You have to give credit to Chris Jericho.
At WrestleMania 29, he did everything possible to establish newcomer Fandango (formerly Johnny Curtis on NXT) as a star, even putting him over in one of the year's biggest upsets.
Sadly, it simply didn't happen.
The bout itself was rather average, and probably not something that will be fondly remembered.
Heck, even Jericho getting accidentally busted open early on in the bout—the first blood of the evening—didn't add any much-needed drama to the bout. Fandango isn't a terrible wrestler, but he's not particularly good either, and his inexperience shone in this match. He didn't exactly blow his shot at the big time, but he didn't hugely surpass expectations either.
A slightly botched finish (Jericho went for the Lionsault and Fandango got his feet up, only for Jericho to miss him completely but have to sell an injury anyway) didn't help matters.
Indeed, the whole thing felt like decent television you'd see on Raw or SmackDown, not the biggest wrestling main event of the year.
The duo were also hindered by a lack of time (they got just nine minutes). It's a sad fact about WrestleMania that supposed "grudge" feuds on the under-card are often allocated only five or 10 minutes while the main eventers often get a great deal more time than they usually need.
If WWE was genuinely serious about giving Fandango a real chance, why didn't the company give the pair 15 minutes to churn out a good match instead?
Hey, worst case scenario, WWE would have just had to tell The Undertaker not to take so long getting to the ring for his match. Or cut one of the heavily-rotated Rock/Cena promos from the event (why exactly do fans need to see a promo for a match they've already bought, anyway?).
Maybe with some more time Jericho could have made Fandango a star, but, as it is, despite its weeks of hype and promotion, the bout felt rather casual and throwaway.
Going in, Jericho seemed above the bout and after it—even though Fandango beat him, theoretically proving his worthiness—Jericho still seemed too good for it.
As noted, it's hard to fault Jericho. Sans the botch at the end, he did his best to carry his foe in the short time allotted. The blame may be more on WWE here.
So, what now for Fandango?
Well, he's still stuck with a ridiculous comedy gimmick. Even if he and Jericho had gone out and torn the house down and had a MOTY candidate, he'd have still faced this issue.
Anyone who saw Johnny Curtis on NXT: Redemption knows he can play the sleazy, smug heel better than most, but this current character just doesn't play to his strengths at all. It's a silly gimmick that clearly has a limited shelf-life (but credit to him for turning into one heck of dancer).
Clearly, WWE thinks the act can go places—not everyone gets to make their official pay-per-view debut against a star like Jericho, after all—so Fandango will probably get a few more chances to succeed.
By the looks of it, he might need them.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!