Wrestling isn’t dead; in fact, it’s very much alive, and there’s a new breed of men and women doing the impossible: the awesome guys of PWR or Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
WAG is introducing PWR to the world, especially to the huge pro-wrestling community in the Philippines. In this interview, we talked to Ouel Babasa, Creative Director for PWR and got some insight into the home-brewed promotion.
What’s A Geek: How did PWR start?
Ouel: PWR started as a Facebook group in 2012 comprised of Filipino wrestling enthusiasts who had a dream of one day re-establishing a pro-wrestling promotion here in the country. Back then all we did was do fantasy booking, create wrestling personas… nothing too serious. It’s not until December of 2013 that several of the group’s members who are serious enough, or probably crazy enough depending on who you ask, started to meet in person and get together to actually plan things out accordingly.
At the same time, while we are trying to figure out things on how to get our stuff together, we are fortunate enough to be approached by a Japanese promoter as his team is doing a live show here. Two of his main attractions are former WWE and ECW superstar Tajiri and half-Filipina triple crown champ Shuri Kondo.
Their representative here in Manila found a Filipino wrestling fanpage which i am an admin in, along with several members of the PWR group. So they asked us to assist them in setting up, promoting the show, etc. this proved to be a stroke of luck as we used this experience to learn how putting up a wrestling show works and it gave us an idea on how to, and how not to, run a promotion. So early on, even if we arent fully established, we already gained a little taste, a little experience of what the business is like.
WAG: What was it like in the early days?
Ouel: It was tough. Really tough. Obviously if we are to run a wrestling promotion, we needed wrestlers. So out of the hundreds who joined the group and expressed interest in performing, only about 12-15 showed up and trained. We started out basing our drills off on dvd’s and youtube videos. But again, luckily, we met an American pro-wrestler who lives here in Manila, who goes by the name of Josh Bauserman. He taught us everything there is to know about pro-wrestling: from in-ring to the backstage stuff.
So we can say our product has quality since we are professionally trained. Like I said it was tough. Yes, we have our wrestling training on point. But we need to put up a show. And putting up a show costs a lot of money. So what we did was we raised money to compensate for expenses. Everyone contributed in the funds. We printed shirts and sold them to raise funds. It was pretty indie since no one’s backing us. We gotta pay our dues, literally.
WAG: Where do you guys train?
Quel: We train at a gym just 5 minutes away from SM Bicutan.
WAG: Who could be your biggest star in PWR at the moment?
Ouel: Everyone in the roster has what it takes to be the biggest star in PWR. We have guys like Bombay Suarez, Ken Warren, Jake De Leon and Chris Panzer all gunning for a shot to be PWR’s first ever champion. We have guys like Classical Bryan Leo and Mayhem Brannigan, whose rivalry has elevated into something personal. We have big guys like Main Maxx and The Apocalypse and entertaining guys like Kanto Terror who are proven to be fan favorites. At the end of the day, whoever rises to the top has to grab the ball and run with it, be the face of PWR.
WAG: What’s the most interesting aspect that newcomers can look forward to?
Ouel: Newcomers can expect a fresh wrestling product, the kind of pro-wrestling they dont normally see on TV (*ehem* WWE *ehem*). It’s difficult to explain in words the kind of action and excitement the PWR has in store for its fans so people need to see it for themselves live.
WAG: So they really need to experience and come and watch the show?
Ouel: Yes! People need to come see it live! A PWR show isn’t really a show, it’s more of an experience.
I don’t know if you attended the first big show we had, Renaissance, we actually had a wedding proposal in the middle of the ring…
WAG: How long are the shows by the way?
Ouel: Shows usually run for roughly 3 hours… not bad for only 250 pesos!
WAG: What’s PWR’s dream location for a show?
Ouel: Haha! The boys wanted The Philippine Arena.
WAG: I love it. Wrestlemania level intensity and electricity!
Ouel: Yeah exactly! Also if ‘di talaga kaya, pwede na sa MOA or Araneta, haha!
WAG: Going back to the history of PWR, can you briefly tell us what drove you guys when you started? Also what drives you now? especially since you’ve gotten bigger?
Ouel: The dream of bringing back wrestling here in the Philippine has driven us back then to go do all these. Today, the haters drive us to do better. These people who say we’re one-hit wonders, or that we won’t last long, or what we do is wrestling “lang.” These people drive us to perfect our craft and be better.
WAG: Can anybody be a PWR star?
Ouel: As long as you have the drive, the willingness to learn and get hurt, and the passion, you’re definitely PWR material! You have to go through PWR Bootcamp first though, so we can equip you with all the skills you need to learn, train and perfect in order to be a bonafide PWR wrestler.
It’s tough. You really need patience and persistence. Like what The PWR trainers say, “Do it right, it’ll hurt. Do it wrong, it’ll hurt even more.” This ain’t no fun and games; this is serious stuff.
WAG: What are the plans for PWR in the coming months? Will there be monthly shows or events?
Ouel: This February we will be having an event called Vendetta wherein we will have two contendership matches for the PWR championship. The winners of each of these matches will go on and face each other for the title on our biggest show of the year this May (WAG: You read it first right here!).
Vendetta will also feature the very first ALL OUT WAR, a concept where there will be no disqualifications, no rope breaks, no count outs, and pinfalls or submissions can be counted anywhere in the venue.
As for the coming months, expect PWR to feature new faces as a lot of guys have graduated PWR Bootcamp and will be making their in-ring debuts. Also, expect PWR to continue putting out the best wrestling product this country has ever seen.
As for monthly shows, we are looking at the possibility of making it happen but for now, we’re holding our events bi-monthly.
WAG: Lastly, what should we expect from Vendetta?
Ouel: Vendetta will set the bar really high from our previous events such as Terminus and Rennaissance. And if you are new to PWR, you’ll stick around for more!
PWR Vendetta happens February 21, 2015 at the Makati Cinema Square! Tickets at Php 250 and gates open at 6pm. For more details, visit Vendetta’s official Facebook Event Page.
– ALL OUT WAR TAG TEAM MATCH:
The Royal Flush (Classical Bryan Leo and Main Maxx) vs. Mayhem Brannigan and The Apocalypse
– Bombay Suarez vs. Ken Warren (Contendership Match for PWR Championship)
– Chris Panzer vs. Jake de Leon
(Contendership Match for PWR Championship)
– John Sebastian vs. Ralph Imabayashi