Welcome back to the Dark Match Dungeon! It was one heck of a Royal Rumble for the former members of The Shield… Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were half of the final four left standing, and I feel safe in saying that Seth Rollins had the match of his life against Brock Lesnar and John Cena. So, for this week’s edition, we’re going to take a look all three of these guys before they strapped on Kevlar and became the coolest thing in wrestling. Before NXT as we currently know it, there was Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Despite having WWE’s personnel and money attached, it still looked very cable-access. No entrance videos, no live-streaming Takeovers, just the next potential crop of superstars and divas. Here’s a match with Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose duking it out to determine the #1 contender for the FCW title.
What To Look For:
- Reigns’ original ring name, Leakee. Thankfully, he would shed this (and every last bit of body fat, apparently) before being called up to the main roster.
- Seth Rollins wearing a Glamour Kills shirt and moshing to “Battle On,” making him the coolest kid at the Warped Tour.
- Residual traces of Dean Ambrose’s feud with William Regal, which was AWESOME AS HECK. Ambrose uses the Regal Stretch, and Regal (on commentary) waxes poetic about Ambrose’s kindred soul for a good portion of the match… it’s weirdly beautiful. In a perfect world, Regal handles the play-by-play for all our lives.
- Fleeting glimpses of a giant Alex Riley banner, which remind us that WWE’s developmental system still makes mistakes.
- Another Phoenix Splash attempt from Rollins. Seth, if you’re reading this: Please continue your current trend and ONLY use this move in special do-or-die matches. Thank you for not spamming it like so many indy wrestlers continue to do.
- Reigns looking really strong at the end.
This match is from early 2012, and I think you know where things go from here. They crashed Survivor Series later in the year and became a huge deal literally overnight. Now that we know Reigns is headed to the main event of WrestleMania, Rollins and Ambrose have to get involved somehow, right? I know I’m a fool for wanting continuity from the same company that tried to banish Daniel By-God Bryan from the main event, but these three are a gold mine together and some degree of closure on the big stage would be amazing. Let’s face it, I just want the main event to be a ring full of Paul Heyman Guys.