Superstar Spotlight: Taking The Lead

Bill Pritchard

Superstar Spotlight

Fandango vs Chris Jericho. Faaaaaaandaaaaaaaaaaangooooo vs Y2J BAY-BAY! Whatever you call it, it's going down at Wrestlemania 29. I know there are enough people who don't like Johnny Curtis' character, but I do. It's a character, that's why I got into wrestling in the first place; the larger than life characters. Kayfabe's been all but dead, and most guys just debut with attitudes or a different heritage. There's not a whole lot of characters or gimmicks left, but look how well The Undertaker has performed. There's no reason I can't give Curtis the chance to entertain me, and he's done that with little screen time so far. I like his character; he's suave, he's graceful, and he oozes charisma, but he also has that creepy factor about him. I see a little bit of Goldust, a little Disco Inferno (which was a good character IMO) and a bit of Macho King Randy Savage. Fandango is flamboyant and arrogant, but he's mysterious and looks like he can handle himself in the ring.

I don't think it's a mistake that Chris Jericho is going to be Fandango's first match. Jericho is a respected veteran who can work with anyone and get a good match. Besides the obvious Dancing With The Stars comparisons, Jericho gets good cheers and Fandango just seems like a natural opponent for him. Sure, you could say Fandango goes after Brodus Clay or Too Cool (if they were still active) but Jericho sets the bar. They clearly have confidence in Curtis, and why not pair him with a guy like Jericho? This is a way to make new stars, and his stalling tactics and attacks work. If you remember, I wrote an article late last year about how to debut new stars, and how to make good use of their time. I said vignettes weren't always effective; look at what I said about Fandango:

Pretaped vignettes aren't always the way to go. Look at Fandango; I honestly don't care about him. I have no interest in ballroom dancing or The Bachelor, or whatever his schtick is supposed to be. (Dancing with the Stars comes to mind, but again, I don't care about a wrestler who dances, or vice versa) Stop the crap about 'cutting in' and put him in the ring! The last guy who was hyped like this was Brodus Clay, and they pulled a bait and switch on us. If you want to do a video package once or twice, fine, but the weeks and months of build with no action kills a guy's reaction. I already don't care about this guy, so I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking 'come on already…'

Look at the difference between then and now; Fandango was all hype videos, and now he's in the arena and teasing his debut, and attacking Jericho. WWE did something right, and they sold me on the guy because he's interacting with the roster, and he's in the beginning of a feud with a star like Jericho. I don't have to like everything WWE does, but I will give them credit when something works, just like the change of pace for their new star. Fandango was only in videos talking about cutting in and I hated it, my previous comments were evidence, but they took a break for a while and finally got him on to live television. I saw what Curtis can do on NXT, and he's good, and there's no reason to think Fandango can't be a success either. 

I'm looking forward to Wrestlemania for the undercard. The build, quite honestly, has been shit from top to bottom, except for the World Heavyweight Championship match and Brock/HHH and Punk/Taker, to an extent. I expect a good show because all of the matches are great on paper, but the Road to Wrestlemania has been bumpy and hard to navigate. (OK, enough with the puns.) Fandango versus Jericho, and the Tag Title match for Big E Langston, interests me because they are taking a big chance on debuting a guy at the biggest show of the year. As far as I can remember, no one has ever done it; Nathan Jones was the closest and even he had some ring time prior to Wrestlemania 19. Fandango's wrestling debut, against Chris Jericho, at Wrestlemania, has my interest. I don't care who wins; obviously I would cheer for Jericho but I just want a good match that makes both guys look good. I think Jericho is at the point in his career where he sees something in Curtis and he wants to work with him, and Fandango will show people that he's the star he carries himself to be.

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