The new year has not particularly meant new things for FCW. This does not necessarily mean the show has been bad but after this episode perhaps they need to refocus their energies. The match between Xavier Woods and Antonio Cesaro was sloppy and slow paced, and not just because of Woods. Cesaro may be a darling, but he made several missteps during this match that made it tedious instead of entertaining. Caylee Turner and Audrey Marie faced off in an unspectacular match that makes me wonder what exactly the FCW trainers are teaching the divas.
But those are two bad things compared to many good things.
4. Maxine and James Bronson
Maxine is laid out on a couch and telling her therapist, which seems to be James Bronson, how stressed out she is. Between being general manager of FCW, working on NXT, and her relationship woes with Derrick Bateman and Johnny Curtis, she has a lot on her plate. Bronson plays the perfect therapist, completely understanding. During it all you can not help but wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. It does when Maxine forgets her purse when she leaves. Bronson grabs her purse and all I can think is he was only doing this therapy session so that he could turn on her. When she comes back for her purse she catches Bronson with her lipstick and a compact. Maxine takes this surprisingly well and just leaves him with her lipstick. At first my reaction was a bit bewildered, but the more I thought about it the more I was impressed. The storyline did not take the twist I was expecting and for that I’m always grateful.
3. Jinder Mahal vs. Seth Rollins
With the new year some of the old talent is removed from the FCW roster and they are given a sort of farewell match. Mahal is no longer listed as an FCW talent on the webpage (incorrectly quoted as being fcwwrestling.com in the show, it is fcwwrestling.info). Mahal and Rollins know how to put on a good match. Many of you may be looking at me in confusion. Really? Jinder Mahal? Yes, Jinder Mahal. He and Rollins make this match look fluid and I found my eyes glued to the screen. I have wavered on Mahal many times but I can not deny he has become a solid wrestler since his earlier botching when with Khali on WWE television.
2. Hunico & Epico vs. Brad Maddox & Briley Pierce
Hunico and Epico are another two that have been removed from the FCW page and are now a part of the WWE Roster. The main event tonight showcases them on their farewell and even gives Briley Pierce the win. When I first saw Pierce I could not believe this was Dolph Ziggler’s little brother. This man was a joke, not to be taken seriously on the mic or in the ring. My opinion quickly changed over the last few months and he and Maddox have amazing chemistry together. It is also a great pairing because Pierce seems to be a baby-face while Maddox is a heel. Pierce talks big but looks small and still comes out powerful. Hunico and Epico give a great showing but Maddox and Pierce prove to just be too much for them this round.
1. Raquel Diaz
For those not in the know of things this is the daughter of Eddie and Vickie Guerrero. She does not wrestle this show but she gives a taunting promo of herself being queen of FCW and that Audrey Marie had better watch out for she is coming for that title next. Raquel Diaz is a beautiful mix of Eddie and Vickie and proves that the divas division does not have to be based completely on beauty, even if she has it. She is confident on a microphone and in the ring, and this promo will give the audience confidence back in the divas.
An honorable mention does go to Byron Saxton. He has been great on commentary, “I ran out of gas in my vehicle and I asked Audrey Marie to help me out and do you know what she told me? To take the bus!” Saxton has the voice to go further in that capacity. I am hoping when he returns to the ring he will be a more polished wrestler because this is a man I could stand behind in rooting for.
Now that you know the best, and the worst, of FCW this week, don’t you think it’s about time you watched it?
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