Jericho vs. Fandango: An Unexpected WrestleMania Highlight?

fandango jericho

Although the match hasn’t yet been made official, it is certainly looking as if Fandango will make his in-ring WWE debut in grand fashion with a WrestleMania showdown against Chris Jericho.

If booked, this match-up will inevitably spark fierce opposition from many fans, who will argue that:

a) The unproven Fandango is unworthy of a WrestleMania match against a top-tier star the caliber of Jericho

b) Jericho deserves a higher-profile WrestleMania match at this stage of his career.

Neither argument has much merit.

fandango1There are a plenty of reasons to believe that Fandango vs. Jericho is a natural fit for WrestleMania, and that the match has the potential to exceed all expectations.

Let’s start with the first supposition, that Fandango is too new and unproven to deserve a match a WrestleMania at all, let alone against the likes of Jericho. While it’s true that Fandango has yet to wrestle a match on mainstream WWE television, the guy is certainly no rookie.

It has been almost seven years since he was noticed by WWE talent scouts and recruited to join the company’s developmental ranks. That means he signed with company at approximately the same time as Ryback, Cody Rhodes and CM Punk, to name a few. Prior to landing his developmental deal, he had honed his craft for years on the independent circuit.

Performing as Johnny Curtis on NXT, he demonstrated that he knows his way around the ring and can adapt to practically any style of match. His ascension to the main roster is arguably long overdue, making his weekly “refusal” to wrestle on Raw an ironic twist. In many ways, his in-ring style matches that of Jericho’s: a mix of speed, solid grappling and buckets of self-assuredness.

jerichoThe second argument — that Jericho deserves better than a match with a fledgling upstart — is equally empty, when you consider the current status of Jericho’s career. Having accomplished practically every goal he has set out for himself, Jericho has nothing left to prove. His most important contribution to wrestling nowadays — as he has mentioned in many interviews — is to help elevate younger talent.

Jericho is unlikely to stick around WWE for too long after WrestleMania. As he has done before, he will probably stay with the company long enough for a feud to reach its culmination, then vanish to pursue one of his many other showbiz interests. You can bet that, before he hits the road again, he’ll want to feel as if he made a positive contribution to the business that made him a star. That contribution could be pushing a arrogant new pretty boy into the spotlight.

After all, Jericho must see glimmers of himself in Fandango. In many ways, they are mirror images of one another.

Remember how, the last time Jericho returned from a long absence, he went many weeks without saying a word to the WWE fans? It got under people’s skin, much like Fandango’s weekly refusal to wrestle a match.

Jericho was on Dancing with the Stars; Fandango is a ballroom dancer (or pretends to be, anyway). Jericho wears sparkly jackets and makes elaborate entrances; ditto for Fandango.

And who better than Jericho — a motormouthed master of the putdown — to feud with Fandango, who enunciates every word (especially his own name) with breathy, drawn-out gravitas?

Their backstage confrontation this past Monday on Raw proved that Jericho is a perfect foil for Fandango’s self-seriousness.

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The most important question, of course, is whether Jericho and Fandango would have a good match. While Fandango has certainly paid his dues in the little leagues, the big variable is how he’ll perform in front of one the largest live crowds in WWE history, not to mention an enormous pay-per-view audience. Given how well he has played his role on Raw, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

A match between these two might be exactly what the WrestleMania card needs. A fast, athletic wrestling clinic between two similarly built men could fit perfectly between, say, a plodding battle of behemoths (Ryback vs. Mark Henry) and a no-holds-barred slugfest (Triple-H vs. Brock Lesnar).

While it’s a stretch to think that Jericho and Fandango would pull off a Steamboat-Savage show-stealer (they’d never be given enough time for that), there’s good reason to believe they could create a “sleeper hit” of the event. At the very least, it would be the trial-by-fire moment that Fandango needs to determine the future of the character.


  • Richie Herlinger

    Those are not the only 2 arguments to be made! I have one! FanDodgeDurango may be a good wrestler…but that gimmick is not going to last! And usually when someone is given a ridiculous gimmick that fades…the star loses the momentum and is inevitably reduced to the lower card with the likes of Ryder, Kidd, Riley and all those other stars who HAD potential until WWE ruined them! So i think they are wasting Jericho in this match! They want Jericho to put over sure future stars, then he should be facing someone like Wade Barrett or Damien Sandow!

    • jcice13

      LOL I had the same thought but didn’t read yours until I posted mine

    • Sting’s Dad

      You like to use exclamation marks! And a lot of dots… don’t you!

      • CMmox

        I don’t find anything bad on the way he writes his comments tbh.

    • Bork Lazer Aka Jackson DeMarco

      exclamation points are so damn annoying

    • Tommy Colosi

      What about these gimmicks,
      A blue blood from CT (HHH),
      A guy dressed in all black “taking souls”(Undertaker).
      A pale Irish guy that like too fight (Shemus).
      A guy dressed in all gold, acting androgynous (Goldust).
      Big muscle heads in make-up (Sting, Warrior, LOD, Demolition).
      A barber (Beefcake)
      A guy in a kilt (Piper)
      A super hero(Hurricane Shane Helms)
      A guy 5 foot 5 that can choke everyone out (Taz)
      A Korean Cowboy (Jimmy Wang Yang)
      Elvis (Honky Tonk Man)
      Of course the gimmick will need to evolve, but writing him off, from who in all accounts is a good worker, because of the initial gimmick is asinine. Sure some gimmicks are dumb and are doomed from the start (Kizarny, and Brakkus come to mind) you never know until you try. Will he be a main eventer, probably not, but a solid mid card gimmick is a good job.
      In closing, I am open minded because he seems to be giving it his all. A lot of gimmicks fail because the guy doesn’t believe his persona. Last night was a HUGE step forward for him. I thought that leg drop looked awesome.

  • jcice13

    the only thing I disagree with is that mania doesn’t NEED this match fandango does and if I want to put him over the place to do it is on RAW and SD where there are more eyeballs but if it’s at mania that would be fine, maybe jericho wins mania and loses the next night on raw? maybe not but you have to get fandango over some how right? cause 6 months from now I predict the character will be stale as hell

  • Tyler Drummond

    The problem that I have with the potential Fandango vs Chris Jericho match at Wrestlemania is that Fandango hasn’t wrestled yet (as this current character) and that I feel that him holding off his debut for so long has made people start to care less (as the crowd was chanting “You Can’t Wrestle” last week). I actually like the character (as I feel it can take him to main event level before he changes to a more main event type character (similar to cody rhodes and the mask character)) and I think Johnny Curtis or Fandango is a good worker and could have a very bright future. If this had some actual build more than 3 weeks before WrestleMania and Fandango had actually debuted I would be much more supportive. Nonetheless if this is the Jericho match we get at Mania (which it really seems like it) I really hope they manage to have Jericho put over Fandango (whether it is by losing to him or making him look good even if Jericho wins).

  • JH

    I kinda like the idea of Fandango’s in ring debut coming at wrestlemania. If he’s as good in the ring as the writers here claim. It could feel totally new and new and fresh between two guys you’ve never seen go at it before.

    But personally, I’d love to see fandango booked to refuse to wrestle once again even on the biggest stage of all.

    But yeah I really don’t see this gimmick lasting very long and that’s my biggest problem with the character.

  • Jaydn Lebsanft

    I think of they had planned on this match that they should have had fandango win at lest one match but i do like the idea that this his debut no one expects him to win or if he is good in the ring with his new gimick

  • fj2305

    Is Vince Russo the new head of creative? Why do we have to witness the rebirth of Disco Inferno? 15 years later it is Y2J vs. Disco Inferno jr. again or what? My point is that they still are creating idiotic gimmicks who we had enough in the WCW and the 80′s- early 90′s, Can’t they just stop giving their superstars gimmicks. Curtis should get a cool and smoothy gimmick he would fit in a Val Venis like gimmick but we are in the PG era so … Curtis is a good wrestler and entertainer, I liked him as the foreign exchange consultant or assistant of santino on his youtube show, but it could be a very interesting matchup between him and Y2J. If Jericho wins very clear or very quickly, then bye bye Fandango.

  • Suicide

    As Daniel Bryan would put it “No, no, no…!”

  • Tommy Colosi

    WWE doesn’t seem to make huge mistakes at Mania, well not in a while.. Butterbean vs Bart Gunn 8 months after Brawl for All ended comes to mind.
    So they have A LOT of faith in Fandango, and Big E. for that matter. Has anyone ever debuted at Mania?

  • Adam Daniel John Thompson

    fandango hasn’t done anything other than stink up the joint, and for Jericho to end up losing so poorly to him, it made it even worse. It did absolutely nothing to put over Fandango, and was a waste of Jericho.

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