Considering FCW is only an hour show because of commercial breaks every week, fitting in a half an hour match into one show was risky. FCW did suffer a bit because of it, only giving us three wrestling matches. The matches were great themselves, it just meant there was no plot development for the show that as late seems to have less plot for the characters. It’s becoming less like NXT and more like Superstars, where every week we have to rely a bit more on the commentators. This is not a complete complaint, but I like plot with my shows.
4. William Regal and Jim Ross on commentary
This is my second favorite commentary team that I get to see on a semi-regular basis. Ross is not what he used to be on the mic but he definitely has the enthusiasm and enjoyment when he’s out there. He has a passion for what is going on in the ring, and it shows. Regal has found a groove for the mic and knows how to play off of Ross’s weaknesses and vice versa. Excellent team for this show.
3. Raquel Diaz vs. Audrey Marie vs. Paige
I debated between this one being 2 or 3 for a few minutes, but a reasonable argument made this number 3. Audrey Marie, who is my least favorite in FCW and still more preferred than quite a few divas already brought up in the WWE, holds her own against two women who can wrestle circles around her. Much to my surprise there is no interference from Sofia during this match despite the fact that she accompanied Paige to the ring. Which made Paige’s win over Raquel even better. Raquel went for the pin on Audrey Marie and as she tried to ready herself, Paige slid in and got Raquel’s shoulders down which gave the win to Paige after a three count. Beautifully mastered, as many of the diva matches seem to end with a slight or trick in some way.
On a side note, I believe they are slowly trying to turn Raquel face. She went from dark diva of the Ascension to slowly making her a valley girl with blonder hair and a bubbly personality. It would make sense to bring her up as a face, even though her mother is Vickie who is the perfect heel. Raquel would be welcomed, just because of who her father is, and it would be a great time to get more heat on Vickie if Raquel decides to play good girl.
Other side note, they could totally put Paige with the Ascension now. That scream works for the craziness that comes from those guys.
2. Antonio Cesaro vs. Richie Steamboat
During this episode the two of them were going for a 30 minute challenge, even though it’s the Jack Brisco 15 minute challenge. They had already done 20 minutes, but sure, let’s go with 30. 10 minutes into it, Cesaro was gassed. 20 minutes into it he almost looked ready to quit. Cesaro was not made for a 30 minute match, and it showed. The reason this one beat out the divas was the reason I was going to give the divas 2. The trick at the end was great, but this match actually had quite a few of them. Once again, at the end, they were 2 to 2, with Cesaro getting two solid pins on Steamboat, while Steamboat’s two had been almost flukes. The third and last pin, unsurprisingly, we to Steamboat, who retained the 15 Minute Championship.
1. Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton vs. Leo Kruger and Brad Maddox
Before this I had said to Chris, “I hope this episode has Mike Dalton.” Mike Dalton comes out. Chris tells me, “Well, they are getting the show started right away for you.” Then JR says, “Wasting no time getting started this week-” It was a fun moment. Dalton goes up against my other favorite guy in this episode with Kruger and I just cheer for everybody. I knew how it would end, just because Jordan is the man with the least amount of push in the match, though he had just beaten Sandow. Jordan was pinned by Brad Maddox but it didn’t make him look bad. In fact, everyone in this match looked incredible.
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