Paul "Triple H" Levesque
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider (no link due to spyware concerns), and as re-told by WrestlingInc.com, WWE is not shutting down Florida Championship Wrestling as a developmental territory, and all house shows will go on as scheduled.
Last night, Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com reported that the WWE had informed TV partner Bright House Sports Network that:
- They were closing down the territory and not shooting any new TV shows, with three episodes left in the can to be aired over the next few weeks.
- WWE was folding the promotion & closing down the wrestling school. Steve Keirn owns FCW, but it pretty much exists just to serve WWE, who doesn't want to own the developmental promotions themselves "for tax reasons." FCW has a wrestling school for non-WWE talent advertised on their website, but I've never heard anything about it elsewhere.
- All contracted talent was being moved to Stamford, Connecticut, where WWE is headquartered. They have a small training center that was used for camps in the late '90s and the original version of Tough Enough, but it's not big enough to run shows at or train the 50 wrestlers in FCW.
Meltzer added that, "Virtually nobody in WWE was aware of the news, nor could confirm it."
Later, on his Wrestling Observer Radio podcast, he noted that developmental talent was finding out about the news online, not from superiors in FCW or WWE. There had been rumblings for a long time that Executive Vice President, Talent (that's how his title is really phrased) Triple H (Paul Levesque) wanted to overhaul the developmental system, and he recently fired Ty Bailey (a former NFL employee with little pro wrestling knowledge), who oversaw development on the Stamford/WWE end.
Today, Johnson is contradicting Meltzer's version of what's going on. Initially, he noted that he could only confirm that the TV show was cancelled. He added an update later on where he stated that his sources in WWE were telling him that FCW is not being shut down, and nothing is changing beyond the end of their TV show on Bright House.
Steve Keirn is also denying that FCW is being shut down and it's business as usual at the school, with the developmental talent training like it's any other day. If FCW is sticking around, then one would think that the TV show is moving elsewhere, as the wrestlers needs to learn to work TV-style matches and whatnot.
We'll keep you updated and let you know what the heck is going on. For the sake of the FCW talent, I hope that this turns out not to be true, as I don't expect them to get cost-of-living raises, and moves like this often lead to firings.