FAIROAKS/MANHATTAN MANOR — Wrestling veteran Dusty Rhodes carefully watched Sheamus O'Shaunessy's every move earlier this week, looking for areas where the up-and-comer could improve. They were fine tuning and polishing for the big debut.
The Florida Championship Wrestling facility, at 4535 S Dale Mabry Highway, will open to the public Thursday. For months, wrestlers and trainers have used the warehouse space as their training ground. Superstars in the industry, like Rhodes, John Cena and Big Show, have come to offer advice. Come Thursday night, the facility will showcase its transformation from a hot box housing canned goods to a state-of-the-art entertainment venue complete with a full production crew.
Here, young wrestlers will hone their showmanship and athleticism in front of live audiences.
Aside from private training sessions for wrestlers, owner Steve Keirn plans to host live shows for the public that will be recorded and eventually aired on a local television network yet to be decided. About 12 matches will be showcased opening night.
"I'm sure we'll generate a lot of interest," Keirn said. "We're trying to re-establish a form of family entertainment that was here in the '60s, '70s and '80s."
Jonathan Milton can be reached at (813) 226-3408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.