Fandango: Why Johnny Curtis Is Good Enough to Make an off-Beat Gimmick Work

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2012

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Although he has yet to make his WWE debut aside from a few vignettes, Fandango has been one of the most discussed characters in WWE over the past several weeks. Although many feel as though it's a corny gimmick that is due to fail, Johnny Curtis has what it takes to get over immediately.

Fandango hasn't even wrestled a match yet, but some have already categorized the salsa-dancing gimmick as a failure. Perhaps that will ultimately be the case, but Curtis is the perfect guy to play it. He hasn't gotten many opportunities since winning the fourth season of NXT, but Fandango could be his big break.

It would be fair to categorize Curtis' personality as eccentric, and that makes Fandango a suitable character for him. The prospect of a skilled dancer who has instead decided to embark upon a wrestling career in WWE may seem ridiculous, however, there have been far crazier gimmicks over the years.

Current fans are much more worried about realism now than anyone was in the past. The 1980s and 1990s were about larger-than-life characters and many of them didn't make much sense. There were police officers, witch doctors, accountants, dentists and every other occupation in between, so I have no issue with a dancer.

It takes a special kind of person to get that type of gimmick over in this day and age, though, because most guys are essentially playing themselves when they step into the ring. There really aren't many characters anymore, so I'm interested to see how things go with Fandango. Even if he's only a mid-card act, I'm confident that Curtis can make Fandango entertaining.

Curtis hasn't received a lot of WWE air time over the past couple years, but he has gotten people talking when he has. His strange promos on SmackDown after winning NXT intrigued many, as he did things such as pouring milk over his head and stealing a cake. Curtis seems to have an unorthodox sense of humor and that should serve him well as Fandango.

Another gimmick of Curtis' that a lot of fans got into was the creeper character he played on NXT. While most fans are probably unaware of many things that happened during the long and winding season of NXT Redemption, Curtis was an integral part of the show and he developed a gimmick in which he would lurk around corners and sneak up on Kaitlyn.

It never saw the light of day on one of the WWE's main programs, but Curtis' creeper character gained a cult following of sorts. It's obviously much different from what he is going to portray as Fandango, but it proves that Curtis has range in terms of the gimmicks he can execute and it also proves that he knows how to make something out of seemingly nothing.

No matter how well Curtis plays it, I can't imagine that the Fandango gimmick will reach a main-event level. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. So many fans these days are willing to call anyone with an ounce of potential "a future world champion," but that isn't the way things work in professional wrestling.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Mr. Perfect, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Jake "The Snake" Roberts are just a few of the legends who never won the WWE Championship. I realize that titles tend to change hands more frequently during this era, but some guys are just destined to be mid-carders. Considering the fact that Curtis has done next to nothing as a WWE roster member, the mid-card probably looks awfully tantalizing to him.

Not everyone likes comedic gimmicks, but a guy like Santino Marella is living proof that they can get over and lead to a very fruitful career. It isn't yet clear whether Fandango will be heel or face, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be a success regardless. Curtis has always been committed to his character—no matter how strange some of them have been—and that should be the case with Fandango as well.

There probably aren't many guys out there right now who could make such an over-the-top character work, but Curtis can. You won't see Fandango main-eventing pay-per-views against John Cena. However, Curtis will ensure that the gimmick has staying power.


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