By Big D (from www.wrestlingobserver.com/www.f4wonline.com and www.angrymarks.com)
Alright so we are back for yet another Florida Championship Wrestling Television Taping report in South Tampa. The things that Steve Keirn and Dr. Tom Prichard are doing down here is great and really something that will help the business thrive in the future. Veterans who want the business to live forever is something everybody can like. Indeed, the WWE Developmental system continues to grow with another taping, which turned out to be the most fun taping I've been to yet!
FCW Diva Angela is back. She introduces BK Brian Kelly and Dusty Rhodes to do the commentary and off we go again.
Match #1: DH Smith and TJ Wilson (The Canadian Bulldogs) defeated "The Natural" Nick Nemeth and "Campus Legend" Brad Allen. This was about as satisying an opener as you can ask for. All four men worked very hard here. TJ started the match hot but soon got worked over by the heels. I've got to give these guys all the credit in the world, for a buncha "developmental" guys, they had the crowd eating out of their hands here for the hot tag. Finally TJ makes the hot tag to young Harold Smith who runs wild. Harry blocks a crossbody into a powerslam for a nearfall. Crowd went ballistic here. The finish was one of the most awesome double-team finishers I've seen in a long time. DH Smith sets you up for like a Hart-Attack type maneuver (lifting you up bear-hug-style), then TJ does a springboard Blockbuster ala Kenny King and gets the pinfall. Crowd went psycho for the finish. THAT is how you do a freaking opener on a wrestling show.
Sheamus comes out and cuts a promo claiming that the "Irish Curse" has hit Florida Championship Wrestling. Lots of "What" chants here. This crowd was much hotter than last week. Sheamus basically says he wants the FCW Southern Title, which is good because in order for a championship to mean something, everybody has to want it.
Match #2: Sheamus defeated Greg Jackson. Greg Jackson is one of those guys who I've ribbed a little bit in my reports about not really having a character and not sticking out. Well he opened my eyes in this match when it comes to his work-rate. I haven't gotten the chance to see him work singles and he's very good at singles. The match started out back and forth until Sheamus quickly took advantage. Crowd chanted "you need sunscreen", making it the most fun FCW crowd I have been in front of since the first taping. Sheamus began to dominate and hold Greg down with a half nelson. The man has a very thick base so his power moves actually look like they are hurting, which is always a plus. Greg makes a comeback but gets caught in Sheamus' clothesline/spinebuster combo for the pin. This match was another great one.
Angela introduces Edge. TREMENDOUS ovation for Edge, despite him being a heel. Edge quickly tried to heel the crowd but it failed. Tampa loves Edge too much. Edge cuts the exact same promo that every WWE superstar cuts when they appear on FCW, pointing out that it's the future of the business and that these guys will be competing on the WWE brand one day. I've heard this before. Edge is about to call out an FCW wrestler, but forgets his name. He then pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket and remembers its "Handsome" Heath Miller!
So Heath Miller comes out and confronts Edge. If you've read my previous FCW reports, you'll know I've compared Heath's look to Edge circa-1998. He has the same tights, similar hair, the same walk, the same maneurisms, everything. He's like the third Edgehead. Crowd chants "You're Not Edge" at Heath, even though he's the face. As I said, Edge is very much loved in Tampa. Heath puts Edge over as being his idol. He says he's fearless, especially since he will be stepping into Hell in a Cell with Undertaker. Heath credits Edge as being the reason for him getting in the business. That's obvious. Edge starts to poke fun at his geekyness and tells him to relax and take deep breaths. This... was great. Edge rules. Edge snaps and starts to chew out Heath in his face. He says he does not deserve to be in his presence and he hopes that by the time Heath does make it to the main roster that he won't be there. Edge then leaves and Heath looks heartbroken.
Match #3: "Handsome" Heath Miller defeated Stu Sanders. This match starts out with your basic wrestling. Heath went for a dropkick and didn't touch him, but Stu sold like he did. Fail. Stu then attacks Heath with strikes. Lots of back and forth punches and kicks, which quite frankly didn't exactly put the crowd in a frenzy. Stu starts to focus on Heath's back and work that over for the majority of the match. Heath then makes a comeback and hits an awesome FLYING Russian Legsweep for the pin. It's like he dives into you and takes you down. Great finisher and another good match.
Match #4: Drew McKintyre wrestled Jay Bradley to a no-contest. Drew comes out dressed in a kilt now. Well he may have had one before and I just didn't notice. To my knowledge, this is heel versus heel, which explains why the crowd was completely dead for this match. Three good matches and this made everybody sit on their hands. They went back and forth and it was tough to keep track of who was who, but at least Jay Bradley wore a colorful ring jacket to the ring, which is important when it comes to standing out. So they worked each other over or whatever until Afa comes out and attacks Jay Bradley. They are apparently feuding, and apparently the feud started at one of the FCW house shows in New Port Richie. So Afa attacks him and a bunch of refs and babyfaces come out. Naturally you'd assume this is a DQ in favor of Bradley, but no, the referee rules it a no-contest. Huh?
Match #5: Shawn Spears defeated Kevin Kiley. This was really a nothing match just used to get Spears over. Not long at all. Spears won a neckbreaker, then cut a somewhat boring promo afterwards. I can tell you Spears is close to being ready, but he has that Randy Orton/Ted Dibiase Jr. look that is a bit overdone in WWE.
Time for Intermission
Match #6: The Bella Twins defeated Roucka and "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix. The Bella Twins is a gimmick I believe has all kinds of potential. We've seen a bunch of twins come and go in the business (The Harris Brothers, the Ballards, etc) but we've never seen Twin females make an impact. I think WWE can do all kinds of fun angles with the gimmick. Anyways, the Bella Twins are still sort of green in my opinion and this match showed it. Beth Phoenix might be a big wide-based woman, but to deny she is attractive is ludicrous. Beth was very over as well. So the heels team on the Bellas, hot tag, typical tag formula. One of the Bella Twins (I can't tell them apart obviously) rolls up Roucka for a pin. After the match, Beth beat the crap out of both of them and lifted them up, stacked both of them on her shoulders, and did a huge samoan drop. Beth is freakishly strong.
CM Punk comes out and does, like everybody else, put over FCW and the talents, including Colt Cabana, which sturred a "Second City Saints" chant. Punk says that WWE does not demand that their workers go to FCW; they volunteer. I did not know that. Crowd went absolutely ape for Punk. Dusty then gets up and puts Punk over and says he is happy to see him make it to be World Heavyweight Champion. He then invites Punk to come sit with him in the broadcast booth and call the next match with him, which Punk agrees to.
Match #7: Black Pain defeated Colt "Boom Boom" Cabana. Colt Cabana comes out and waves to Punk, distracting Black Pain. Colt then rushes Black Pain and jumps on his back. For those who don't know, Black Pain is a gigantic dark-skinned wrestler with a mask, harking back to the days of monsters like Kamala and the Warlord. Colt rushes the guy but gets thrown down like a ragdoll. Pain slaps on a bear hug for a long time. Colt makes a small comeback but gets caught in a Catatonic-like move for the win. Yup... it's over just like that. Match went around five minutes and was essentially a squash. Why does Colt Cabana lose every week? So after the match, they teased Black Pain attacking Colt, but Punk rushes from the announce table and starts to duke it with the giant. He then hits the Go 2 Sleep.
Punk then helps Colt up. Huge "Second City Saints" chant. Crowd is going ballistic. Punk raises Colt's hand. WWE MUST put them together on television when they bring Colt up.
Match #8: Tyrone Jones defeated Kafu. I read in the Observer that Tyrone is about to be brought up in an MMA gimmick. Well that was in full effect here. Tyrone came out with red tights and red MMA gloves. They started the match with light striking, very much resembling a UWFI match. Nobuhiko Takada would be proud. Tyrone and Kafu laid the stiff kicks and open hand slaps to each other and quickly hit the ground. Shortly thereafter, Kafu hits an armdrag and Tyrone hits a bodyslam, which ends our "MMA" portion of the match. Tyrone hits a full-nelson driver, which looked sloppy. Tyrone then finished Kafu with a T-Bone suplex, landing Kafu on his head.
Match #9: Sinn Bowdee and Sterling Jack Gabriel defeated FCW Florida Tag Team Champions Eric Perez and Eddie Colon in a Non-Title Match. This was a damn good tag team match for developmental. Everybody worked hard and everything made sense. Eddie, as usual, started the match with his assortment of cartwheels and flippy-doo moves. Some back and forth tags until Bowdee and Gabriel get the advantage. They cut the ring off and work over Eddie Colon for a long time. Bowdee and Gabriel make a very strange juxtaposition. One is a "Carnival Freak" and the other looks like a "Top Gun" Graduate with a Chris Masters body. Eddie tagged in Eric, who ran wild. Sinn Bowdee used a move that JP Burger called "Hipatullabella" if I heard him correctly, which is like a fisherman's buster into a DDT while keeping a body-lock on. Yeah, it's hard to describe. He only gets 2 because Eddie broke up the pin. Bowdee then used a variation of A-Train's Trainwreck (Overhead Gutwrench Backbreaker Drop) for the win. I couldn't see the finish too well here, but I was told that's what he used. It is a non-title match, so Perez and Colon keep the straps.
Match #10: FCW Florida Champion Jake Hager defeated Gabe Tuft to retain the title. Angela introduced Jake as a Two-Time All American. For those who don't remember, they built this match up last week when James Curtis was "injured" at the hands of Jake Hager. Apparently I have indeed been.. heh... WORKED, because I legit thought it was a serious injury and they went home too soon because of it. Then I tune into ECW this week and THERE HE IS. They freakin got me. Dammit. At least it looked real cause I've been around and it's tough to get me. Anyways, Curtis accompanied Tuft to the ring, but left as the match progressed. Jake Hager is a big power freak. The two go back and forth to start out and Gabe quickly starts to work Hager's arm. Jake quickly starts to mow Gabe down with power maneuvers. Jake's offense is composed of mauling people and power moves, and he makes it look as real as possible when he does it. More back and forth action until Gabe makes the big babyface comeback. Curtis comes back and gets on the apron. Jake irish whips Gabe into Curtis, knocking him off the apron. This allows Hager to roll up Gabe for the pin. Hager wins again! 64-0 I believe.
Afterward, Gabe stares down Cutris. Heel turn a-cometh? Perhaps.
Angela wishes us a good day as the show ends.
- CM Punk was signing autographs at the booth.
- Overall this was the most fun FCW show I've been to since the first. Lots of effective angles, a hot crowd, and about four-to-five very good matches.
- Angela DID NOT announce any WWE talent for next week. So as of right now, it looks like no WWE talent next week, but that could change during the week.
- I spoke to some people there and asked about television (as I do every week). The negotiations for a television outlet are still forthcoming and the shows are pretty much guaranteed to be one hour shows. There are about six to eight (depending on editing) complete shows in the can and ready to air. From what I understand, when they start airing the shows, rather than begin with the 7/17 Taping (Debut show at the FCW Arena), they may begin with a more recent taping and keep those in the can for analysis. I really don't know and apparently nobody else does either. It's STILL "coming soon". Jeez.
For more information on the WWE Developmental, check http://www.fcwwrestling.com.