WWE’s FCW returns to Punta Gorda, Florida

** Squared Circle Showdown!

Punta Gorda, Fl – May 24, 2010

The hard hitting fast paced action that has become synonymous with Florida Championship wrestling is geared up and set to return to Punta Gorda this coming Friday night. Fans attending this month’s show will be greeted with a special twist, an appearance by WWE Superstar Matt Hardy.

During the course of Matt Hardy’s more than ten years as a contracted performer for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) he has earned reigns as a WWE World Tag Team Champion, ECW Champion, United States, Hardcore, European and Cruiserweight Champion. Currently, Matt Hardy is featured every Friday Night for WWE Friday Night Smackdown on My Network TV and every Tuesday night for WWE NXT on the SyFy Network. “It hasn’t been easy but we are proud that we’ve finally been able to bring Matt Hardy to a Florida Championship Wrestling Live Event” said FCW President Steve Keirn. “We know he has a tremendous fan base and we think it will be a real treat for the fans of Punta Gorda to see him up close and personal. He has created countless memories for years in the WWE and we think he will create some pretty special memories for the great fans of Punta Gorda as well.”

Hardy will be signing autographs prior to the night’s event alongside his “Rookie” Justin Gabriel as seen on the WWE’s NXT series in the KIX Country 92.9 green room. The hybrid live event/reality show has featured eight well-known, popular WWE Superstars (“Pros”) like Hardy mentoring eight WWE “Rookies” like Gabriel. The show is driven by an elimination style concept in which one Rookie will be named WWE’s “Next Breakout Star.” “Its been a blast so far” says Justin Gabriel. “Its an unpredictable show but that is what makes it fun. I’ve had the chance to wrestle in Punta Gorda before but its going be awesome to come back with my mentor Matt Hardy by my side and meet all the fans up close and personal.” Currently Gabriel, who is from Cape Town, South Africa is one of four rookies that remain on the show having avoided elimination. He is joined by fellow rookies Heath Slater, David Otunga and Wade Barret, whom will be appearing at Friday’s show. “We all respect each other for the most part I think but NXT is still a competition and whenever we are around each other, you just never know what may happen.”

This Friday’s night’s card will feature all the stars of Florida Championship Wrestling including the Florida Heavyweight Champion-Alex Riley and a host of second and third generation competitors. As of press time, eight matches are signed for the event which will also see the FCW Divas in action. The Main event will feature Matt Hardy and Justin Gabriel against Smackdown’s “Dude Busters” Tent Baretta and Caylen Croft. “The divas are my favorite part of the show but I’ve been a wrestling fan for over 30 years….I just love it” said Longtime Punta Gorda Wrestling fan Bob Bartlett. “It just gives me a chance to forget about everything else and be entertained. My wife and kids love it too so it becomes a whole family affair. Sometimes I lose my voice but it’s all good fun and it gives us something to talk about at the dinner table for a few days.” Kathy Jackson is another Punta Gorda FCW fan who has a different take on the shows. “I just love all the outrageous personalities. Most of the wrestlers aren’t people that you expect to come across on a street corner. But every time I come to a show, you get to see them all in one place with all their fancy outfits. In particular, the men aren’t that bad looking either” she says with a smile. The enthusiasm would indicate why it is not uncommon to find fans lined up outside the building prior to the night’s event. Some in hopes of seeing their favorite superstars drive up while others anxiously await the opportunity to get the best seat in the house.

For nearly half a century, Florida Championship Wrestling has been the Sunshine State’s primary wrestling promotion providing a home for such wrestling legends as “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, The Brisco Brothers and Gordon Solie. Officially sanctioned and reorganized by the WWE during the summer of 2007, FCW has also become the training ground for future WWE Superstars. According to the promotion’s written objective, it seeks to give fans a glimpse at the potential Superstars of tomorrow while providing exciting ring action that leaves the entire family with smiles on their faces. To date, over fifty men and women have gone on to WWE’s Raw, Smackdown or NXT Television brands. “The current World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger came from FCW, Smackdown’s Kofi Kingston, Raw’s Sheamus, the list goes on and on. But it’s been such a pleasure to see all these young men and women go on to pursue their dreams on the larger stage” Keirn told us. Other current WWE Superstars that have come from FCW include Unified Tag Champions the Hart Dynasty, Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Ted DiBiase, Primo Colon, Ezekiel Jackson, The Bella Twins, Evan Bourne, Tiffany, Alicia Fox, Trent Berretta, Caylen Croft, Savannah, Yoshi-Tatsu and many more The company holds weekly shows at their home location dubbed the “FCW Arena” in South Tampa every Thursday night along with tapings for their weekly television show. Nearly every weekend, the group travels to such cities as Punta Gorda providing live events for fans who can’t make it to the arena on Thursday nights.

Friday night’s show will take place at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center located at 75 Taylor Road in Punta Gorda, FL with an 8pm Bell Time. Gold Circle Ticket Holders will receive a free Justin Gabriel bobble head doll and access to the autograph session featuring Matt Hardy at 6pm while General Admission ticket holders receive access to the autograph session at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $12 to $30 and are available at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center Box Office which can be reached at (941)-639-5833. Buddy’s Home Furnishings in Punta Gorda and North Fort Myers as well as www.FCWWrestling.com.

FCW is the only Official Developmental territory of World Wrestling Entertainment.


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