Believe in the Bootcamp: The Stories of Two Fans-Turned-Wrestlers

There’s absolutely nothing like pro wrestling. The thrill, the theatrics, the emotion, the athleticism, the energy—there is so much to love about this business. Arguably one of the things that draw people in is the opportunity to see larger-than-life characters perform death-defying stunts all for your entertainment. What if we said you can be one of these people? What if we told you your dream of becoming a pro wrestler isn’t as impossible as you think?

Well, it’s true. It’s damn true. But don’t just take our word for it. We at PWR Central approached two people who have gone through the PWR Bootcamp system firsthand, Tabbi Tomas and Jan Evangelista. (Fun Fact: They also happen to be the first ever Smark Henry Scholars, meaning their stint at the Bootcamp was sponsored by the kind folks at Smark Henry.)

Jhemherlhynn takes the stage

First, PWR Central talked to Tabbi Tomas, or the woman you know as Jhemherlhynn, the Naughty Boys’ intern.

PWR Central: Hi Tabbi, tell us a bit about yourself. Were you a fan of wrestling before you joined the PWR Bootcamp?

Tabbi: Hey guys, my name is Tabbi Tomas, also known as Jhemherlhynn, your favorite wrestling intern. I’m 24 years old. And YES I’M A HUGE FAN.  I started watching when I was a kid, 5 or 6 years old maybe. My dad used to watch wrestling and my cousin too, so I used to watch it with them all the time. I remember Jack TV had all the WWE shows; my cousin and I would just keep the TV on all day so we could watch everything.

I have a LOT of favorite wrestlers but I am a HUGE CENA fan (no judgements pls). He is and always will be my childhood hero. I was so fond of the Dr. of Thuganomics gimmick and that spinning WWE Championship belt [laughs] and well, up until now, for some reason I can’t explain, he’s still my favorite.

But aside from Cena, my favorites back then were Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Trish Stratus and Triple H.

Right now, it’s Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Sasha Banks, Toni Storm, Hana Kimura to name a few.

Big Show meets Jhemherlhynn. Taken back in 2016.

PWR: Were you a fan of PWR before entering the Bootcamp?

T: I followed the promotion, watched the matches they upload on Facebook and even the content so I kind of know the story even though I haven’t watched their live shows yet at that point. I learned about PWR through my officemates and friends and what got me interested was Crystal – the fact that she was the only girl (I think) back then and she’s able to go head to head with the likes of John Sebastian, I was both inspired and amazed

Little did Tabbi know that she too would be training to wrestle in a year’s time.

PWR:  What are the things you love most about Bootcamp?

T: After joining PWR Bootcamp, I was so happy because I finally met like-minded people [laughs]  I can finally talk about wrestling without feeling that the other person is uninterested or weirded out. Also, amidst the body pain you get every week, I would say that PWR bootcamp is the most thrilling, most exciting thing I’ve done. From time to time I get surprised whenever I get to do something new during training. It’s actually where I release the stress that I accumulated the past week and with that, I think bootcamp is also therapeutic.

Having a good support system is also one thing. My batch is very close (I think compared to others) and I’m always thankful for them. They never failed to help me get through the struggles especially when we were still starting. Whenever I couldn’t perform the drills, they were always there to cheer me on. It’s like I gained another set of brothers and sisters after joining.

A glimpse at the future of PWR? | Photo by Hazel Tan

Because I have been a wrestling fan all my life, I always get amazed whenever the moves or the sequences are broken down right before my eyes. I swear, I still mark out during trainings.

I also love being part of the shows: from setting up the venue and working on the merch booth and standing by the ring posts, I love the fact that we as young boys and girls are exposed and taught as to how things are ran during the live events.

Working as an NPC is also one thing that I love the most. Getting to perform in the ring without the wrestling bit helps me prepare myself. I get to interact the crowd and entertain them in a way without all the action.

PWR: How has Bootcamp helped you in and out of the ring?

T: This is weird, but it actually fuels my creativity – when I’m writing promos, or thinking of storylines for the practice matches – I get more inspired to write and brainstorm with people. It also teaches me how to be strong physically, emotionally, and mentally.

In the physical aspect: I only started working out and (trying) to take care of my body when I entered bootcamp. When you start training, you’re encouraged to work towards making your body physically able to perform the drills so you really need to workout. (Warning to aspiring bootcampers:There will be a TON of cardio exercises ahead so please prepare yourselves 😉)

As for being emotionally and mentally strong – the pressure of doing well and eventually debuting will always be there, being in bootcamp will help you stay grounded.

PWR: What would you say to those people who want to be wrestlers but are having second thoughts?

T: Hmmm, for those who would like to be part of the next batch of bootcamp: Just do it, go for it. I know the phrase “Bahala na” has a negative connotation but I think it works in this situation. Isipin niyo na lang na bahala na kung anong mangyari – let it happen, and then evaluate from there if this is what you really want.

If you decide to stay, then don’t give up on that dream and don’t ever give up on yourself.

“Do what you love, love what you do and deliver more than you promised” 🙂

One of the most iconic images in PWR history and she’s in it

The Pro Wrestling Doctor

Next, we asked Jan Evangelista some questions, aka Jan Evander PwD, the high-flying mad scientist professor who’s been impressing everyone since debuting early this year.

PWR: Hey Jan! Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Jan: I’m Jan Evander Evangelista. I’m 21. Not only am I a PwD, I am also a CPA. I recently passed the CPA board exam. In fact, the exam coincided with Wrevolution X which was why I was not present for the event. Most importantly, however, I am the 2017 Smark Henry Bootcamp Scholar.

PWR: Were you a fan of wrestling before you joined the PWR Bootcamp?

J: I have been a fan since I was 8. Just like everyone else’s, wrestling was an escape from reality. Wrestling was always something to look forward to. It was relieving to know that at the end of the day, there’s an episode of Monday Night Raw or a PPV waiting. Wrestling was a depression reliever…until wrestling became the cause of my depression. It became so when I felt that my dream of being a professional wrestler was reachable yet I still couldn’t do anything about it.

A peek at Jan’s yearbook entry.

PWR: How did you find out about the PWR Bootcamp?

J: I discussed the story in the essay that I wrote for Smark Henry. PWR opened its second Bootcamp in 2014. The timing couldn’t have been better. I just turned 18, I was hungry for wrestling, and I was ready. Unfortunately, for reasons beyond my control, I was not able to make it. For two years, this passion-turned-into-obsession, dream-turned-into-a-nightmare was haunting me everyday. I had been watching PWR from afar. It was difficult for me to watch these people do what I wanted to do. I was envious and the feeling was so unbearable that I almost stopped watching wrestling. Two years later, when the doors opened once again, I couldn’t let it pass. I was (proudly) part of BATCH SEVEN, the same batch QUATRO and Kap Tutan were in.  

PWR: What are the things you love most about Bootcamp?

J: The practice matches. Practice matches were my only outlet since I was not performing in shows yet. It was where I incorporate the fundamentals of wrestling that I learned in Bootcamp and the match ideas, wrestling moves, and spots I’d always wanted to do.

It was when I had my first practice match where I felt that I finally achieved my dreams. I was actually doing it. I WAS WRESTLING. It was the proudest moment of my life at that point. Fun fact: My first match was against Idol. I am looking forward to stepping in the ring with him once again but on a grander level. What do you think about the Professor vs Idol in a match?

PWR: How has Bootcamp helped you in and out of the ring?

J: The performances of PWR wrestlers speak for itself. All of our talents are homegrown. The Bootcamp is definitely going to help you to not only become a professional wrestler but also to strive as a professional wrestler. Personally, I am thankful for our coaches especially JDL who was there every week to train us and Billy Suede for imparting his years of wrestling knowledge & in-ring experience and for teaching The Professor some of his moves.

“I beat up people on the weekends” Not a lot of people can say that about themselves.

PWR: What would you say to those people who want to be wrestlers but are having second thoughts?

J: What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of getting hurt? A broken bone is temporary but the regret of not trying is going to haunt you forever.

I know I you doubt yourself because you don’t have a doctorate in professional wrestling. What can you do about it? Nothing. It’s not your fault. Don’t be intimidated. You don’t have to be the best. You can always aim for second best. Or you can just be my lab assistant.

Be larger than life.

Join PWR's Bootcamp!

Being a professional wrestler is a unique experience, and that’s putting it lightly. Consider this a calling for those of you who eat, sleep, and breathe wrestling. Take things to the next level by training with us. Are you the next Bootcamp standout? Only one way to find out.

Our doors open Sunday, August 5, 2018. Make sure you send a message to PWR’s Facebook Page before then if you’re interested in joining!

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