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REVIEW: Florida Championship Wrestling TV for 5/8/11

by on May 12, 2011

I haven’t watched Florida Championship Wrestling (WWE’s developmental group) in a while, but I figure I probably should, considering these folks will be the future of WWE Superstars, a show I love (it sounds like a mean joke, but let’s be realistic: one out of every twenty of these guys/girls will get a real shot to make themselves something). Plus, the Richie Steamboat/Seth Rollins stuff is supposedly really fun to watch and they sound like a fun little handsome-boy babyface tag team.

I’m going to try and do this weekly unless the show’s bad or samey enough to drive me off forever. I cannot make any promises.

The opening intro starts with one of the coolest video layering effects I’ve seen anyone in the WWE production family use: a shot of Hunico doing his swanton through a zooming-out shot of the FCW logo.

FCW announcer Matt Martlaro starts the show at ringside to introduce his commentary partner for the evening, Natalya. So, William Regal’s been doing this show for weeks and the first show I decide to join in on features Natalya replacing him.

LEAKEE vs JAMES BRONSON
-Leakee is Sika the Wild Samoan’s kid. It’s pronounced “Lee-ah-key”, which sounds only slightly better than you’d originally think.
-Bronson is apparently doing some sort of masculine weirdo gimmick, with discussion on commentary of him wearing lipstick on his days off.
-Natalya referred to Bronson as “built in the front and stacked in the back”. I don’t even want to know what’s stacked on his back.
-Bronson really is about the most generic heel in the world, despite looking like Mad Dog Vachon on stilts. Very vocal wrestler, but it’s all the same things you hear most green bad guys scream (“C’MON! WHATCHA GONNA DO NOW, BOY!?!?”)
-Leakee wins with a flying forearm, which I think Matt Martlato called “THE Samoan Drop”. Get it? He’s a Samoan and he dropped Bronson. (I honestly probably just misheard him, but it’s funnier this way)

We go to a promo with Damien Sandow (the former Aaron “Idol” Stevens of 2006 Smackdown Teacher’s Pets tag team fame). They’re playing it off like it was live, but they cut from a brightly-lit arena with wrestlers in it to the lights being out and no one being in the ring. Anyway, I thought the last time I watched FCW, Sandow was doing some M. Bison gimmick with a weird accent, but he’s pretty much plain ol’ Aaron Stevens at this point, who talks about getting to ditch Titus O’Neal and their team after losing the FCW tag belts to Richie Steamboat and Seth Rollins.

We go backstage, where FCW General Manager Maxine is talking to FCW Champion Lucky Cannon (with his ridiculous robe from NXT), Brett DiBiase and Aksana. Maxine offers DiBiase and Cannon a shot at the FCW Tag Team Titles later on the show. AJ walks in the room with her FCW Divas belt and Maxine books her against Aksana next week, who reacts to this news in the most awesome way possible (“YOU SAY AKSANA!?!? Me? This is my forever dream!”). The skit ends with Aksana singing “Friday”. One really weird thing about FCW backstage skits is that they film them like sitcoms with multiple cameras and such. It throws you off.

JINDER MAHAL (w/Michael Tarver) vs KENNETH CAMERON
-Mahal is the new Indian dude on Smackdown. He cuts every “angry young WWE heel who just WANTS HIS CHANCE URGH!” promo ever before the match.
-Cameron looks like if Kyle O’Reilly and Scotty Riggs had a kid.
-Mahal’s picking apart Cameron’s leg throughout the match. At least they’re teaching the guys how to work a body part.
-Mahal busts out a painful-looking spot where he drapes Cameron’s leg over the edge of the apron and steps on the side of his ankle so the leg bends crookedly.
-They’re not even bothering to explain why Michael Tarver’s wandering around ringside, texting someone.
-I enjoyed Cameron’s second rope version of the Harley Race knee to the face, but man alive did it not make sense, considering he leaped off of the ropes with the bum knee.
-Mahal wins with the Roderick Strong fireman’s carry gutbuster.

We go to a Husky Harris promo. Xavier Woods (Consequences Creed) called him out last week, and Harris’ rebuttal is to tell a version of the awesome Braden Walker knock-knock joke. Harris is the second guy (Damien Sandow being the first) to cut a promo about becoming WWE Champion, not FCW Champion.  I hate to be Joe Internet, but it REALLY sucks that they script promos at WWE TV because Harris is a good talker.

HUSKY HARRIS vs XAVIER WOODS
-Harris just walked right to the ring from the interview stand and they brought up the lights, so I guess they do do the interviews live-to-tape after all.
-Woods looks about 30 pounds bigger from his TNA days. He’s far from a junior heavyweight.
-Woods really is a different wrestler, it seems like. He’s cut a lot of the bouncy footwork out of his game and moves more like a small American-style heavyweight.
-There was a SICK-looking spot where Harris reversed an Irish whip on Wood, took out his legs and sent him under the bottom rope with his throat hitting the rope on the way.
-Harris isn’t moving nearly as well as he was when he got put on NXT. Me thinks someone got frustrated when he was taken off TV.
-They announced on commentary that next week, Bo Rotundo (Husky’s brother) is wrestling in “The FCW Gauntlet 5”, where he has to wrestle in a six-man gauntlet (himself being #1) and if he wins, he gets a No Disqualification match with FCW Champion Lucky Cannon in the future.
-Husky wins with the Knox-Out/Shellshock after blocking a bodypress from Woods with the Asiatic Spike to the throat.

FCW Tag Team Championship: RICHIE STEAMBOAT & SETH ROLLINS (c) vs LUCKY CANNON & BRETT DiBIASE (w/Aksana & Maxine)
-Lucky Cannon looks minor league in FCW. That doesn’t bode well for his chances on WWE TV.
-Rollins really doesn’t look nearly as small as most indie guys do compared to WWE-sized wrestlers.
-There’s really something to the Rollins/Steamboat team. They have a charisma together that you don’t have with just two random guys thrown together.
-The Brad Maddox Reality Show is filming at ringside during the match.
-Rollins and Steamboat did a Motor City Machine Guns-style kick sequence early in the match, but the difference is that Steamboat realized where the referee was in his count, so he dove out of the ring to avoid a disqualification.
-They’re comparing Rollins to CM Punk on commentary, so someone down there sees the internet talking point.
-The heels are getting the heat on Rollins and each time he tries to break away for the hot tag, the heel in the corner does something to lay out Steamboat.
-Steamboat is a really good hot tag, but I guess you should expect that.
-Richie Steamboat pins Brett DiBiase with a superkick (which I cannot imagine he’d keep as a finish once he gets called up) in a pretty good match. It SUCKS that WWE doesn’t do the whole tag team deal anymore because if Rollins and Steamboat got called up together and were given a real chance, I think it’d be worth it.

Overall, it’s weird how much FCW never changes. The faces change often, but because of the WWE style being so samey, it results in a lot of the same type of matches. The one thing I like is that FCW seems to be preparing these guys for what they’d actually be doing on WWE TV (backstage skits, gimmick matches, long promos), so when they get up there, it’s not complete shellshock. I don’t think this show’s a complete lost cause, so I’ll be back sometime next week with another recap.

-TOM. 
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