“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” -Timbuk3
Being a wrestling fan, living in Florida is a strange perk. It is quietly the hub of the North American wrestling world. TNA is based in Universal Studios (even though it needs to get out of there faster than half of their roster needs to get out of TNA). The WWE has had a fascination with Florida for the past couple of years, saving big Raw events for Miami or Orlando. There is also the little fact that WrestleMania XXVIII is in Miami this year for The Rock versus John Cena.
The final perk of the Sunshine State is Florida Championship Wrestling, WWE’s official developmental territory. In the past year, I have been fortunate to attend three FCW shows and it has always been an experience (link to Live Event article). Throughout every one of those shows, I have had two persistent thoughts running through my head.
1. “THIS is the future of the WWE!”
2. “THIS is the future of the WWE?”
These thoughts drove me so far that I even began watching FCW TV online to follow the in-ring work of the superstars of the future (and the guys that will never see the bright lights of the main roster). In all honesty, I thoroughly enjoy FCW TV. The storylines and matches are basic and the crowd can be shitty at times, but it’s a good, solid product.
In the same breath, however, the FCW roster is totally hit-or-miss. So, I decided to channel my inner Mel Kiper and analyze every superstar on the FCW roster page in a bullet point fashion. At the end of each “scouting report,” I will assign a grade based on main roster potential.
Note: some people still on the FCW roster are on WWE TV as well. I will omit them for the sake of time.
Let’s see who is the next Sheamus or Alberto Del Rio and who is the next Eric Escobar or Ricky Ortiz.
Still green as goose shit. Character is just an unfunny version of The Rock right down to a stupid elbow drop. Needs more work than Tamina’s face. Could still sadly get over huge. Will always miss Tony Atlas.
Russian dude who sort of knows some suplexes. Saw him live. More botches than Sin Cara playing Jenga. Bound to be monster heel buried in six months.
Great in-ring performer. Great character. Decent mic skills considering his accent and awkward moments. Hopefully won’t be ruined. HEY!!!!
Okay. David McClaine’s all female promotions would be right up her alley. Again…okay.
Big E Langston
Short, stubby brick shithouse. Limited skills combines with constantly changing heel/face dynamic. Bound to have a Tazz complex no matter how good he gets. Should learn how to do Marcus Cor Von’s Pounce.
Pushed more than his brother despite being boring beyond belief. Family pedigree and WWE look will allow him chances to succeed. Hasn’t done anything for me. Looks like a cross-eyed retard in 85 percent of his pictures. Nice guy, though.
Grade: A in WWE’s eyes, D in my eyes
Fun guy who has some chops. Undersized and too goofy to be given a legitimate chance. Would be lucky to have Jamie Noble’s career. Low card comedy act if he even makes it out of Florida.
Done more interviewing than wrestling, which is a good thing. Dolph Ziggler’s brother. Genes are on his side. Needs to ditch Carlito’s shirts as tights.
Charismatic and solid in between the ropes. Still a better commentator than wrestler. Injury prone. Can’t stay on NXT. Not a good sign.
Character is a wigger. Atypical WWE look. Decent heel. Looks like a dick.
Melina versus Alicia Fox. Stone Cold face. Luke, Jeremiah and Martin still don’t have jobs.
Alicia Fox’s sister. We all know how that goes. Hope she comes out to her own shitty version of one of Nelly’s songs.
Carlito look-alike with stupid tights. Generally elicits a cigarette break from me.
Tall motherfucker who jobs and jobs. Looks like an eight-year-old stretched out. Will be appearing at local high schools until he becomes a stock boy at Lowe’s.
Given new life with awesome Ascension gimmick. Unique look that I have always liked. Failed at NXT like Bryon Saxton. Only has so many chances left.
Formerly Sterling James Keenan on the indies. Lots of tattoos. Never really got him in ROH or other promotions. Perennial jobber.
Grown on me over time. Wide range of abilities and heat generator. Heel antics would get over. Needs to avoid being made a teacher’s pet again.
I cannot sum my feelings up in five sentences or less. Given the opportunity, he has the opportunity to be CM Punk’s foil for years to come. I am so biased on him, it’s ridiculous. Just look up “Dean Ambrose” or “Jon Moxley” or “Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins” or “Dean Ambrose vs CM Punk” on YouTube when you are done reading this.
Son of Haku/Meng. Samoan blood breeds success…or being Manu. Needs to channel inner father and become a badass. Smiling less would suit him.
I have no idea who this is.
This generation’s El Gigante right down to work rate and promo skills. Real first name is Kipp. Nuff said.
Out of shape Sheamus. Potential as Highlanders’ bodyguard…in 2006. Decent rapper.
Demoted for stupid reasons. Still learning in the ring. Oozing charisma and likeability. Would be in the main event if it were 1984.
His dad is Vader. He is in shape.
Madman character is just getting going. Normally tears tickets at shows I’ve been to. Great at that job.
See DT Porter.
Success riding on the future of Drew McIntyre. Lacks many “it” factors. Weak link of Ascension.
Big Andy from Tough Enough. I’m one of the few that likes the idea of Silent Rage. Already on short leash. Needs to watch JR in Beyond the Mat.
Accompanies Corey Graves. Looks like an IHOP waitress.
Mixture of Val Venis, Bobby Roode and Viggo Mortensen. Current FCW Champion for reasons unbeknownst to anyone. South African like Justin Gabriel. That pretty much sums it up.
Resembles a bloated Michael Tarver. Never seen him wrestle, but based on that…
I just realized every guy on the list I have no knowledge on or never seen is black. FCW is stockpiling them just in case they need them.
Already a jobber in FCW. Hair makes Ricky Morton get sadder than usual.
Should be promoted ASAP. Solid all across the board. HUUUUUUUUUUGE ass.
Fucking weird looking. Printed my picture with CM Punk.
Great on the indy scene as Alex Koslov. Hasn’t found his niche yet. Could have good matches with anybody. Uphill battle despite talent on main roster.
Already has so many intangibles passed down from Eddie and Vickie Guerrero. Can be annoying or funny or creepy. Will contribute in some significant way for next 10-15 years.
Wrestles too much like his father, which is a positive and a negative. Already has more experience as a heel than his dad. Getting better and better every time I see him. Hopefully won’t be named something stupid like Rick Matterhorn or something.
Stopped wearing seahorses on his tights. Now, nobody cares when he wrestles.
Lisp aside, should be wrestling Cody Rhodes for IC Title last year.
Uber-fun personality. Also bitten by injury bug. Steals every FCW show just ripping tickets. Another talent TNA let go.
Woof. There isn’t a lot of middle ground here. It’s either A) guys/girls who should already be on WWE TV or B) guys/girls who will never draw money in the wrestling business. The few that received C’s are really enigmas and could blame poor booking or lack of opportunities for their grade.
Thinking back, though, FCW has always been hit or miss. For every Jack Swagger, there’s a Slam Master J. Even OVW back in the day bred some winners (John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista come to mind) and then some people can’t get any traction (too many to list).
And that’s the nature of development territories. There are always going to be diamonds in the rough that will carry you to the next wave of the wrestling business. Are there wrestlers right now in FCW that can be main-event talents? Absolutely. Will some of them get that chance? Hopefully. Is the future bright?
It’s bright enough.