The MWF Road To Fate Review
By Tim Henares
After our glowing preview of MWF’s third show last week, how did it turn out? Find out in this review, and whether or not Manila Wrestling Federation has triggered a turning point for Philippine pro wrestling as a whole.
From the worst the show had to offer to the absolute best, let’s find out how well “Road To Fate” did to entertain the Pinoy wrestling fan.
8. Worst: A lack of commitment early on.
You don’t have to tell any wrestling fan that it’s fake: we know it is. Having said that, perhaps the worst thing you could see while watching two people pretending to fight each other is two people who are acutely aware that they are pretending. It takes you away from fully immersing yourself into the action when you end up seeing two guys who can’t even convince themselves they’re actually wrestling.
In the case of MWF, this awkwardness is usually very evident at the start of their show, with whoever ends up being the first match of the afternoon. It might be a feeling-out process or a lack of warming up, but that initial awkwardness is just so glaring when compared to the rest of the show. Not only was Ninja Ryujin and Frankie Thurteen initially awkward, seeing Ryujin at the end of the show, challenging Rex Lawin also made for an awkward ending that made people ask aloud, “wait, tapos na ba, o hindi pa?”
7. Worse: A lack of internal logic.
From the names being “randomly” drawn to determine Road To Fate’s matchups, to the fact that the company’s CFO Gus Queens gets to throw his weight around with minimal repercussions from the other authority figure, some storyline things just don’t seem to make sense, or is taken for granted by the writing team as stuff we can figure out for ourselves.
Also, what is up with the post-match interviews? The words “grueling match” were used each time, and he kept asking the guy who just lost how they feel. It’s a recipe for disaster, is what it is.
6. Bad: Mr. Lucha was criminally misused.
Whether as a showcase for his character or his prowess, pitting Mr. Lucha, a super-babyface, against Ashura, a female wrestler, was a bad move all around, as the match did no favors for either of them, other than a feel-good notice-me-sempai moment. It’s hard to cheer on the guy you expect to be the face of the company when it looks like he’s toying with a female wrestler, and practically working as the heel in the match.
5. Okay: The refs stepped it up.
In this show, so long as you account for growing pains, technical issues, and storyline gaffes, the good far outweighs the bad, and you can see it in the little things, such as one of the two referees of the MWF improving his craft remarkably. This man deserves a raise for stepping up his game big-time: nailing the three-count sequence perfectly, being in proper position at all times, and doing his thing in Tagalog, which is so refreshing to hear. As for the other ref, well, he at least doesn’t forget to count his wrestlers out anymore, so there’s that.
4. Good: Robin Sane’s dedication.
Robin Sane had a legit ankle injury two weeks prior to the show, and according to medical experts, needed three weeks to fully recover.
Well, guess what? He didn’t care what the doctors recommended: he went and wrestled with a bad ankle, in what was a losing effort to the Son of a Glitch, Morgan Vaughn, who is constantly improving himself with each match he wrestles, even if his character seems straight out of the spoiled millennial playbook mastered by the likes of the YOLO Twins from rival company Philippine Wrestling Revolution.
3. Better: A satisfying finish to an intense feud (we think).
The crowd may have been picking on him the whole night, but “Pinoy Strong Style” Rex Lawin still pulled off the win against the ‘90s Action Hero Gigz Stryker. Rex had a chip on his shoulder for being called “unsafe” by wrestlers and reviewers alike the previous two shows, and he wanted to prove his doubters wrong by being even more stiff in the ring. Kudos to Stryker for taking all those hard hits like a champ. In his own words, Rex wasn’t “unsafe:” he was downright “dangerous.”
2. Best: A new breed of heel in Fabio Makisig.
The cool heel template may have been mastered by the likes of PWR’s Mike Madrigal or John Sebastian, but Fabio Makisig’s heelishness in his match against Hanzello Shilva was on a whole ‘nother level.
From what we believed to be very solid, stiff shots against Hanzello to the relentless and not-trying-to-be-funny trash-talking Makisig delivered that genuinely made you feel sorry for Hanzello (until he tries to talk on the mic, making you wish Makisig just kicked him again), Fabio was pushing the buttons of everyone in attendance in a way that you can’t help but respect. Perhaps the best thing about his work is that unlike Rex, who seemed legit angry, and Gus Queens, who is legit annoying as a character, Fabio’s heelishness was all within the boundaries of kayfabe. Hard to argue with something as convincing as that.
1. Awesome: Liwanag and Aldrin Steal the Show.
Moises Liwanag’s rising star was nothing short of phenomenal. Once he found his stride as a character, he just knew how to work his magic on the mic, and got the crowd practically worshipping his every move. Maybe that’s the wrong reaction to get when you’re supposed to be the bad guy, but Liwanag is simply untouchable right now in terms of overness.
And here we were, expecting to look past his opponent, Aldrin Richards, seeing as a guy capitalizing on the AlDub mania inside a wrestling ring just sounds like the dumbest thing ever, only for Aldrin to blow everyone away by having the best match of the night with Liwanag. It only goes to show that for all of Manila Wrestling Federation’s growing pains, they have a great core product at the heart of it all: topnotch wrestling that can only get better and better as the roster gains more experience and grows their ranks.
We can also talk about the crowd itself, whose chants were mostly dictated by the PWR wrestlers in attendance, seeing as there were a lot of them. It was great to see the guys from the other company just enjoy themselves as the fans of wrestling they really are, in the first place. We don’t expect any crossover matches anytime soon, but it’s good to know that PWR and MWF are pretty friendly with each other.
So, on a scale of 1 to 8, let’s put MWF’s Road To Fate on a firm 5.5: a solid effort that goes far beyond the number ranking we’re giving it, and a show well worth the 250-Peso asking price.