WORDS BY GERALD DIOLA
QUEZON CITY – Local pro wrestling returns to the country with KUMITE: Jarhead vs. Machine, presented by World Underground Wrestling Philippines (WUW-PH). It will be the country’s first wrestling show since the COVID-19 lockdown, expecting a late 2021 release through Facebook Live.
Headlining the event is Muay Thai practitioner John “Jarhead” Amar, who is set to face pro wrestler “The Machine” Mavericc Knight. The winner of this match will receive a future title shot for the WUW Heavyweight Championship.
The co-main event will see the reigning WUW Heavyweight Champion Superbeast defend his title against a yet-unannounced fighter. This match will not be bound by the ring, will not be officiated by a referee, and can only end by knockout or submission. According to WUW-PH, it will take place in the USA and streamed via satellite.
On the undercard, Boxer Sonny Gonzalez will face pro wrestler SJM in a mixed-styles clash. The fight will use ‘special rules’ to account for both fighting styles, and it can only end by knockout or submission.
To ensure the fighters’ safety, KUMITE: Jarhead vs. Machine will be filmed at an undisclosed location with no audience. All event participants are to be tested for COVID-19.
The winner of the main event is expected to receive their title shot in 2022. The Machine unsuccessfully challenged Superbeast for the title last year in War of the Goliaths, ending his five-year undefeated streak. “There comes a point when you’re just winning and winning, and it seems like nobody’s a challenge,” says Machine.
“Losing to Superbeast actually helped me see where I needed to improve. I think it’s good motivation for me to get in the ring and challenge myself again. Confidence sometimes gets damaged or broken when you take a loss, but I don’t see it that way.”
Jarhead, on the other hand, sees Machine as a great challenge. “My strategy against him will be power and speed,” he says. “If I win the contendership, I will be the happiest person […] it will be a huge honor to face an undefeated WUW Heavyweight Champion. No retreat, no surrender – I am always ready for war!”
WUW-PH describes KUMITE as the ‘blanket term’ for their shows in 2021-2022, with a focus on pitting fighters from different disciplines against each other. Matches in this era will be presented in cinematic form ‘as tribute to martial arts and kaiju cinema’.