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Making WWE’s Fandango Relevant Again

In this new era of WWE, the door is open to all kinds of wild ideas, and with Shane McMahon at the helm (even if it’s temporary), there’s a fresh feeling that goes with the product. New superstars have entered the booking conundrum, providing additional options and multi-layered feud storytelling. There’s certainly an element of novelty and excitement, which makes WWE more enjoyable. Knowing the unexpected can happen, makes the experience a lot more gripping. With the fresh arrivals and the often criticized WWE Creative tendency to look no further than at its main stories, it’s comforting to see there’s still a lifeline for the roster’s under card and its plethora of jobbers. Despite their limited TV time, WWE’s jobbers do their best to remain relevant as bottom feeders while cultivating the hope that one day – when the stars are aligned – they will be pushed and also given the chance to shine.

One such superstar (or dare I say, enhancement talent) is patiently waiting his turn. This superstar goes by the name Fandango.

Today, he is seen wasting his time in an obscure tag team rivalry also involving Goldust, R-Truth and Tyler Breeze. A few weeks ago he was put in a match on Raw in the United Kingdom where he jobbed to Baron Corbin to make his opponent look stronger and help further enhance the growing feud between the Lone Wolf and Dolph Ziggler. But the waste of his talent goes as far back as 2013, ever since his removal from the Intercontinental Championship picture. He’s become an afterthought and has even been forgotten by the casual fan. His stock has fallen so low, that’s it’s somewhat of a surprise to see him occasionally on WWE programming.

Though a Vince McMahon pet project, the repackaged Johnny Curtis as a ballroom-dancing wrestler was bound to fail.

Yes, his pre-debut hype (including vignettes) and his refusal to compete for a while garnered interest in the character; it was fun to see backstage segments in which Fandango was irked by others who mispronounced his name. This made his wrestling debut intriguing and his unexpected victory against Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 29 a key to his rise in popularity. The upset victory was the beginning of a push for Fandango. He remained over with the audience for a few months while crowds swayed to his entrance theme and the art of “Fandangoing” became global, albeit for a short time. But a badly-timed concussion took him out of action, and he was given minimal direction upon his return. After a small effort to reintroduce him in a new ballroom-dancer gimmick, siding with Rosa Mendes in early-2015, Fandango became irrelevant and lost all credibility.

This description pretty much matches the Fandango we get to see glimpses of today. One can argue that the main problem about the Fandango gimmick is that it’s a mid card act at best and one that will never be taken seriously.

This writer was never a fan of the Fandango gimmick and the irritating Fandangoing was perceived as borderline ‘Dancing with the Stars’ territory as it was forced on fans. Having said that, the man himself, Curtis Hussey has charisma and a nicely paced wrestling style. His look and attitude certainly had promise. His heel persona, his dark and arrogant Latino lover looks, and his occasional intense style could have been better utilized. Bad booking meant his potential as the “good-looking bad guy” went to waste.

Fandango is in desperate need of a character overhaul and a bit of time to regain his potential. From a booking perspective, his road to relevancy can begin now.

Firstly, the meaningless Gold-Dango vs. The Gorgeous Truth needs to be ditched – and right away. Fandango can then wrestle a few singles matches and showcase his in-ring skills and provide highlights of that arrogance he used to have. He needn’t be the victor of these matchups but at least he’d become an occasional fixture on SmackDown and Raw. His more challenging bouts would bring out more intensity out of him and he’d gain in confidence, sometimes beating his opponents.

The confidence could then transform into pure narcissism. He used to be accompanied to the ring by Layla or Summer Rae. Let him thrive on that female presence again. He could claim that he’s the most handsome man on the roster and easy booking could pit him against the likes of Tyler Breeze – Prince Pretty himself – to start off with and then The Miz, who is arguably the most narcissistic superstar around. Let Fandango win the feud against Breeze. Meanwhile, The Miz is a solid mid-card talent and their rivalry could result in pleasing in-ring bouts and mic work.

In some way, Fandango (who could be renamed at this point) would reprise the narcissistic gimmick Rick Martel took on in 1989: “The Model” – but without the fictional brand of cologne which Martel carried in an atomizer and sprayed in the eyes of his opponents. The narcissistic gimmick could lead to a totally unexpected push which would culminate in a more serious rivalry with a larger superstar, a bruiser. The new rivalry would be more brutal and lack the in-ring grace we’d be accustomed to seeing when he sparred with Tyler Breeze and The Miz. The blows would hurt and Fandango would be pushed to his limits. He’d have to dig deep to overcome the obstacle, which would mean ditching the narcissism aspect and delving into a darker, nastier side of himself. It’s an easy story to tell and one which could just about work, if handled properly.

In this new era, in which trivial gimmicks can take you only so far, and in which attitude and charisma pay – or at least add you into WWE programming for a while; in an era where bad guys are praised and heels are cheered, nasty can be the new norm. Why not give Fandango a chance to prove himself?

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