Featured image from PWR

If you know anything about the Philippine independent wrestling scene or have been reading along with my Three Star (Matches) and a Sun series, then you’ll probably be aware of the name Jake de Leon. In the minds of many, myself included, he’s the best wrestler to grace the revival of Philippine wrestling that began in 2014. So it’s no surprise to anyone that he put in another great performance on the first PWR event of the new decade.

In this match against Jaye Sera, Jake displays his abilities as an elder statesman of the scene. Jaye Sera is only a year into her professional career with PWR and that does show in this match. Her offense isn’t as crisp as it could be, some spots are fumbled though not outright botched. All those common rookie problems are seen here but by the end of the match, all I wanted was for her to pull out the victory over Jake de Leon–my favorite wrestler in the country.

A lot of this can be credited to the slight shift in Jake de Leon’s ringwork from talented babyface to an outright bully. It was an incredibly smart choice to have Jake de Leon play the default heel in this match despite Sera spending most of 2019 as a heel. The intergender aspects and the size difference between the competitors made Jake the ideal aggressor in the match. Outside of just playing up his size, he puts just a little more power behind his moves in this match. He slams the soul out of Sera multiple times and pulls no strikes, literally, when chopping away at her. He becomes calculated, reveling in punishing and testing this young rookie who just can’t quite match up to his experience. It makes Sera sympathetic and when she fires up to rise to Jake’s challenge, it’s genuinely compelling.

And let’s give Sera her due. While her offense can’t quite match up to what Jake de Leon can dish out here, she has a few tools in her box that can create tension. Her run of roll ups in the finishing stretch are absolute nailbiters. One might just end up putting away Mr. Philippine Wrestling. Not only that, her selling and bumps were on point here. The impact on some of the bodyslams and Jake’s deadlift backbreaker looked gross and it’s a wonder to both performers’ skills that no one left injured.

This was the Jake de Leon show however. At points in this match, he brought to mind Chris Hero’s indie run of bullying less experienced workers into having strong matches. I certainly wouldn’t complain if JDL went on a similar run with the younger workers in PWR.


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