FCW “Proving Grounds Tournament” February 4th, 2017 – review

Over the last few years B-Boy has seemingly made it his mission to help elevate the next generation of Southern California wrestlers. In the last year he has made a point of asking to be booked against more and more up and comers who a promotion normally wouldn’t put against a guy of his stature. Along with Gus parsons at FCW he had the idea to do a show specifically to showcase up and coming wrestlers modeled after the Young Lions Cup in Northern California. So the FCW Proving Grounds tournament was born.

The show started with Guy Cool singing the National Anthem then all of the participants were announced. When they were announced the wrestling school they were representing was announced as well. Most wrestlers were representing Santino Brothers.

Proving Grounds Tournament – Round 1
Corey Jackson over Guy Cool by submission [7’44]

I’ve really been a fan of the added aggression Corey Jackson has been showing ever since his match with Danny Limelight at FCW a few months ago. There was a pretty cool sequence where Jackson was knocked out of the ring and Guy Cool went to do a tope and Jackson jumped up on the ring and caught Cool in a DDT. Jackson also set cool up in a chair on the outside of the ring and dropkicked Cool while he was in a seated position. Jackson also was flipped onto a chair in a spot that looked pretty crazy. Guy Cool did a titty twister suplex on Jackson at one point as well. Jackson managed to get the submission victory with a rear naked choke. This was good.
Rating: ** 1/2

Proving Grounds Tournament – Round 1
Rocketboy D’Marco Wilson over Biagio Crescenzo by submission [11’29]

These two had a match at a FCW a few months ago that I really wasn’t a fan of as they just tried to do too much. They toned it down in this match, and I thought the match was better than their previous FCW match but the pacing of this match still wasn’t very good. For a match lasting just over 11 minutes, it seemed to take a long time to develop and never really got going. The match as a whole wasn’t bad, but I’ve seen both wrestlers have better matches than this one. There was a few nice spots in the match. Wilson did a really nice release suplex. He also took a pretty devastating looking slam onto the concrete. Wilson won by submission with an armbar.
Rating: * 3/4

Proving Grounds Tournament – Round 1
Jesse James over Donnie Suarez [8’36]

This was my first time seeing Jesse James wrestle as Jesse James and I was impressed with how completely different his offense and moveset was versus any previous gimmicks. James controlled most of the early match and pretty much tossed Suarez around. James was being very methodical with his offense throughout. Suarez’ offense looked pretty smooth when he was able to get some in. James won with a lariat.
Rating: ** 1/4

Proving Grounds Tournament – Round 1
Jake Atlas over Brody King [9’46]

These were probably the two favorites going into the tournament, and most people I was talking with before the show was expecting one of these wrestlers to win. Jake Atlas was trying to use his speed and agility to counter Brody King’s size and strength advantage. Atlas actually had control early but when he went for a tope on Brody to the outside Brody was able to hit him with an uppercut while Atlas was going through the ropes. Brody shows a lot of good aggression in his matches and his offense looks really strong. Atlas managed to get the victory with a quick rollup. I thought this was the best match of the opening round.
Rating: ** 3/4

Proving Grounds Tournament – Semi-Finals
Rocketboy D’Marco Wilson over Corey Jackson [12’23]

Wilson was selling his injuries from the prior match still, and they even stopped the match at the start for the ref to check on Wilson. It was believable enough that I got a text message from someone watching the stream on Facebook asking if Wilson was hurt. This was good and Jackson’s aggression really helped the crowd start to get behind Wilson. Wilson did a good job of selling his neckthroughout the match. Jackson went for the choke again but Wilson managed to pin him while being choked for the victory. This was a good match.
Rating: ** 3/4

Proving Grounds Tournament – Semi-Finals
Jesse James over Jake Atlas [14’44]

These guys matched up really well. This was structured a lot like the earlier Atlas and King match but it was a lot more even with Atlas getting a lot of offense in. Atlas is super athletic and was really able to show off a lot of flashiness in this. James had some really nice looking strikes and his offense looked really effective. Most people were expecting Atlas to win, and the crowd actually seemed a little stunned when James hit the lariat and got the pin. Another good match.
Rating: ***

Eli Everfly over Jacob Diez and Seville Alvarez by submission [16’37]

This match was originally supposed to be Douglas James versus Eli Everfly, but James is still injured due to a match a few weeks ago at PCW so he was unable to compete. He did cut a pre-match promo saying he plans to be ready by next week to face Scorpio Sky at February 11th’s FCW show. Eli Everfly demanded a match and out came the apparently unretired Jacob Diez. As the match was about to start, Seville Alvarez came out and turned this into a triple threat match. Everfly and Diez have seemingly wrestled against each other six or seven hundred times in recent years, so adding Alvarez was a nice way to mix it up. I thought this was pretty good for the most part. It seemed like one guy would always be conveniently knocked out of the ring while the other two mixed it up. Alvarez sold it as if he was sneaking around, lying in wait. Eli was really the star of the match. He took a ton of punishment and maybe a few bumps he might look back in 20 years and regret. Eli won the match after hitting a Spanish Fly on Alvarez then getting him to submit with an armbar. Good match.
Rating: ** 3/4

Proving Grounds Tournament – Finals
Jesse James over Rocketboy D’Marco Wilson [19’03]

Early on the crowd was fairly quiet, but by the time this match started it was pretty hot. Wilson was still selling his neck injury and James’ chest was just raw from all the punishment he had taken throughout the night. James showed a ton of strength catching Wilson mid-air and just tossing him from the ring. Wilson tried to get the armbar going he won the prior two matches with, but James managed to lift Wilson off the ground and powerbomb him to get out of it. James hit a lariat for the win in a really good match.
Rating: *** 1/4

Overall I thought the show was a lot of fun and really well done. The structure of the matches and the way it was booked told a really good story and managed to really help build up Jesse James, a character making his FCW debut, and D’Marco Wilson who really won the crowd over with his heart.

Hopefully this tournament becomes a yearly event and continues to grow and showcase even more of the talent in Southern California. Major kudos to FCW and B-Boy for putting this together.

FCW will back on February 11th with Broken Hearts.

About the Author

Steve Bryant
Fan of Godzilla.