FCW TV taping report from last night with WWE stars

07/17/08 Florida Championship Wrestling TV Taping Report

By Big D

WWE's developmental Florida Championship Wrestling had their second official TV Taping (I believe) down at the "FCW Arena" in South Tampa, Florida. The week before, FCW did a good job of introducing (and in my case, re-introducing) the young talent and their characters to the Tampa market. This week, though a much smaller and lower profile show, they still worked hard in an effort to prepare for the big leagues. There was a much smaller crowd this week, which actually helped in my opinion. No Cena or Flair and no WWE officials this time around, so I was relieved to not experience the same stress and chaotic experience of my first go-round.

We opened with a brand new ring announcer girl, who's name I believe to be Jenny. The accoustics in the building were a little bit off and she flubbed up once or twice, but hey, better than Mighty Ox (I'm just kidding Ox, you were honestly better and more enthusiastic!). The ring announcer introduced the commentary team, which has now slightly changed. It is now Brian Kelly and the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, as Kelly replaces Todd Grisham.

Match #1: FCW Florida Tag Team Champions Eddie Colon and Eric Perez defeated Vic Adams and Charles Evans in a non-title match. Eddie and Eric won the FCW Tag belts last week in the main event, but didn't have to defend them on this occasion. As I said in my last report, Adams and Evans are like a heel Cryme Tyme - two large, yet quick, black guys, dressed in a shirt and jeans. These men are large. These are the kind of guys you don't wanna run into in an alley. So the match began with some scientific wrestling. Eddie is lightning fast. A part of me wants WWE to keep Carlito around just to see him work with his brother. Adams and Evans cut them off and started to go to work. They got the heat for a long time and then worked over a full-nelson spot. Adams and Evans are monsters - this full nelson looked legitimately painful. That's the idea of pro wrestling; you make it seem as real as possible without really hurting anybody. Anyways, hot tag was made to Eric who started to go to work and got the pin with a TKO (Marc Mero's old finisher). Pretty decent opener.

Match #2: Drew McIntyre defeated "Handsome" Heath Miller. This match was freaking awesome. This was fast paced, crisp, and very exciting for pretty much the entire duration. A few may remember Drew from his very brief WWE stint. Apparently they've sent him back to developmental to improve. He certainly has. Heath Miller faced FCW Champion Jake Hager last week and was defeated in a hard-fought match. Heath reminds me a lot of a circa-1998 Edge, with a similar hair style, similar tights, and overall similar maneurisms. He acts like the "cool guy", but is all business. At one point, Drew hits an absolutely NASTY spinebuster on Heath. I thought it was over. Anyways, Heath worked babyface and Drew worked heel and finished him off with a fallaway slam into an X-Factor. Great finisher and a very fun match.

Match #3: Afa defeated Colt Cabana. This was easily the best match of the night up until the last two. I was looking forward to this match before it even started and let me say I was definitely NOT displeased. Not only is Afa now doing almost all of Umaga's moves and maneurisms, but he does his pose now too. Oh well, I guess they're family so it's alright. Colt began with his usual comedy routine which is MANY BUYS~!. I'm happy FCW allows Colt to incorporate the European style into his wrestling - WWE more-often-than-not tries to deprogram guys when they come in. Colt is still Colt, and that's what makes him a valuable performer. Afa quickly gained the advantage and began to use the Umaga offense. In my humble opinion, Afa is ready. Put him in a tag team with Umaga as the New Wild Samoans and let them run loose destroying people. That's many buys to me. Anyways, Afa regains control and Colt teases making a comeback several times (the Ricky Steamboat formula) but fails. Afa gets on top and lands an absolutely spectacular flying splash for the 3 count. Thank you Dusty for the use of clean finishes.

Match #4: Gabe Tuft, Kevin Kiley, and Greg Jackson defeated Stu Sanders, Mike Kruel, and "Carnival Freak" Sinn Bowdee in a six-man tag match. It's very hard to screw up a six-man tag, and these guys definitely did not. I'm very impressed with the level of in-ring talent in developmental considering a lot of times, guys are green. I'm not so sure everybody is "ready" for WWE TV, but from what I've seen, they're making strides at LEAST. This was a pretty fun six-man tag. The one thing I do have to say though, and it really isn't about the match, and no offense to any of these guys, but most of them are generic as hell. The majority of the guys in this match are just white guys with wrestling trunks on. Nothing really stands out. Killer Kowalski Rule #1: make the people notice you. The only one of these guys who really stands out to me is Sinn Bowdee. For those who haven't seen him (check for a pic), he is a burly guy with ridiculously bizarre, yet artistic, tattoos all over his body and facial features resembling Freebird MIchael Hayes. He has that dirty blonde beard and long hair, but it's really his facials that sell the borderline insanity fo the character. I think Sinn Bowdee "gets it" when it comes to having a gimmick that people will look at, which is probably he was the most over performer in this match tonight. Lots of nearfalls in this one near the finish. Gabe Tuft scores the pinfall over Bowdee with a sloppy-looking neckbreaker.

At this point, the new ring announcer introduces Playmate Maria. Screw HD, Maria is indeed much more attractive in person than on television. No TV can capture that. Anyways, Maria cuts the same promo that everybody else cut last week about the hard-working up-and-coming talent in FCW. She then introduces Armani Lee, who is apparently new to FCW. After a little bit of this or that, he calls out Dave Batista. Huge pop for the Animal. Batista then gets in the ring and puts over Lee and says they have been good friends for a long time. They hug. Total 1980s way to put somebody over, but it worked here. Soon after, Sheamus came out. Sheamus gets the mic and says that he is sick and tired of all these "WWE Superstars" coming down to FCW and taking his spotlight. He pushes Batista. Batista smiles at him while Seamus is ready to fight. Batista boots Sheamus in the belly and prepares to hit a Batista Bomb, but Sheamus escapes. As he is escaping, he doesn't see Armani Lee, who tosses him back in. Batista then spinebusters him to hell. That's the end of that.

Intermission. It was announced that next week, FCW's special guests will be WWE Women's Champion Mickie James, MVP, and Kane.

Match #5: Tyrone Jones defeated Lupe Martinez. With all due respect to Lupe - you got squashed buddy. Other than two or three offensive maneuvers here and there, Tyrone controlled the whole match. Tyrone's offense mainly consisted of punches... and punches... and more punches. Alright now, I understand Tyrone Jones' gimmick is that he is a quasi-MMA shoot fighter who strikes a lot, but if you're going to do a quasi-squash, it's gotta be quasi-fast and you gotta ring the bell very early... like Quasimoto. But this really dragged on and quite frankly got boring. No Buys. Tyrone wins with a back suplex.

Afterwards, Tyrone cuts a promo and says he is going to destroy FCW. Ok.

Match #6: Joe Hennig defeated Jay Bradley. Joe Hennig was involved in an angle last week with Chris Jericho and Nick Nemeth, setting up a feud between the two. This was my first chance to see Joe in action and you wanna talk about channeling a spirit! Joe Hennig, in the ring, while he isn't as defined as Curt Hennig was in his heyday, there's no doubting the similarities. He wore very similar yellow tights, he used the same offensive moves as Curt (the rolling snapmare and big right hand) and most importantly: HE SOLD LIKE CURT. Remember in the old days when Curt used to get punched in the face by Nick Bockwinkle and more recently Kevin Nash, and would sell like he was hit by Jack Dempsey? That's how Joe did it. He flopped around like crazy and bumped like mad and I loved it. The finish of this was awesome. Bradley went for a kick to the stomach and Joe grabbed it, hooked the leg, hooked the neck, PERFECTPLEX. 1...2....3. Phenomenal. Joe wrestled that match "perfectly", even though the early moments were not-so perfect.

Match #7: The Bella Twins defeated Alicia Fox and Roucka via disqualification. Eh... I'm not so sure about this one. For those who don't remember, Alicia Fox is indeed the girl who Edge tried to fornicate with last week. At the risk of being accused of being racist: every woman in this match had a very nice posterior, but that's neither here nor there. Anyways, lots of groundwork early on. Roucka looks like a bigger, thicker Melina. Sort of like Melina's look with Beth Phoenix's body. They did a pretty decent job here, but they really did not give the match enough time for me to give you a clear-cut opinion on their work. You see, Nattie Neidhart showed up at ringside (huge pop by the way) and she just ran in and attacked the Bella Twins. At first, I didn't know what was going on and nothing really made sense, which is bad. She grabbed one twin and hit a NASTY German Suplex. This poor girl landed on her neck and it did not look pretty. I mean this was GROSS. Then she grabs the other Bella Twin and puts her in the sharpshooter and NOW the ref calls for the bell. This didn't make any damn sense. Zero buys on this one.

Match #8: FCW Florida Champion Jake Hager defeated TJ Wilson. I've said it before and I will say it again - TJ Wilson is ready. Hager might not be ready, but he's damn close. This match was freaking awesome. TJ Wilson's offense consists of stiff leg kicks and flying kicks. He's been watching his 1980s Tiger Mask tapes I see. Hager is just a beast. TJ starts off with throwing said kicks and they worked it like Hager had been caught off guard. Hager soon gained the advantage and started to beat TJ down and get the heat. Hager had great facials here, looking quite pissed. I'm thinking maybe Hager was legitimately upset because the DirecTV feed for the Great American Bash PPV on Sunday at the Press Box Sports Bar in South Tampa was screwed up and didn't air the PPV until 10, so we all had to leave. That sucked quite a bit. This match really heated up near the end. TJ hit a nasty looking spinkick for 2. I thought this may have been the finish because you could hear the crack from the kick echo in the building. Hager regained his composer and hits the Gutwrench for another 2 count. False-finishes galore - I love it. Finally they wind up on the top rope and TJ sets him up for a superplex or something but Hager holds on and hits a modified Blue Thunder Driver from the top for the pin. FREAKING PHENOMENAL~!~! Best match of the night in my book.

Match #9: The Hardy Boys defeated "The Natural" Nick Nemeth and Shawn Spears. Yes indeed the Hardy Boys not only made a special appearance on the FCW show, but also main evented. Crowd went nuts for the Hardys, as expected. They went back and forth early on. Matt and Jeff tried their best to make it seem like Nemeth and Spears were on their level. They got the heat on Jeff soon after. So they beat on young Jeff for a long time. Jeff connected with a whisper in the wind from the corner. Hot tag made to Matt. Matt cleaned house (as is expected from a hot tag). We saw all of the Hardy's spots and double-team moves. Matt hits the goofy middle rope elbow drop and then the side effect. 2 count. Out from the back, "Campus Legend" Brad Allen comes out and tries to interfier. Nemeth hits the flying downward spiral, but only gets 2. Great near-fall~! More near-falls acometh. We see a roll-up Spears, but only 2. Matt hits a nice bulldog/clothesline combo on the heels. He then sets up with the Twist of Fate, Jeff comes off the top with the Swanton and that's all she wrote. This was really just like any other Matt and Jeff Hardy tag match, but it was great. Super hot crowd for it. After the match, Jeff and Matt went around ringside to greet the fans as we're shown the door until next week.


- Not a bad show overall. Definitely focused more on the in-ring wrestling than any major angles, contrary to last week which had many more. I'm anxious to hear Big Dust's commentary over the matches.

- As I said, much smaller crowd. Much more of a controlled and relaxing atmosphere. FCW is a mixture of a WWE show and an indy show. The building is small and cozy, but it has air conditioning and lights, so it's not like you're cramped up either.

- Ricky Ortiz was there as well as Ted Dibiase and Ted Dibiase Jr., but none worked the show.

- I am unsure as to whether or not this is a true TV taping. In speaking to the fans in the building, they all assumed (and with good reason) that it was indeed not taped for television because we really had NO ringside camera person and less lighting effects. Everything was taped from the hardcam (unless somebody was hidden; I didn't spot them). However, when I asked some FCW officialls, they all assured me that not only this, but EVERY show in that building, was being taped. Now they said taped, and then I retorted with "for television?" and they said "yes". Alrighty, I guess we will see.

- We still don't know when or where the TV will air.

- Batista and Maria were signing autographs. As I said earlier in the report, MVP, Mickie James, and Kane will be the special guests next week. I like how FCW is bringing in different WWE workers weekly, but I don't know how long it will last.

- Tickets were indeed sold out quick, but keep in mind they had been selling tickets at the last show as well as during certain times of the week. So it really wasn't as fast as you'd believe.

- I would like to give special thanks to PJ Burger (yes that is his real name) for helping me out with the names of some of the wrestlers. This guy makes FCW totally worth watching. He is excited and chanting at every match and angle and knows the product better than most people. So yeah, thanks for your help in the times of need. {plug}

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