Friday 23 March 2012

The Connecticut Connection

It was announced earlier in the week that WWE is going to shut down Florida Championship Wrestling, its sole developmental facility. For those unsure of what a developmental facility is (because, let’s be honest, it’s not the most commonly used term in the world) it’s a small scale wrestling promotion to which almost every newly signed wrestler is assigned, either to hone their craft or to begin their training from scratch. It’s all funded by WWE with the idea being that the majority of the promotion’s future stars are going to start their WWE careers there.

Unfortunately for FCW that has not been the case since it started operating as a WWE satellite four years ago. I suspect that’s part of the reason it’s being closed down.

None of these guys made it big...

The most successful training league McMahonland ever had was Ohio Valley Wrestling. Between 2000 and 2008, the years if was affiliated with WWE, OVW turned out John Cena, Brock Lesnar, and Randy Orton. Those three names alone should speak of the organisation’s quality for preparing guys for the main stage. It’s true that all were rough around the edges early on in the WWE careers (and that Cena still as far as wrestling competency is concerned) but they all got taught how to turn what they could do well into a successful wrestling career. They were taught how to become main eventers, and that is ultimately all that WWE needs.

OVW played a part in the careers of literally dozens of wrestlers. From CM Punk to Dolph Ziggler, Carlito to MVP, Shelton Benjamin to John Morrison, they all passed through Ohio Valley. There are too many names to list as far as talented workers that have graduated from that company go. The point is that OVW was a massive success for WWE but because they couldn’t handle not owning the smaller league (it was co-owned by Danny Davis and Jim Cornette, who were able to refuse requests made by WWE) they ended up cutting ties and going with FCW instead.

That wasn’t a good move. The results speak for themselves. Nowhere near the same number of big name stars have graduated from FCW as they did OVW. Jim Cornette has always attributed OVW's success to its emphasis on the basics of wrestling. FCW places a stronger emphasis on learning how to work in front of cameras than anything else. That is likely where the newer group has been going wrong. If the basics are emphasised then everything else will come in time. WWE should bare that in mind when starting up a new satellite federation.

A new league will be on its way, and it’s believed it will be based in New England, possibly in Connecticut so that it’s close to WWE Headquarters. Connecticut may not be known as a wrestling hotbed but I relocating there would be a good move. It would allow WWE’s writing team, who all live in the area, to visit the developmental league on a regular basis. That would allow talent to be evaluated for call-ups more often, pitch ideas for gimmicks, and find out what they can do to make it to RAW and SmackDown.

A mass relocation of wrestlers from Florida to New England will also likely see some contracts being terminated and some fresh blood getting promoted to the main roster. It’s a chance for WWE to reinvigorate their main programs with a large influx of new characters, filtered in over the next three or four months, as well as cutting ties with some of the more hopeless developmental talents. It may seem like a random move, but it should work out well in the long run.

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