ATLANTA — One of the surprises of the National Wrestling Alliance Hard Times 2 pay-per-view on December 4th was the arrival of “Dirty Dango” — the artist formerly known as Fandango.
He came out with another former WWE star, JTG, to insert themselves into the NWA’s tag team picture, and they teamed together — and created some memorable promos — in the subsequent NWA Powerrr tapings done at the Georgia Public Broadcasting center, where the NWA was shooting four days of television.
During a break on December 5, Curtis Jonathan Hussey — who has wrestled as Fandango and Johnny Curtis — talked about his future, the name change, teaming with JTG, and a whole lot more.
First off, the new name isn’t that far off from the old WWE one.
“Vince owns the rights to Fandango. So there’s a lot of equity, I feel, in that name, so we wanted essentially just something that is close to it. I think he owns Johnny Curtis as well, so that was my second choice,” said Hussey, who was released by WWE on June 25, 2021, after 15 years with the company.
He is not complaining. “I can understand from a business point of view that the boss, Vince [McMahon], invests a lot of money into a character, he doesn’t want it to go somewhere else and then a different company capitalize on his name, that he’s invested money,” he said, “But it’s up to a performer, I think, to use their own ability to go get over, whether it’s NWA, AEW, MLW, wherever they go. I think if you’ve got enough talent, whatever name you have, you can get it over.”
Dirty Dango, with “Let’s Get Weird” on his tights, seems to have Hussey letting his freak flag fly a little more. There was humor (popping the NWA crew backstage, no easy feat), dirty dancing, crisp wrestling moves, and definite chemistry between himself and JTG.
Hussey reminisced about the last time he felt so free.
“We were doing an NXT show called NXT Redemption in 2011, and it wasn’t really micromanaged, it was kind of loose backstage. I don’t think they really, it’s not they didn’t care about it, but obviously, they were worrying about SmackDown, or Raw, whatever was filmed before. So it kind of reminds me that where, you kind of have the freedom of in terms of personality and promos to come up with your own shtick, your own act, which I really enjoy, going back to a character that kind of played back then Dirty Johnny Curtis, or whatever it was.”
The creative minds behind the NWA seem to believe in the new team, which is being called Dirty Sexy Boys. “It’s cool that Billy [Corgan] sees something in myself and JTG, and it feels good to know that a promotion likes you and sees something in you and wants to invest some TV time into you. I feel like if a company builds your confidence, you perform better as a talent, … sometimes if you’re going to work every week, and you’re not really doing that much, it can wear on you mentally. It’s good. I think everyone here gets treated pretty fairly, and I think they get a good amount of TV time.”
Working for a company like the NWA that has a large platform, between NWA Powerrr and its pay-per-views on Fite TV, and NWA USA debuting on YouTube soon (Dirty Dango wasn’t on those initial tapings), means a lot, noted Hussey.
“When you do the independents, there’s not a lot of TV, you’re not getting a lot of time to get your character across. You’re not really cutting promos or doing backstage vignettes. It’s more just a match with the local guys or whatever,” he explained. “So when you get a chance to come to a place like NWA, and you have TV time, it’s really important to utilize every opportunity you have in front of the camera. And that’s the thing, character. I’m a big fan of characters and personalities, and NWA gives you the freedom to really showcase your personality and freedom to create your own promos, which is really cool.”
Jayson Paul and Hussey crossed paths in WWE, though fans never saw JTG of Cryme Tyme (with his later partner, Shad Gaspard) and Fandango together much.
“We obviously saw each other in catering a bunch. And I think he got released around the time that I turned into Fandango,” said Hussey. “But yeah, he’s a good friend of mine, Shad was a good friend too.”
Friends were everywhere in the NWA locker room, and define Hussey.
“This is one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been in because a lot of these guys and girls, we worked together years ago. Mike Knox and I used to live together back 15 years ago, so a lot of my old friends and a lot of people trying new characters and trying new things and coming in here to prove to themselves what they can do,” he said.
“I’ve been having the most fun in probably my 21, 22 years of professional wrestling the last few months,” he said relaxing in an office chair. “Even being here in the last two days, just being back with my old buddies like Aron Stevens and G Rilla [Tyrus]. Mike Knox, we all started together, Mikey Bennett, [Matt] Taven, we all started off together 15 years ago. The camaraderie between the guys and the freedom to create, it’s really cool here in NWA.”
The bookings he chooses to take on the independent scene bounce from “whoever pays me” to promotions and friends that he is loyal to. “There’s a company back home called Limitless and they’re kind of the local promotion and I try to support them as much as possible, so I’ll try to take their dates first,” he said, noting that he grew up in Maine, so still knows so many people up on the New England wrestling scene.
“The cliché, my friend, of the people you see on the way up are the same on the way down — I’m not saying that we’re on our way down — but it’s important to treat everybody with respect and just be cool to everybody, because we’re a community, a niche community that are all kind of connected in some capacity,” Hussey said. “So if you’re an asshole or mean to people, eventually you’re going to run into someone that you were rude to. So I think it’s just good to be cool to everybody.”
Friends run promotions, from Swoggle in Wisconsin to James Ellsworth in Maryland, to the Colons in Puerto Rico. “It sucks I’ve got so many friends that I’ve got to do so many favors for,” he said with a laugh. “I just hope if I have a company someday that my buddies would come in and not try to charge me a s— ton of money.”
But reality is reality and bills need to be paid. “Back to your question, the companies that I choose are my friends and the best payday you can get,” Hussey said. “When you’re fresh off TV, it’s not going to stay like that forever, so you have to try to make as much money as you can while you can, and reinvent yourself.”
Cue Dirty Dango.
TOP PHOTO: JTG and Dirty Dango are the Dirty Sexy Boys in NWA.