FCW was back to an array of plotlines and matches this week unlike the past few weeks which seemed to only be filled with matches. I say only almost like it’s a bad thing, but FCW is good at giving you a plot that isn’t just abandoned (like last week’s accusation from Paige that Raquel once had wanted to be an anti-diva). This is only a Top 4 list so a few things had to be left off, including an Ohno promo that was pretty good but not as precise as the one from the week before and a Bray Wyatt match against Jiro which was terribly predictable since Wyatt is the one they are pushing. And it lacked Eli.
4. Summer Rae as GM
Summer Rae is exactly what her name suggests, a ray of absolute sunshine. Corny as that may be, she’s fun to watch and listen to and has this sultry quality to her voice even as she speaks in a super chipper, almost ditzy but yet clever, general manager. Maxine was the sensual woman who took her character of fooling around with others over the top and beyond. Summer Rae can get by on her attitude, her smarts, and let’s admit it, she looks like a school teacher fantasy with Rob Naylor as her student that eternally kisses his way to the top. Excellent combination for a new era of GM.
3. Dean Ambrose Promo
People who don’t even watch FCW are awaiting the moment he comes up to Raw or Smackdown, he’s become that big of a sensation already. There’s a reason for it. Tonight he cuts a promo with Rollins interrupting which promises a match between them soon (which sort of ruins the ending for a match coming up in the show, but still, this is an awesome promo). The hair makes the different to me. Anyone who reads my top 4 on Superstars knows I have a thing for certain hairstyles. He went away from the greasy, close to his head look and just seems more disheveled. It fits.
2. Richie Steamboat vs. Seth Rollins
This is the match you knew Rollins was going to win. Why else have Ambrose start a feud with him? Though that would have been a hilarious swerve I would have enjoyed. Steamboat’s great. Rollins is great. Together, they aren’t as great as they could be. Still, a decent match, and better than the Wyatt and Jiro match, but I think I expect so much more from these two and they didn’t deliver. When you hold someone in high esteem you hold them to certain levels. And, let’s be honest, nothing that happened on this episode of FCW was beating…
1. Jason Jordan vs. Leo Kruger
This might make it to match of the week status. Jason Jordan and Leo Kruger work off one another’s strengths, and weaknesses, giving this match a constant flow. Kruger starts off by offering Jordan the chance to leave the ring before the match beings, but Jordan chooses to stay in it, and thank goodness he did. There was a bit of ring around the rosy, much back and forth, Kruger’s, “Self-proclaimed King of Africa,” and Jordan’s smile. Kruger may have won this match, but Jordan made him work for it.
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.
FCW comes back and it could not have been a moment too soon. Two weeks without it, and having missed the part where Rollins won the championship from Kruger, yeah, I’m miffed! But it was back!
4. Regal and JR on commentary
I’ve often complained about Chris Russo on commentary, so when he leaves the booth so that during the 15 minute championship (which took 20 minutes on this particular night) JR can take over, I’m positively ecstatic. JR is not my favorite commentator, though he’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, and when given an option of so many others, I would choose him before most. Working in tandem with Regal just made this a winning pair. The downside to the commentating here, JR kept pronouncing it “Cesar” and not “Cesaro” until Regal oh-so-subtly corrected him.
3. Seth Rollins Promo
First, since the last two weeks were missing, this was an excellent chance for those who do not read up on spoilers on a regular basis to learn that Seth Rollins is the new champion! The audience also learned he has a high ankle sprain. The championship is starting to seem like a curse. Gain the title, and an injury. This promo, though, seems to prove Rollins is here to stay.
2. Antonio Cesaro vs. Richie Steamboat
I haven’t really been impressed with Cesaro despite improvements every week. The improvements were slow and it does not help when a million people are talking to you about how incredible someone is. Hype often can ruin someone for you. Tonight Cesaro refreshed my feelings on him and turned me into a believer! Steamboat paled in comparison, which is sad because I keep wanting Steamboat to succeed. However this was Cesaro’s time to shine and everything that he lacked before went up a few notches. Did not keep him from still not quite getting that title. This time.
1. Kenneth Cameron vs. Byron Saxton
I admit my biased towards Ascension willingly. After Scott Stanford, Derrick Bateman, and Tyler Reks, Ascension might be the next great thing for me. (I have weird taste) This match was cut short and I should be pouting about it because it never really was a full match, but Conor O’Brian returns and when the lights go out Cameron and O’Brian pull Saxton out and the match is no contest. Is Saxton going to become a part of Ascension? PLEASE?!
This episode of FCW was… lacking. It was not a bad episode, but it might have been my least favorite of the WWE shows this week and it is often on the first or second rung. You know it was not a great episode when I’m leaving matches off in favor of promos. The matches that were left off were Sofia Cortez vs. Audrey Marie. Sofia is amazing, but there was a botch that was really both women’s faults and Audrey Marie couldn’t afford to lose any more points in the ring. No matter how sexy she is, she’s still very green. I also left out the Big E Langston and Alexander Rusev vs. CJ Parker and Jason Jordan match. While three of the four are good in the ring the ending was one of those unbelievable endings (Parker pinned a struggling Rusev with a roll-up) that I had to cut it out. Byron Saxton was not on commentary this week which left Chris Russo (who is looking nerdier every week) and William Regal (who is always brilliant).
4. Kassius Ohno
Finally, Chris Hero, er, Kassius Ohno makes an appearance. Unlike what seems like the rest of the world I have never seen Ohno do anything outside of FCW. I’m not a fan of most of the smaller wrestling corporations, despite trying every week with something new. This leaves me a bit more open minded about wrestlers once they come in because I am being introduced to them with what they are going to try to be in the WWE. While others hate the name Kassius Ohno I think it’s just a lot of hating he had to change it in the first place. The man speaks well and announces to the audience that he does not plan on being in FCW for long. He reminds me of a slightly stragglier version of Thor, which is not a bad thing. I look forward to the next show where I get to see him in the ring.
3. Maxine is Fired
Why did I like this so much as a fan of Maxine? Maxine is working NXT and FCW, and it has to be a lot of work traveling between the two. Also, it’s time for one of the other ladies of FCW to take on a larger roll. It seems like they are going to go with Summer Rae, who as a character seems interesting. I love Maxine, and it is sad to see her go, but if it means an opportunity for someone else to move up and for Maxine to make a bigger impact over on one of the main rosters, I’m all for it. Though Norman Smiley did take too much pleasure in telling Maxine she was fired!
2. Kenneth Cameron vs. Colin Cassady
At first Saxton was introduced as Cameron’s opponent, but Saxton mentioned he is still recovering and unable to wrestle quite yet. Instead he is going to have Cameron face… Colin Cassady. I admit, I was disappointed when it was Cassady. I have not seen anything out of him yet that makes me stand up and cheer. I knew that Cassady was going to win this, though, and that he was going to have help from Saxton to do so. Wow, called it. Cassady did his best in this match and Cameron, for a man who looks rather lean, moves fast and has a strength I can’t comprehend. I am looking forward to the day Saxton climbs into the ring with him and this anger culminates.
1. Leo Kruger vs. Mike Dalton
I am slightly biased as Kruger is likely my favorite man currently in FCW. Dalton puts on such a great show when he is in the ring I can not believe that at one point I joked about him being the FCW jobber. Together, in an attempt for Kruger to win back the championship he lost, these two put on the best match of the show. Kruger ultimately wins his title back in this episode and we are left wondering what is going to happen next with Dalton.
Welcome to another edition of the FCW love fest. This time I’m going to start off with the things that did not make the list. First was a match with Antonio Cesaro and Alexander Rusev teamed up against the tag team champions, Husky Harris and Bo Rotundo. While not altogether a bad match it did focus entirely too much on Rusev who was just sloppy. At one point when he was holding his opponent down, and knew it was only supposed to be a two-count, he began getting off of him before the two was even counter. Next was a Dean Ambrose promo, which was excellent while he called out Regal once again and Regal stared him down. However, the matches were the more important aspect of the show and therefore Ambrose missed out by an inch. Last was a segment involving Abraham Washington. Yawn.
This brings us to what could not be left off of the list:
4. Sofia Cortez vs. Audrey Marie vs. Raquel Diaz
Audrey is a bit of a mess in the ring. She does dropkicks that only get to about waist-high and a lot of back-handed swats that make her seem like she’s shooing away a fly. Sofia and Raquel, on the other hand, are where the continuous improvement lies. When the two of them are fighting each other it is easy to forget Audrey Marie is out there and just enjoy the match. What forced this match, though, on the list when Dean Ambrose was left out was the ending. Raquel went to pin Audrey Marie, who kicked Raquel off of her, and over onto Sofia’s prone body where Raquel monopolized opportunity and pinned Sofia instead!
3. Kenneth Cameron vs. Jiro
I’ll admit the match itself was not the greatest. The ending was obvious, the match itself was obvious, and why do the two Japanese men in the company keep getting jobbed out? They are excellent wrestlers? But, on the other hand, I mark out every time Cameron steps out to the Ascension theme, and I get giddy as he holds the light in his hand before extinguishing it. Jiro ultimately loses in what is a near squash and then during this disappearance it is announced that Saxton has left the commentator table. Saxton reappears behind Cameron and takes the ethereal man out with a hard smack… and a roll of quarters. This is the first time since I began watching that it would appear anyone from Ascension had what could actually be dubbed a feud and I can’t wait for it to happen. For now Saxton is only at 65% healed (at least his sling says so and he remarks about it again later).
2. Mike Dalton vs. Leo Kruger
Where the endings of the last two matches on the list won them over, the ending of this match is what forced it to 2. No, I’m not whining because Mike Dalton won over Leo Kruger (maybe a little, but I like Dalton and see big things for Kruger in the future). Once again Road Dogg interferes as Kruger tries to leave a match that he’s losing. Dogg throws him in and for some reason this renders Kruger unable to keep moving and Dalton gets the pin. It was bad enough last time Dalton and Kruger faced up that Road Dogg interfered in what had to be the most contrived manner because it was stupid for Kruger to have tried to leave, but then again this week a simple toss renders Kruger defenseless to the pin? Otherwise, the match itself was A quality and Kruger brutally took a post to the neck that should have just seen him lose it right there. Great match up.
1. Seth Rollins vs. Brad Maddox
This made number one because it was the best match up and did not have an ending that made or broke the match. The ending only added to it with Summer Rae (Danielle Moinet) trying to interfere, then Paige (or “Enchanting Raven Haired Lady” as Regal calls her) interfering for Rollins to get the pin. Maddox was serious in this match and not trying to be an absolute goof, which helped his in-ring style, I think. Rollins actually gets to speak before this match as well! It’s one of the first time I’ve heard Rollins cut a promo that was longer than three or four seconds. It sold me on him even further.
And that is this week’s FCW!
Another weaker episode of FCW this week and yet I was still working hard to narrow it down to simply four things. What did not make the list was a great interaction between 15 Minute Champion Richie Steamboat and Damien Sandow. Sandow, again, has a great entrance but I still can not figure out what it is I hate about his delivery. His voice? Maxine announced during the show that everyone on the roster would need to go and see Dr. James Bronson, the psychologist, at some point. It was mandatory. Meanwhile the stick, I mean, Danielle, made faces and noises.
4. Xavier Woods vs. Antonio Cesaro
I went into this match expecting to be bored. Neither man has been overly impressive and Cesaro, while great at offense, could not sell the defense. Woods, well, “Good job” comes to mind. Instead these two decided to wake me up so I would pay attention. Cesaro looked brutal and sold well when Woods did a dropkick from the top rope. As Russo was exclaiming it had to be done Cesaro broke from the pin and Saxton quipped, “Don’t get ahead of yourselves, it’s just a 2.” Cesaro ultimately won, which was predictable from the beginning, but it was a tense match-up which was the first Cesaro really had since joining the roster.
3. William Regal
During the first match of the night Regal regales us with a story of Bo and Husky that is hilariously delivered in the way only Regal can. He admires the brutality and bloody aspirations and sounds a little misty-eyed for a moment there. Regal is the best commentator to step into FCW and he proves it again during this episode. Regal likely would have made it high on the list if he had not walked out during the Woods vs. Cesaro match and left us to the likes of Road Dogg. Road Dogg surprised me by not being awful, but given the option… Road Dogg wouldn’t even top my list of 10 commentators I could listen to.
2. Brad Maddox and Eli Cottonwood vs. Bo Rotundo and Husky Harris
Everyone always hatin’ on ol’ Mustache, but Cottonwood moves well for being an oddly built giant. Brad Maddox, after a promo that had me wincing with his over use of the word, “tragic,” told us of Briley Pierce’s injury that will have him out for at least two months. Out of everyone on the roster Maddox chose Cottonwood to be his new tag team partner. Here is where FCW did it right. Instead of forcing a storyline about the tag titles they simply forced Maddox and Pierce to vacate the titles as Pierce was injured and could not defend it. Rotundo and Harris fought again these two and ultimately won the titles. Harris did very little in the match, maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much? Either way I enjoyed this double-pairing and look forward to it again. I doubt Maddox and Cottonwood will carry over again, though. Maddox blamed Cottonwood for the loss, even though Maddox was the one pinned, and in retaliation Cottonwood chokeslammed the smaller man who took a nice bump. Put Cottonwood in Ascension, it needs members suddenly and I don’t want to see it disappear!
1. Leo Kruger vs. Mike Dalton
Sadly, I knew how this would end, if just because of spoilers that people can not avoid tweeting. Despite that they did not ruin this match completely because Kruger is still a star on the mic and that accent, oh yes, pure girly moment every time I hear that voice. The match was excellent and showed off how far Dalton had come. Mike Dalton was trained by Lance Storm and in a hurry it has shown. Dalton ultimately wins this match, even when Kruger nearly walked out of it, which still would have had Dalton winning. This match was not for the championship, but stipulations had if Dalton wins Kruger will give him a match for the title.
All right, so looking back, this was a better episode than I gave it credit for!
This was a hard episode to give four things to. Not because there were not four things but because there were more than four. For once I allowed the matches to dominate the top four, but William Regal returning to commentary should be noted. Unfortunately he replaced Byron Saxton and not Chris Russo. That, however, is another discussion entirely!
4. Antonio Cesaro vs. Big E Langston
When people talk about how great certain wrestlers are I need to stop listening. I go in expecting great things out of them and then am disappointed if they are not seemingly the best because they have been built up that way. Cesaro was built up that way and in the last match I saw him in he was lumbering and slow. This match against Big E Langston, who looks like he should be lumbering and slow, but is not, Cesaro recovers his speed. Before this match Cesaro gave a speech of how America is not the super-power, when he looks in the mirror every day he sees the true super-power. Cesaro definitely impressed me more in this match while Big E Langston continues to prove he’s a better wrestler than the really big guys already in WWE.
3. Kenneth Cameron vs. Calvin Raines
It hurts me to put this match so far down on my top four, because I’m a huge Ascension fan. Even if they seem to have taken the rest of Ascension and let them disappear. Cameron and Raines put on a great match but the reason this one was dropped down to three was predictability. The thing with Ascension is you know they are going into the ring to win. It is great but sometimes it makes for matches that are not up to snuff. This match was better than the last few Cameron matches and Raines actually had a fighting chance. What brought this match up to three instead of four: the crazy Jawbreaker that Cameron used on Raines. He grabbed him by the neck, swung his legs up, and brought Raines down. Oh yeah, that move was sweet.
2. Mike Dalton and Xavier Woods vs. Rick Victor and Leo Kruger
Wait, did Teddy Long make a special appearance on FCW and they cut it off the television show? These four men seem to be randomly put together. Mike Dalton, Rick Victor, and Leo Kruger all make excellent shows. I am still not convinced of Xavier Woods yet. He wrestles well, but the character could be more than someone who spouts, “Good job, good job,” whenever he gets the chance. This match moved higher up for the lesser predictability. I thought it was possible that Dalton might win it, if against Victor, but I knew Kruger was not going to lose. However, after great offense from Dalton he does lose to Rick Victor.
1. Richie Steamboat vs. Damien Sandow
This is number one not just because I love the Jack Brisco 15 Minute Championship matches, and that you get a gold medal for winning, but that I did not see the end coming. Richie Steamboat knocked Sandow out of the ring when they were both one-to-one. Sandow seemingly seemed out but Steamboat dragged him back into the ring. Even Regal questioned this move, wondering if he would have been better off letting Sandow be counted out. When Sandow kicks out of the pin I thought this was over, even if it is one-to-one Sandow is keeping his title. No, Steamboat gets a pin with seven seconds to spare! Steamboat is the new 15 Minute Champion! Excellent match with an excellent turn of events.
This week there is of note a small scene with Maxine, Washington, and Bronson which is quite funny. Afterwards Danielle Moinet walks in to question Maxine’s abilities with the nerdy ring-announcer I still have not learned the name of. Danielle Moinet is a former Lingerie Football League player for the Chicago Bliss. I wonder how she survived it. She is a tall woman who is so small around that I could wrap my fingers of one hand around her arm. This does not take away from her ability, which I have yet to see, but it does make me worry what they are going for with her.
Aksana also has another crying scene, complaining to Kruger how “he” hurt her. Kruger tells her, “Don’t you worry, baby. I will take care of him.” Oh wow, that accent. And Bo Rotundo makes a bigger return as Kruger comes out to face him, accusing him of hurting Aksana, and calling him “Bo-Bo.” Yes, this.
FCW. The show that has the most entertainment value in a week. This episode hops right into the action and leaves little room for else. Byron Saxton is still on commentating with Chris Russo, or, Christopher Patrick Russo. There were only four matches to this episode and each one deserves its own little highlight.
4. Jason Jordan
Okay, so I did not make this one the match. I am not a fan of Abraham Washington. I have been tarnished since his days back in ECW. Where he is not an awful wrestler this is the man who hosted his own show while on ECW, every week mind you, and still has not grown with his mic skills. He faces off with the relatively new man on TV, Jason Jordan, who hails from Chicago, Illinois. My bias once again works in because as a girl who was uprooted from Chicago I love throwbacks to my home. That is not the only reason Jordan receives a nod, though. He is yet unpolished but has a certain determination that will prove later on he is someone to keep your eye on.
3. Raquel Diaz vs. Audrey Marie for the Divas Championship Title
I really struggled with putting Raquel Diaz at number three. She put on such an awesome display that not only earned her the Divas Championship Title but gave her an opportunity to show off her Gory Bomb that she should be higher on the list because of these two things. Alas, I wanted to stick with matches as much as I could and Audrey Marie just is not up to par on performances. Though I may not think Audrey Marie is as bad as say, my companions who watch FCW. In fact, I might put Audrey Marie at least in third on FCW. Raquel, though, is spectacular. She might yet not be perfectly polished but she still would have the majority of the WWE diva roster beat with her talent and mic skills. There is a reason she not only is the new Divas Champion of FCW, but also the Queen.
2. Grand Royale
The show starts off with Maxine and Normal Smiley announcing a Grand Royale, only the third in FCW history. For me, this was the first. A Grand Royale is where all of the men of the FCW roster (Eli Cottonwood sighting!) step back around the ring and have 30 seconds to get into the ring. At the end of the 30 seconds whoever is left standing in the ring gets to compete. Whoever was the winner of this particular match competed in the main event against Leo Kruger for the FCW Heavyweight Championship. The thirty second scramble was great and should be done more, but not too often! I will not give too many details because I really want people to watch this match, but I must reveal the winner:
1. Mike Dalton vs. Leo Kruger for the FCW Heavyweight Championship
When we first saw Mike Dalton, my boyfriend commented, “He’s the FCW jobber.” It quickly changed and he was winning matches. Then somehow had the best pants amongst them all. Then he was competing for the Title against Leo Kruger? Well, if that ain’t a bitch of a twist. And I loved it! Leo Kruger inevitably won but I could not look away from the screen during this. I always remind everyone when it comes to moves I know no names and do not pretend to understand every strike, but I know what looks good and what does not, and this match was flawless. So Flawless that Lay-Cool would have endorsed it. Dalton is not ready to be Champ yet, but his time may be coming. When it’s not against Kruger, I might even root for him.
Normally I would tell you the bad things about FCW at this point, but I pretty much explained those during the appraisal of the others. Instead I am going to whine about one, little, teeny, tiny thing that is bothering me. I WANT MY ASCENSION BACK!! GIVE ME ASCENSION!!
See, that wasn’t so bad.
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.
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