John Laurinaitis enjoying a brewski and sushi (Photo by Masanori Horie)
At the beginning of 2007, WWE had two developmental promotions: Danny Davis's Ohio Valley Wrestling based out of the Louisville, Kentucky area and Joe Hamilton's Deep South Wrestling near Atlanta, Georgia. One day, WWE representatives showed up at the Deep South training center, were in shock over how badly they felt it was being run, and they immediately ended the affiliation.
This left WWE with a bunch of developmental wrestlers who didn't have a place to work and train. Booker T saw an opening and made a pitch to get the new developmental opening.
He had opened his Pro Wrestling Alliance school and promotion in 2005 and gotten good reviews for his efforts. He upgraded his facility and secured TV production equipment so he could take over Deep South's spot. In addition to the infrastructure being in place, WWE would have an active main event level wrestler training the developmental talent on his days off.
Meanwhile, then WWE road agent/producer Steve Keirn made his own pitch to Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. He would open his own school and promotion in Tampa called Florida Championship Wrestling. With so many current and former WWE wrestlers in Tampa, they could drop by and help out when needed.
Laurinaitis went with FCW, angering Booker T to the degree it was a major sticking point that led to his departure from the company. When FCW opened in June that year, Laurinaitis was promoted to Senior Vice President of Talent Relations.
There was one big problem: FCW had to be built from scratch. Several months went by before they could run shows and shoot TV school, as there were no restrooms in the building.
To make things worse, WWE dropped its affiliation with OVW in February 2008, moving all developmental talent to FCW. With 60 developmental wrestlers in FCW, they weren't getting nearly enough ring time both in the school and in front of fans.
Eventually, Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer revealed why Laurinaitis was so gung-ho about FCW: He loved the party scene in the area, so any business trips to FCW would be also be very pleasurable for him, because really, that's what's important, isn't it?