Last year, I had the idea to look at some of the FCW matches on YouTube.
Since I couldn't see them on TV, seeing as they only show in Florida and I live in Alabama, this was the only way I could check out the future stars of the WWE outside of going to a live show in Tampa.
However, they are supposed to be doing their first tour in 2010.
So all of the FCW fans out there may get to go to a live show in their town.
For dates and towns they are going to be at, visit FCWWrestling.com.
In any case, I had the idea that while I was watching these young men and women in FCW, I should write about who I think are going to be the best of the bunch.
I felt that because many of you out there don't know of these great stars, that every year around this time I'd highlight some FCW stars for you to look for in coming year in the WWE.
Last year, I highlighted Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler, two men who have had a relatively good 2009. While Ziggler hasn't won any gold as of yet, he is probably the most deserving person on the SmackDown roster to hold some.
Meanwhile, Sheamus has shocked the entire WWE Universe by beating John Cena at the TLC PPV to become the WWE Champion. He is one of the few to win a World Title inside his first year of being on a main roster in the WWE.
It's obvious to me that these two gentlemen will be massive stars in the WWE for some time. This year, I'll be highlighting three people you are going to see this year in the WWE.
All of them will be massive stars hands down, and the first person on the list is my favorite of the bunch, Justin Angel.
Paul Lloyd, Jr., known now by his WWE ring name Justin Angel, has been around wrestling pretty much his entire life.
He is a second-generation wrestler, which is something a lot of people don't know about him. He started wrestling in his father's promotion at the young age of 16.
His father Paul Lloyd, Sr., is a legendary South African wrestling promoter and wrestler who wrestled under the ring name "The Pink Panther."
Sadly, his father died his final year in high school.
At that point, it seemed that he wanted to honor his father even more. It seemed that he was bound and determined to succeed and continue on the Lloyd family legacy of wrestling. It seemed that Paul Lloyd Jr., was dead set on being one of the best wrestlers in the entire world.
So, he decided to go to the UK and try his hand at wrestling there. It was a smart move, as the UK has many wrestlers with various wrestling styles, meaning he could learn a lot from them.
To make sure he learned from the best, he wanted to go to one of the best training areas around, the FWA Academy. He made his FWA debut in 2003 and also made appearances in IPW:UK.
He spent five years in the UK wrestling and training, but he didn't just spend his time doing that. See, Lloyd is a very smart individual. He decided to go to school in his spare time, earning four diplomas (Graphic Web Design, Personal Training, Sports Nutrition, and Body Massage).
If you ask me, Lloyd was very smart for doing this. The diplomas he attained are key to one's wrestling career. If you know how to take care of your body, you're going to last a lot longer than most wrestlers.
Also, if he ever gets hurt and could never wrestle again he could always be a personal trainer or nutritionist. On top of that, since he basically has a degree in sports medicine, he could be a trainer in the WWE, as well.
Then you add the fact that he is experienced in Web design, and he has a great future outside the ring. Not many wrestlers have a game plan of what to do after they retire or what they would do if they got hurt and could never wrestle again, but Lloyd does.
Lloyd, of course, honed his wrestling skills while in the UK, but he also learned a little MMA, more so Muay Thai. He added a lot of what you would see from that, such as kicks and submissions, to his wrestling game.
Like any great Muay Thai student, he learned how to use the eight points of the body to do damage to an opponent.
He decided that he got all he needed out of the UK, so he went back to South Africa and wrestled in "the biggest promotion in the southern hemisphere," the WWP (World Wrestling Professionals) and won the first ever WWP Cruiserweight World Championship in 2007.
The WWE saw how great this man was and signed him to a three-year developmental deal in late 2008, making him the first South African born wrestler in the WWE.
Keep in mind that this really means nothing as far as keeping him in developmental only for three years; he can move up to a main roster spot at any time.
The thing is that he has to finish the deal out by working down there until it's complete. Most work there instead of house shows until the developmental contract is up, from what I've heard.
In any case, he debuted shortly after he signed in early 2009 and impressed immediately. He went by his real name for a short while before getting his Justin Angel ring name. He was given a totally new look, as well.
At this point, he became a face in FCW and started wrestling some of the top talent there, which got him into some of the title hunts.
He once wrestled fellow FCW Superstar Kris Logan, in a match in which both wrestlers impressed. Announcer Josh Matthews said he would love to see the two in a tag team during the match, which later happened.
The two started teaming together frequently and ended up winning the FCW Tag Titles from Trent Beretta and Caylon Croft this past July at an FCW TV taping. However, the duo lost the tag titles the same night to The Rotundos.
No one is really sure why that turn of events happened, but it did, which resulted in Angel and Logan quietly splitting as a tag team and putting them back in singles wrestling.
After heavily impressing in singles wrestling, Angel won the FCW World Championship on Sept. 24 from Heath Slater in a best two out of three falls match.
He still holds the FCW World Title, and the main reason is because he has been one of the more impressive champions they have had.
Keep in mind that everyone who has been FCW Champion since the WWE made it their developmental territory has reached the main rosters in the WWE.
Some key names who have held it include Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, and Sheamus.
All on that list have held or currently hold gold (well, Swagger held the platinum ECW Title).
Justin Angel is one of those wrestlers who is hard to compare to any one wrestler; he is simply Angelic and almost impossible to compare him to anyone. I'll try to compare him to a few people, but it will be hard.
He is similar to Tyson Kidd in that he has lethal kicks that can come out of nowhere.
He is also a risk taker, similar to that of John Morrison or Jeff Hardy.
Also, he has a ton of technical mat wrestling ability, similar to Chris Jericho.
Then you throw in the martial arts work he does very well, similar to CM Punk.
I want you to keep in mind all the names I mentioned—all are not considered massive people in the wrestling world size-wise. All are close to 6 feet (Kidd is 5'9") and weigh close to 225.
Yet, if you look at their careers, all have either held or will hold gold in the WWE. Angel is similar to them. He is 6'1" and weighs 226.
It used to be that you had to be 6'5 and weigh 250 or bigger to have success in the WWE.
Those days seem to have changed, as the smaller wrestlers are getting some spotlight. If you impress, then why shouldn't you get some spotlight? Angel does a ton of things that make you just love to watch him.
He does something similar to Jericho in the Lionsault, except instead of flipping backwards from the second rope, he uses the top, which is highly athletic for a man his size.
The one thing people clamor to see is the move he calls "The Fall From Grace," which is a 450 Splash. Not many people do that anymore, especially as a finisher, but he does.
Many feel that he needs to use the move of course, just not as a finisher, but as a set up to one.
The issue is that he doesn't do a move outside of the 450 Splash that could be considered a legit finisher.
Many believe his mic work needs to improve, and don't think it is because he is from South Africa. The South Africans speak English similar to the British. So, the accent is not the issue.
I haven't found a promo of his to know if he is bad on the mic, but from what I have heard, he needs to improve in that area. However, in the ring there may be no better in FCW than Justin Angel.
He is incredible at doing moves out of the blue. One of the things many fans like is to see high spots when they are least expected, and Angel does that.
As I mentioned before, he is a skilled submissionist. He will do incredible leg and arm locks, which I have never seen from a pro wrestler. Then the kicks he does are lethal, so any time he wins a match against anyone it is believable.
Sometimes when a smaller guy wins a match against a larger opponent, it is hard to believe. You'll see it and you're like, "Oh yeah, whatever, that could never happen in real life."
I say check out his match against Vance Archer to find out how well a smaller man can realistically win a match.
The one thing that I love the most of all about him is he ability to sell.
He loves to do the high-flying moves and cool offense, but he brings that same amount of greatness to his selling. Anytime he is in the ring with an opponent, his opponent looks great against him.
It is so fun to watch matches of his because they are back and forth, and it looks like anyone can win at any time. A lot of the time, we see matches where one guy looks dominant most of the time, whether he wins or not (ex. Vladimir Kozlov and Great Khali).
So, when you can see a great storyteller like Angel, it is a special thing to watch.
He has been called "The Poster Boy" and for good reason.
The man is, in fact, the poster boy for what a wrestler needs to be like. He can dazzle us with great offense, but also make us wonder every time if he will win or not because of how great he sells.
Word is that this incredible performer will make his main roster debut in early 2010, and I personally cannot wait. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Justin Angel will be a champion in the WWE within the first seven months of his debut.
And he will be a World Champion within two years, maybe sooner. He is that good, ladies and gentlemen. You will all be awed by the omnipresent Justin Angel. Count on it.
So that you get to know how good he is, I'm going to link you to some of his FCW matches I found on YouTube. Here they are:
- Angel vs. Yoshi Tatsu
- Angel vs. Logan
- Angel/Logan vs. Beretta/Croft
- Angel vs. Slater, Video One
- Angel vs. Slater, Video Two
- Angel vs. Slater, Video Three
The last three are the best out of three falls matches between Angel and Slater where Angel walked away with the FCW World Title. One of the better championship matches FCW has put on in awhile if you ask me.
Make sure to check those out, but if I were you, I'd check them all out.