The WWE is getting some real mainstream attention these days. No, there wasn’t a corpse rape scene on RAW again. Vince McMahon didn’t get indicted for distributing steroids again. It’s not even the racist and politically charged Jack Swagger storyline this time. So what is it that has us talking about the WWE these days? Why, a dance sensation that’s sweeping the nation. Have you Fandangoed yet? Well you’re missing out.
First of all, let’s start with the man behind the craze, Fandango himself. Don’t you dare even pronounce that wrong in your head. It’s Faaaaahhhnnnndaaaaaahhhhhhhnnnngooooooooh. At least that’s what the WWE superstar wants to hear. Formerly known as Johnny Curtis (his real name is Curtis Hussey and he was trained by the legendary Killer Kowalski), Fandango has really caught on with fans since making his WWE re-debut on March 1. The Fandango vignettes began airing in early November, but were only seen sporadically over the next few months. That usually happens when WWE isn’t quite sure what to do with a character, although that’s just speculation on my end.
Anyway, the March 1 episode of Smackdown came, and Fandango debuted… Sort of. He was all set to have his first match against Zach Ryder, but WWE back stage interviewer Matt Striker didn’t pronounce his name right. Offended, Fandango refused to wrestle. On the March 4th RAW, it was ring announcer Justin Roberts that couldn’t get it quite right, and Fandango refused to wrestle his match against Kofi Kingston. This happened on every WWE TV show for the next two weeks, including in a back stage segment with Chris Jericho where the future WWE Hall of Famer teased Fandango by repeatedly mispronouncing the name over and over again. In wrestling, that’s more than enough to start a feud. The WWE used Jericho, who could probably help a wet mop get over with a crowd to get Fandango some much needed facetime with WWE fans.
Anywho, after a few weeks of messing with Jericho’s matches (including a couple of beatdowns), Fandango finally made his in ring debut on April 7 at Wrestlemania 29. Everyone pronounced his name correctly, and Fandango even got a big debut win. It was the next night on RAW, however, that his star would truly skyrocket. A raucous crowd at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey decided to entertain itself by chanting random things all night long. When Fandango came to the ring, the fans found the perfect opportunity to start a craze. When Fandango’s music hit (a kind of cheesy ballroom dance type song), the fans began singing along and dancing. When the music stopped and the match got underway, the fans didn’t stop. In fact, they sang and danced to the song on their own for most of the rest of the match… and other matches that night… and after the main event… and out in the halls as they exited the building. It was bananas.
After a little media attention and some viral Youtubery, a “thing” was born. Since that night, people have been releasing their own versions of themselves Fandangoing on Youtube. Not just nerdy wrestling fans either. The Houston Texans cheerleaders (you can see them in the video) did it during practice. Hell, even PETA did it for some reason. It’s not quite the Harlem Shake, but I’m excited to see if any sports teams start doing their own versions. The almost unheard of example of his media exposure and popularity has been that the theme was at the top of soundtrack songs downloaded on iTunes the week after RAW, and fans in the UK were trying hard to get it to the top overall spot (last I saw, it was #2 overall).
Fandango himself is doing a great job feeding the frenzy, engaging in some back and forth tongue-in-cheek arguing with Everton FC of the British Premiere League (they refused to play his theme song throughout the duration of their next game). And making radio station appearances in full character. When there’s full commitment from a wrestler and the company, stars get made. Here’s hoping Fandango’s star keeps rising. Assuming you can all say his name correctly…
Featured image courtesy of: WWE.com
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