Inspired by Japanese professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist, Shinsuke Nakamura.

I grew up in the slums of Tokyo, making only little for my everyday needs. Watching wrestling was the best part of my day. Witnessing the energy of the sport through the screen invigorated me. Before I knew it, I wanted to become a professional wrestler as well. I wanna show the world how much fight I have in me, how much courage I bear, how much strength I possess, and how I harbor no fear. 

After years of dreaming and with my coach always by my side, I began my wrestling career at the age of 23. My first match was definitely one to remember. I, an amateur, entered the ring and there was my opponent, showing more mass than I while standing taller than the ring post. Needless to say, he knocked me down again, and again, and again, and again. I lost the match, my first match. 

Vexed by the loss and the goading looks of those that witnessed my defeat, I went back to where I thought I belonged, watching wrestling behind a screen. My coach wasn’t going to let me bail out on my dream, though.

“Defeat is one of the greatest victories,” he said to me.

After a few more pushes from my coach and some rigorous training, I started wrestling again. 

I got a rematch with the person who bested me. As if rewinding a movie, I got knocked down like before. But, this time, I stood. After all the grueling punishment I endured, I managed to hit him and knock him down. I kept up my assault until I managed to pin him. 1, 2, 3. The match was grueling and brutal, but the victory was sweet.

From then on, my career was on an upward trajectory for the next 13 years, winning match after match after match. After some time in the New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) took interest in me.

I entered the WWE and made my debut feuding against one tough opponent. My match was about to start. I was nervous but determined. While walking down the iconic ramp of the WWE, I stared straight at my opponent, chin high, with my theme song booming around us. I entered the ring—this was my moment.

The bell rang, and the match started. I stared at my opponent for a while coming up with a plan of action. We circled the ring, he charged at me, and I ducked, smirking at his attempt. We grabbed each other trying to take the other down. I spooked him with kicks and agility. He tried to make me submit but failed. I did the same. But then he struck me… and struck me again… and again… I was going to lose. I was where he wanted me. But, I denied being hit with his finishing move. When he missed, I grabbed him with a reverse exploder and soon after finished him with my finishing move… the Kinshasa knee strike. I won. 

There began my WWE career.  Haniel Pinlac // Artwork by Gabbi Dela Cruz

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