Wrestling Purgatory: Damien Sandow

The wrestling business isn’t easy and that’s coming from a guy that isn’t even in the business.  With that just imagine how it must feel for the men and women that actually train their asses off with the hope of being able to pay their bills easily performing in the squared circle.  Every wrestler in the world hopes to be able to make it some day.  For many of those “making it” is the WWE.  It is the biggest wrestling pro…err…sports entertainment company in the world so who wouldn’t want to be seen by billions of people every week?  Many of these folks break in across various independent promotions before possibly earning a contract.  But it’s not too often that you hear about people with the journey of Damien Sandow.

Sandow had only been wrestling for about 2 years when he was offered a developmental deal with WWE.  He spent 3 years at Ohio Valley Wrestling as Idol Stevens before getting the call to the big stage.  He debuted in a tag with KC James that was managed by Mrs. Undertaker.  They were almost immediately thrown into a feud with reigning tag champs Paul London and Brian Kendrick but were unsuccessful in ever capturing the titles.  Eventually he was sent back down to OVW where he captured their heavyweight title before he was released.

Yes he is a handsome man but the beard really fits him.

Yes he is a handsome man but the beard really fits him.

This quick ascent and subsequent descension would be a stake through the heart of many competitors but Sandow would not be kept down.  He continued working on the indies and became a part of OVW again (once they were no longer affiliated with WWE) and went on to tour Puerto Rico for World Wrestling Council.  This hard work was noticed and WWE offered him another deal in 2010 and reported to WWE’s newest developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, and so Damien Sandow was born.

The Idol Stevens persona was dropped and Sandow began as with a militant gimmick before adopting a personality of a true intellectual.  Very soon the main roster came knocking.  Damien Sandow was a breathe of fresh air with a pompous, holier than thou attitude that made for the perfect heel.  He had a decent singles run before forming a highly underrated tag team with Cody Rhodes called Rhodes Scholars.  They were never successful in gaining the Tag Titles but provided entertaining matches as two workers that with seeming chips on their shoulders.

Eventually Rhodes Scholars was disbanded when it seemed Sandow was getting his big push.  He won the one of the Money in the Bank ladder matches at 2013 pay-per-view of the same name.  Unfortunately just as he won the briefcase that granted him a World Title shot at any time he began an awful losing streak amounting 1 win and 12 loses (many to Cody Rhodes) before he cashed in.  And we surely were expecting the big moment when Sandow breaks his losing streak and wins the World Title just like nearly every other MITB winner previous to him right?  Well….that didn’t happen.  Sandow became the 2nd person to ever lose in their cash in attempt and the first to lose it clean.

After this Sandow went on another losing streak before adopting a gimmick that including him doing impersonations of celebrities, TV and movie characters or athletes.  While some were funny it was just said seeing a man with so much talent relegated to being the comic relief in such a pointless and insulting fashion.  Don’t get me wrong, I love comedy wrestling but there is a right way and wrong way of doing this and this certainly wasn’t right.  But sometimes you take a shitty situation and you own it.

What was likely a rib became a great opportunity.

What was likely a rib became a great opportunity.

Sandow was thrown into a role as the Miz’s stunt double in what Miz explained was supposed to just be a one week thing.  Miz coming off of filming a movie modified his character to be a self proclaimed movie star and choosing not to wrestle certain matches.  Enter the stunt double.  Week after week, the now renamed, Damien Mizdow fought for Miz and when he didn’t he stood on the outside mimicking Miz’s every move to comedic brilliance and the crowd ate it up.  Soon Mizdow was getting some of the loudest pops while creating memorable moments that I can remember literally tearing up on as I laughed so hard.  The man took what was clearly a joke gimmick and fucking owned it.  He would win the Tag Titles with Miz as well during this time.

Eventually Miz grew to detest his stunt double for getting the cheers he felt he deserved and tension was teased for a good while before Mizdow stood up for himself at Wrestlemania Play Button.  WWE had one of the easiest to book stories just fall right in their laps and they dropped it.  Mizdow was made to look like a fool eventually losing in a blow off match to Miz, ON RAW, and eventually fell back into impersonations, specifically Macho Man Randy Savage.  A short lived team with Curtis Axel came and went and now Sandow sits on the sidelines again.

It’s not often that a guy connects with the audience so organically but the WWE certainly has a record for fucking these movements up when they do happen.  Say what you will about Daniel Bryan’s climb but it didn’t need to be that hard for him.  Damien Sandow was over.  That’s it.  No debate was needed on that but instead of capitalizing on a white hot talent he was buried.  The Miz is one of the best heel WWE has today.  If you disagree you are only proving my point because if you hate the Miz he has done his job perfectly.  A big time win, on a proper PPV, for Sandow over his former boss could have catapulted him to at least upper midcard status, if not main event.  But instead he lays down and takes the pin and settles into the background of WWE television once again.

Damien Sandow is very good at his impersonations but because of that it means he can play characters.  He shouldn’t have to play characters that have already been done.  We don’t need a second Macho Man, one was enough.  Why can’t we have our first Damien Sandow?  You can have bigger stars be funny at the same time.  The Rock, John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Shawn Michaels all were able to show their comedic sides while also being portrayed as legitimate competitors.  I hate having to do this but I induct Damien Sandow into Wrestling Purgatory my friends and I for one want him to check out as soon as possible.

Author: Mike

Human. Podcaster. Drinker of boozes. Gamer. Part time Illuminati.

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