At WrestleMania 29, Chris Jericho and Fandango had a solid, if unspectacular, match that went a long way in helping the Fandango character continue to get over with fans. In the weeks that followed, their rivalry continued, each man showing a new level of aggression and adding further intrigue to what many felt would be a rematch at the annual post-Mania event, Extreme Rules.
Now, just hours away from the return match, one has to wonder if Jericho and Fandango can steal a show that is theirs for the stealing.
Despite Jericho's absence from WWE programming while touring Europe with his band Fozzy for the majority of the build to Extreme Rules, he and Fandango were a part of a segment on Monday's Raw that went a long way in establishing the ballroom dancer as a manipulative, cunning heel, his dance partner Summer Rae as a willing and devious conspirator and the feud with Jericho as a heated one.
On Raw, Fandango was aggressive and violent in his attack of Jericho, adding a new element to his character. Leading up to WrestleMania, fans knew there was a rage inside of the young star that would manifest itself if someone did not pronounce his name correctly. But the way he assaulted the former WWE Undisputed champion on Monday night introduced an all-new cerebral violence few expected from him, perhaps hinting that the flamboyance of Fandango is his way of playing mind games with his opponent.
Not unlike Goldust did in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Jericho, in the past week, has tossed all jokes aside and appears more focused on his match with Fandango than he has any other since returning in January. His promo after being attacked on Raw, in which he vowed to beat Fandango at Extreme Rules, showed great focus and determination.
The only thing lacking from the Jericho-Fandango match Sunday night is a stipulation. Every match on the Extreme Rules card has some kind of special stipulation surrounding it in order to live up to the promise of being WWE's "most extreme night". That means Jericho and Fandango will have to overcome the handicap put on their match, and a crowd that had enjoyed hardcore bouts the rest of the night, to try and deliver a show-stealing performance using no frills or gimmicks.
With one of the better built feuds on a card that was very lazily thrown together, two highly talented performers and a heated segment from Raw fresh on the minds of the fans, that may not be as difficult as it seems.