Philippine Wrestling Revolution offers first pay-per-view fight

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BEING stuck at home under quarantine doesn’t have to be boring — not when there is access to some testosterone-filled pro wrestling. Late last year, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) inaugural Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins went head to head with Jake de Leon of the Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) in an event called PWR Special: Homecoming. Now, one can watch the fight in the comfort of home, when Homecoming becomes available on pay-per-view on May 31.

PWR Homecoming was built on the dream of being the best possible locally produced pro wrestling show, specifically for the Filipino wrestling fan. We captured that magic back on Oct. 12, 2019 with the biggest show PWR has ever mounted. Homecoming was our biggest show ever in terms of attendance (over 1,000 audience members), and in terms of star power (local and foreign),” said the company through PWR President Red Ollero and Vice-President Jan Lynch Imbat in an e-mail.

The pay-per-view stream will be available on digital release on May 31 via for P500.

As well as the touted match between Perkins and De Leon, other highlights of PWR Special: Homecoming include a three-way dance for the PWR title, with defending champion Quatro fighting his rival Chris Panzer and Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling star Jeff Cobb.

“We know that not everyone got the chance to witness Homecoming in person, and not everyone is as familiar with PWR talents — their individual stories. We as a company want people who are fans of wrestling, but not yet of PWR, to see us at the top of our game. The broadcast we’re releasing gives non-Manila based wrestling fans the chance to see the PWR product with all the bells and whistles. We want to reach out specifically to newly acquainted casual fans, as well as followers who couldn’t be there in person (outside of Manila/NCR, inside Southeast Asia),” said the company.

“For our fans who were there that night, the perspective we present through the pay-per-view material is a fully produced wrestling program for digital viewing. This is PWRs first venture into this territory wherein we’re showing what locally produced wrestling can be, with all the dressings of a full-fledged broadcast.” This includes running commentary on the matches by Mr. Ollero; radio DJ, host, and PWR “managerial figure” (managers play a role in pro wrestling too) Stan Sy; ESPN5 talent, E-Sports caster, and current General Manager of PWR, Poch Estrada; and Fil-Canadian wrestler and former PWR champion, The “Beautiful” Billy Suede.

Pro wrestling, as a contact sport and performance in a live audience, will have to take a backseat for now during the pandemic. WWE tried performing to empty seats during the early days of the lockdowns in US cities (and without audience participation, it looked like avant-garde theater), until their own wrestlers started testing positive for the coronavirus.

Asked how the Philippine pro wrestling scene can keep going despite bans on mass gatherings and contact sports, the company said, “PWR is and has always found that taking things to social media to build on the experience of seeing a live wrestling show. Our presence on social media has been our calling card, a large part of how PWR has thrived over the past five years. We’ve used that traction we have in corners of the internet to bring eyes to PWR not just here in the Philippines, but also in places with strong wrestling fan bases like the UK, USA, Japan, and even neighboring SEA countries.” Using the power and reach of the internet in times when people can’t leave their homes, Mssrs. Ollero and Imbat said, “Content production has always been a priority for us — whether through show highlights, wrestler features, user-generated content, and other engagement-driven material as we strive to remain in the hearts and minds of our fans. This is also primarily the reason why we are releasing PWR Special: Homecoming as a way to keep our fanbase interested, even with the lack of shows at this moment.”

“This is the best PWR has looked to date visually, with a professional coverage team backing us in S&S. For fans that want to see what the best of PWR looks like, they have the opportunity to see us in all our glory, streaming online for the first time. It is also the first time we are selling a complete show, top to bottom, on any platform. We are evolving to the point that we can explore the option of having our performances streamed for pay in a time when we cannot perform live.”

PWR acknowledges the urgency during these times, and even though the shows may have stopped, the wrestlers haven’t stopped working). “PWR understands that although the pandemic has put wrestling on hold, there are much more important issues that need to be addressed. The organization and individual roster members have various initiatives to help COVID-19 frontliners in various capacities. With our Mabuhay Ang Wrestling shirt campaign, art commissions, gear auctions, or meal prep for hospitals, 3D printing PPE, there has been a conscious effort from PWR and PWR wrestlers to do our part,” said the company.

PWR Special: Homecoming will be available on digital release this May 31 via for P500. Once payment has been confirmed, a unique video link and access password will be sent via an e-mailed e-ticket for May 31, 10 a.m., Philippine Standard Time. The purchase gives the user all-access viewing of the full PWR Special: Homecoming, of every match that was put on that night. Repeat viewing will also be available for a limited time after May 31. — Joseph L. Garcia