try to figure out how to pipe bomb our way to becoming more fueled in our lives.

I am now part of the MWF, and will always be. And that’s just too sweet to dig!

Hrmmmmmmmaaaaabuuhhaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!

MWF: Who We Are and Who We Want to Be [No Curtains Needed # 8]

By William Elvin Manzano

 

“Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.”

― Steve Jobs

 

Hello, mga KapaFEDs! We just received one question for today, but I hope it is not because you don’t care or think much of our shows. This past week has been very busy, and I’m sure a number of you are getting excited about how “MWF 2: Maki-Wrestling, ‘Wag Matakot” is taking shape.

Yes, we have a street fight, a pillow fight, an action film sequel, and the 1st match, 1st round MWF Championship Tournament match between Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha. And we still have a few matches we haven’t announced yet. Pretty crazy, huh?

So, I am sure a lot of you have been thinking of how this MWF 2018 relaunch came to be. The way the ManilaVerse is being set up right now is causing various reactions, mostly positive, but of course, some people have a few choice words to describe our product a bit negatively.

AldRose

And personally, I can understand where they are coming from. A lot of people view professional wrestling differently as we do, but I hope you guys just sit back, relax and let the MWF roster tell you their stories in the ring, around it, and outside of it.

I will dare say this: The MWF is more than just a wrestling show. We are here to create an entertaining, compelling and thought-provoking universe that mirrors life in Manila and represents as many Pinoys from all walks of life. Pro-wrestling, what happens in the ring and in matches, is one of our major tools in building this universe, and is as important as our videos, our vignettes, our social media posts and all our artistic devices. In simpler words, we want you to come to see a great wrestling show, and end up going home happier because you got something much more than what you came for.

MAria Ozawa

All our efforts – all the time we spend shooting our promotional and in-show videos, writing scripts, producing segments, etc. – are being exerted with only one goal in mind: To give you all the best show possible, every single time. We want you to laugh, be angry, be annoyed, get pumped up, and in some instances, cry with us as all our characters’ journeys unfold.

We want you to eventually also feel in our episodic theatre, the one we shall lovingly call “AksyoNovela”, the way most of you feel when you watch your favorite movies, read your favorite books or comics, get lost in your favorite anime or manga, or immerse in the latest Marvel movies. The Triumvirate

Are we a bit too ambitious? Yes, probably.

Are we crazy? Yes, I’d say we’re absolutely out of our minds.

But with your help, we can all get a little bit crazy, and build something wonderful.

We thank you for being with us, always.

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QUESTION CORNER:

Kenneth Tongol Are there any banned wrestling moves?

There is no official list of banned wrestling moves. However, we make sure that all the moves our wrestlers do can be done safely, according to their athletic capabilities and their level of ring training. As much as we want to see complex and exhilarating moves, the priority of our company is the safety of our wrestlers and ensuring that they can eventually make a living out of what we do in the best health and physical condition possible. So, if they can prove that they can do certain moves safely, then we allow them to execute the moves.

 

See you again next week, KapaFEDs!

All photos by Vlad Gonzales

Prelude to Glory [Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do #8]

By Commissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

 

First off, I want to apologize to our Kapa-Feds for the delay of this week’s blog. I had been so caught up with adulting and it’s only now that I’ve had the chance to sit down, gather my thoughts, and give the Manilaverse another installment of Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do worth reading.

I sit today on this Tuesday morning with the announcement of our upcoming MWF Championship tournament still fresh on my mind. For the next several months, as MWF progresses into 2018, we will be dedicating the entire year to our Championship tournament. And as a promoter and a fan our product, I can’t help but feel the jitters of excitement running through my being.

Everything we’ve done, in the ring and in the personal sacrifices we’ve had to make outside of the ring, has all led us here. And in that spirit, I can’t help but rewatch the show that brought us all into the dance at the first place, Wrestlemania XXX.

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While this show is incredibly memorable to all of us for Daniel Bryan’s grand victory at the biggest platform in professional wrestling, it’s more personal and symbolic to me because this is the day when I met the two men that would become Robin Sane and Mr. Lucha.

In the aftermath of Joshi Jam, the decision was made in the Revolution to hold what would be the first of many Wrestlemania viewing parties. At the time, the concept was simply to establish the Revolution’s presence in the community while putting together an event that would gather fans across the metro together under one roof. And among the hundred who attended, would be three boys named Sen, Myslon, and Ryan (who would grow to become our senior referee).

Now, these guys were loud, proud, and hungry to get in the business. We had promoted a WWE 2K14 tournament that would never happen- I was even going to put up some treats from my personal library and collection as big prize items. But technical difficulties wouldn’t allow this, which would ire the future-Mr. Lucha who had his eye on some of the stuff I had up for grabs.

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Now, I initially thought these guys were jerks. But little did I know that I would eventually meet two guys who’d grow into my best friends and all-time favorite wrestlers in the world. Over the course of the last three years, we’ve shared laughs, tears, and arguments. We had been through so much; the promotion started with them. So it’s only fitting that our road to the championship begins with them.

 

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Now, the problem I’ve always had with one/two-show title tournaments is that it’s always seemed like a quick and easy way to establish a champion. Promoters cram so much into one show, that by the time you finally get a champion, you’re just glad it’s over and they have a champion. While I can totally understand the convenience, I feel that it takes away from the physicality and human drama that is supposed to make the championship a worthwhile commodity.

And that to me is what really makes a championship. For years, I’ve always told myself that when the opportunity presented itself, I would make sure that our champion didn’t get the easy win; that they would need to survive a year long journey filled with sacrifice, heart-ache and violence.

And that is what the MWF Championship has to represent: the fighting spirit that allows the Manilaverse to thrive! We need that human drama, we need that competition- that glory to greatness. And all that will culminate this December when we crown the first MWF Champion at Noche Buena.

Oh here I go again, I see the crystal visions. I keep my visions to myself.

Each and every time I close my eyes, the entire title tournament flashes in my mind- every win, every loss, and each and every moment that forever changes the lives of the wrestlers who are sacrificing their bodies and souls just to elevate our championship to legendary heights.

I wish I could say more, but this is going to be a groundbreaking, breath taking and completely entertaining endeavor that will bring the best out of the MWF locker room. I almost wish I was a fan so I could selfishly experience these next few months with all the excitement and passion of a mark.

 

Leather & Gold (Rune Stones & Voodoo, Who Do #7)

Leather & Gold
By Comissioner Mike (CM) Shannon

Whenever I think of championship titles in professional wrestling, I instantly think of the second wrestler to be recognized as the World Heavyweight Champion of wrestling: Frank Gotch, and his victory over an injured George Hackenschmidt in 1908, roughly a hundred and ten years ago this April.

Up until that time, pro wrestling was recognized as a legitimate sport that garnered more mainstream attention and respect than boxing, baseball, or football. It was a contest of physical strength that lasted for hours upon hours. bilde

I think back to this event as the one defining moment that would forever shape the history of professional wrestling and begin its transition from an actual sport into what we lovingly know today as ‘Sports-Entertainment’.

On April 2rd, 1908, Frank Gotch had cleanly defeated Hackenschmidt after two hours of intense, physical action. Three and a half years later, the two men would square off for a rematch that would see Gotch besting an injured Hackenschmidt in under twenty minutes- a relatively short wrestling match for its day.

Now, this is where the story began to take on a life of its own: Shortly after Hackenschmidt’s second defeat, word had spread that Gotch’s camp had paid off Hackenschmidt’s trainers to injure him during training. Both Hackenschmidt and his team would later deny these allegations, but the damage was already done. Public opinion on the sport began to wane and promoters across the country began to understand the need of “protecting” their champion at any and all costs.stranglerlew

This transition in the sport of professional wrestling began to really develop in the 1920’s due to the work by the Gold Dust Trio of Ed “Strangler” Lewis, (Capitol Wrestling/WWWF co-founder) Toots Mondt, and Lewis’ manager, Billy Sandow. Together, these three would begin to incorporate the sport’s carnival roots with the creation of “Slam Bang Western-Style Wrestling”- an action/entertainment derivative of catch-as-catch-can wrestling that incorporated a new and completely game-changing addition to the rules of professional wrestling: the Time Limit.

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Toots Mondt, wrestling’s first mad scientist

With the sudden popularity of this new style of wrestling, combined with Lewis’ legitimate background as a wrestler and his status as a protected World Heavyweight Champion, and Sandow and Mondt’s inclination towards business, the Gold Dust Trio set a template that would be repeated and refined in the decades to come.

 

 

 

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1cenaI share this story whenever someone asks for my opinions on the wrestling business, specifically championship belts, because it reveals so much of why certain things are the way they are. In the eyes of promoters, regardless of their sport, so much time and money is spent on putting over their top, most reliable worker as the champion. And that person has to be protected at all costs.

And this is where it becomes very problematic for fans of professional wrestling: In most cases, the fan favorite is not the champion chosen to lead the promotion. Granted, there are exceptions to the rule. But generally, it takes a lot of trust and professionalism in order to give someone the run with the belt. That is why in many promotions, past or present, promoters have always been careful who they gave the honor to- the entire weight of a single company can rest on one person’s shoulders and that is a very heavy burden to give someone who is not ready for it.

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But at the same time, I look at the colorful band of misfits the Manila Wrestling Federation lovingly calls its roster and I can’t help but see so much potential. Whether it’s one of the younger guys with dreams of a legacy begging to be written or one of the older, locker room leaders who put themselves through a lot inside and outside of the ring to make our shows happen.

I look at our roster and feel blessed to be surrounded by a bunch of hard workers who are eager to learn and carry the responsibility for themselves and the promotion. While I will forever hold myself true to the traditions bestowed to us from our forefathers in this industry, the excited fan in me can’t help but see the possibility and the potential of championship material boiling in our locker room. We, too, can make history!30546834_10216390483653581_462632504_o

One day, it’ll happen. Perhaps a lot sooner than later… In an environment where fighting spirit and imagination knows no limits, we too, will crown a champion- a great champion- who will cement their legacy and carry the Manila Wrestling Federation in the years and decades to come.