WWE WrestleMania 29: What Could Debuting at 'Mania Do for Fandango?

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 26, 2013

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

It seems like Fandango has been part of the WWE roster for months due to the many vignettes hyping his debut, but he still hasn't wrestled a televised match. That will change when he faces Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX, though, and it could very easily put Fandango on the fast track to stardom.

While Fandango has technically wrestled matches as Johnny Curtis, the Fandango gimmick is totally independent from anything he has done in the past. Because of that, we have to view Fandango as a new character who has yet to compete in his debut match. It is incredibly rare for a superstar to debut at WrestleMania, so Fandango has a golden opportunity to make a great first impression in front of a massive audience.

Fandango has teased wrestling in matches for the past several weeks, but has ultimately declined since nobody has been able to say his name correctly. That is how his feud with Jericho began as well. Fandango interrupted Jericho's promo on Raw, and Y2J proceeded to mock Fandango's name. Fandango then got retribution by attacking Jericho during his match against Jack Swagger on SmackDown.

Their rivalry carried over to the most recent edition of Raw as Jericho attacked Fandango prior to his scheduled match. Y2J then defeated Dolph Ziggler, which led to Fandango returning to the ring to get retribution. Later in the night, Jericho announced that he had spoken with Vickie Guerrero and set up a match against Fandango for WrestleMania XXIX, so it has finally become official after much speculation.

I'm not a big supporter of the match and I'm sure that many fans feel the same way, but there is no use pouting over it. The WWE decided to go in a different direction with Jericho rather than pitting him against somebody like Ziggler, so it's best to look forward. Jericho is one of the greatest performers in the history of the business, and Fandango now has a chance to face him on the grandest stage of them all.

If Fandango doesn't come through with a strong performance, then he could easily flop and never live up to his potential. Jericho has a penchant for elevating others in the ring, though, so Fandango is clearly in an advantageous position. All he has to do is follow Y2J's lead, take care of his own business and continue to advance his character. Not everyone likes the Fandango gimmick, but it has people talking, which is more than can be said for most of the guys on the roster.

With less than two weeks until WrestleMania, there is still time for the WWE to put Fandango in a match prior to the event. That line of thinking is understandable as there is a desire to make Fandango look like a serious threat against Jericho, but putting him in a match isn't necessary. Fandango can simply continue to interfere in Jericho's matches and be like a thorn in his side. That would accomplish much more than any squash match on Raw or SmackDown could.

Fans have gotten a little taste of what Fandango can do in the ring over the past couple weeks, including his top-rope leg drop, but there is no need to give everything away. Part of Fandango's appeal is that it is unclear how capable he is in the ring. The hardcore fans who have seen him as Johnny Curtis probably know what to expect, but the vast majority of fans are still in the dark.

Most great superstars have made a memorable debut. It isn't always necessary, but everyone remembers The Undertaker debuting at Survivor Series 1990 or John Cena challenging Kurt Angle out of nowhere. Having Fandango beat Jericho in his first match at WrestleMania would be astronomically more impactful than a win over The Great Khali or Yoshi Tatsu, so there is plenty of incentive to save him for 'Mania.

It isn't fair to call Fandango a career mid-carder or a jobber right now since he hasn't even had his first match yet. That is why I'm willing to reserve judgment until after his encounter with Jericho. If he fizzles and doesn't resonate with the fans, then maybe there is something to the criticism he has received. If comes up big and puts on a great show, though, perhaps his ceiling is a lot higher than most initially thought.

Fandango's talent was evident when he wrestled as Johnny Curtis, but he obviously needed a gimmick with some substance. The Fandango character appears to have provided him with precisely that. Now that he has been given the tools and the opportunity needed to succeed, all he needs to do is lock up with an all-time great at the biggest event of the year.

Maybe the pressure will be too much for Fandango to handle, but the WWE will never know unless it affords him a chance. I'm willing to bet that Fandango will make the most of his opportunity, so it will be up to the writers to utilize him correctly moving forward. That is far from a guarantee, but a good start should go a long way toward making Fandango a success in the WWE.


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