MWF Road to Fate — Near Perfect Amid Compromise

MWF Road to Fate

It took me almost two weeks to finish all the content related to this event, from the match videos with commentary, the vlog with me discussing behind-the-scenes stuff on my end, and to this very blog post. While I do want to explain in detail why I took ye olde sweet time to make a post about MWF Road to Fate, all I should really do here is warn you that this blog post is half a rant and half a biased review of this wrestling event. After all, I worked in the event as well.

While MWF Road to Fate was in itself an awesome show that went quite smoothly, things weren’t that smooth on my end. As of this writing, there are a lot of “what if’s” going through my head even after a whole damn week because of how I had to compromise in order to make this work. I didn’t give explicit details, but did rant vaguely and somewhat sparingly on what went on. Of course, I do review each match as well to round things out.

DISCLAIMER: I’m the ring announcer and a production crew member of Manila Wrestling Federation, so this is not an impartial review. Reader discretion is advised.

Also, the commentary in the match videos are heavily edited. I tweaked, spliced, re-recorded, cut, and added to them as I pleased (within limited time) to make myself sound good. After all, I’m no Jim Ross—I’m still trying to become okay at spontaneously narrating two people tussling around.

MWF Road to Fate Matches

Ninja Ryujin vs. Frankie Thurteen

Frankie’s transformation after his loss to Moises Liwanag in MWF Republika is evident in this match. He had his back broken, and he has since shaved off his hair. I like this dirtier, grittier Frankie Thurteen, and his ring work is giving more credence to his moniker—The Grunge Grappler.

Meanwhile, Ninja Ryujin is still cool. His Asai DDT is the first MWF finisher I’ve ever witnessed, which he used to finish Frankie here. With him being summoned during the end of the event, things may get more interesting for MWF’s resident shinobi.

While Frankie also lost this one, this slump may herald some intriguing developments for him in the near future.

Moises Liwanag vs. Aldrin Richards

This match was pretty good. I can’t stop gushing over Moises Liwanag’s evolution. When I saw him come in with that portable PA system, I couldn’t help but think of how brilliant it was. Also, he would reference a certain popular local vlogger, which added quite a bit to his preacher-motivational speaker schtick.

Meanwhile, Aldrin Richards is coming onto his own. “The Bae City Bruiser” is not a bad nickname at all. He also showed off what he was capable of, with pretty good ring work and a solid dropkick. That brainbuster was also pretty sick. While he did lose this match, it’s only a matter of time before he starts winning some of his own.

That lay-on hands by Brother Jomar to rejuvenate Moises in mid-match. What is he, a cleric? A paladin? A Protoss Shield Battery? Anyway, I think both wrestlers looked good here.

Fabio Makisig vs. Hanzello Shilva

This one was hard-hitting and full of character. Fabio, as usual, was on full-on douche mode, but most of his vitriol in this match was on Hanzello Shilva. He put a lot of pepper in those kicks and stomps. The mean streak and that disrespectful quality with his offense adds a lot to his character as a talented competitor with great self-confidence and a disdain for those who are seemingly beneath him.

He brutalized Hanzello, seemingly telling him, “You are dirt underneath my boot. A worthless cockroach like you should stay down.”

Meanwhile, I like Hanzello Shilva’s wolfman schtick. Reminds me of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson with the howling. But while most characters that take inspiration from wolves tend to allude to gothic themes, Hanzello has a more positive and locally-grounded spin to it. I’m interested in how far he can take it without making it too tacky.

I also really liked the finish too because… well… I love leglocks.

Morgan Vaughn vs. Robin Sane

Finally, I didn’t announce a Morgan Vaughn match wrong. Of course, the projector and getting familiar with their characters and music helped. The good thing about my propensity for announcing him wrong in the previous two events is that I can somehow work in his tendency to “glitch out” being the reason behind it.

For some strange reason, my designated cameraman Keyan shot the first half of this match from the back of the arena. Good thing I noticed him not being near the ring and brought him closer to shoot the rest of the match.

Robin Sane had sprained his ankles weeks prior to the event, which he made public in social media. Sprains take around 4-6 weeks to completely heal, but it can indeed be made less severe within 2 weeks by keeping the inflammation under control. Of course, the sprain shouldn’t be severe to begin with in order to pull through it weeks before full recovery, which is what happened with Robin Sane. He was able to perform here, but he was far from being 100%.

Also, I think I messed up with the coloring in the video. There’s oversaturation in the shots from the other camera.

Mr. Lucha vs. (Mystery Opponent)

With Mr. Lucha opting to draw his opponent from the lot like everyone else, he showed what kind of competitor he is. Of course, I had to emphasize that during the event before his match since that sets the tone for the whole encounter.

There was much fanfare when Ashura was revealed to be his opponent. Not only was it because Mr. Lucha drew a female opponent for his match in MWF Road to Fate, but also because it was a David vs. Goliath sort of match like his match with Robin Sane in the first MWF live event.

The interaction between Mr. Lucha and Ashura was quite interesting and it told most of the story in this match. The ending was also fairly intriguing. While Ashura most likely didn’t stand a chance to win against Mr. Lucha, she definitely showed her mettle here.

Main Event: Rex Lawin vs. Gigz Stryker

Whenever these two get in the ring, expect them to be STIFF AND HARD AF. Everything will be hard. Everything will hurt. Bring hearing protection because their hits will be like gunshots. I swear those chops could’ve been heard from the far corners of Makati Cinema Square. They were as loud as thunder.

With the score now even at 1-1, a rubber match is imminent. While I doubt it being in December, I’ll have to plan hype videos for that match in advance so that I can put something out that will lead to the culmination of the feud. I’m thinking a bit of a 1989 Dolph Lundgren Punisher sort of deal for Gigz Stryker to show he has finally had enough.

Despite what happened at the end of the show, I think the gist of the main story is still intact. Perhaps the rubber match won’t happen right away in the December show, but it should put butts in seats.

Other Comments

It has been almost two weeks. Yeah, quite late. Hey, I’ve been busy, alright? Anyway…

First off, my ring announcing. I’m now familiar with the music cues, and there was also a projector with intros. I got it mostly perfect this time, even Morgan Vaughn. It’s always Morgan Vaughn, for some reason. I’ve announced him wrong for two live events in a row. At least now, he didn’t glitch out and I didn’t have to

I also simplified my announcing. I learned in Republika—the more moving parts, the more can go wrong. So this time, I didn’t announce time limits anymore, and I didn’t refer to each match as a “singles match”. I did keep doing gimmick-friendly intros though, like rolling the R on Mr. Lucha and spazzing out with The Glitch. After all, a big part of my job as a ring announcer in pro wrestling is to hype the wrestlers; to give them color.

On the other hand, I did make some minor mistakes, namely my announcement of the winners. Sometimes, I’d say, “The winner of this match…” Sometimes, I’d say, “The winner of this contest.” A minor detail, but still drives me up the wall a bit.

Meanwhile, we tried doing live commentary. I had my Zoom H1, and the recording wasn’t too bad. However, doing it without headsets made for a less-than-smooth experience. There were three of us doing it, and we’d talk over each other as I forgot how loud the crowd could be.

That’s the reason why headsets are used for commentary, for monitoring and to be able to hear each other. With some work, I could’ve made them usable. However, I decided to re-recording commentary in post with my condenser microphone. Recording commentary in post-production would turn out cleaner results, as well as being easier on my voice during the event. However, I had to compromise my original plan due to “an unforeseen circumstance” a month prior.

My original plan for this event was to record all the matches with my video camera (my trusty Canon Vixia HF R300) and record commentary in post-production. However, there was a change of plans a month prior to the event and I did what I could to make multi-person live commentary possible with whatever equipment I had.

Also, I hate my live commentary in MWF Republika. HATE it. Live commentary is SO DIFFICULT.

Due to said compromise to accommodate recording of (the ill-fated) live commentary, I couldn’t attend to my camera and record the matches myself. Thus, footage for the first two matches being mostly static. Then during the third match, I was able to find someone who volunteered to be my cameraman, and that saved me.

Meanwhile, a certain local wrestling website reported the event having been delayed for 75 minutes, which did not happen. But while that was indeed bad reporting, I realized the main culprit for that error—the promotional material. Two out of the three posters published on MWF’s Facebook page indicated 3PM as the start time. Meanwhile, the poster I made—based on previous MWF posters—had 4PM as the start time. Our schedule has always been—gates open at 3, show starts at 4. There was no delay at all.

I do understand writing live coverage means you don’t get to do your homework as much. I’ve written for news websites before. Journalism is the practice of hurried factual literature, so I understand. However, there are now even accusations of journalistic gaslighting by that website. I personally don’t put much stock in conspiracies as I tend to follow Hanlon’s Razor—”Don’t attribute onto malice what can be sufficiently explained by stupidity.” Also, that’s why I don’t do journalism anymore as I hate writing news.

Meanwhile, I had recently acquired the responsibility of being MWF’s media coordinator. I’m not the best designer MWF can find as my design skills are barely above-average, especially for someone who studied multimedia arts. However, I do have the widest array of skills in the group. We’re now gathering a media team, and we’ll have to make sure our media is more consistent in the future, including brand identity and so on.

The ending of the event was kinda weird. I looked at the footage and it was somewhat puzzling. As you may have noticed in the last match video, I cut it short and transitioned it to a BTS vignette. I wasn’t aware of what was going on as it happened because I was busy on my end, packing up while waiting for the camera to be returned to me.

What happened there is mostly why I decided to scrap live commentary and why the footage on some of the matches were crap. It was a waste, but it couldn’t be helped. Lessons were learned, and we’ll do better on the next MWF live event. Other than that little gaffe, this is the best MWF show yet. It proceeded almost entirely according to plan, wrestlers showed great improvements, and so on.

Finally, I opted not to make a vlog anymore due to the amount of time that has passed since the event. This blog post should be sufficient for now.

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