Fandango may have yet to set foot inside a ring and wrestle, but come WrestleMania 29, he will defeat Chris Jericho.
The dancing gimmick could have been a dead end for the man formerly known as Johnny Curtis. But for Curtis, who has real wrestling experience and the backing of Vince McMahon himself, a debut on the biggest stage of the year can only end in victory.
It could have been easy for the Fandango character to fail.
In the modern WWE, character and storyline can mean more than skill. When Rick Steamboat returned to the ring in 1991, he was called The Dragon. The legendary wrestler was out the door a year later, his return a failure.
Charles Wright had a great run in the WWE as The Godfather, but he floundered years earlier as Papa Shango. Multi-time NWA World Champion Dusty Rhodes did nothing in the WWE as "The American Dream."
More recently, guys like Brodus Clay and Tensai, as well as Disco Inferno back in WCW, have all been saddled with the gimmick and seen little success.
Fandango has made a mark for himself and done the best with his current lot. Weeks of promos led to multiple appearances on the ramp, which in turn led to WWE's newest dancing man turning and walking away. Fans drown him in boos when he appears.
But Fandango is more than his gimmick. The guy has both experience and skill in the ring.
He debuted in 1999 after being trained by Killer Kowalski. He spent several years in the independents, capturing many titles, including the Power League Wrestling New England Championship. He held the title for nearly a year.
He signed with the WWE in 2006. After he was sent to Deep South Wrestling, he moved on to Florida Championship Wrestling and won the fourth season of NXT. He was also ranked No. 116 in the 2011 Pro Wrestling Illustrated PWI 500.
But what else will secure Fandango a victory? One man: Mr. McMahon.
PWInsider.com (h/t Lordsofpain.net) has reported that Fandango has huge support coming from McMahon himself. The site states:
Fandango is getting a spot on WrestleMania 29 because the character is Vince McMahon's new pet project. Vince is said to be a big fan of the gimmick and the arrogance that comes with it. The idea at WrestleMania 29 is for Chris Jericho to make the Fandango character stronger. Vince is really behind the success of Fandango.
With McMahon behind the success of Fandango, there is no way he will lose at WrestleMania. But even if McMahon didn't fancy the arrogant gimmick, a Fandango victory makes sense. The report even says the idea is to make Fandango stronger.
What better way for the WWE to give this guy a boost by having him compete not only on the flagship pay-per-view, but also against a multi-time, multi-decorated former champion? Fandango gets millions of eyes on him, a huge platform to perform and a ring veteran to help him on the way.
Why invest the time on Fandango, who has proven himself on NXT but not on the main roster, only for him to lose to Jericho? Weeks of buildup and false starts would be pointless if Jericho were to put him down for the three-count at the year's biggest event. A high-profile loss at WrestleMania 29 would only serve to bury Fandango.
Fandango is going to walk into his WrestleMania match an unproven man. But he is going to leave that same match with a win under his belt, a beaten former world champion in the ring and the road to his WWE success wide open.
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