WWE to open developmental finishing school in Stamford, CT

The Red Rooster is now ironically responsible for preparing WWE's best developmental talent for their call up to the main roster. Photo via www.obsessedwithwrestling.com.

Uncertainty has abounded over the future of WWE's developmental system, ever since rumours were prematurely leaked that WWE planned to shut down Florida Championship Wrestling and replace it with something better. WWE's Executive Vice President of Talent, Triple H, quickly shot down that hearsay on WWE.com, but hinted at a major announcement regarding revamping their current arrangement that would make it "bigger and better than ever" after WrestleMania 28, but nothing has been said officially yet. In the meantime, Hunter's friend, Terry Taylor, was hired for a newly created job in developmental management, but his role was shrouded in secrecy, which led to the obvious speculation that he was formulating plans to create new training facilities in Stamford, Connecticut to eventually replace FCW.

In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required), Dave Meltzer, yes him again, revealed that the top FCW talent who are almost ready for the main roster would be relocated to Stamford soon to work hands on with Taylor to prepare them for their WWE television debuts:

The proposed role for Terry Taylor looks to be heading a program in Stamford where the best guys in developmental will be coached by him more individually as something of a "finishing school." The idea is to take ten (that number could be different, five, 12, whatever) of the best guys in the developmental system and the ones closest to being brought up and be given to Taylor for new ideas.

This is a similar idea to one that worked well in the past in the early days of their developmental system. In late 1996, The Rock was brought to Titan Towers to film vignettes and work closely with Pat Patterson and Dr. Tom Prichard before his debut at Survivor Series that year. Bret Hart, before his relationship with the then WWF turned sour, had a hand in training Ken Shamrock and Mark Henry, two raw talents that were both rushed on to television due to their large guaranteed contracts. Perhaps most successfully, Dory Funk Jr. ran a series of intense one week training camps for WWE in 1998 to groom the likes of Kurt Angle, The Hardy Boyz, Edge, Christian, Lord Tensai, Shawn Morley and Andrew Martin for the big league. So this certainly sounds like a positive development.

WWE should also bring in outsiders to give them pointers too. At the Cauliflower Alley Club banquet last night, both Terry Funk and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin expressed an interest in doing just that and WWE should take them up on their offer. The more veteran hands their top developmental talent can learn from the better.

Another benefit is that most of the WWE creative team are based in Stamford, which means that the script writers would be able to meet with the developmental talent before they are called to TV and work closely with them at fleshing out their new characters, thus guaranteeing a smoother transition. Such a strategy is already paying dividends with Dean Ambrose, who has worked closely with Ed Koskey in developing his online feud with Mick Foley.

Regarding the fate of FCW, who knows? I'm not sure even WWE knows. It looks like they are playing it by ear now, as there is now no time frame on their television deal with the Bright House Network, who will continue to air the show as long as they are receiving tapes. Having a developmental finishing school in Stamford set up would give them a ready made plan B should they ever sour on the promotion again.

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