Alright, well with a new year just a few days away and not much going on in the Puroresu side of things.
I have been trying to pursue something in the mainstream side of things for a while now. But wait, you say FCW, Florida Championship Wrestling, is not mainstream. Well you would be correct, but what makes FCW different is that it is directly connected to the mainstream in more ways than one. First thing first, FCW is the bridge into the WWE, World Wrestling Entertainment, if any talent wants to get on NXT or on of the main shows? First they go through the training and development that is offered through the FCW.
FCW has been the place where most of the current up and comers have once called home. The likes of Jack Swagger, Sheamus, Yoshi Tatsu, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, The Heart Dynasty, Ted DiBiase, Ezekiel Jackson, Alberto Del Rio, all the talent from the four seasons of NXT (including every member of Nexus) have all began the future as WWE Superstar in FCW. There may be a few others I have left out, but I think I covered most of the bases. Really though that is a big list of talent that have certainly made their names known in the WWE in their own way.
I am looking to start covering FCW on a regular basis and trying my best to keep people in the loop on what is going down and who is looking to officially become someone to look out for in the future.
First up you can always get the most up to date roster for FCW here on the website at FCWwrestling.com. Somethings to note is that FCW is notorious for name changes and developing talent into completely new characters so just to keep you in on the loop do not get comfortable calling a wrestler by their “FCW” name when they get called up to “NXT”. Some of the last big name changes that come to my mind is Joe Hennig being renamed to Micheal McGillicutty and Justin Angel being called Justin Gabriel.
Though this is not to say it is going to happen everytime, it is just something to keep on note.
So let’s say you have never watched an episode of FCW, well to be fair it is only broadcasted in the Orlando, FL area. So the average wrestling fan would have no idea of most of the upstarting talent in FCW until they reach NXT or as the latest with Jackson Andrews as the personally bodyguard of Tyson Kidd (who went by TJ Wilson while in FCW).
So who is who in NXT, you may ask? Well that is the main thing that I will try to accomplish with each passing article.
Each episode of FCW gives us many different sides into what the future holds for that certain wrestler.
If you are like me? You can easily begin to pick away at certain wrestlers in what they lack and what they bring that sets them apart. The WWE definitely looks at these type of things and it makes adjustments accordingly, either by modifying or changing their character or eventually telling them they do not have what it takes. That is the name of the business though and the reality that you can be on the top at one moment and no where the next. Those who seem to adapt on the fly seem to do the best while those who take a while to get their footing can end up being overlooked by the next person in line.
I am not going to spend time on every superstar just those who are noteworthy at the moment.
First up is the current FCW Champion Mason Ryan. Considered by many as Batista, jr., his real name is Barri Griffiths and hails from Wales. His background comes from Soccer and as a Gladiator on the UK version of the American Gladiators show, where he went by the nickname Goliath. He is definitely being looked at as a future powerhouse for the WWE and has made improvements as of late most notably on his speaking ability considering a year ago his English was very rough and a tremendous down sight that truthfully has kept him from debuting on the main shows. With all the champions in the FCW making the call up to the main rosters it will probably not be too much longer before Ryan debut’s possibly on the next round of NXT.
The current FCW Tag Team Champions consist of NXT season 2 competitor Titus O’Neill & Col. Damien Sandow. I should not have to go much into O’Neill as he has past camera time on NXT, but a little something about him is that he is a very strong individual and is very athletic. Though he may lack a bit of the fundamentals of the entertainment aspect, there are just a few things about him that the officials in the WWE like about him. Sandow is a prime suspect when it comes to a big change in character, believe it or not but he was already a WWE superstar once before. He used to go by Aaron “The Idol” Stevens and was on the Smackdown roster from early August to early November 2006. Before that he had a few off and on spots for Heat and RAW, but he was primarily in OVW (Ohio Valley Wrestling). It seemed he was being left without much to do in the business, but WWE recently signed him back, so they must see something in him. It will be interesting to keep an eye on to see what happens with him if the WWE wanted him back.
Xavier Woods and Wes Brisco, two men who seem to be completely different went it comes to being a tag team, have found success in their pairing. Both men won the tag team titles in August of 2010 when they beat the then champions Derrick Bateman and Johnny Curtis (both of which have been on NXT now). They two have found themselves to be a cohesive unit, and doing very well for themselves. Of course you may better recognize Woods as Consequences Creed from back in his days of TNA wrestling, but he has since went on to work in the Indies and now found himself in FCW looking for that call up to the main shows. Wes Brisco is the son of Gerald Brisco and definitely has the most odd look of anyone on the FCW roster as he sports tattoos from his legs up, and has nothing on his arms or back. Definitely an odd look, but definitely different I give him props on that. He has a love for water-sports, namely Wakeboarding, and even though not being the biggest dog in the fight is not afraid to get in close and personal to prove his worth. He has some big shows to fill from his father, but it is worth checking out his matches to judge for yourself if he has what it takes. Though something I should add is that Wes Brisco recently suffered an injury at the end of November, I believe, that has sidelined him for the time being. There was word going around that Brisco was to be brought up for NXT Season 4, but for now he will be sidelined until he is cleared to compete.
You may also recognize a few past NXT and WWE stars down in FCW from time to time. Most notably right now is Abraham Washington, who you may remember for having his own talk show back when ECW was around, but has now found himself back in FCW in what seems to be another character development process. He was a head heel leader in FCW for a long time, but now has found himself being pushed over by the likes of Byron Saxton who you may see weekly now in NXT Season 4. Saxton is very skilled on the mic and has a very strong athletic background and could do great things in the WWE if they book him correctly, in my opinion. Saxton is running his own group right now that us comprised of Jacob Novak (who is now on NXT Season 4), Jinder Mahal and Buck Dixon.
Of course the rest of the NXT Season 4 crew will be seen on FCW for the time being as well, but to close out on covering a couple more people that will be familiar faces to some. We have Peter Orlov, who you know as Alex Koslov from the Indy circuit and from his time in AAA and TNA wrestling. He is known for his technical and blending of speed and strength, so he will be interesting to see make it to the main roster, especially considering the crop of smaller talent doing better than expected as of late. Next up is the one of the most mixed reactions wrestlers to come out of Ring of Honor in a long time Tyler Black, or better known now as Seth Rollins. Rollins was at the top of ROH and out of nowhere threw out a curve ball by saying that he is moving up to bigger and better things, and made the jump to WWE. Rollins has a moveset that will for surely get him noticed by the average fans, and has an already past following that is sure to keep his name out there early on. From the little things I have seen from him since debuting in FCW, he seems to be still using the “God’s Last Gift” and the Phoenix Splash from what I hear, so if that is the case he should do well enough for the most part right there. The final individual that I wish to touch on is Richie Steamboat, the son of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, and someone who I am personally hoping does well for himself. I was a big fan of Ricky in the early 90’s and what I could watch from him later on in my life, and if Richie can even become half of what his father was in the business then we may have ourselves someone definitely worth investing in.
As you can see FCW has a lot to offer to the fans, and is a great place to check the future up and comers of the WWE. If you are looking to get into FCW there is no better time than now, as I will be providing below the last 4 TV released event from FCW wrestling. As a sampler to what to expect in the new year, and to give you some place to start in the thick of things.
I am only going to post a few notes in with these shows, and without spoilers because I would like for people to check these first ones out and get their own feel for the things going on.
Episode TV Date 12/5/2010
Announcers: Brett DiBiase and Matt Martlaro
(1) Johnny Curtis vs. Brad Maddox
~ Announcement from the FCW General Manager, Maxine
(2) FCW 15 Minute Iron Man Match “The Jack Brisco Classic”: Richie Steamboat vs. Hunico
(3) Peter Orlov vs. Lucky Cannon
(4) FCW Championship Match: Mason Ryan w/Byron Saxton vs. Bo Rotundo
Episode TV Date 12/12/2010
Announcers are: Matt Martlaro and Abraham Washington
(1) Queen of FCW Divas Match: AJ Lee [Q] vs. Rosa Mendes
~ You may remember AJ as the most talented female wrestler to be in NXT season 3, but she has also laid claim to the title as Queen of FCW for most of 2010. Rosa on the other hand has had her mind set on getting the crown for pretty much 2 years now, though everytime she has been given the opportunity she had some how not been able to get the job done in the ring. Rosa has definitely been growing as an in-ring competitor and has been looking to finally gain some recognition for all her hard work.
This match was alright for a Divas match, AJ definitely showed her worth, while Rosa seemed to be trying to gain her footing on the more talented wrestler. This match came down to a who is going to make the mistake first to get the win and personally I am wanting to see more of AJ up in the main shows.
(2) Donny Marlow vs. Kenny Li
~ Kenny Li, aka the tall version of Kaval, or better yet someone who wishes he had the talent of Kaval. I guess Li is alright in the ring, Marlow on the other hand has been in development for a while and I have not seen too much singles action from him. The match ended up being alright and
(3) Derrick Bateman vs. Bobby Dutch
~ Bateman is another you may recognize from the current season of NXT and he has done well for himself in FCW, he has win over the current champion and shows a lot of prowess in pro wrestling in general. Dutch hasfound himself to be at an odd place being bigger but not having too much to offer early on, though now he has recently undertook another change in character into a more aggressive talent.
(4) FCW Tagteam Championship Match: Xavier Woods & Wes Brisco [c] vs. Brodus Clay & Jackson Andrews
~ The breakout talents of Woods and Brisco, like I mentioned above, two men who seem to not be the same talent wise but have come together as a strong team. This match shows that considering they are against the two of the biggest men in FCW they can hold their own.
Episode TV Date 12/19/2010
(1) Jack Brisco Classic FCW 15 Minutes (Iron Man Match): Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal
~ Aksana Show w/ “The Queen of FCW” Rosa Mendez
(2) Jacob Novack vs. Percy Watson
~ Watson is known as the fun loving guy, out to have show the fans a show and of course if you remember him in NXT he has not changed one bit. Novack is different, maybe a mix of Ziggler and Triple H if I could say this.
(3) Connor O’Brien & Col. Damien Sandow vs. Marcus Owens & Big E. Langston
(4) Non-title match: Mason Ryan vs. Byron Saxton
~ Saxton is the the main heel right now in FCW and I guess you can label Ryan as the misused champion who is aiming to rectify his past and finally shut up the big mouth of Saxton.
Episode TV Date 12/26/2010
(1) Big E Langston vs. Brad Maddox
(2) Donnie Marlow vs. Michael Tarver
(3) Lucky Cannon vs. Peter Orlov
~ This is a rematch from a couple shows back.
(4) 6 Man Tag Team Match: Abraham Washington, Bo Rotundo, and FCW Champion Mason Ryan vs. Byron Saxton and FCW Tagteam Champions Col. Damien Sandow and Titus O’Neill
If you like what I am pursuing and have any questions or inquiries, please feel free to send me an email at PuroSpirit@gmail.com or you can send me a tweet at twitter.com/PuroresuSpirit