About 900 fans met WWE Hall of Famer The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and WWE superstar Cody Rhodes before an FCW WWE NXT show on Sept. 14 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce, Fla.
FCW, based in Tampa, is the developmental group to WWE, developing future superstars and divas for WWE.
WWE superstars and divas who are FCW alum include Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Ted DiBiase, Jack Swagger, Primo Colon, Ezekiel Jackson, Evan Bourne, Sheamus, Alicia Fox, Drew McIntyre, Tyson Kidd, Natalya, Hunico, Derrick Bateman and more. On the roster of current FCW WWE NXT superstars and divas are several second and third generation superstars like Bo Dallas, Raquel Diaz, Ashley Flair, Memo Montenegro, Roman Reigns, Ricky Steamboat and Bray Wyatt.
“What’s unusual about it, I’ve known most of these kids when they were little kids. I can remember them when they were in dressing rooms with their dads when they were 6, 7-years-old. I remember the Rotundo boys [Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt] when they were in elementary school,” FCW President Steve Keirn said. “I was close friends with most of their dads or business associates with most of their dads.
“To see them grow and develop and now they’re in the ring, it’s a real eye opening experience for them. I’ve got a lot of respect for the new generation.”
Keirn, a Florida legend, is former WWE superstar Skinner and Doink the Clown. The FCW WWE NXT superstars and divas are learning from Keirn as well as Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Norman Smiley, Bill DeMott, Terry Taylor and Joey Mercury.
FCW WWE NXT runs shows throughout Florida, mostly across Central Florida and on the state’s West Coast, but the company is expanding, and Southeast Florida is a target market. FCW ran two shows in (Southeast Florida) Fort Pierce, a smaller one in August and then a bigger one Sept. 14 with father and son Rhodes.
“It’s great to see all the people who turned out for the show, and now that there’s NXT, it’s great to get a good start on a following from a different part of the state,” Keirn said. “We’ve been all over the state of Florida, but we haven’t worked our way down the East Coast. Now we’re starting to come over to the East Coast a little bit more, and what a great reception here in Fort Pierce.”
Dusty, the FCW WWE NXT commissioner and general manager, is a Florida legend, and Cody is a top young talent in WWE. They attracted fans, young and older.
Cody and Dusty are to be commended as they signed autographs for each fan and posed for photos. That’s plenty of signatures and lots of smiling.
FCW WWE NXT is well worth the admission. Before the show, WWE NXT superstars and divas signed autographs, too, and photos with fans. There was also music, giveaways, raffles, a dance contest with WWE NXT talent and fans. Your pre-show host was Briley Pierce (eat your heart out Dolph Ziggler). Eight solid wrestling matches followed, featuring the future of WWE. Cody Rhodes battled FCW WWE NXT champ Seth Rollins in the main event. It’s common for a current WWE superstar or diva to be involved in an FCW WWE NXT show.
The event had a fans convention type feel.
“It’s designed to be an experience,” Keirn said. “If it’s not an experience, you don’t want to go back.”
For those FCW WWE NXT superstars and divas not competing in matches, they still play a role with the show. They work the merchandise table, sell programs and set-up the banners, chairs and ring. They sell tickets at the door, work security, are ushers. They video tape the show, play the music, sell raffle tickets and handle ring announcing. It is a team effort, and fans in Fort Pierce ‘want to go back.’
• FCW WWE NXT will be in (South Florida) Broward or Miami-Dade County on Oct. 26. WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio will be involved in a meet-n-greet before the show.
• YouTube (the jimmyv3 channel) of FCW WWE NXT at the Havert L. Fenn Center in Fort Pierce, Fla.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5OqGvMStzw&feature=plcp (Dusty and Cody Rhodes)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4uFyZfLsgs&feature=plcp (Dusty and Cody Rhodes)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOBeoKu6eso&feature=plcp (ready for Dancing With the Stars)