How Will Less Hardcore WWE Crowds React to Fandango Now That He's Wrestled?
WWE Raw will tell us if Fandango is truly over with fans, or if he was just the beneficiary of a fun-loving post-WrestleMania crowd.
WWE.com asked in its preview for the April 15 edition of WWE Raw, "What will Fandango have in store for his return to Raw?" The bigger question is whether fans have bought into the ballroom dancing wrestler.
Just a few weeks ago, Fandango was Johnny Curtis repackaged with a ridiculous gimmick, a man who refused to compete in the ring because no one could pronounce his name correctly. You have to let the A's breathe, apparently.
After a victory over Chris Jericho and after the initiation of the Fandangoing craze, have fans officially accepted him into the WWE?
Daniel Bryan told The Washington Post in a recent interview that in WWE, "It's more important to be entertaining than it is to be a great wrestler. It's fascinating to me. Some things just stick. Why it happens, I have no idea."
It appears that Fandango has stuck, but for how long?
Are we talking a few weeks of enjoying the fun that is humming his entrance music, or will he join the ranks of Mr. Socko and Al Snow's head on a list of stuff that fans fell in love with in spite of their silliness?
The issue was never about Fandango's wrestling ability. As Johnny Curtis, he showed an ability to blend technical wrestling with showmanship as well as solid high-flying moves. It was his gimmick that soured people to him before he even debuted. Reminding fans of Disco Inferno isn't the best thing a new wrestler can do.
The win over Jericho coupled with how infectious Fandangoing has become has washed away many of the concerns over his gimmick.
The diehard fans who travel to WrestleMania and stick around for WWE Raw afterward aren't representative of the average fan, but they do serve as the trendsetters. The crowd after WrestleMania 28 was the catalyst for Bryan's "Yes!" chants reaching their apex in popularity.
It was the momentum that followed that night that propelled him into fully accepted status. That's the randomness of what sticks he mentioned in The Washington Post interview. Bryan was a phenomenal wrestler before that night and was, for the most part, underappreciated.
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" didn't make him a better wrestler, but it gave fans a point of entry.
Before WrestleMania, fans booed Fandango halfheartedly. When he refused to compete against The Great Khali, he got a mixed response, one that seemed to include disinterest and ambivalence.
Fandangoing changes that. It's the point of entry for WWE fans to accept Fandango. It's a reason to care about him. Analyzing the ludicrous nature of his ballroom dancing gimmick is a lot tougher to do when one is having a blast.
Going from unknown to loved is a difficult journey.
Some wrestlers never make it there. Some stumble onto something that catches fire. Cody Rhodes' mustache, of all things, has increased his popularity. Tensai's switch from Japanese-inspired monster to goofy dancer has seen him receive bigger responses from crowds.
Going from not over to over is harder than the reverse direction, and Fandango has gotten over the proverbial hump. If WWE continues to keep him in a high-profile position and fan the fire that is the Fandangoing fad, he should be getting big responses from crowds for the foreseeable future.
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