It’s the kind of place that’s common enough around the Valley: a multi-use industrial space in a lowkey warehouse complex, maybe 50 feet across and 100 deep. But this isn’t an auto body shop or scooter wholesale dealer: it’s the FSW Arena, a place where, tonight, dreams happen.
The occasion is a taping for Future Stars of Wrestling’s TV show, High Octane, which is viewable on the Fite app and its YouTube channel. This is quite a different experience from an FSW event at a larger venue, let alone an extravaganza like the WWE’s Monday Night Raw live broadcast from the T-Mobile Arena.
Up close, you get to see the little details that matter—like a set of red tassels on grappler “Exceptional” Alexander Braven’s boots that would do Roger Thomas proud.
I’m not going to give away any results—I don’t want to spoil the fun of watching the action for yourself—but some highlights include the latest in the ongoing drama between FSW Commissioner Pauly Kover, his right-hand man Gilmore, and the team of Jack Manley and Remy Marcel, who seem to be switching from their former identities as the “Whirlwind Gentlemen” (disco fabulous) to the new name of “the 86ers” and a grittier approach. Jakob Austin Young and FSW No Limits Champion Cut Throat Cody put on a physical match that demonstrated how Young, like Ring of Honor’s Dalton Castle, has a depth of wrestling talent that goes beyond his (already standout) gimmick.
FSW is also building for the future, with MMA veteran Tom Lawlor announcing that he is moonlighting from the UFC’s light heavyweight division and will be fighting in FSW as well. The tapings also saw the FSW debut of the Luchasaurus, a competitor who must be seen to be believed. Billed at seven feet tall, he’s best described as a more agile big man in the Kane/Undertaker tradition, although his mask and ring attire recall Mortal Kombat’s Reptile.
The audience, between 50 and 100 spectators, was an exponentially bigger part of the show than it would have been at a larger venue. It was a boisterous crowd, with most clearly familiar with FSW. Attending this show for the first time is a bit like breaking into a new circle of friends—you don’t get all the inside jokes yet, but it’s fun to laugh along with them. At one point, the crowd sang a sincere “Happy Birthday” to one of the members of Dynamite Strong, who took on tag team stalwarts the Bonus Boyz. The back-and-forth between wrestlers and fans was immediate and ultimately good-natured. It’s hard to sincerely hate a performer whose daughter is sitting a few seats away from you, and it might not be easy for the wrestlers to legitimately be annoyed at fans who have been supporting them for months and are reacting to them. The worst insult, on either side, isn’t harsh words, but indifference.
Everything came together in the night’s main event, which saw FSW mainstay Kevin Kross take on former WWE tag team and cruiserweight champion Paul London. Much of the match has to be seen to be believed. Trying to reduce the interactions between the two competitors and the crowd to mere words would only trivialize it. Suffice it to say that, three hours into watching guys move around the ring, the crowd was absolutely riveted to a matchup that, due to the size difference, should have been less than compelling. But mixing athleticism with a healthy dose of humor made this the match of the night.
You can watch the results when they’re aired on High Octane, and if you want to see it in person, check out the next taping at the FSW Arena on February 25. On March 12, FSW will hold a show at Sam’s Town Live featuring several big names, including “Broken” Matt Hardy, Davey Richards, Sami Callihan, Eli Drake, Willie Mack, Kevin Kross and Reno Scum.