FCW continues to be the show to watch. Faces tap out to submissions, the matches dominate the show, but you are never left out with story that carries on from week to week. There are still some downsides to FCW, Briley Pierce continues to manage to be the least interesting man on the show and Matt Martlaro as a commentator makes my ears want to bleed. Luckily this week Byron Saxton returned to put on a good show on commentating. Byron Saxton has the voice and the ability.
4. Husky Harris vs. Leo Kruger vs. Richie Steamboat
This matches end was predictable in that you knew who was going to win. Despite that the three of them actually put on a good show. If you read this regularly you know that I am not a fan of Husky Harris. This week’s episode was by far my favorite performance from him I’ve seen since his debut on NXT (since I did not see his debut on FCW). Harris finally lived up to what the commentators are always saying about him and it was good to see. It did not win me over completely, I’m still not a fan, but I can say he helped make this match an incredible showing. Leo Kruger and Richie Steamboat are incredible in the ring as well. Steamboat still seems awkward on the microphone but all of that can be forgotten while he’s moving in the ring while Kruger is ace all around.
3. Seth Rollins vs. Damien Sandow
This rematch so Rollins can regain his Jack Brisco 15 Minute Championship was so well timed I’m not sure if one of the bigger shows could have pulled it off. Rollins is attacked before ever getting into the ring by Antonio Cesaro and Rollins still goes into the ring and fights with a sore ankle. Rollins sells. Wonderfully. Rollins wins the first pinfall, Sandow the second with a submission. There are three seconds left on the clock, Rollins has Sandow down, 3, 2, Wu… The question becomes did the three count happen before or after the bell for the challenge to end? Once it comes to that it’s obvious how the story is going to end but it’s still an exciting moment as you hold your breath to figure out if Rollins regained his title or if Sandow retained. At the end of this Cesaro takes a mic and tells Rollins he is after him and once he finishes with him he’s gone. Foreshadowing for when Cesaro will be brought up to the main roster?
Aksana is in a tag team match with Caylee Turner against Cameron Lynn and the FCW Divas Champion Audrey Marie. Aksana is the current Queen of FCW, which seems like a more fun title for women since she walks around with a crown on her head. This entire match shocks me because Cameron Lynn does not come out wearing the thick blonde wig or acting like a general idiot. It’s a quick realization she is a pretty lady and has good moves. But this match is a showcase of Queen against Divas Champ and the Queen proves that she’s worthy. Aksana is brutal in the ring while still looking like a sensual being. She has a dark Goth look that works well for her and between these four women they show what a divas match could or should be. The reason Aksana is really the only one who gets the mention instead of the whole group is she outshone them all. This match was an Aksana showcase as it well should have been. She’s beautiful and good. She is no longer the blonde woman hoping to win NXT with Goldust’s help.
No one who reads my blogs will be surprised I chose Ascension. I am slightly obsessed with this group, and for good reason. Ascension starts off this particular FCW with a threeway match of the male members of Ascension (Conor O’Brian, Tito Colon, and Kenneth Cameron) versus Mike Dalton, Jason Jordan, and Colin Cassady. From the moment they enter Ascension is a dessert for the senses. They are well choreographed and have the look down perfectly. While they fight their sad opponents Raquel Diaz stands to the side, once again with a mic hidden under her hair so you can hear the way she commands these three men. When Raquel tells them, “NOW!” they do what needs to be done that instance. Her maniacal laughter and delight at watching her men destroy their opponents adds to the general ill at ease feeling that is meant to be felt when Ascension steps out.
This episode of FCW is brought to you by Ascension with a smattering of Ambrose.
4. Damien Sandow vs. Seth Rollins
This battle is for the Jack Briscoe Fifteen Minute Championship. Really easy to figure out. Whoever has the most pinfalls or submissions at the end of the fifteen minutes wins the title. Seth Rollins was the first champion and has held it for ten months straight. This was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing Rollins wrestle on FCW and sadly he loses, though it is by no fault of his own. In fact, it is reason number 3.
3. Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose does creepy like no one before him. He’s greasy, he wears dirty clothing, and you have to wonder if he would pass a wellness test. His first appearance of the night is during the battle between Sandow and Rollins. He interferes and costs Rollins the Championship. His next appearance leads to the storyline between number 2.
2. William Regal
In case you have no actually been paying attention a few weeks ago there was a match between William Regal and Dean Ambrose. Finally on television is the build up. First Regal is called away without reason, and replaced with Eden Stiles on commentary. Then during the match between Husky Harris and Richie Steamboat he comes running out with general manager Maxine to break up the fight that has erupted between the two after Harris knocks down a referee. When Maxine is knocked down Regal goes to check on her and while the rest of the men who came out to pull Harris and Steamboat apart Ambrose stares at Regal with that crazed look he gets. Ambrose listens to his voices well and runs in to attack Regal. After the two separate Maxine gets her own crazed look on her face, one of pure malicious pleasure as she begins to hatch a plan.
I loved the Ascension before I began watching FCW. Now that I can watch it every week I want to crawl through my television and touch these people. Five promos and one match. I should be bored with them. Instead I still have chills every time they appear on the screen. Their match this week is Conor O’Brian vs. Colin Cassady. The members of Ascension have such electricity and energy between the four of them that they bring the watcher’s attention from anything else simply to them. Conor is solid in the ring and the others make a great distraction. To continue with their characters they put Raquel Diaz on a mic that his mostly hidden by her hair so that you can hear every word she says to Conor, as these three men are meant to do what she tells them to do. This is the perfectly rounded group we should be seeing on Raw or Smackdown, but FCW has it and they alone are worth watching for.
I was only going to do my four favorite things about FCW. FCW decided to make it very hard on me. Because four almost seems like a small number. This was a show filled with names you might recognize and names you need to look into. The Fink is your ring announcer for the evening and the first person he introduces is Ricardo Rodriguez, who insists he should introduce himself. The show only goes up from there.
4. The Ascension
There are two Ascension promos during this week’s episode of FCW. Two! I get shivers as this group shows their video promos. There is no one in this group not right for the part. I could watch them every moment of FCW. I could watch a television show just based off of this group. Hell, make this group a movie. They have personality, the look, and the moves. Unfortunately we don’t get to see the moves during this particular episode of FCW, but the promos are enough to keep you wondering and hoping for the next time.
3. Erik Rowan vs. Big E Langston
Erik Rowan came out and I can’t say I was ready to take this man seriously. Tall, bald, with a bushy red beard that was verging on Knoxian territory. I cringed and wondered how this man was going to work in the ring. Out came his opponent Big E Langston who I did not have much faith in either at first glance. Another large black man with Zeke like proportions. I was ready for a slow bout. I was wrong. This was an entertaining match between two large, strong men who were moving quicker through the ring than they had any right to. Watching Rowan pick up Langston had my mouth dropping and watching Langston turn much of it around on Rowan was awing. They had the moves and I now want to see them again.
2. Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Leakee
I have only started watching FCW in the last few weeks, so despite knowing Rodriguez was on FCW I had yet to see his moves. Being the opening match I did not have a build to his match but that was not needed. Rodriguez took center stage, introduced himself, and then out came Laekee, another member of the Anoa’I family. These two had chemistry and practice and were entertaining to watch together. I would have liked to have heard more from Leakee because then I might have been more excited when he won.
1. Leo Kruger vs. Husky Harris
I am not a big fan of Husky Harris. In fact I am not a fan at all. I did not like him on NXT and I do not like him at FCW. Why, then, does he rate as the partial number one on my list? Leo. Kruger. I would have made number one Leo Kruger to begin with if the match had not been solid and kept my interest the entire time. I enjoy Leo Kruger. He speaks well, he has smarmy down, and I do so enjoy smarmy, and the title looks good on him. Leo Kruger keeping his title had me jumping in my seat. I could have watched the entire show just for him and been happy, but luckily FCW provides entertainment consistently.
Other great things about this episode that did not make my top four was Kaitlyn and Caylee Turner (Alicia Fox’s little sister). Kaitlyn continues to show improvement in the ring and that she is the dominant strong woman of FCW and is at least in the running for number two on the WWE main roster. Caylee, while looking like her sister seems to have a softer appearance but moves that could still be just as strong.
William Regal is part of the announce team of FCW and is always entertaining. As he showed with his comment about Antonio Cesaro, “About the only thing to ever come out of Switzerland with any aggression about it.”
Speaking of Antonio Cesaro, this was his first match on FCW televised. Unfortunately he did not make it into my top four, and there is a reason for it. While Mr. Antonio Cesaro (as The Fink announced him) was entertaining and seemed to be enjoying himself in the ring it was the most predictable match of the night. He went up against Mike Dalton, who I had no idea who he was, and all we could think was this was the FCW guy who loses. We were right. Still, Cesaro made a good first showing and I look forward to seeing him again.
Other appearances of the night were Briley Pierce, Richie Steamboat, Naomi, Cameron Lynn, Byron Saxton, Percy Watson, Titus O’Neil, Maxine, Aksana, and Brad Maddox. FCW