If you saw a vignette on Monday's edition of RAW touting a new superstar named Fandangoo and were a bit confused, then you certainly weren't alone. Despite everything going on with CM Punk, Ryback and John Cena, Fandangoo is suddenly the talk of WWE due to the mystery surrounding him.
According to ProWrestling.net, Fandangoo is a new gimmick that will be played by Johnny Curtis, as he has been testing it out at house shows as of late. It's unclear exactly what the character will entail, but he appears to be a tango dancer or something similar.
WWE's immediate plans for Fandangoo are unclear, but I'm willing to give it a chance.
While the prospects of a tango-dancing wrestler reminds me very much of Disco Inferno, perhaps Curtis will put an entertaining spin on it. He hasn't been featured much on RAW or SmackDown, but Curtis did win the fourth season of NXT and has a fairly engaging personality.
With that said, I do find the WWE's infatuation with dancing gimmicks strange.
We already have a Funkasaurus in place in the form of Brodus Clay, so throwing Fandangoo into the mix seems odd. The creative team doesn't seem too interested in Clay anymore since he has lost the vast majority of his matches as of late, however, I can't help but think that he's a better option than Curtis.
Regardless, it wouldn't be surprising to see Fandangoo either feud or team with Clay. If that is the case, though, it may be tough for the Fandangoo gimmick to get over. The WWE doesn't even put enough time into the mid-card to generate a proper feud for United States Champion Antonio Cesaro, so I doubt it will give a lower-card character like Fandangoo the tools to succeed.
In a lot of ways, the idea of Fandangoo brings me back to 1995 when each and every guy on the roster had to have a gimmick no matter how ridiculous it was. While there were normal guys like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, most mid-carders seemed to have an occupation such as a plumber, a garbage man, a dentist, a pirate and everything in between.
I have a soft spot for that era of wrestling since it's what I was first drawn to as a kid, but I'm not sure that type of stuff can work in the present day. Clay proved that fans will get behind a dancing gimmick as he was red hot for a while, but I feel like a big part of that had to do with the shock factor of him returning as a happy-go-lucky Funkasaurus rather than the monster heel most people were expecting.
Curtis wasn't used on television enough for casual fans to form any sort of opinion on him, so I doubt that he'll get the initial pop that Clay did. Curtis is fighting an uphill battle with this Fandangoo gimmick because he'll have to go from jobber to being over quite quickly.
If he doesn't, then I would be surprised to see it get scrapped in short order.
I will say that the WWE is bringing him along the right way and nurturing the Fandangoo gimmick the best way it can. When the Ryback character first started making appearances in squash matches at house shows, every savvy fan knew that it was Skip Sheffield from Nexus.
Skip was essentially considered a bottom-of-the-barrel guy prior to his injury, but Ryback generated some buzz and fans supported it.
I'm not sure that the Fandangoo gimmick will work on the same level as Ryback, though, because it can't be taken seriously. When you look at Ryback, it's easy to buy into him as a main-event guy who can beat anyone. Fandangoo, on the other hand, can't possibly be anything more than a mid-carder, even if he miraculously gets over without a problem.
Even if Fandangoo's ceiling is relatively low, though, he has great potential as a comedic gimmick. I'm hoping that he gets a valet like Rosa Mendes or someone from FCW. That way, they can dance down to the ring and get the fans interested.
I'd also love to see Fandangoo do a spot where he tries to dance with his opponents, only for them to turn him down.
Fandangoo certainly won't be rivaling gimmicks like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock or The Undertaker in this lifetime, but it's better to try something new than to let a talented guy like Curtis sit around and do nothing.
Because of that alone, I look forward to seeing what the WWE does with it.