Caught in the Ropes- A Glance at FCW

Welcome back to Caught in the Ropes! I took last week off to recharge my batteries and I’m ready to hit the ground running. Now that I’m back, I’d like to do something a little different. Rather than talk about the WWE and its current roster, I’d like to take some time and examine some of the guys down in FCW and rate some of the up-and-coming talent we might see on WWE TV in the next few months or years. Hell, I’ll make a series out of it and try and run through the entirety of the FCW roster, or at least as much of it as I possibly can. I’ll try to include some videos for these guys, give you my opinion on what I’ve seen, and give them a score from 1-5 stars depending on how much I’d like to see them on Raw and Smackdown. Before we get into it, I’ll remind you that I’ll be back at the helm of 10 Thoughts on Raw this week as well, so check that out.

Abraham Washington

You might remember Washington, fondly or otherwise, for his talk-show on WWECW. Upon re-watching some of his skits, I have to admit that I love the guy on the mic. He’s funny, he’s quick, and he seems completely at ease. Even if he wasn’t an in-ring competitor, I could see Washington working out as a commentator or manager.

Abraham has a lot of charisma in the ring, and at 6’2” and 220 pounds, he’s certainly got the size and physique that the WWE likes. He’s also quick and fairly agile, which is nice to see, but his move-set seems conservative and I’m not a fan of his striking. Speaking of not being a fan: I don’t like his “In Your Face!” elbow drop, but I can possibly see it becoming popular a la the People’s Elbow. As for his finisher, the hangman’s neckbreaker isn’t much to write home about, but it is serviceable.

Rating: ****

Alexander Rusev

Talk about no charisma. There’s not much info out there on Rusev, but his English seems good, so not being capable of delivering a promo won’t be the problem, but delivering a good one will be. He’s a big guy at 6’3” and 304 pounds, but he’s quick and agile, much like a younger, slightly smaller Vader. He’s only been in three matches for FCW, but from what I’ve seen he’s also got some solid in-ring skills. Good striking, sells alright for a big man, and has some nice suplexes (I’ve seen both his belly-to-belly and German suplex, and both look good). He’s obviously new to the company and we’ll have to wait and see how he develops, but I think he has the wrestling talent to be a pretty big deal in the WWE, so long as he either becomes more comfortable on the mic or picks up a manager willing to do the talking for him.

Rating: ***

Antonio Cesaro

Pssst, it’s Claudio Castagnoli. Yeah, it’s another WWE name change, and I don’t think we’ll be seeing Claudio bust out the Swiss Death all that often, but I think he can fit in with the WWE. He’s 6’5”, 232 pounds and absolutely ripped, exactly the kind of physique the WWE looks for. He’s also a fantastic worker and a pretty funny guy, though his accent might take a little getting used to.

Seeing how he’s going to assuredly be teamed up with Chris Hero, I won’t bother to rate him as a singles wrestler, though he would do just fine if he decided to go that route. Instead, I’ll just mention that the Kings of Wrestling are coming to the WWE.

Rating: *****

Big E Langston

Big E, AKA Ettore Ewen, is a former amateur wrestler and football player for the University of Iowa (though without many accolades due to injury problems) and powerlifting champ. The guy is, at 5’11” and 285 pounds, the very definition of a fireplug. He’s fairly quick, but utilizes your standard power wrestling move-set. I’ve seen him put some mat grappling to use, and he does utilize a pretty fluid belly-to-belly, but I’d like to see some more technical wrestling out of him. He’s been in the FCW system for a while, so I can only assume that the WWE just doesn’t know what to do with him right now. That could be because his cadence on the mic is awkward and he feels very scripted when he speaks. The fact that typing “Big E Langston promo” in to Google only produced one actual promo video should tell you something about his mic work.

Rating: **

Bo Rotundo

Bo Rotundo looks…weird. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about his appearance that’s just off-putting, so he’s got that going against him. However, Barry and Kendall Windham are his uncles, Mike Rotunda (IRS) is his father, and his grandfather is Blackjack Mulligan, so there is that. Oh, and his brother is Husky Harris. Also, Bo’s been working some dark matches for Smackdown recently, so we might be seeing him sooner rather than later. At 6’1” and 225 pounds, he’s in the WWE’s size range, but he’s doesn’t have the Randy Orton-esque physique, so there’s that to consider as well. Don’t forget, during his tenure in FCW he’s won the tag titles and the heavyweight title twice.

Forget all that; Bo is great in the ring. He’s quick, agile, and charismatic. While he does use the spear as his finisher, though in a different fashion than Edge or Christian, I do think he’ll need to find a new finisher in order to stand out. However, due to his size, I see the WWE putting him in a tag-team first, and considering his soft-spoken attitude and Southern drawl, I worry that they’ll horse-collar him with a really stupid gimmick. He’s good enough in the ring to compete with anyone, but I’m not sure how he’ll fit into the WWE system.

Rating: ****

That’s all for this week’s installment, but I’ll be back with more next Monday.

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