With almost a week to digest WrestleMania and the events that followed in the next 24 hours, we’re left with a very interesting question. Where do they go from here?
The Post-WrestleMania crowd is quickly getting a reputation after the past few years for setting out on their own and making a star of their choosing. Last year, Daniel Bryan was the annointed one. This year, a very unlikely candidate emerged. Fandango.
Introduced months prior in short vignettes on WWE programming, it seemed like it took forever for one, Johnny Curtis, to finally re-debut. Once it took shape on screen, I, for the most part enjoyed the gimmick. Who could possibly get more heat than a ballroom dancing wrestler??
Yet, on Monday, April 8th, a new fan favorite emerged for the hardcore wrestling base. And he was in fact a ballroom dancing wrestler. What followed was pure insanity. The crowd of 16,000 fans, in a first for most wrestling fans, started to chant…… his entrance music? They turned an instrumental theme into a chant. The chant was then given a name, Fandango-ing. Which soon became an internet sensation.
The Houston Texan cheerleaders took to Fandango-ing on YouTube. Fox Sports began to use his music as buffer music on their broadcasts. The Kansas City Royals used it as exit music during their recent homestand. Then, in what was coined the #FandangoRevolution, seemingly led largely on Twitter by @wrestling_memes, Jim Johnston’s creation came within 239 purchases of charting on the UK Top 40.
But now the question is asked again, where do they go from here? The annointed one from last year, Daniel Bryan, went on to have a very successful year. He lingered in the main event scene, having some classics with CM Punk, before being paired with Kane and winning the Tag Team Championship. There is a flip side to this coin though. Zach Ryder.
When Survivor Series returned to MSG in November of 2011, the big draw was the “never before, never again” tag team combination of The Rock and John Cena. It was The Rock’s first match back since leaving the company years prior, and it was part of the build to his first WrestleMania match <insert “Once in a Lifetime” joke here> with John Cena. However, quickly forgotten was that Ryder was the man who seemed to win the crowd over that night.
Zach Ryder was not even on the card that evening. He had a run-in after a Dolph Ziggler US Title defense against John Morrison. Sure, he was over, he’s the hometown kid. But, later on in the night it was proven just how over he was. In a post-match promo The Rock addressed the MSG crowd, and as he spoke, the “electrified” crowd came together in unison with one thunderous chant. “We want Ryder”
The following month he defeated Dolph Ziggler to win the United States Title at TLC. The day after, he shared the ring with CM Punk, and a newly crowed World Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Bryan. Think about that for a second.
I won’t bore you with rehashing the months that followed. Case in point, Zach Ryder was nowhere to be found on the WrestleMania 29 broadcast. So where does that leave Fandango?
Most detractors of the gimmick state that it has a short shelf life, that it’s not main event caliber. This is true. However, the gimmick is so cheesy that a break from the character would be easy to do. Picture a promo where Fandango comes out, grabs the mic, and says “My name is…….” and as the crowd says Fandango, he pauses and comes back with “Johnny Curtis”.
Steve Austin has already stated that he thinks we will see an Intercontinental Title reign for Fandango in the next 3-6 months. I completely agree. Not that the Intercontinental Title means anything within the “WWE Universe” but that’s another blog for another time.
Johnny Curtis is a talented individual. It’s not that “can’t wrestle” as the crowds chanted, the gimmick was he wouldn’t. A lesson can be learned by others that sometimes when you work hard at a gimmick, it all works out. I’m very interested to see him tap dance and fox trot (thank you Google) through these next couple of months to see where the crowds, and the WWE take him.
So, take three minutes this evening…. do some Fandango-ing. Everybody else is doing it.