Sometimes there is no worse fate for a performer with World Wrestling Entertainment than sitting at home doing nothing. You train hard and sacrifice so much just to get signed by the world wide leader in sports entertainment, only to be told that, “creative has nothing for you.” I can only imagine how frustrating that must be for a guy like Damien Sandow.
For those not familiar with his backstory, Sandow is one of those guys that toiled away in WWE’s developmental territories for years. First he was Aaron Idol, and those fans watching the Smackdown brand in the mid 2000’s you might remember his short lived tag team with KC James. Sadly, the only star made from that pairing was their manager, Michelle McCool. Sandow was sent packing, not back to developmental, but back home.
Not satisfied to sit at home at mope about his situation in life, Damien bought a ticket to pro wrestling’s equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys, Puerto Rico. It would only take a year performing in the World Wrestling Council before WWE came calling again. This time, he would travel to Florida Championship Wrestling, where he developed the pompous intellectual character we fans would come to know as Damien Sandow. His hard work would finally pay off in May of 2012 when he debuted for the Smackdown brand once more and began to infuriate audiences with his “smarter than thou” character.
Sadly for Sandow, a reoccurring pattern emerged as he soon found himself on the losing end of matches with mid card talent and lots of WWE retirees. While some might have seen these stumbling blocks as a negative, Sandow realized that being humiliated by so many legends was a blessing in disguise. Not only was Damien learning from some of the best in the business, but he was smart enough to realize that WWE was testing him for a bigger opportunity.
That opportunity would come for Sandow at Money in the Bank 2013. While many considered him an underdog in the annual contract contest, it was the Intellectual Savior of the Masses who emerged victorious with a future World Heavyweight Championship opportunity. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice a pattern in Sandow’s career. This opportunity would once again be balanced out with another road block. Damien would be unsuccessful in his attempt to capture gold and from there would go on a losing streak that would last months.
As I have said in the past, Sandow would turn lemons into lemonade by adding a new quirk to his character. Each week, regardless of the show he was booked on, Damien would impersonate some recognizable personality or character, making his segments both entertaining and frustrating for fans who wanted to see more for the man who had worked so hard to earn everything he had accomplished.
Once again for Damien, adversity bred opportunity. His impressions created an opportunity to work with one of WWE’s pet projects, the Miz. Portraying a Hollywood celebrity character, the Miz began using Damien Sandow as his stunt double. Instead of looking at the new gig as a demotion, Sandow put his all into the role, mimicking everything Miz did, both good and bad. The result was highly entertaining, and once again, Sandow was on the fast track to success.
Eventually, Miz and the newly christened Damien Mizdow would capture the WWE Unified Tag Team Championship at Survivor Series 2014. The crowd was firmly enthralled with Damien and disgusted with the Miz. The race was on to see how long this pair would take to implode. The answer would be six months, far longer than most thought it would take. At WrestleMania 31, Damien Mizdow would eliminate the Miz from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The crowd went crazy for the moment they had been waiting six months for. Surely this would begin a new period of deserving acclaim and exposure for the former champion. If you really believe that, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Sandow would lose to his former protégé in subsequent matches, and received a cold reaction from fans when he attempted to come out and be himself in the weeks that followed. As luck would have it, Damien would find familiarity with another misfit having an identity crisis of his own. For weeks, Curtis Axel had been spoofing on Hulk Hogan’s famous Hulk-a-Mania movement by creating Axel-Mania, a tongue in cheek homage to the Hulkster that was gaining traction with the crowd. Sandow reached into the imposter well once more and pulled out Macho Mandow, his take on Randy Savage. Together, the two formed the Meta-Powers, a clever play on the Mega-Powers team formed by Hogan and Savage in the 80s.
Despite being popular, the other shoe would drop on both Sandow and Axel when recordings were leaked of Hulk Hogan making racist remarks, leading to WWE erasing him from company history for the time being. Hulk-a-Mania was dead, and so were the Meta-Powers.
So Damien Sandow finds himself once again in the unenvious position of having worked hard with nothing to show for it. A lesser person would have quit long ago with a career defined by more ups and downs than a pogo stick. Sandow has continued to adapt and change with the winds that seem to blow him a new direction on a yearly basis. While this is admirable, it can also be infuriating for not just Damien, but his fans as well. We want to see him become more than a joke, but it seems like whenever WWE and Sandow ask the WWE Universe to take him seriously, they shrug their shoulders and respond with apathy, preferring that Damien dress in goofy costumes or wrestle invisible men.
Therein lies the biggest obstacle with getting Damien Sandow over. We want to love him or hate him passionately, but he seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder. It is very hard to connect with a man who is constantly changing who he is from year to year. How can we get to know Damien Sandow if Damien Sandow doesn’t know who he is? It’s time that he take a long hard look in the mirror and figure that out.