Although his Filipino-American counterpart TJ Perkins emerged victorious in the main of event of what was Philippine wrestling’s biggest promotion to date, Jake de Leon basked in its afterglow.
PWR's Jake de Leon: On wrestling superstar TJ Perkins and pursuing dreams
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - October 15, 2019 - 9:44am

MANILA, Philippines – At the end of Philippine Wrestling Revolution Homecoming, Jake de Leon basked in the rain of confetti that fell at its conclusion. Although his Filipino-American counterpart TJ Perkins emerged victorious in the main of event of what was Philippine wrestling’s biggest promotion to date, he basked in its afterglow.

“The feeling of the crowd cheering for me during the match was just amazing,” reflected the Bacolod-born de Leon. “To be given around the same amount of support against a superstar the caliber of TJ Perkins is just mind-blowing. I am indebted to my supporters for pouring their heart out.”

Filipino pro wrestling fans packed the Vertis North Tent in Quezon City for a card that also included Ring of Honor veteran Jeff Cobb in addition to matches featuring local stars Quatro, Chino Guinto, Cali Nueva, Crystal and many others. 

“I think it is amazing to hear the local fans cheer just as hard for the homegrown stars,” pointed out Cobb after the show.

While the fans and the wrestlers in PWR’s promotion are the real winners, de Leon who didn’t end up victorious still felt like a huge winner. “When it comes to sharing the stage with TJP, it was just very surreal,” de Leon added. “It was an immense honor to compete against him, and to learn many things during our match which I will definitely take with me as my career moves forward.”

This calendar year has been nothing short of amazing and memorable for de Leon, who by day works as a digital marketing specialist but by night, struts his stuff in the four-cornered wrestling ring.

Last June, he participated in the World Wrestling Entertainment tryouts in Shanghai, China, along with PWR stars Crystal and Keith Warren along with other hopefuls from the region. 

“The WWE tryouts was definitely one of the biggest moments of my life,” gushed de Leon, who as a kid was a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Edge, Rey Mysterio and Stone Cold Steve Austin. “That was the culmination of all the hard work I had put into the Philippine wrestling scene and I was ecstatic to know that the WWE had noticed these efforts and invited me for the tryouts.”

“Those were four days of intense and difficult WWE workouts. No matter how tough, I couldn’t help but smile throughout because these were genuine WWE coaches and mentors and I was trying out for them. It was extra special to be with Crystal and Keith Warren and all throughout, we pulled for each other.”

De Leon concluded about those four incredible days in China, “What I learned was it was more mental than physical. It taught me to mentally push myself beyond my limits no matter how difficult the obstacle. If you really want something, you will do whatever it takes to get you to your dream. Whether there is a chance or not for us homegrown Philippine wrestlers remains to be seen, but I’d say right now, we’re definitely on their radar.”

As much as a fan de Leon as of pro wrestling, like many other passions from childhood, the interests wane as one gets older. “There was a time when I stopped watching pro wrestling but it picked up again when I began following clips and news on the internet and meeting other fans during my college days at the Ateneo.”

However, the thought of competing professionally didn’t materialize until Jake saw this online group called, “Philippine Wrestling Revolution.”

As much as his family met his dream of pro wrestling with skepticism, they cast their lot in with him when that unbridled joy that was there as a kid returned when he dove into pro wrestling.  

And then there was PWR Homecoming. A pinch-me-am-I-dreaming moment for all fans who love this form of sports entertainment. De Leon was at a loss for words as he climbed down the ring and fans called out to him for photos or even to shake his hand. “Tonight was living a dream for TJ, Jeff, and everyone else in the locker room at the back. As for me, I am going to push this dream as far as it takes me.’

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