WWE’s Johnny Curtis: Disproving Fandango’s Skeptics

“You mind if I cut in?”

Touted as a sleazy and seductive tango dancer, vignettes began airing starting this Monday on Raw, promoting Fandango, WWE’s newest superstar.

Previous to making immediate buzz as Fandango, Johnny Curtis was known for his “let’s get weird” all-around-creep persona and seemingly never-ending love story with Maxine, Derrick Bateman and later Kaitlyn on NXT: Redemption.

Even before that, however, Curtis had been crowned the winner of NXT season four and had been promised a future WWE Tag Team Championship opportunity with his pro, R-Truth. In light of Truth’s heel turn, Curtis made his debut on SmackDown through several backstage interviews playing a sarcastic eccentric character and “having a (potato) chip on his shoulder.”

Curtis’ somewhat anticipated debut was scheduled for the 6/9/11 edition of WWE Superstars against Mark Henry, but Curtis would no-show the match. His in-ring debut finally came a little over two months later, being squashed by Henry in less than two minutes. Aside from a sporadic battle royal appearance or two, Curtis would once again vanish from WWE television shortly afterward.

Curtis would once again resurface on NXT on November 9, 2011, teaming with Derrick Bateman to defeat the team of Titus O’Neil and Percy Watson. Shortly after his NXT resurgence, Curtis would debut his creepy character featuring sexual innuendos, chloroform and more. Eventually, Curtis and Maxine would move onto a storyline featuring William Regal, Matt Striker, Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks, once again being the most interesting part of NXT: Redemption.

I am well aware that not many people watched the fifth season of NXT, but I did, and I can safely say that Curtis was one of the three best things in WWE most of the time. After the end of NXT: Redemption, Johnny Curtis has made a few appearances on the sixth season of NXT, often teaming with Michael McGillicutty and appearing on WWE’s YouTube channel as a part of Santino’s Foreign Exchange.

However, with WWE introducing Fandango this past Monday, Curtis has been written off WWE as a whole, leaving Santino’s Foreign Exchange on Saturday. Now, with the debut of Fandango imminent, criticism of WWE’s latest visage has been tossed around aplenty even before his arrival.

The two most common complaints about the graceful dancer seem to be about his name and gimmick, but other putdowns include the fact that he has been given an opportunity over other stars such as Leo Kruger, Kassius Ohno or Dean Ambrose.

I am here to debunk these critiques.

First of all, the name. Let me start of by saying that the worst part of Fandango’s name, the extra ‘o’ at the end, has already been dropped, but people still complain that that his name is “unfathomably stupid” or “ridiculous” and that his name will lead to “career suicide.” No, I’m not making all of these up. These are actual comments on articles around the web.

Let me ask you a question, though, isn’t Dolph Ziggler a name? Triple H surely is a stupid name. The Undertaker? Kind of a silly name, isn’t it? No, I’m not comparing Dolph Ziggler to all-time greats like Undertaker and HHH, but if there’s one thing in common between all of these men is that they made it work.

Unless your name is some sort of cuss word or insult, it’s not going to derail your career. One might name Michael McGillicutty as an example, but Triple H is high on him and they’re trying to find a way to push the guy.

Fandango is no better name than the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow or Brutus Beefcake, but a name is irrelevant to success. If you actually think that a name will hinder your career or stop you from getting over with fans, just take a look at any of the legendary names I just wrote.

Complaint number two: gimmick. Apparently, a dapper tango dancer gimmick cannot get over with crowds. However, Val Venis with a porn star turned wrestler gimmick is just fine. Maybe more gimmicky characters can’t get over with the crowd today? Kane receives one of the largest pops of the roster nowadays in this “reality era” and it’s not like he has altered his character much. Brodus Clay hails from Planet Funk, but he had no trouble getting over either.

I don’t think that Fandango’s gimmick is going to completely kill him before he gets started. I can understand a guy like Tensai, who was known as Albert/A-Train for years before his renascence, but nobody outside of the “IWC” has really heard of Johnny Curtis. There is always room for adjustment as well.

As for Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins not being called up to the main roster before Fandango, is it really such a big deal? Would you rather have your favorite developmental guys get called up with no storylines whatsoever or would you rather get a character who’s got a real shot to be entertaining but is being cut down before he debuts?

The bottom line is that Fandango has the potential to be WWE’s next big thing. If Curtis is able to make a chloroform-wielding creep work and an introvert orphan work, then why wouldn’t this be good?

This is nothing but an opportunity for Curtis and the way I see it, WWE is going to become the world of Fandango pretty soon. Scaramouche, scaramouche.

Thank you to Sunset Flip Photography for letting me use their photographs.

One year ago on 11/11/11, I announced my intentions to focus on WrestleEnigma, and only on WrestleEnigma. I would like to thank everyone that has supported me, from the readers to the WrestleEnigma staff. It has been a wonderful ride thus far and I guarantee you that you will continue to see articles from me in the future.

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