WWE To Cease Affiliation With Ohio Valley Wrestling

World Wrestling Entertainment issued the following press release today:

WWE® To Cease Affiliation With Ohio Valley Wrestling

STAMFORD, Conn., February 7, 2008 – World Wrestling Entertainment® announced today that Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) will no longer be affiliated with World Wrestling Entertainment as an official developmental territory, making Florida Championship Wrestling™ (FCW™) WWE’s official development training facility for talent around the globe.

“Ohio Valley Wrestling has been a tremendous partner with World Wrestling Entertainment through the years, and we thank them for their work in developing many of today’s WWE Superstars,” said John Laurinaitis, Senior Vice President of Talent Relations. “We look forward to Florida Championship Wrestling playing host to the next generation of WWE Superstars recruited from around the world.”

Last November, WWE announced the formation of Florida Championship Wrestling, a new training center for future WWE Superstars. The facility has four wrestling rings and approximately 35 contracted athletes, with plans to increase that number to more than 70 in the near future. The facility is now fully operational, as WWE undertook large-scale renovations to FCW in order to accommodate its training needs. The finished training facility is more than 10,000 square feet, including an arena that will seat nearly 300 fans. The new training facility will also host a weekly show in front of a live audience, to be broadcast for regional television.

FCW is owned and operated by Steve Keirn, a former professional wrestler and producer for WWE. WWE trainer Tom Prichard oversees all talent training at the facility.

Additional information on World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/

According to PWInsider.com, WWE head of developmental Ty Bailey and Laurinaitis held a meeting today with OVW’s contracted talent to let them in on the above news, and tell them that they would be moved to FCW after a few more weeks in Louisville, KY. Reasons given were wanting to have developmental talent in one location and easier access to current and former WWE stars (many of whom live in Florida). They were told no releases would come due to cutting ties with OVW, and Laurinaitis praised OVW owner Danny Davis — who was at the meeting — for his contribution to developing current WWE stars including Randy Orton, John Cena, Dave Batista and others. WWE owns OVW’s video library, so will have access to footage of these and other stars that made it to the main roster.

OVW talent was told FCW trainers would be Prichard, Keirn, Billy Kidman and one other, but there is no word on the future of OVW trainer Al Snow, who was also at the meeting. PWInsider has also reported that Laurinaitis and Bailey have scheduled a meeting in Tampa with FCW’s roster for this afternoon.

According to Wikipedia, here is WWE’s current (unverified) developmental roster:

Male wrestlers
Afa Jr. (Afa Anoa’i, Jr.)
Big Rob (Rob Terry)
Sinn Bowdee (Nick Cvjetkovich)
Eddie Colón
Johnny Curtis
Ted DiBiase Jr.
Giant Titan (Mike Jarvi)
Chris Gray
Jake Hager
Bryan Kelly
Steve Lewington
Heath Miller
Mighty Mikey (Michael Brendli)
Nic Nemeth (Nick Nemeth)
Eric Perez
Sheamus (Sheamus O’Shaunessy)
Rycklon Stephens
Tommy Taylor (Steve Taylor)
Hade Vansen
T.J. Wilson

Female wrestlers
Bri Bella (Brianna Garcia)
Nicole Bella (Nicole Garcia)
Victoria Crawford
Maryse (Maryse Ouellet)
Nattie Neidhart

Other on-air talent
Nick Patrick (Nick Hamilton) – Referee

Inactive talent
Apollo (Germán Figueroa) – Expected to debut soon
Timmy Baltimore – Announcer; Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Jay Bradley (Brad Bradley) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Colt Cabana (Scott Colton) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Matt Cappotelli – Currently Training; Recovering from brain tumor
James Curtis (Kurt Sellers) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Atlas DaBone (Rich Young) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Mike DiBiase – Expected to debut after fulfilling other independent obligations
Chet Douglas (Neil Bzibziak) – Suspended for violation of the Wellness Policy
Charles Evans – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Reid Flair (Reid Fliehr)
Jaden Jeter (Johnny Jeter) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Kevin Keenan – Referee; Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Vladimir Kozlov (Oleg Prudius) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Michael W. Kruel (Mike Kruel) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Goose Mahoney – Referee; Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Plazma (Greg Marasciulo) – Expected to debut soon
Chris Rombola – Inactive for unknown reasons
Roucka (Milena Roucka) – Valet of Mike Kruel; Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Stu Sanders – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Shawn Spears (Ronnie Arniell) – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Matt Sydal – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Andrew Vain – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Lupe Viscara – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW
Silas Young – Expected to transfer from the now defunct OVW

PWInsider is reporting that the first TV taping will take place later this month, so if anyone reading this is based in Tampa and wants to report on the show, please email me here.

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