BORN in Maine and residing in Florida, WWE wrestler Fandango would be forgiven for being clueless about Leeds.
Yet ahead of his exciting visit in May, both the city and its football club are names he is already familiar with.
After all, the ballroom-dancing wrestler born as Curtis Jonathan Hussey is a fan of Everton FC. Hussey, or Fandango as he is better known, will form part of an all-star WWE cast showing at the First Direct Arena on Friday, May 16. It will be the second time WWE Live has featured at the venue, six months on from the roaring success of the event on November 14.
And, while Fandango was on another bill last autumn, the wrestler has received good reports of the show and nothing but positivity about Leeds – and Leeds United – as a whole. Bizarrely, Fandango has become an Everton FC supporter, arising from the club’s initial reluctance to play his catchy ballroom dance theme tune on match-days, much to the annoyance of a section of WWE-mad Toffees fans.
An exchange of views on Twitter led to a track-list u-turn and Fandango’s theme tune was even played when he went to visit Goodison Park this week. But as the American recalls himself, his choice of team also led to a frosty response when training with two wrestling fanatics from Leeds who made a visit to the States back in 2008.
“A couple of guys from Leeds came over and started training in Denver with me back in 2008,” Fandango told the YEP. “These guys were huge die hard Leeds United fans and when I told them I was a fan of Everton they weren’t too happy.”
Explaining his affinity with Everton, Fandango revealed: “After Wrestlemania some of the UK fans started chanting my theme tune and we had a bit of a Twitter war with Everton because they would not play my music. But they ended up playing the music and we became pretty close after that!”
Fandango strengthened those links further on Wednesday when visiting Goodison Park as part of a four-day promotional tour to the UK. The wrestler made an appearance on Sky Sports News and took in the sights of Britain’s capital before flying back to Tampa this morning.
The WWE star will be back in May as part of the Spring WWE tour – with a chance to develop an affinity with Leeds when the wrestler says fans are guaranteed to be entertained by a “whole roster of different characters.”
Fandango believes British fans are key to the global success of WWE and the wrestler has heard good things about Leeds.
“I wasn’t on the Leeds card in November but I heard the Leeds show was fantastic with a fantastic turn out and a sell out crowd,” said Fandango. “I’ve heard Leeds is a really cool city and it’s always cool to go to these new cities and see some new fans. When we do Wrestlemania there are lot of fans from Europe and the UK. They are a big impact on our show and it’s great to get over here and see a different crowd. I just wish we had a little bit more time to walk around as London is huge. It was a cool experience and everyone was really friendly.”
Better still, Fandango was then informed that folk up north are reckoned even friendlier than those down south. But the wrestler still has work to do if he wants to win over Leeds. Fandango laughed: “If the people in Leeds are friendlier than they are in London then I’m in for a treat. The people were great in London – and Manchester.”
Don’t mention the M word Fandango.