In a recent interview, Johnny Curtis—the man behind the Fandango character—dared to use the “S" word when talking about character development.
No, it’s not the word you are thinking of. But it is a word that WWE management probably hates to hear almost as much when describing characters.
It’s the word that many within the WWE Universe and some industry watchers have used to describe the development of the company’s biggest Superstar, John Cena. He has been the same WWE Superman for many years now, and he follows the same routine over and over: beat down throughout most of the match only to rise from the ashes and triumph over evil.
Cena is a decent man, but some feel his character has gotten as stale as 10-day-old bread or a bag of potato chips left open on the counter.
Perhaps Curtis had the Cena situation in mind when he talked recently to the website CT.com about striving to keep his character fresh. He says he wants to eventually give the Fandango character more of a hard edge and a little less ballroom:
With wrestling, people only remember last week or two weeks ago. Their memory is really short-term. You've got to stay fresh, you've got to stay always evolving. If you go out there with the same gear, the same look, the same promo, the same kind of shtick every night, people are going to get stale with it because it’s entertainment, man.
Call Curtis “Captain Obvious” with that statement, but also give him props for having the nerve to actually use the word “stale” in an interview not controlled by WWE. Would the company’s top man, Cena, come out in an interview in a similar situation and say that he worried about his character becoming stale?
He may not, but CM Punk surely opened the door for it with his now-famous worked shoot when he actually sat down at the end of a Raw show and started spewing negativity about how WWE is run. That took him from so-so heel to monster face and eventually back again to monster heel. But it opened the door for perhaps the best run of Punk’s career.
Curtis may have made his statement on a regional website instead of national TV, but the fact remains that he said it, and that bell cannot be unrung.
Perhaps he is worried that he will become the next John Cena—not the 11-time WWE champion, but the same old, same old character for years and years. Or maybe (gulp!) like The Great Khali, a big man and a big joke in WWE, especially when it comes to—you guessed it—dancing.
Boo the character of Fandango if you want to. But cheer the man, Johnny Curtis, for being real in an industry built on the unreal.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.