WWE made the right move for Fandango by letting him work with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 29, but there's only so much Jericho can do for him.
Jericho can jumpstart the ballroom dancer's career and give him plenty of momentum, but it will be the fans and Fandango himself who will decide the fate of Fandango's WWE career.
A verbal clash between legend and newcomer has turned into an official WrestleMania match. On the March 18 episode of Raw, Jericho toyed with Fandango’s name. He called him everything from Fan Wango Tango to Fan Dodge Durango.
That act angered Fandango enough to inspire him to step into the ring for the first time.
We will learn a lot about the experiment that is Fandango's gimmick when it finally happens. His match with Jericho offers him a talented star to work against, a prestigious name to knock off and the hype and buzz that surrounds every WrestleMania.
If his act is going to win over fans, this is the ideal way to begin it.
Jericho is among the very best at making his opponent look great. Evan Bourne, for example, doesn't have the longest greatest hits collection. His battles with Chris Jericho are the highlight of his resume.
Should Fandango be able to escape the Walls of Jericho and sidestep a Codebreaker or two, his standing can only improve. Beating Jericho is not the career highlight that it once was, but earning one's first win against a sure-fire Hall of Famer is invaluable. It immediately makes Fandango far more of a legitimate contender.
Even if he loses, provided the loss comes after an impressive effort, Fandango will come out of WrestleMania 29 better off.
As good as Jericho is and as entertaining as their match could be, Fandango's success will depend on how much fans buy into his character. Ridiculous gimmicks have won crowds over before, but Fandango is trapped in limbo between serious and silly.
He's too serious to be comic relief, yet he's too silly to be taken seriously.
WWE fans have cheered for a man who talked to a mannequin head and for a sock puppet, so who knows if they can get behind a Dancing with the Stars-inspired character.
The company appears to be all in with him. WWE has given Fandango a decent chunk of the time available on Raw and has now given him an opponent who can make his debut a memorable one.
Fandango has a great opportunity at MetLife Stadium.
If he and the iconic Jericho put on a show-stealing match, Fandango's critics will go quiet. In the end, fans don't care how dumb a wrestler's name is or how ridiculous he looks, as long as the wrestler can produce.
They will, however, be waiting with criticism at the ready. Fans will be looking to poke holes in his performance.
Should he bomb, it will be difficult to climb into good favor. Should he blow fans away with a match that stirs the gut and accelerates the heart, then his career will begin with a great kickstart.
Opening one's career with a Jericho match at WrestleMania is like getting shot from a catapult. It will certainly take Fandango some distance, but how far it will take him is the question.
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