At PWR Live: RE5PETO, the Revo-Nation witnessed an open challenge issued by Ralph Imabayashi for his title, answered surprisingly by long absent PWR roster member Nina. She has stepped away from the professional wrestling ring indefinitely which you can read all about here, but she chose to make her return in a segment that had the audience buzzing with anticipation. Nina came back bearing a message for Imabayashi: her boyfriend Koto Hiro would be answering the challenge for the PWR Championship at PWR Live: Way of the Champion.
Things got very heated between her and the current Kampeon ng Pilipinas during the segment. Given the chance to speak her piece, Nina and Ralph both shed light on their “relationship”, their history as mentor and protege, a strong bond of “friendship”, and even hints at past feelings shared.
In cased you missed that whole rollercoaster of feeelings, here it is:
We could try talking about how this matchup between Ralph Imabayshi and Koto Hiro is on a magnitude of great importance as Imabayashi continues his streak of dominance while Koto tries to do what no man has done yet and defeat Imabayashi for the PWR Championship…BUT EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS THAT!
That is why in this very special PWR Central article, we’ll dish out all the juicy details on this pro wrestling love triangle chokehold of sorts and we’ll try not to leave any stone unturned! On our quest for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we got in touch with Ralph, Nina, and Koto Hiro for more details on their shared past, and how this would play into their upcoming match on July 22.
Ralph Imabayashi: Best Friend & PWR Champion
We first visited Mr. Imabayashi at his residence where he was studying tapes ranging from Strong Style to Lucha Libre with his trusted dog (who is also named Hiro) steadfastly at his side.
We thanked him for allowing us this chance to interview him to which he told us, “You should be thankful. I’m a very busy man and it’s a very hard job staying at the top of PWR.” With this, we got right to it and asked him how he and Nina became best friends in the first place. “I was the best guy she’s ever had in her life” he scoffed, “of course she’d make me her best friend. It’s just the rules of nature.”
Seeing as how Ang Kampeon ng Pilipinas was clearly not in the best of moods, we proceeded to tread lightly and asked what exactly is the history between him and Nina to which the champ replied “Be it romantic or platonic, there is no point in divulging it here. [Nina] would just deny everything anyway.” Seeing as how he was already gripping the arm rest of his seat to the point of damaging the wood, we decided to move on and ask where Rederick Mahaba was in all of this. “I have plenty of friends in my life. Rederick Mahaba is one of them.” the champ answered, “I’m only Nina’s best friend by default because I’m her only friend. No one likes her. She’s a [censored].”
Feeling as though we should be wrapping up at that point, PWR Central decided to ask one last question for the champ and given all this drama, we wanted to know if his focus was now completely on wrestling and staying PWR Champ. “Whether I am bothered, focused, or what not is irrelevant.” he exclaims, “I am untouchable right now. The gap between me and whoever is number 2 is immeasurable. Me being bothered doesn’t matter because I am still way above anyone else even with my weaknesses exposed. These questions are done now get out of my house!” he shouts as the once quiet, sweet, and timid Hiro begins growing fierce and proceeds to chase us out of the location.
Nina: The Rebellious Lover
After getting what we could out of the PWR Champ, we decided to try our luck with Nina next. After contacting her for permission to interview her, she accepted and even told us she would call Koto Hiro to let us know more about the mysterious masked wrestler from Japan! PWR Central made its way to Nina’s location and we got right down to it by asking her how she and Ralph became friends.
“It’s a pretty funny story, actually. Ralph once said something stupid in a group chat, and I corrected him. He then proceeded to message me personally to apologize… I just laughed at at how intimidated of me he seemed to be—but I’m actually really nice! So, we haven’t stopped talking and sharing memes since.” she elaborates as she boots up her computer to try and get Koto on the line, “And probably not a lot of people know this, but I broke my collarbone in half once while I was still training in bootcamp. Having lost a lot of hope, Ralph was always there to encourage me to get back up my feet. It’s why through the years, I’ve always considered him my mentor and my best friend.”
With such a storied start and a rich history to their friendship, we decided to pry into what Ralph mentioned as Nina’s “bad history of choosing men” to which Nina replied “I have no idea what he’s talking about…” Seeing as how it would be best not to push it, we then asked how she and Koto Hiro ended up together. “Koto was the one who pursued me and was very, very persistent at it. Upon getting to know him, I learned that we’re actually just two peas in a pod!” she explains, “As someone who doesn’t like a lot of people to begin with, loving him has surprisingly been the easiest thing I’ve ever done in my life. We make a weird pair, I know, but he treats me better than anyone else—if you guys only knew!”
It was as if Nina’s own eyes were turning to hearts right in front of us as she was telling her story but we wanted to ask her one last question before turning our attention to Koto Hiro who was just about to come on. We asked her if she ever considered Ralph’s feelings before she decided to help Koto challenge her best friend for his PWR Title. “Of course I did. I’ve been with Koto for 10 months now, and Ralph has always been so supportive of our relationship. So why is he only speaking up now? It’s cowardly if you ask me, and it just doesn’t add up.” she clarifies as we are shocked to hear this ourselves, “Although, in hindsight, I must admit, I may have overlooked a couple of things: Ralph has always adored Koto as a person, so it never occurred to me how scared and threatened he actually is by Koto the competitor. I didn’t know… But it’s very clear to me now.”
Koto Hiro: The Boyfriend & Challenger
Speaking of Koto Hiro, at this time he has just come up on screen to join us in a video call. After exchanging pleasantries, we asked him how it feels to not only come back to PWR in a little over a year but to challenge for the PWR title and see Nina at that. “It is an honor to come back in PWR, even more this time because of championship match!” he tells us, “But even bigger honor to see Nina and spend time with her. Her watching my match will give me a lot of pressure… But in a good way because she brings out the absolute best in me.”
After recovering from the kilig we felt after Koto’s answer, we asked him if he was familiar at all with Ralph and Nina’s history to which he answered “I am familiar with their friendship. But Ralph’s deep feelings? Not so much. But I do not blame Ralph. Nina is best girl!” We also asked him how he and Nina make it work with the long distance and a language barrier of sorts. “Nina and I talk to each other always. Everyday. Even through language barrier, we still understand each other very well. I am also learning English better because of her! We share everything together. We are a team.”
And a strong team they are but even if their bond cannot be broken, we asked Koto if he’s ready and well-focused on the match amidst all the drama around this challenge. “I have no worry because I am not broken-hearted.” he replied, “All my focus is on championship, and I train everyday for this. I hope my opponent is focused like I am.”
With that, we thanked both Nina and Koto Hiro for their time and wished them luck for the upcoming event.
At this point, only time will tell if feelings will get in the way of championship glory come July 22nd. Will Koto Hiro win the championship, as he has won Nina’s heart? Is Ralph Imabayashi’s rock solid demeanor a result of this his heart break and will it aid him in battle? Will Nina play a bigger role in this match than anticipated? Does Rederick Mahaba have any thoughts or feelings about this? Only one thing is for certain, this match could never be just about the wrestling.
Make sure to see how this all plays out in the main event of PWR Live: Way of the Champion.