Long before NXT was even an inkling of thought, it was Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) that built the superstars of tomorrow. The former developmental brand of WWE was a place where wrestlers of today were looked at as the future. They grew or died there in terms of making it in this business. WWE’s NXT brand will go down as the brand to remember forever when it comes to development in that company as it grows larger every year. But FCW was the reason that could have been a thought. On Sunday, they released a brand new documentary highlighting the company that was FCW with many of their former trainees and management discussing the brand that helped shape them for WWE today. Here is a full review of “A Future WWE: The FCW Story.”
Note: This will contain some spoilers regarding the documentary on the WWE Network. This is used to hopefully entice you to view yourself but understanding the journey as well.
Developing A New Home
Steve Keirn was the President of FCW and was the man who kicked this all off for the most part. He was an agent on the road for the WWE who was feeling run down but wanted to teach. So he did everything in his power to make FCW a reality. He created a home and team that is one that crafted the WWE and other companies we see today. Dusty Rhodes became an important part of FCW and as we know, an important part of NXT. With him was Norman Smiley and a man who was a major factor in this documentary, Dr. Tom Prichard. Prichard was the head trainer and put these men and women through the wringer. Many wrestlers like Natalya and Heath Slater give him credit helping them get where they are right now.
Many of today’s current wrestlers talked about the hard times of the FCW Warehouse. It was in Tampa, Florida and the conditions were nothing you’d expect from a part of the “big leagues.” So you could imagine the tough life these wrestlers experienced while not being paid the money that they felt they deserved under the WWE umbrella. Sheamus was a big part of this because he had what it took and is one of the long term guys who experienced FCW and still stands on top today. He is proof where he never touched NXT and it was for the most part FCW. You do learn in this documentary, however, that some got more frustrated than others.
Seth Rollins Effect
Seth's clips from The FCW Story Special #SethRollins #FCW
Full Seth Video: https://t.co/YQOfsq1mIC pic.twitter.com/MkcE0z20rW
— SRFans Media (@SRFansMedia) March 8, 2020
A major part of this documentary was the involvement of Seth Rollins. Rollins signed with the WWE while he was the Ring of Honor World Champion and gave all that up to go to FCW. He made it clear that he expected the big lights of WWE but instead got the complete opposite. For those who may not be familiar, Rollins almost saw his entire run in WWE never happen as he grew frustrated in his time as a member of FCW. It was a good while where Rollins knew he did not belong in developmental and knew he was far and away the best. Rollins went into detail about the teachings and whatnot, but him revealing that he did have to talk to Triple H when he frustrated the wrong people is something important.
FCW was utilized to teach people who had little experience more than anything while also giving other wrestlers some needed television time. Seth Rollins has shown that despite being difficult in developmental, he could absolutely power through and become what he is today. Having one of the top stars who were indie popular before is incredibly important to this documentary because it shows fans that life before NXT was not packed of indie talent like it is today.
The most interesting part of the entire documentary was entering promo school. Many wrestlers made it clear that in-ring work is not enough. It was something we have heard for a long time in the WWE as being good in the ring and on the mic is how you go from a wrestler to a superstar. They showed videos of promo school with Dusty Rhodes and a number of wrestlers either struggling or succeeding. Charlotte Flair, Bayley, and Sasha Banks were among those who you saw an old video of. Heath Slater was one of the more interesting ones has his confidence was gigantic. But the biggest takeaway as the way everyone talked about Bray Wyatt.
They were somewhat hypnotized at his ability to deliver a promo and it was the early works of his Wyatt character we saw. Sasha Banks had a line where she said she didn’t know exactly what he was saying, but she bought in and had to hear every word because he was so captivating. Of course, we know what Wyatt would become through his storytelling. But if there is anything to take away from this documentary, it is the promo school part. Pure enjoyment.
FCW On TV
FCW on television was something that fans of today may not realize was real unless you lived in Florida. They were on Florida television only due to the future of the WWE needing to remain a secret. From getting wrestlers TV time to others deciding on names just so they could get to TV. Before getting to TV, it was a lot like backyard wrestling the way they marketed themselves. Some people may not believe that a lot of these matches were recorded. It was interesting to see matches that were happening on FCW TV years before they became huge feuds on WWE television. Them getting on TV was huge for everyone down there in their development. Long term, it was all about the next step.
The NeXT Step
NXT took over for FCW in 2012 and as we know now, they blew the door open when it comes to developmental wrestling. It was a change no one could have imagined to be this magnitude but it was needed. Keirn moved on when they relocated to the Performance Center and Full Sail, while history knows that Dusty Rhodes followed and remained a major part of the NXT team until he passed away. Both Prichard and Keirn spoke on the fact that this change was something that needed to happen for the biggest wrestling company in the world. Major on all aspects because it helps recruit more wrestlers and that has been a proven fact. NXT took over for FCW, but the current WWE landscape is nothing without FCW being the base that so many needed to grow.
Be sure to check out “A WWE Future: The FCW Story” on the WWE Network at any time as it is a documentary worth your time.
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