FCW proves it is consistently one of the better stories told from the WWE (with perhaps the exception of NXT) and this week was no exception. Summer Rae, official general manager of FCW, has a photo op with Antonio Cesaro and Richie Steamboat in anticipation of their match next week while Adam Mercer continues to be Randy Orton Light – which I’m not exactly complaining about, just pointing it out.
4. Benicio Salazar vs. Rick Victor
Okay, I knew going in Victor was going to win for two reasons. First, this is only the second match I’ve seen Salazar in and FCW does not tend to have their wrestlers win their first few matches against already established guys. Second, Victor was escorted out by the beautiful, and talented, Sofia Cortez and Paige. Already great points to him. However, as usual, Victor puts on an entertaining match against their newest luchador and I look forward to seeing more!
3. Bo Rotundo vs. Big E Langston
I love Big E Langston. After Mark Henry is probably my favorite man with a physique of those proportions (you know, huge!) with the WWE. Ever. Because Langston is big he already has haters, and because Rotundo is pretty he already has lovers. Rotundo has a spear that is weak and while he has presence, he still needs that in-ring time to polish himself up. It took Husky (Wyatt) a bit of time, don’t push Rotundo before he’s ready, which is what they are doing. He won this match.
2. Nick Rogers vs. James Bronson
First, an earlier segment in the show involved the commentators letting us know there was something going on in the back. Bronson had Ambrose locked into a sleep while CJ Parker, Mike Dalton, and I think Jason Jordan (I didn’t get a good look at him) tried to pull Bronson off. Later comes the match for Bronson against Rogers. Rogers dropped the Mr. Jacked and instantly went up in my books, but now he has a beard! I’m not sure about the beard, but hey, that’s me. Bronson wins this match with a submission, then immediately puts Rogers in a second submission! Regal rushes out to save Rogers and twists Bronson into the Regal Stretch. Garrett Dylan (another FCW up and comer that I have not seen that much) comes out and tries to pull Regal off of Bronson, but Ambrose is right behind him. Ambrose pulls Dylan and puts him in the Regal Stretch and for one moment of complete serendipity we have Regal and Ambrose doing the Regal Stretch almost perfectly lined up side by side. Afterwards they both stand and Ambrose stares Regal down in a way that only Ambrose can, with an almost sad look while being completely furious. When Ambrose moves forward, Regal slides out of the ring. All together an awesome segment.
1. Kassius Ohno vs. Seth Rollins
Despite the excellent segments from earlier, and Regal’s dig at other commentators in the WWE (not all, I’m pretty sure Scott is safe) this match just had what I came to see: excellent wrestling. It started off slow but quickly began building up into a crescendo of moves that were perfectly executed in elegance. Ohno and Rollins show off their balance and agility and whatever bit of rust Ohno might have felt at the beginning chipped off and towards the end these man made you forget anything else but the beauty of this match.
William Regal is an enticing figure you watch on your television screen. His persona never fades and he knows how to tell a story in just the way he carries himself. What went on, though, to bring him to the point the is at today? Let’s face it, everyone who follows wrestling knows he did drugs at some point, but what was going through his mind as he did?
The novel starts off a little dry. It was not hard to follow but did a fair share of bouncing. It was obvious he did not want to actually talk about his family more than he had to. The family was more thrown in to show that someone out there supported him or how he differed for them. His love for his father shines through clearly, but Regal did his best to take the focus off of familial ties.
About 15-20% through the novel it seems to screech and turn and slam on the brakes. It re-evaluates where it is going, and hit’s the gas. Now, instead of taking winding turns the novel is following a very straight path that takes you along a scenic route. Perhaps a little fast, but not too fast you get to see what you came for.
Regal’s story is heartbreaking and something to look up to all at once. He is a role model, even if it’s a what-not-to do sort of thing. Regal makes quite a few mistakes in life, and pays for them. He is repenting now, and forever, for those sins, and it makes for a more interesting read. A man who was sinister and dark on screen is truly a humble, loving man.
My biggest complaint about the autobiography was the reuse of simple words, like “sad”. Sure, Regal even admits he is no literary genius, but if you have another man there to help you write your story he had better darn well not overuse the word “sad”. The audience gets it, having friends die is sad, but how many times did I need to hear the word? Thesauruses rock.
Reasons to Read:
- You are a sports entertainment fan
- You are a Regal fan, in any incarnation he has been in
- You enjoy stories of men overcoming their own addictions
- You enjoy autobiographies
Reasons Not to Read:
- A bit dry in detail
- Overuse of certain words
- Despite stories with other wrestlers, the focus is very much on Regal and everyone else is glossed over
If you are here you are obviously following @BarrettBookClub on twitter. If not, you should be! In this space I am going to make sure we know what book we are reading and when they go up, we’ll post the discussion questions. We do not have to discuss those questions particularly, but perhaps they will help you come up with some questions of your own! If you have a discussion question this is also a great place to leave one in the comments!
So for this round, the books is:
Walking a Golden Mile by William Regal with Neil Chandler.
It’s hard to find a copy of this novel, but it’s not hard to find a Kindle edition. Amazon and Barnes and Noble both have one for about $12.99. If you can not buy one in time @WWECapshuns and myself ( @SolaceWinter ) might have a copy we can loan you, just get a hold of us!
The discussion for twitter is set for April 28th.
Questions are ready!
1) What do you think about superstars who speak out about their past drug problems?
2) What is your favorite Regal gimmick and why?
3) What aspect of the book did you like the most/least and why?
4) Do you want to see another book from Regal? If so, should that book be about him or should he try his hand at fiction like Mick Foley?
5) Is there a question you wish Regal had answered in his book that he did not? If so, tell us about it!
In a few conversations with Hellions, the man who hosts my blogs on his site and knows more in general about wrestling than me, I’ve realized a few things. One, in getting to know a writer for NXT and learning he’s a former soap opera writer, it makes sense why the storylines are where they are. Two, Hellions pointed out to me NXT seems to be the show more aimed towards women. Sitting back, looking over NXT, I’ve realized it’s probably a huge part of the reason I enjoy it while some fans still don’t like it. I like drama. And comedy. And facial expressions. I also like good wrestling. This show brings me the things I would love to see in a show. Which is why today’s Top 4 had to be broken down the way it is.
4. Tamina, Darren, Titus
- 4.3 – Titus: He gave Tamina the coconut tree Darren wanted to give her! And has been increasingly funny. And I haven’t wanted to stab him in about three weeks.
- 4.2 – Tamina: Loves the coconut tree and commends Titus, to Darren, how thoughtful he is.
- 4.1 – Darren: Heartbroken, near face turn, and I can’t help rooting for him in this upcoming love triangle.
3. Maxine, Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Derrick Bateman, and Kaitlyn
- 3.3 – Derrick Bateman and Kaitlyn: Hello Chicks and America shirts, hello best facial expressions of the show
- 3.2 – Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins: It’s interesting to see Tyler Reks playing the part of someone a little confused while Hawkins plays the part of the man who knows what’s going on, until he forgets his cane somewhere very important.
- 3.1 – Maxine: She flirts her way through with Regal, figures out how transparent the Reks/Hawkins kidnapping is, and generally knows how to act and bluff her way through anything. The woman has more chemistry with anyone who walks on screen then anyone I’ve seen.
2. Percy Watson vs. Johnny Curtis
I’m inclined to put matches before storylines on the list because first and foremost… this is a wrestling show! Unfortunately this show only had two matches and they were still longer and better put together matches than anything we saw on Raw or Smackdown this week. Curtis and Watson prove to be a tool for Maxine to distract Regal and take him away for a little while, but in the meantime these two tear up the squared circle and put on a non-stop show.
1. Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty
The two are 1-1 in their matches and William Regal informs us that this is the last match. This will determine who the winner is. Despite believe I knew who would win going in this was still a tense match up. McGillicutty reminds me why I originally enjoyed him and brings personality and style to the ring against a man who could arguably be the best technical wrestler in the WWE. (arguably, I could see a few other names thrown into the debate.) Kidd has continually brought PPV quality matches to television, or the internet, in the past months and despite being on the show everyone keeps talking about wanting off of he never skimps in the ring. MCGillicutty gives it back just as equally, culminating into what could be more than match of the week.
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?!
Wrestlemania is so jammed pack full of gimmick matches that have little to do with storylines people care about that they left out a glaring error, because they forgot they were supposed to be pushing tag matches again. Epico and Primo hold the tag team titles but who remembers that? It’s not the men’s fault but sadly misused booking. Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins have been used better and they are on NXT.
Speaking of Reks and Hawkins… Oh yes, you knew I would go there.
Solace’s Dream Missing Match
Before the start of the show Reks and Hawkins are up to their usual antics of being bullies and utterly cool while doing so. When they run into Epico and Primo they make fun of them for not having a match even though they are tag champs and for having to be managed by a woman whose only talent is dancing. This is where Regal does his thing and comes in to announce that since there was some time to fill on the card and people want to see their tag team champs he is going to make an impromptu tag match. However, if Reks and Hawkins lose they get to clean the entire arena once everyone leaves with a pro showing them how it’s done. Reks and Hawkins agree on the condition that Regal will do the sweeping instead if they win. Regal agrees because he believes there is no chance that Reks and Hawkins can win.
Epico and Primo put on a great show, and even get a little help from their former stable-buddy Hunico, but they just can’t hold up to Reks and Hawkins. Reks and Hawkins ultimately win the tag titles from Epico and Primo. No, not because I prefer Reks and Hawkins, but because Reks and Hawkins have done more to show what tag teams should be like in the last six months than anyone else has. These men should be the two going around and crushing any and all other tag teams, while helping to build groups who want to take them down.
After the show Reks and Hawkins hand Regal his broom and wish him luck on cleaning. Oh, and they found his pro, the ever handsome Scott Stanford, who is the lone man cleaning the arena corridors. As soon as Reks and Hawkins leave, and Scott starts saying how happy he is to work with Regal and how he could use the help, Regal instantly starts making excuses. His twins need him. His wife found out about Maxine. Etc. Leaving poor Scott to sweep on his own and Regal calculating a better revenge on Reks and Hawkins.
Of course I found a way to incorporate Scott into this. What were you expecting?
After watching this episode of NXT my boyfriend and I debated which show was better so far this week, FCW or NXT. He went with NXT and I went with FCW. The reason I went with FCW…
4. Alex Riley and Percy Watson vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
Oh hai A-Ry! Alex Riley does the majority of the work in this match and not a single botch to be had. Riley is a different wrestler than the one who feuded poorly with the Miz last year. O’Neil, though, is the same ol’ O’Neil and after this match he speaks. His speaking drops any solid moment down a few pegs. Darren Young wins against Watson with a move that looks brutal, and sloppy this time. I think it’s time Darren Young tried out a new finisher. Still a solid match, I found myself wishing Watson had been able to show off a bit more in the ring instead of rushing in to lose.
3. Striker’s Announcement
Twitter was actually abuzz with curiosity over what Striker was going to announce, though I found it fairly obvious. He had been giving hints for weeks that this was where it was going. So the man, in a moment of being choked up, in a moment of being interrupted by Hawkins and Reks (hilarious by the way), and in a moment of being honest with the crowd Striker makes his announcement: William Regal will now be the host of NXT. Striker has been great in this roll and it has been great to see him interacting week after week, but it is time for him to move on. William Regal assured us today (3/1/12) on twitter that yes, he will still be commentating for NXT.
2. Kaitlyn vs. Maxine
Kailyn and Maxine are two lovely women. While these women wrestle Regal and Mathews are joined on commentary by Johnny Curtis and Derrick Bateman. Between the four men on commentary and the two women in the ring this is one of the highlights of my week. No, this is not my way of getting Derrick Bateman on the list! Even if the men had not been on commentary this match would have made it to number two. These two women have come a long way since “that match” in season 3 of NXT.
1. Tyson Kidd vs. Michael McGillicutty
In the past year Tyson Kidd has only been in what one might deem a bad match, and that is because it was Brodus Clay squashing him. Kidd brings out the wrestler in McGillicutty (who trimmed up a bit for this episode, thank you!). I have been hard on McGillicutty in the past but this man knows his stuff in the ring. When Tyson Kidd is on the screen I can not tear my eyes away and I am glad of it because it made me remember that while McGillicutty’s character had been bland in the past he shines in the ring. McGillicutty ultimately wins this match-up which makes me hope for more interaction between the two, if just for the sake of storyline. Or for Trent Barreta’s return!
I am beginning to worry what WWE is going to do with Striker. Is he being phased out? Is he moving on to other things? Last week he insinuated that he was having a hard time as host of NXT and this week he announced he would have a substitute: William Regal. I love William Regal on commentary, and now I had the opportunity to watch him as host of NXT as well. Side note, they really should stop calling it the “host” of NXT as at this point it is just a General Manager position.
4. The Love Triangle
NXT jumped from the love triangle of Maxine, Derrick, and Johnny to the love triangle of Maxine, Derrick, and Kaitlyn. Derrick seems to be mostly oblivious to Kaitlyn’s feelings. Johnny, in typical Curtis fashion, is the biggest reason this is even a triangle. While Kaitlyn goes around being the nice person she is and just being good friends with Sweetmeat, Curtis keeps telling her how much Derrick likes her. Maxine ends this episode needing to be pulled away from Kaitlyn, Derrick carrying her from the ring area. Some might find a continual love triangle repetitive but considering the people involved it just seems to expand and give the four of them more reasons to act out. And acting out is what these four do best.
3. William Regal
William Regal takes his hosting duties to new levels. He decided not to give everyone obvious matches and instead wanted to push the rookies of NXT to fight someone on a higher level than themselves. He also had the best lines of the evening with lines like, “The reason is I just don’t like you you dirty, scruffy, swine,” and, “Do I know how to put a show together or do I know how to put a show together?” There is also the moment where Kaitlyn joins them for commentary and Regal looks to her and says, “On a lighter note, we are joined by…” and has to stop because he is giggling and blushing. His crush on Kaitlyn is great and I would do about anything to see Regal join into The Love Triangle (Square?) and make it… whatever comes next.
2. Derrick Bateman and Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater and Johnny Curtis
You know what was best about this match? No 450 Splash. Instead, Gabriel had to rely on wrestling skill and then Bateman to get the pin on Slater whom he lost to last week. This might have been my second favorite match of the week so far, and that includes Raw and FCW so that is a pretty strong showing. All of the men are intense in the ring, but not quite as intense as…
1. Curt Hawkins vs. Tyson Kidd
Well you had to know if number two was my second favorite match of the week that my number one was going to be the best match of the week. Regal, thinking the loud-mouthed Hawkins needs to face the best in WWE brings out Tyson Kidd. Hawkins had some great offense, first getting Kidd while he was on the edge of the ring. Hawkins, from the floor, swept Kidd’s legs back, forcing Kidd to fall and smack his face on the edge of the ring. Later, in the ring Hawkins does a move I don’t have any clue what the name is, neither did Regal or Mathews. In the end, though, Kidd prevailed with a sharpshooter that looked painful, and it better have been because Hawkins tapped almost instantly.
Titus O’Neil had the first match of the evening against Yoshi Tatsu. After O’Neil won (damn it) he called out Alex Riley, he wants to have a match with him. Riley comes out, looking fly in an all black suit/shirt combo (sorry JTG, I do not mean any character infringement!) and words happen. I kind of tuned out, not because I don’t like Riley, but because I loathe O’Neil’s speaking skill. Percy Watson went up against a, “true WWE Superstar,” (really Regal?), Michael McGillicutty. McGillicutty has the in-ring work but not the personality. Neither of these matches were bad, but they were not top four worthy either.
While in December I was mostly out of commission I have returned during this new year with a new outlook. Even if that new outlook still means that Derrick Bateman might be my favorite wrestler and Scott Stanford my favorite commentator. What the new outlook really means is… you need a new outlook on what you’ve been missing. This brings about the return of my top 4.
4. New Opening of NXT
Why is a new opening worthy of the top 4? This opening embraces what I have been arguing NXT has been trying to do all along: become less of a competition show and more just another good place to showcase talent. It is more evident by the fact that The Usos, Tamina, Trent Barreta, and Tyson Kidd are in the opening along with the “rookies” Derrick Bateman, Darren Young, and Titus O’Neil. The new opening embraces the storylines and talent. My complaint about the opening: Darren Young should be the Superstar shown when the word “young” is sung. I mean, how hard is that to get right?
3. Superior Commentary
It is no secret that Scott Stanford is my favorite commentator. Barring this fact he tends to be put together with Josh Mathews, who is a robot and borrows all of his good lines from other commentators. NXT has William Regal and Matt Striker this week. If you have not grown to love William Regal on commentary you just have not been watching NXT and FCW. I can not say I am surprised to hear you have not been, but it is time to stop being led astray. William Regal does well as a stand-alone commentator, but paired with Matt Striker he brings back some of the old spark in Striker that Striker loses with others. Only Regal can break out lines like, “I think it is an absolute travesty I have to be anywhere near JTG,” “If I was you I’d look in the ring, Sunshine,” and “I really hate it when people interrupt me,” the last when Tony Chimel was trying to announce Johnny Curtis and Regal had been talking about Riley.
2. Every match
Yes, I said every match. In a one hour show there were four matches. Alicia Fox vs. Maxine; Trent Barreta vs. Tyler Reks; The Usos vs. JTG and Tyson Kidd; and Alex Riley vs. Johnny Curtis. NXT is the one place right now where the divas are not treated like a joke in the WWE. Fox and Maxine put on a great match where beforehand Fox had announced about her former rookie Maxine, “I tried to sell her on eBay so many times.” People like to hate on Tyler Reks because of his dreds, which seems like an asinine reason to dislike someone, but this is how fans are made or broken, sometimes it is the little things. However Reks and Barreta put on an entertaining match that is all because of a very hilarious feud. JTG is another one who gets random hate and when Superstars were being released last year 90% of the audience said next would be JTG. JTG is 27 and was saddled with a character that is not to be taken seriously. It does not undermine the talent this man actually has and working with Kidd and against the Usos you can see that very talent. Last is the biggest heat magnet lately, Alex Riley against a man most of you only know from his Smackdown promos, his bad Smackdown debut, and relative disappearance. Alex Riley of late has become less a botch master and more a slower wrestler who thinks about his moves before potentially killing his victim, er, opponent. While they might not have had the best match of the night it was still entertaining with a story witnessed in the ring.
1. Derrick Bateman
“But Solace, he didn’t even wrestle a match this week!” I know! And doesn’t that mean his being number one is that much bigger? A man who did not even wrestle still had character! Derrick Bateman right now is NXT. He has the best storyline going and is about the only man in the company who pulls off being a face without sounding repetitive, or boring. Bateman has more charisma in his little toe than most men can dream of having in their lifetime. Who else could scream, “Curtis!” and while being hilarious, not be too over the top you can not take him seriously? Or tell his ex-fiancée, “This doesn’t concern you, Toots,” and still be angry as he lets Curtis know he has a surprise waiting for next week. Oh yes, Derrick Bateman alone is reason to watch NXT, but NXT offers you so much more.
When was the last time in a little under an hour on Raw you had four matches (that were not squashes!), four promos, and great commentary? Tell me!
This week was heavy on the matches and light on the Ascension (as in not even a promo!). With five matches and the ability to stand out amongst the crowd I am glad to announce I can return the top four reason to watch for FCW this week.
4. Byron Saxton
Byron Saxton was the commentator for the evening as William Regal was preparing for his match against Dean Ambrose. At first I inwardly groaned because this is the man who leads Naomi and Cameron Lynn around and these two women are the most obnoxious thing I’ve seen on FCW. They might beat out divas I dislike in the WWE for annoyance they are that bad. Byron had commentating down solid and when Matt Matlaro stopped to take a breath what Saxton interjected was always succinctly put. Even if it was just him saying to Regal, “You’re evil! You’re evil!” It may sound like a childish taunt and still it somehow worked on Saxton. A certain someone pointed out to me that Saxton was the opposite of Regal on the mic. While Regal is a face announcer with heel tendencies Saxton is the heel announcer who has the excitement of a face. This described the feeling perfectly.
3. Brad Maddox
Brad Maddox was set to fight Percy Watson and Titus O’Neil and needed a partner. As Briley Pierce sat idly by with his microphone and dressed in his suit Maddox called him out and told him he would be the partner. Honestly, the match itself was uninteresting as I tend to get a glazed over look when Watson and O’Neil are anywhere close by and Maddox and Pierce have yet to really impress me in the ring. However, Maddox’s taunts of Pierce telling him he didn’t have time to change and that he was serious about him being his partner were fun. Maddox does have the personality he just is not quite there with the talent. Yet.
2. Dean Ambrose
This man has taken crazy to a new level. In an era when crazy is growing on us he mixes Orton, Rhodes, and guest from an asylum perfectly. He twitches, he snorts, and he generally looks like he’s enjoying himself with a crazed smile, even as he is being destroyed by his opponent. I am not quite sure what it is that he is still lacking but watching him it is something. Perhaps I think he could take this character even further. Of course having Ambrose at number two can lead me right into number one.
1. William Regal
This man is charismatic. That in itself shines every time he steps in the ring. The FCW fans are always lively but when Regal stepped out the chants were the most audible part of the night. Regal is up to his usual tricks in this match when he has Ambrose in a corner and is facing the ref while kicking Ambrose. Regal does not stop there. He actually slips Ambrose’s arm into the turnbuckle and tightens it around his arm. The ref has to help Ambrose escape, all the while Regal stands back and watches with his usual, “What?” look. If this was on of the WWE shows they would have disqualified Regal and had no ending to this match, however FCW is all about finishing as many matches as they can. Which only leads Ambrose to even more abuse by Regal so that Regal can win this main event. Regal is a brilliant man in and out of the ring and it’s good to see him used.
I would just like to end this blog with one simple question: “What do you mean there was no Ascension?” Not to worry, I hear they return next week!