WWE has a horrible track record of dropping the ball when it comes to many talented performers. From Low Ki, who performed under the alias of Kaval in WWE, to Drew Galloway, who is currently receiving rave reviews from all corners of the wrestling world since he left WWE, the list of WWE’s missed opportunities is long.
Damien Sandow is another one of these missed opportunities. Over the last two years, Damien Sandow has gone from being on the cusp of a break out push to a position of lower card obscurity. But where did it go wrong for Sandow? Is there any hope of him being a big deal in Vince’s company?
Many took Sandow’s capturing of the Money in the Bank briefcase in July of 2013 as a sign he was on the brink of a big push as he now had the means to secure World Heavyweight Championship run. It certainly had all the signs of the beginning of something meaningful for Sandow, as not only did he win a World Heavyweight title shot, but he rose to victory at the expense of his tag team partner, Cody Rhodes, who he threw Rhodes off the ladder on his way to victory.
So he had a big win and a ready made feud going into the next PPV, it looked like Sandow’s career was on the rise, right? Sadly for Sandow, this was not the case, as the briefcase proved to be a poisoned chalice for Sandow, with his career going slowly downhill since that night in Philadelphia when he won the Money in the Bank match.
Sandows feud with Cody was largely one sided. Rhodes dominated Sandow for the best part of this feud. From there his stock continued to drop with losses to Dolph Ziggler, Sin Cara and Rob Van Dam, but many held hope that this was to cool Sandow off before a surprise cash-in win on the horizon.
When he did cash the briefcase in on an injured John Cena on the October 28, 2013 edition of Monday Night RAW, it looked like Sandow was going to succeed in becoming a WWE Champion against a less than 100% opponent, however Cena pinned Sandow in an exciting 15 minute match that opened the show. Even though Sandow was highly praised by wrestling pundits for his performance in this match, it was the last time Sandow was taken seriously in a WWE ring.
Since he unsuccessfully cashed-in his MITB contract, it’s all been downhill for Sandow. First he had a small throwaway feud with Dolph Ziggler and a futile attempt at winning the Intercontinental Championship against Big E. His 2014 was even worse, he embarked on a horrible run of defeats with a record of 2 wins out of 46 matches from January 1 until September 16.
Since his defeat to Cena, his persona had changed slowly from being an intellectual elitist to a more generic, whiny character who couldn’t buy a meaningful win. Sandow began to show what seemed like genuine frustration and he delivered some worked shoot interviews on RAW that, sadly, never really went anywhere.
It was made abundantly clear that WWE creative had nothing for him when he began an impersonator gimmick. Sandow would be carted out dressed up as different personalities each week in a lame comedy segment during RAW. To his credit, he tried to make the most of portraying such stars as Shawn Michaels, Vince McMahon and Abraham Lincoln in some-what humorous fashion, but the fact remained that Sandow was going nowhere fast.
It wasn’t until a chance pairing with The Miz that rejuvenated Sandow. He shone in the hilariously fresh role, playing the stunt double of The Miz, who was now an arrogant “A-List” celebrity. Sandow, who tweaked his name to the horribly sounding Mizdow, was making the most of a bad situation, and thanks to his fantastic chemistry with The Miz, whose comedic timing is highly underrated, Sandow was getting over.
Sandow and The Miz were a neat double act and played off of each other nicely. Sandows mimicking shtick was a huge hit with the crowd. When a split was teased, it appeared that Sandow was once again on the verge of a breakout singles pushed once he broke away from The Miz. But, once again, WWE didn’t know what to do with Sandow after he parted ways with The Miz and shortly after standing up to his former partner, Sandow was once again spinning his wheels in the lower card doldrums. All of the momentum gained from the program with The Miz was lost.
Sandow was once again placed in the impersonator role, this time his imitation was limited solely to being a poor man’s Randy Savage act as one half of The Meta Powers. Curtis Axel played the Hulk Hogan role. The send up to The Mega Powers got old fast and was mercifully shelved when the real Hulk Hogan was revealed to have made racist remarks.
The last time Sandow was on WWE television was when he and Curtis Axel were beaten by Harper and Rowan on the May 25th edition of Superstars; Sandow’s stock is arguably at an all time low.
In another Voices of Wrestling article, Rich Kraetsch pondered whether Triple H was punished at all after the Curtain Call. Looking at Sandow’s fall from grace, it’s fair to say that he’s being punished by WWE far more than Hunter ever was. But what has Sandow done to be treated so badly since his Money in the Bank win?
Did he rub someone up the wrong way? Has WWE just gone cold on him? Is this all part of WWE’s “break them down to build them up” motivational tactic? Who knows, but with Sandow, I fear they have broke him down so much that it would take too much to build him back up after the damage of the last year and a half.
WWE obviously saw something in him to even have him win the MITB match to begin with and he is capable of having a great match, as his match cash-in match versus Cena can prove. We have seen that Damien Sandow is an entertaining guy, and he has the vocal and wrestling skills to be his own man. I believe the fallout from his defeat to Cena was a huge missed opportunity, and it could have been the platform for Sandow to break out from as a much more serious competitor and character in WWE.
With Sandow absent since May, my pessimistic side is telling me that the next few months are crucial for his WWE career. At 33-years-old, and with WWE’s creative wing unable to find something meaningful for him, I fear he is either destined for the lower card or on the road to being future endeavoured.
But Sandow is a man with a fantastic attitude and history tells us that has the ability to make the most out of bad situations and busts his ass to be the best he can be no matter what is given to him; and no matter what happens I hope we see Damien Sandow soon, in one form or another.