Last night (Feb. 23) Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) returned to its home base of Tampa, FL to film a trio of television episodes that would take the promotion through the end of March.
The latest episode of FCW to air saw Mike Dalton picking up an upset victory over FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion Leo Kruger thanks in part to the help of one D-O-Double-G Road Dogg in a non-title affair. It earned the young star a legitimate title shot which will air on Mar. 4.
Meanwhile, Richie Steamboat seems to be moving on from his feud with Damien Sandow and into more ... European pastures. Yes, indeed, you can expect a rivalry between "The Dragon's" baby boy and indie darling Claudio Castagnoli otherwise known as Antonio Cesaro.
Excuse me so I can cheer uncontrollably for a bit.
And remember how I said former Ring of Honor (ROH) talent would factor heavily into these tapings? On top of Cesaro's feud, there's a couple other wrestlers who made quite an impact during the tapings.
Courtesy of Spyware Insider, here's a full rundown of what happened including not only the debut of another indie wrestling superstar but TWO -- not one, TWO -- title changes.
Full spoilers after the jump.
Episode to air 03/11/12
The episode opened up with CJ Parker and Jason Jordan defeating Big E Langston -- hey, I know him from the John Cena weight lifting video package! -- and Alexander Rusev.
Byron Saxton was supposed to take on Kenneth Cameron next but Saxton continued to milk his injured arm and said he couldn't compete. He did manage to find an opponent for Camera, however. Colin Cassady then came out and defeated Cameron after a little help from Saxton.
The next match saw Audrey Marie beating Sofia Cortez but getting a post-match beatdown at the hands of Paige and "Queen of FCW" Raquel Diaz. Kaitlyn ran out for the save the cleared the rulebreakers of the ring.
Next up, IT'S
CHRIS HERO KASSIUS OHNO! He talks up his knockout power -- get it, his initials are KO -- and says that anyone can make their opponent tap but a real man knocks them out. He'll make his debut next week aka in about an hour.
FCW President Steve Keirn and assistant Norman Smiley make their way to the ring and have General Manager Maxine join them. He brings up the psychological evaluations she made the staff take and said all results and records were to be handed over to him. Then Smiley dropped the bomb: Maxine ... YOU'RE FIRED!
In the main event, Leo Kruger recaptured the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship when he put Mike Dalton down with a sleeper hold.
Episode to air 03/18/12
James Bronson defeated Dante Dash.
Leo Kruger then came out to gloat about winning the title back so quickly and also talked trash on Dalton.
Kaitlyn and Audrey Marie defeated Paige and Sofia Cortez but the rulebreakers once again engaged in a post-match beatdown. Caylee Turner of Tough Enough fame hopped up from her ring announcer chair to help out the fan favorites. Diaz then jumped in and evened the odds.
Backstage, Rob Naylor and Aiden English are talking when Bronson comes in blames Naylor for everything that happened.
Kassius Ohno made his FCW debut and beat Xavier Woods by knockout after a vicious elbow. Poor guy. He got killed by a Cesaro European Uppercut on Feb. 19 and now this?
Diaz comes back out and once again asks where her championship banner is. She also runs down Audrey which brings the Texas girl out for a Lone Star State whoopin'!
Backstage in Summer Rae's office, Jake Carter and Corey Graves are being told by the blonde bombshell she sees a big future for them. Maxine storms in, angry about her firing and Rae's supposed involvement with it. Maxine smacks Naylor while the two women stare down.
The main event saw FCW 15 Champion Richie Steamboat retain after trading pinfalls with Antonio Cesaro. "Very European" scored the first pinfall four minutes into the bout and the champ evened it up about seven minutes later. Afterwards, Cesaro attacked Steamboat and began to celebrate with the championship medal until Steamboat recovered and nailed the Swiss with a superkick.
Episode to air 03/25/12
The showed opened up with Seth Rollins winning an eight-man scramble to become the number one contender for the FCW Heavyweight Championship. Wrestlers could be eliminated either by pinfall, submission, or being thrown over the top rope to the floor. HMMM, THAT SOUNDS FAMILIAR~!
The other participants in this match -- as well as elimination order -- Sakamoto, Brad Maddox, Big E Langston, Mike Dalton, Bo Rotundo, Jason Jordan and Rick Victor.
Steamboat came out and said he was disrespected by Cesaro but admitted the dude had chops. He said despite the shenanigans "Very European" pulled, he'd offer a rematch.
Alexander Rusev defeated CJ Parker
Cesaro then came out to retort Steamboat's promo. He said the only reason he took the medal is because it should be his. He busts out a "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" reference and promises to be champion soon.
Kenneth Cameron beat Nick Rogers
And cashing in his recently won title shot, Seth Rollins pinned Kruger to become the new FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion.
While Rollins is a former FCW 15 champion and arguably one of the most popular guys on the roster, I can't help but wonder if Rotundo's recent arrest had anything to do with this development. Before having to take some time off due to an injury, the third generation star was the heavyweight champ. The title was vacated and won by Kruger last September.
Regardless, congratulations to Rollins on his first Florida Heavyweight Championship reign!