Sometimes, I really hate my job. I have to sit back and lament how a wrestling promotion, mostly WWE, has destroyed a wrestling career one step at a time. This is one of those times. In order to make my point though, I want to tell a brief story first.
In 2010, a little known guy named Johnny Curtis came up to the roster in the most unfortunate of ways. He was planted on Season 4 of NXT also known as the graveyard of wrestling talent. Despite being given absolutely nothing to work with and largely being ignored in comparison to many of his less talented competitors, Johnny Curtis won his season of NXT.
Since then, the WWE has systematically tortured Curtis into submission in order to make him pay for that victory which was obviously meant to go to Brodus Clay. He was given a bad pun gimmick then was squashed in his first ever match never to be seen on WWE television again.
Knowing that they couldn’t keep him down forever though, Curtis reappeared as a heel in a black hole of wrestling known simply as NXT Redemption where he promptly became the most watchable star on the entire program.
With a gimmick centered around being a creep and a stalker, Curtis made gold out of the confines he was trapped inside. He made the perpetually grating Maxine and the largely humorless Derrick Bateman look like hilarious counterparts to his antics.
Despite making a show with no point and no direction a hidden and entertaining alternative to WWE’s drab programming in 2011, Curtis disappeared the moment that NXT Redemption died only to be seen once on the new NXT before disappearing. In fact, the last time Curtis was seen, he was making Santino’s Foreign Exchange on YouTube a watchable show before having to go pursue a new dream.
It is that new dream instilled in Curtis through the mind of Vince McMahon once again that closes out this lamentable story for now because the ending isn’t written yet but seems fairly apparent.
They called him Fandango (though only after briefly toying with the name Fandangoo). Johnny Curtis had gone off and become an acclaimed ballroom dancer who know wanted to get back into a WWE ring.
Being a dancer in the WWE sounds ridiculous certainly, and you had to know at that point that this character was probably doomed. However, there was a glimmer of hope in that it was Johnny Curtis who had been somehow promoting himself in every facet as WWE tried to bury him before.
The problem though is timing. WWE found the best way to make every fan truly despise the character at a level that is more boredom than real heat. They wasted time.
It took them almost four months to show him off before he finally debuted. By the end, they were showing the same promo video for him multiple times in the same show. In fact, they still show that same video basically.
When he finally debuted, Curtis began a new string of repetitiveness as he would come out on every show and decide not to debut because one of his character’s quirks was a strange obsession with his own name. He still has yet to debut because no one seemingly can say the name “Fandango”.
At first, it was funny. The second time, it was still entertaining. Now three times over, the pattern is starting to get tiresome. The promo doesn’t change. The music doesn’t change. The situation doesn’t really change. The only things that change are Fandango’s dance partner and the person who upsets him.
The problem here in all of this is that doom looms over Fandango’s head. He’s not exactly a serious character. He doesn’t come off as any sort of a threat, and now WWE is making sure they overhype him to the point of tedium. It just seems that Johnny Curtis will never catch a real break.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still have hope. Johnny Curtis is a great wrestler when he gets the chance to show all that he can do. As shown above, being Fandango has not hurt Curtis’ weirdness factor or, generally, his mic skills. Hopefully his in ring talent is still all there and not faded away from inactivity.
I have a lot of respect and markism for Johnny Curtis. His creepy gimmick was one of the most interesting and underused characters in modern WWE, but Fandango is no creepy Curt. There are remnants of the past gimmick here though, so maybe it’s okay.
All I’m saying is, at the end of the day, this is not going right. Just like every other angle in Johnny Curtis’ career so far, this looks like a part of the grand conspiracy to pretend WWE doesn’t hate Johnny Curtis, giving him chances that he overachieves at only to get buried away.
Please, WWE, stop the repetitiveness. If it’s meant to be annoying to get heat, it’s going to go too far. Just let Curtis talk and don’t over-script him until he debuts in the ring.
Is Johnny Curtis doomed? Is Fandango his final stage of absolute failure? Or can he keep making this black hole of overuse and uncredibility and become a star? I don’t know, but I fear the former.