WWE: 10 Reasons to Check out Florida Championship Wrestling on YouTube
Photo courtesy of fcwwrestling.info
Florida Championship Wrestling is where future WWE stars hone their crafts before making it to the big time.
The Orlando-based organization has been the WWE's developmental territory since 2009, and it has produced a number of stars that you see on Raw and Smackdown today.
Guys like Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus spent some time down in FCW before getting their main roster call-ups and going on to become World Heavyweight Champions.
Since FCW isn't on TV like Raw and Smackdown are, though, you don't get to see these guys before they make that leap to the main roster.
But all it takes is a visit to everyone's favorite video Web site to do just that.
Here are 10 reasons to check out Florida Championship Wrestling on YouTube.
10. To Get Your ECW Fix
FCW is a lot like the WWE's version of ECW in its dying days, but in a good way.
In 2009, we saw the "New Superstar Initiative" on the ECW brand, which was basically the company's way of saying, "Hey, we're going to call up a bunch of FCW workers in a short span to let them perform on national TV."
So, whether by default or design, ECW essentially became FCW, a place where new stars would make their debuts instead of going straight to Raw or Smackdown.
Although a lot of people hated that version of ECW, some liked it, and ECW actually did have some great matches from time to time.
If you miss having a WWE show that's dedicated almost entirely to new and young talent, then FCW is the show for you.
9. To Watch Your Favorite Stars Who Are No Longer on TV
If you've ever had a favorite star of yours get written off of TV, then chances are that if he didn't get released, he probably got sent back down to FCW.
While that means you can't watch him on Raw or Smackdown any more, you might be able to watch him on FCW TV.
I was personally a fan of Husky Harris because I thought he moved extremely well for a big man and had the potential to be a solid mid-carder in a relatively short span.
At the very least, he was certainly 10 times better than David Otunga and Michael Tarver.
So, if I want to see my boy Husky perform and I can't do that on TV, then I just go to YouTube instead.
You can do the same with whichever WWE star you like that got sent back down to FCW.
8. To See Something Different from Standard WWE Programming
We watch Raw and Smackdown because we like what we get out of those two shows most of the time.
But we can also get fed up with the run-of-the-mill WWE programming that doesn't change much and that often does not live up to our expectations.
That's where FCW comes in.
Sure, it's a WWE-based show. But it has a much more intimate and "indy" feel than what we see on Raw and Smackdown.
There's a lot less B.S., sometimes even better wrestling and a program that's just noticeably different from what we see on Mondays and Fridays.
Whether you end up liking it or not, it's worth checking out to see how you feel about the differences between Raw, Smackdown and FCW.
7. Better Feuds and Writing
I've lost count of how many times I've watched a WWE feud and thought "Man, this sucks" or "That heel is being booked so terribly against the babyface."
But in FCW, the feuds are actually booked pretty damn well, and heels aren't as cowardly as they are in the WWE.
The FCW's creative team does a great job building up the animosity between two wrestlers (such as the feud between Husky Harris and Richie Steamboat), and it also is able to portray heels as legitimately tough competitors than cowards.
This isn't to say that all feuds and all the writing is better down in FCW. But it often is.
Perhaps this has to do with FCW having no pay-per-views and therefore, being able able to do a better job of progressing feuds on TV. I don't know.
The bottom line, though, is that FCW TV often flows better than Raw or Smackdown.
6. To See Just How Much Talent the WWE Has Waiting in the Wings
The amount of talent the WWE has down in FCW is absolutely ridiculous.
The FCW roster is stacked with top-tier performers from the independent scene and second or third-generation wrestlers who are following in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers.
Names that you'll probably recognize are Seth Rollins (former Ring of Honor star Tyler Black), Antonio Cesaro (former ROH star Claudio Castagnoli), Dean Ambrose (a.k.a. Jon Moxley) and Richie Steamboat (son of Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat), among others.
That's just scratching the surface, though.
FCW has a deep talent pool that features a number of other guys who could make it to the main roster in the near future and make a huge splash when they get there.
5. To Help "Predict" the Future
None of us really have any idea what's in store for the WWE in the future.
But we can get a pretty good indication of the direction of the company by watching FCW and paying close attention to the superstars working down there.
Just a couple of years ago, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio were working as top stars in FCW, and now in 2012, they're two of the top stars in the WWE.
FCW officials are going to highlight and push the top stars that have the best chance of making noise on Raw or Smackdown, so if you want to see where the the WWE is headed, then you should probably check out some FCW shows on YouTube.
The guys who are headlining down there right now may very well be headlining WrestleMania in 2015.
4. To See Where the Current WWE Stars Came from and How They've Progressed
Whenever I'm watching Raw or Smackdown, I constantly find myself wondering what some of the WWE stars looked like and how they performed before making it to the main roster.
Thanks to FCW and YouTube, I can find that out.
YouTube is filled with videos of current WWE stars competing in FCW prior to their main roster debuts, and it's interesting to take a look at how those stars have changed and progressed since then.
Some stars had much different gimmicks (like Hunico), and others even had different names (Alberto Del Rio was once Alberto Banderas) while in FCW.
It's just cool to see where today's WWE stars came from, how their characters have evolved and in some cases, how drastically these guys have improved in the ring or on the mic.
3. To Watch the Stars That Should Be on the Main Roster but Are Stuck Down There
There are a number of FCW stars who are already better than a majority of the WWE's main roster talents.
Right off the bat, guys like Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose come to mind as FCW stars who could make the jump to Raw or Smackdown and instantly be upper mid-card caliber wrestlers.
Unfortunately, stars such as Rollins and Ambrose often get stuck down in the WWE's developmental territory for a year or more because the creative team can't come up with a perfect debut storyline for them.
That's a shame because some of these guys down in FCW could really help out the WWE product.
If they're going get the shaft and stay in limbo down there, though, then we might as well check them out and see what they got.
Just watch that match between Rollins and Ambrose, and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.
2. To Familiarize Yourself with FCW Stars Before They Get Called Up
Debuting WWE stars often flop or fail miserably because the fans simply have no idea who they are or what their characters are about.
But thanks to our ability to watch FCW on YouTube, we can familiarize ourselves with FCW stars before they get called up the main roster.
In some cases, that won't work because FCW stars change their gimmicks considerably prior to their call-ups. But for the most part, we can get a pretty good indication of what a future WWE star's gimmick will be by watching him perform in FCW.
If we do that, it will make it a lot easier to get behind a debuting star than it would be otherwise.
We'll already be familiar with the way they wrestle, the way they work the mic and the way they get heat or cheers from the crowd.
1. To Watch Some Quality Wrestling
Since FCW is loaded with so much talent (and often gets some visits from current WWE stars), the show generally features some great wrestling.
We often have to sit through a lot of crap on Raw or Smackdown, and while that may be the case for FCW at times as well, WWE's developmental territory has always put on high-quality matches and will continue to do so.
I'm not saying you should expect to see five-star matches or anything like that, but you might go to an FCW TV taping and be more impressed by the matches you see there than the ones you see at a Raw or Smackdown taping.
It'a crazy to think that, but quite simply, there is a lot of great in-ring action at FCW shows.
You might want to check it out.