Ten years ago, Fandango (fka Johnny Curtis) found himself on the winning end of the fourth season of NXT way before it became the brand that fans know it as today. This week, the former NXT Tag Team Champion looked back on this triumphant moment on The Bump and relived the day that would forever change his career.
“At that time in 2009 turn 2010, I think I was in developmental for almost five or six years, so I was like, ‘Dang. When am I going to get my opportunity to get called up to the road?’ Fandango stated on how he found out he was going to be on NXT. “So, I thought it would be on season three, and they then announced it was going to be an all-girls show. I was like, ‘Oh, looks like I’m staying down here in Florida Championship Wrestling for another few months.’
“But I was excited, you know. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself because it’s the anticipation of getting called up and doing dark matches for a couple of years prior to that. In retrospect, man, it all worked out the way it was supposed to. I think if I got called up when I first got signed in 2007, I wasn’t mature enough to handle that kind of pressure. Staying in developmental for those extra couple of years was a career saver for me.”
Next, they talked about his mentor on the show, R-Truth, and how motivating he was. Fandango additionally mentioned that R-Truth was just one of a few main roster Superstars who went out of his way to help the NXT guys during and after the shows.
“You know, the NXT guys coming to the road had their own locker room; they kept you separated from the main roster locker room. Truth was very welcoming. He made me feel comfortable. If R-Truth can’t pull a personality out of you, then I don’t know who can,” he said with a chuckle.
Although it was Fandango’s original character Johnny Curtis who won the fourth season of NXT, panelist Kayla Braxton asked if he plans on bringing back Johnny Curtis anytime soon for a one-off appearance.
“Well, I hope not,” he laughed. “But hey, if that’s what they want me to do, I’ll do it. Just as long as I get paid.”
With 22 years in the industry, Fandango isn’t sure just how long he’ll continue being an in-ring competitor. Besides continuing his work as a constructor, if and when he decides to retire, he stated that he would like to continue playing an integral part in pro wrestling as a coach for up-and-coming athletes.
“I could see myself down the road giving back to the business,” he replied. “Leaning towards my 40’s now, I can see myself maybe training some guys. I think that would be something I’d be interested in doing.”
You can watch Fandango’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.