With his long shaggy hair and ever-smiling face, it’s easy to see Ken Warren as the closest thing to a Filipino version of Shawn Michaels. And that’s probably because he grew up idolizing the Heartbreak Kid. Of course, realizing his dreams of becoming a professional wrestler like Mr. Wrestlemania came with a price that he pays for daily.
First of all, Ken Warren’s real name is Kenneth Joseph Halili. He got his start in Philippine Wrestling Revolution as one of the OGs. Back then, the 19-year-old wanted to be relatable, and during that time, social media was just booming with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, he wanted to be a bad guy. Putting those two together, Ken came up with his Social Media Sinister character that still stands to this day.
“When you see this character or wrestler perform, it will remind you of the high school bully na mayabang,” Ken said. “Hindi necessarily matangkad, not necessarily batak, pwedeng maliit, pwedeng panget yung itsura niya, pero sobrang feelingero niya, tapos bubungguin ka niya in the hallway.”
It also became an excuse to trashtalk the trashtalkers and hand their ass back to them, and just say that he’s doing his gimmick.
“Ken Warren is a trigger in essence,” he added. “Gusto ko lang makita ng tao how ridiculous a person can be, na parang ba’t niya ginagawa yun, ba’t niya pinakyu yung bata, or minumura yung fans. It’s because people do that. It’s that ridiculous and it’s true. I just want to incorporate it in wrestling.”
Then came a time when The Social Media Sinister became the first PHX champion, which back then meant “Philippines Hybrid X” and not Philippine Excellence.
“I went psycho with my workouts when I was champion,” Ken described. “I loved yet I hated that pressure when I had that championship. I was working twice as hard behind the championship.”
Of course, pro wrestling is not without its challenges, especially because you put your body on the line every week through training and every month through live shows. For Ken, that came when he got injured while living his dream. His family was trying to make him stop. But he would go on for four months on the sidelines, doing some backstage stuff before he got cleared to get back in the ring. That would give him a different mindset on how he sees wrestling.
“Kinakabahan ako from the start and I’m glad it’s still there because that means I care,” Ken said. “Leading to the matches when you get to do it, you look at wrestling with a different set of eyes, so it comes to the point na parang mabuburn out ka ‘cause you watch it technically.”
But now, his persistent fight to stay active in the squared circle is at risk because Ken Wa—excuse us—Kenneth Halili will get started on a regular job.
Since he began wrestling, Ken has been working freelance as a training associate for a motivational company who does seminars. Recently, though, Ken applied for a job as a support associate for a company that teaches Japanese kids to speak English.
“I did admit dun sa work na I wrestle,” Ken said. “And I requested, as much as possible, to keep my Sundays for myself.”
There may still be hope that Ken will continue to entertain the Revonation since his request have been approved and his Sundays are now free. In his wrestling world, however, it’s been unfair for The Social Media Sinister as he keeps getting robbed of his title opportunity for the Philippine Excellence (PHX) Championship that he once held. Supposedly, he has a rematch clause for the PHX after Jake De Leon beat him for it. Then, he beat the Queen of Philippine Wrestling, Crystal, in a #1 contender’s match. And most recently, he beat the Pro Wrestling Doctor, Jan Evander, and the returning Golden Boy, Chino Guinto, in a three-way bout with the contendership on the line once again.
“I’m not updated about where my rematch is,” Ken admits. “I guess I just have to beat everyone in my way to let them know I deserve it.” And we’re pretty sure that he will get the title shot that he rightfully deserves one of these days.
Because of this, he continues to inspire wrestling fans who might want to try actually becoming a sports entertainer themselves. And Ken has only one advice for those who want to realize their dream of becoming a wrestler like him.
“You have to work smart and take care of yourself. I know that I’m not the best person to tell this pero never take your body for granted.”