Last night, it was announced that WrestleMania has been moved to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Of course, Tampa was supposed to host World Wrestling Entertainment’s big event last year but we got that visit from our friend COVID-19. An impressive number of the wrestlers you’ll see Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11 got their start learning the ropes at Florida Championship Wrestling. FCW hosted small events 6 miles south on Dale Mabry at a little warehouse that’s now occupied by a children’s play area. WWE sent prospects to FCW in Tampa to get trained by wrestling legends like “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. The impact that FCW had is evident when you see how the students became WWE superstars. These 10 WrestleMania competitors all performed for a tiny crowd of about 50 fans at that little warehouse on Dale Mabry for a $5 ticket. Popcorn was $1. And this wasn’t even 10 years ago!
FCW eventually closed up shop when WWE opened their new training center in Orlando. NXT is clearly a next level version of the learning environment Florida Championship Wrestling created. The warehouse on Dale Mabry near Gandy is now filled with bounce houses.