Craig Wilson & Brian Damage
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this new series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Following on from Heath Slater last week, today we decide if we Book or Cook Johnny Curtis.
Craig: As mildly entertaining mid-card gimmicks go, Johnny Curtis’ Fandango character isn’t bad. It initially got a much better reception than I, and I imagine most, imagined it would with fans going wild for him, well certainly his music.
But even the most ardent Fandango fans would acknowledge that the lifespan of such a gimmick is likely to be quite short and I think it’s certainly run out of steam. So what next for Curtis?
One option, and I don’t know how well it would play, would be to follow the Matt Osbourne route and start to criticise the gimmick and being forced to do it and move to a character where he out and out rejects the role he was made to play. Would such a thing work?
Brian: To be honest, I think the WWE fumbled the ball with the Fandango character early on. Regardless if it was the music that got the character over or not…the fans were engaged to him after Wrestlemania 29. The WWE should have been quicker on their feet and start pushing him heavily as much more than just some cheesy music and a silly gimmick. I believe an injury prevented Fandango from winning the Intercontinental title at the Payback pay per view in June of 2013. That in itself curtailed Johnny Curtis’ growth.
Since then…it just seems that the WWE tinkered too much with the character. Switching his dance partner from Summer Rae with Layla El and then to Rosa Mendes. The biggest blunder…of course…was when they dropped his catchy theme altogether and tried to make him this heel Flamenco character. Too many changes for a character who really didn’t need a change at all.
Craig: can’t disagree with any of that. The WWE definitely failed to capitalise on his popularity when they should have. In terms of reaction, he deserved a shot with the gold.
Since then, as you allude, it’s been downhill. So, Brian, what would you do if you had the power to decide?
Brian: I think there can still be a spot for him on the roster…I really do. He has to ditch the dancing gimmick at least for awhile. Maybe do what you suggested and denounce Fandango and come in with a new gimmick. He has the look so to speak and ability…not exactly the best on the mic…but can’t really be too sure about that because all he talked about was pronouncing his name…Faaaaandaaaangoooo. I say book him…but only as a different character. Otherwise…he’s cooked.
Craig: I think the difficulty is where do you go next with him? With such an over the top cartoony gimmick, the transition into whatever Curtis’ next gimmick is was always going to be tricky. I guess really it’s a Matt Osborne rejection of the Fandangoo or the rehabilitation takes place with him spending a bit of time off the telly. Worry is that whatever he does next the crowd will chant for Fandangoo or sing his current theme back at him despite whatever his new entrance music is…
Brian: That’s very true…but isn’t that the case with every wrestler who goes through with a gimmick change? It happened with Bray Wyatt where fans initially chanted “Husky Harris.” It is up to the individual wrestler to perform whatever gimmick they are given to the best of their ability and make people forget about their past. Can Johnny Curtis do that? I’m really not sure…but it is worth a shot.
Craig: I agree, it is up to the wrestler to make people forget about the past. I guess, unlike with Heath Slater, we’ve nothing else to really compare to as I’ve not seen all that much of his stuff pre Fandango. Certainly nothing stuck out for me. That’s why the jury, for me, is out on him. I simply don’t know enough about Curtis to strongly go one way or another.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.