Some wrestlers are able to get themselves over and become popular with groups of fans regardless of how they are treated by those running the creative branch of World Wrestling Entertainment. Damien Sandow was once such individual. Sandow was a solid worker inside of the ring and he was also amusing and downright fun when he was able to perform certain aspects of his character. While it is likely true that Sandow never would have risen up the ranks and become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the company could have made a variety of different and better decisions with Sandow.
Odds are that we will never have any real idea of what Sandow could have truly been as a WWE performer. Sandow was one of several wrestlers released by the company during its 2016 “spring cleaning.” It was not all that surprising in May of this year that the WWE had parted ways with Sandow, as he had become largely a forgotten figure as it pertains to the company's main shows such as Raw and SmackDown. All indications are that Sandow will be taking bookings on the independent scene and we have no doubt that he will find success outside of the WWE.
With that said, one cannot help but think what might have been had the WWE not made so many mistakes with Sandow over the years. Those mistakes began during Sandow's early days with the WWE and even the company seemingly learning what to do with Sandow was not enough for him to receive the opportunities that he deserved even though he earned positive receptions from fans. The WWE has been known to bring talents back to the WWE and perhaps that will happen with Sandow if he manages to become a big star while working for a different promotion. We are wishing you the best, Damien.
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It may surprise some of you out there to learn that 2016 was not the first time that the WWE passed on Sandow. Sandow first appeared in the WWE a decade ago in the summer of 2006 as Idol Stevens, a wrestler who was associated with Michelle McCool and KC James for a short period of time and one who was thrust into a feud over the WWE Tag Team Championship. The Stevens character was not long for the WWE main roster, and he was cut from the WWE in the summer of 2007. That was the first indication that the WWE did not know what they had in the person who became known as Damien Sandow.
It is difficult for a wrestler to get over and be taken seriously if he does not have a strong finishing move. The WWE seemingly could never find the right finishing move for Sandow the character and Sandow the wrestler. Whether it was a neckbreaker that did not look all that impressive or a move that was “stolen” from The Miz, nothing about the way that Sandow finished off opponents left a lasting impression among viewers. Sandow may not have been the perfect wrestler during his days in the WWE, but the WWE giving him a legitimate finisher would have done wonders.
10 D-Generation X
An early sign that trouble could be coming for the Sandow character was seen in the summer of 2012 during a segment of Raw. Sandow was essentially fed to D-Generation X members Shawn Michaels and Triple H and it was made clear to fans that Sandow was nothing more than a midcard guy who was not on the level of the “stars” in the company. One could, upon looking back say that night signalled the beginning of the end for the original version of Sandow's character. Sandow would not accept defeat, though, and he went on to entertain fans in a different way.
9 Rhodes Scholars
Just as with Damien Sandow, the company did not know what to do with Cody Rhodes in the fall of 2012. Sandow and Rhodes were, thus, made into a team known as Team Rhodes Scholars. Sandow and Rhodes had decent chemistry and there was a time when it would have made sense to give the duo the titles to see what they could become in the eyes of fans. That did not happen, however, as Team Rhodes Scholars did jobs to the likes of Tons of Funk and other teams. This mistake basically wasted both Sandow and Rhodes, which is a shame because both can be entertaining in the right roles.
8 Sandow vs. Sheamus
Sheamus may not be your cup of tea for whatever reasons, but even those who are a fan of him would have to admit that the feud involving Sheamus and Sandow did either guy few favors. It was made clear in storyline that Sandow was nothing more than a nerd who could not hang with Sheamus in the ring and Sandow was made to look barely competitive during this short feud. Sheamus won the feud that many fans may have forgotten for understandable reasons and that can be considered a mistake now that we saw just how entertaining Sandow could be later on in his stint with the WWE.
7 Sandow vs. Rhodes
Tag-team members break up and then have a feud. It is a wrestling storyline that has been repeated time and time again. With Damien Sandow versus Cody Rhodes, the company decided to make Rhodes and not Sandow the stronger of the two, even though Sandow had the “Money in the Bank” briefcase. Rhodes ultimately became the Stardust character that has lost any luster it may have had as of the spring of 2016, while fans are currently lamenting the fact that the WWE released Sandow. The WWE made a mistake in not having Sandow be booked to be the better of this former duo.
6 Money in the Bank
You could almost hear the groans from wrestling fans who post on social media websites and in forums when Sandow failed to successfully cash in his Money in the Bank against John Cena. Even Sandow assaulting Cena's arm before the actual start of the match did not help him against the leader of the Cenation, and one could say that Sandow having to do the job to Cena when so many others won championships via Money in the Bank was what unofficially pushed Sandow down the card. It makes you wonder why Sandow was even given Money in the Bank in the first place.
5 The Losing Streak
A losing streak will never get a wrestler over with fans. Never. It may infuriate fans to the point that they begin chanting the wrestler's name in anger (i.e. Daniel Bryan), but the streak on its own is never a good thing for a wrestler. The WWE decided to have Sandow go on a losing streak after his Money in the Bank contract vanished into thin air and that streak turned somebody who was once at least a solid midcard worker into a jobber who was on the roster only to make others look stronger. Wrestling companies need jobbers, yes, but Sandow deserved better at this portion of his career.
4 Damien Mizdow
The WWE linking Sandow up with The Miz and turning Sandow into Miz's “stunt double” was funny enough and it could have resulted in a memory feud between the two (more on that later). The name “Damien Mizdow” was a mistake, though, as it made Sandow look like a complete joke who was not even good enough to go by his own name. You do have to give Sandow credit, though, as he turned what could have been the end of his WWE career into a character that made him a babyface among audiences who wanted to see him ultimately destroy The Miz.
3 Feud with The Miz
This mistake is one that had fans of the WWE shaking their heads in disbelief. Sandow became a hot babyface while serving as The Miz's stunt double and then assistant, and fans erupted when Sandow finally turned on The Miz. There was yet another opportunity for the WWE to do something meaningful with Sandow and have him go over The Miz, but the two instead traded victories. Worst of all was that The Miz was made to be the clear winner of the overall feud, which completely destroyed any momentum that Sandow had and ended his chance of becoming a big-time babyface.
2 Social Outcasts
It appears, knowing all that we now know, that the WWE only saw Sandow as a comedy figure and not much more. Why not, in that case, put Sandow in the faction known as The Social Outcasts? The Social Outcasts are complete comedic heels who put babyface wrestlers over and they also generate a few laughs during shows such as Raw. Sandow would have been a perfect fit in the Outcasts and one could even say that he would have been the best of the entire group had he been placed in the Outcasts. WWE roster cuts happen and they are necessary from time to time. The WWE could have found a spot on the roster for Sandow in 2016.
The worst decision to date that the WWE made regarding Damien Sandow would have to be releasing the wrestler in 2016. Journalists such as Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer pointed out after Sandow's release that Sandow was still able to draw pops from crowds even though his character had been buried by the WWE time and time again. Sandow still had the goods to have solid matches in the midcards of shows and to entertain crowds during three-hour programs. The hope moving forward is that Sandow will prove his worth on the independent scene and then eventually make his way back to the WWE, where he could again be "The Intellectual Savior of the Masses.”
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