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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Johnny Fairplay: WWE Prospect?
December 5, 2003 by Mark Rose


For those of you who haven't caught any episodes of the newest season of the reality show Survivor you've been missing the work of the greatest heel on TV. Survivor: Pearl Islands contestant Jon Dalton has caused about as much buzz about Survivor as anyone who has ever appeared on the show. He's obnoxious, he's smart, he's clever, he's a great liar, and he's DAMN FUNNY. What does this has to do with pro wrestling you might ask? When Survivor is all done and Dalton's CBS contractual obligations are finished you'll find out why. Jon Dalton is a SURE bet to become a personality on WWE television. If he's not then NWA TNA should sign this guy.

Throughout the Survivor game thus far Jon has become the absolute most obnoxious and quite possibly the most hated competitor in the television's show history. Lies, backstabbing, cockiness and wrestling catchphrases have made this guy absolutely hysterical to me and he's shown me that he's capable of being a great wrestling villain. Jon has snuck in wrestling references every chance he gets on the show. One week he wrote RVD 420 on his voting paper. He's quoted the catchphrases of Scott Hall, Booker T, Ted Dibiase and even did the famous Ric Flair "To be the man you gotta beat the man" all right on the program. When voting for contestant Ryan (who's nickname was Rhino) he wrote the name the exact same way and spelling of WWE superstar Rhyno. He has even taken on the character name of "Johnny Fairplay" and even got a visibly negative reaction from Survivor host Jeff Probst who has NEVER really showed favoritism. You can clearly see by his reactions and body language that Probst even obviously dislikes Johnny Fairplay. Most recently Johnny Fairplay has been a part of the most talked about Survivor incident ever. The contestants were having a reward challenge in which the winner got to have a visit from a loved one from home. Jon's best friend came out and gave Jon the bad news that his grandmother had passed away. Out of sympathy for Jon the other competitors (who really didn't like him all that much) all threw the challenge and let him win so he could find out more about what had happened to his grandmother. Johnny and his friend went off alone and then began to laugh and celebrate. It was a trick planned in advance by Johnny to make him a shoe in win the competition. He had the lie with his friend set up since day 1 knowing that Survivor always has a contest like that at some point. Johnny's grandmother is alive and well and he won the challenge and the pity and became more likeable to his fellow Survivor contestants. In doing this he's made the reunion show that follows the final Survivor more highly anticipated than the announcement of the winner. Everyone wants to see what will happen when they find out that Johnny Fairplay had lied about his grandmother!

Ok still waiting for the connection to wrestling? Well turns out Johnny Fairplay isn't just a mark who's acting like a fool on one of CBS's highest rated programs. Jon Dalton aka Johnny Fairplay is a former independent wrestler and promoter who ran New Dimension Wrestling in North Carolina and in Portland, Oregon. That's right. This guy is a wrestler who is acting in character on reality TV! How hilarious is that! Dalton has even worked as a production assistant for none other than "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Johnny Fairplay has attracted the attention of practically an entire continent while at the same time he's been actively showing himself as a big fan of WWE product. You think Vince hasn't noticed? He HAS to have at least heard about this by now.

Vince would be a brilliant man for signing Johnny Fairplay to a WWE contract. He's got charisma, he's a better damn heel than ANYONE in the WWE right now. He would make a fantastic evil GM or I have an even better idea. What if you had Johnny Fairplay on either RAW or Smackdown as a crooked referee in the backpocket of either RAW GM Eric Bischoff or SD GM Paul Heyman. He would get over HUGE as a heel and he has experience so he could even bump for wrestlers and allow them to get some heat back off him. Something that almost nobody else in a non wrestling role in the WWE is capable of doing. That's one thing i'll give Bischoff credit for. He's willing to bump and allow wrestlers to get their heat back from him. How would this help the WWE get more fans? Well if you take a look at Survivor's ratings this year they are consistently drawing more than 10 million viewers every week, getting ratings over 10.0. Right now they are getting more than 3 times as many viewers as WWE Smackdown! which runs against Survivor. Would Survivor viewers tune into WWE programming to see this guy? Hell yeah they would. At least some of them would. They all want to see him now just to see what he is going to do or say next on the program, even though they despise him, wouldn't it stand to reason that it would at least draw SOME attention if he was to enter the WWE? It has the potential to draw a lot more viewers to WWE programming. It's worth the gamble because the payoff could be MASSIVE. Even if they only managed to pull in 1/10th of Survivor's current viewers that would be over 1 million people which would translate into over a full ratings point. Nobody else in wrestling could cause that much of a jump in ratings in WWE's programming right now.

Laugh if you will but I GUARANTEE you he'll be in wrestling once Survivor is all said and done. And he'll be bringing viewers with him. Somebody needs to attempt to cash in this golden opportunity to pick up a guy with fantastic charismatic talent.

The WWE needs to have some Fair Play, Johnny Fairplay that is.....

Mark Rose


Updated January 7, 2003 -- As reported on WrestleView.Com:
For those of you who watched Survivor: Pearl Islands, this will come has no surprise. Jon Dalton, better known as "Jonny Fairplay" is set to debut in a major wrestling promotion.

Sources say that Dalton is in serious negotiations with NWA TNA, and unless the negotiations hit a major snag, NWA TNA fans will be seeing Jonny Fairplay very soon.

Fairplay was hoping his exposure on Survivor would land him a WWE deal, however there seems to be no interest from the WWE as of yet.

Fairplay became what critics called the "most hated Survivor contestant of all time," after lying to fellow cast members that his grandma had passed away.

As far as wrestling goes, Fairplay had promoted several independent shows in the past, and he also used to work as Roddy Piper's assistant. Fairplay was with Piper in the car accident that nearly killed Piper several years ago.
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