Florida Championship Wrestling debuts new arena, new memories
TAMPA, FL -- On Thursday night, a capactiy crowd in Tampa experienced the debut of Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) inside its newly constructed arena. And they weren't disappointed. Photos....
"We were sold out in about 15 minutes, and we're almost sold out for next week's event already," said FCW president Steve Keirn. "Having a grand opening, a live event and a bunch of WWE Superstars in attendance made it a tremendous night for wrestling fans in the city of Tampa."
WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair, Rocky Johnson and Wild Samoan Afa joined John Cena, Chris Jericho, Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston, Cryme Tyme's Shad, Kelly Kelly and Natalya for the debut event at WWE's official developmental training facility.
Also in attendance were Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, including defensive tackle Chris Hovan.
"We're super-excited about Florida Championship Wrestling making a name for itself, but also about being the best WWE developmental organization in its history," said Keirn.
An overjoyed Kofi Kingston, who had been part of FCW before coming to WWE, shared Keirn's exuberance regarding the debut of the new FCW training facility and arena. "I got goosebumps. It was very emotional.
"I had been there since day one, when it was a warehouse," he added. "We didn't even have any seats. We used some of the planks for the rings as our seats. It was humid, with no air conditioning, and dimly lit."
Enjoying a homecoming of sorts, Kingston was also appreciative that his fellow athletes were congratulatory and supportive. "To have someone you know who you trained and sweated with become a WWE champion is a testament that it can happen," he said.
Regarding the up-and-coming FCW athletes, the Jamaican Superstar said, "TJ Wilson is probably the smoothest technical wrestler I've ever seen. Big Rob is a physical specimen, a mauler. And Nic Nemeth is looking great; he is fun and very exciting to watch."
WWE Diva Kelly Kelly, who had also been with FCW back when it was "just a warehouse," said, "I couldn't believe how great it looked. The talent was so excited to put on a show for the fans and TV cameras.
"I'm so thrilled that people are finally seeing all of the great talent down there," she continued." All of the Divas are great. The Bella Twins are amazing. I'm really excited for them. I hope they get called up soon."