MANILA, Philippines – The superstars of Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR) jockeyed for position as they made a pit stop at Path of Gold on Sunday, March 11.
In the main event, 20 men and women fought for the Path of Gold trophy, which gives the winner a guaranteed championship match at PWR's biggest annual event, Wrevolution X, in May.
"The Social Media Sinister" Ken Warren ultimately seized the moment by last eliminating "The Senyorito" Jake de Leon in their version of WWE's Royal Rumble extravaganza.
After the match, Warren didn't miss a beat in choosing his Wrevolution X opponent: Philippine Hybrid X (PHX) Champion Mike Madrigal.
With the victory at Path of Gold, Warren looks to recover from these setbacks by beating Madrigal and having a second reign as PHX Champion.
Path of Gold mayhem
Warren's win, though, was no easy task. Entering at number 13, he went through other wrestlers similarly hungry for a Wrevolution X ticket.
Highlights of the Path of Gold match include:
Big returns, major losses
Path of Gold also saw the return of 3 former champions who sought to regain or win gold.
PWR Champion Ralph Imabayashi faced two comebacking wrestlers, and defeated both of them in stunning fashion.
As scheduled, Imabayashi first battled Chris Panzer, who made his comeback after sustaining injuries at the champion's hands in their last encounter at PWR Live: Kingdom Come.
These injuries cost Panzer dearly, as he fell to Imabayashi's modified tombstone piledriver in less than 5 minutes.
With tag partner Rederick Mahaba by his side, Imabayashi was itching for another fight, and he got it from ex-PHX Champion and former rival, the returning Bombay Suarez.
Suarez took out Mahaba by spewing mist on his face, then focused on beating up the champion. Imabayashi vented his frustrations on Bombay, ending with a wicked Sonic Crusher on a steel chair behind the referee's back to retain the PWR Championship again.
Meanwhile, before Madrigal learned of his road to Wrevolution X, he defended his PHX Title against a mystery wrestler handpicked by former PWR general manager and current talent manager Mr. Sy.
The ex-GM brought back Main Maxx, the longest-reigning PHX Champion in PWR history.
Main Maxx had his patented strength and agility on full display, but Madrigal targeted Main Maxx's injured leg to try to slow the big man down. In the end, Madrigal had to enlist the help of the Kakaibros to retain his title.
Lord and Queen win tag belts
In the PWR Tag Team Championship triple threat match, Alexander Belmonte III of The Network headed into Path of Gold alone, as his co-titleholder James "Idol" Martinez was nowhere to be found.
He was forced to defend the belts on his own against Zayden Trudeau and Bolt plus Crystal and PWR co-owner John Sebastian.
In the final moments, Trudeau hit his signature 450 Splash on Belmonte, but Sebastian shoved him out of the ring and made the pinfall for their team to win the titles.
#PWRPathOfGold : Zayden Trudeau hits the 450 Splash on AB3 but John Sebastian and Crystal steal his thunder and the pinfall to become the new PWR Tag Team Champions! @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/et8FQ3wJQf — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) March 11, 2018
Wars in other corners
Earlier on Sunday, Jake de Leon continued his "Oplan Sagip Wrestling" crusade, this time against Dax Xaviera.
However, like what happened at PWR Live: Holding Hands While Wrestling, SANDATA came to Dax's aid when JDL tried to use his walis (broom), and that cost him the match again.
Vlad Sinnsyk defended his All-Out War Championship against The Apocalypse in an All-Out War rematch under Last Man Standing rules. PWR audience members also chipped in weapons, from a tabo (dipper) to Lego blocks to a huge upo (gourd).
Vlad Sinnsyk was able to make the referee's 10-count at ringside while Apocalypse struggled to get up in the corner inside the ring. He retained the belt, then Vintendø rushed in and stole it from the champion.
Show sponsor Potato Corner got in on the fun, too, as they sent mascot Spudster to entertain the crowd during the pre-show. The Secret Council of the Trabajadores had other plans.
Two of them tried to bring the big potato and The Revo-Ranger to the deep-fryer, but it was them who got toasted by the mascot-superhero duo.
#PWRPathOfGold preshow: Revo-Ranger and Spudster def. The Trabajadores @RapplerSports pic.twitter.com/0fz79TzMUo — Michael Bueza (@mikebueza) March 11, 2018
The Trabajadores weren't done after that. Trabajador Supremo called out his former protege Quatro, and had him face a friend, Kapitan PWR, for a spot at the Path of Gold match.
Quatro prevailed over the masked wrestler after a Destino. The pair quickly made up afterwards, angering Trabajador Supremo, who expected them to end their friendship due to the conflict.
Path of Gold was a good build toward this year's Wrevolution X. The matches served their purposes well. The surprise returns of Main Maxx and Bombay Suarez were also well-received.
The PWR Tag Team Championship triple threat match is a highly-entertaining one, while the PHX Championship match and the 2nd PWR Championship match (Imabayashi vs. Bombay) kept the crowd on their toes. The ending of the All-Out War match had some of the audience scratching their heads, owing to the delay in announcing the referee's official call.
The Path of Gold match itself was outstanding through the multiple stories PWR weaved into it. The "Final Four" wrestlers – Warren, De Leon, Rosales, and Quatro – were solid hands in bringing the match to an exciting conclusion.
However, some wrestlers would have to sustain the action on the sidelines, even if it was away from the main stories told elsewhere.
Props to the wrestlers who did double duty on Sunday, but even madder props to Alexander Belmonte and Zayden Trudeau for going the extra mile in their performances.
Rederick Mahaba is reliable as usual on the mic in a scathing in-ring speech berating the PWR fans and his haters prior to the PHX Title bout.
Path of Gold is the road most coveted in PWR, and everyone took the opportunity to grab the keys and go behind the wheel en route to Wrevolution X. Rating: A-
– all photos by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.