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Damien Sandow: It's Been Worth It

Discussion in 'Reviews & Columns' started by Ripper, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. Ripper

    Ripper New Member

    Damien Sandow: It's Been Worth It

    Many aspiring wrestlers dream of main eventing WrestleMania. Having their face in the advertisements for all the big shows, being everyone’s favorite (or most hated) wrestler. And to a lot of fans, your status on the card of a main stream organization defines your success as a sports entertainer. However, those dreams and those standards are quite unrealistic. Only a small percentage of performers ever achieve that, and few would be considered successful. When looking at Damien Sandow, most fans will point the finger and say “He’s a failure”. Never main evented a pay per view, never held a World Title. No chance in hell of becoming a Hall of Famer. Those last three statements are indeed true. However, I am going out on a limb and saying Damien Sandow has had a worthwhile WWE career.


    From day one (not counting his days as Idol Stevens), Sandow was saddled with a goofy gimmick that made it difficult for him to climb up the card. The “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” who entered to refrains of “Alleluia!”, wore a blue bathrobe, and enlightened the “ignoramuses”. We’ve seen these gimmicks before, with The Genius most closely resembling Sandow’s in particular. Gimmicks that are doomed from the start because they aren’t meant to be taken seriously. We laugh at them, not with them, and they have little chance to break through to a higher spot in the company.

    Countless wrestlers have come and gone through WWE’s revolving door. Many don’t stay long, and ultimately have little to be remembered for. Justin Gabriel’s career was pretty forgettable. Outside NXT, The Ascension’s done next to nothing. Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Palmer Cannon, all names that did nothing memorable in WWE.

    But that’s not the case with Damien Sandow. Sandow has had memorable programs that made connections with WWE’s “Universe”. After Sandow won Money In The Bank in 2013, he and Cody Rhodes, formerly the Rhodes Scholars, feuded. While the team nor the feud was memorable, we did get one of the more memorable segments in Smackdown! history: Sandow jumping into the Gulf of Mexico, desperately trying to get a hold of his MITB briefcase that Cody Rhodes threw in. Sandow yelling “I can’t swim” and flailing his arms around, is an image most won’t forget.

    Damien gave us one of the most exciting MITB Cash In matches we’ve seen. Sure, MITB matches aren’t meant to be well worked matches anyways, as the challenger normally wins rather quickly over a wounded champion. But so what. The match kept you on the edge of your seat for a long period of time. It was a breath of fresh air for three hour Raws that sorely needed it. Could Sandow do the unthinkable and beat John Cena? You kind of knew it wasn’t going to happen, but it was still a thrilling match. At the time he won Money In The Bank, there were probably no plans to unify the World Titles. While Alberto Del Rio held it, the WHC was the equivalent of the Intercontinental Title when it was held by a strong upper midcarder. That was a reasonable goal for Damien. Guys like Jack Swagger, CM Punk, and Daniel Bryan had won it previously. Guys who, at the time, were unproven as main eventers (Punk and Bryan obviously proved themselves later).

    We all saw what happened next. Coming out week after week, dressed as some type of different person. Impersonating Paul Revere, Bret Hart, Vince McMahon, LeBron James, an astronaut, and other people. After he made the transition to being The Miz’s stunt double, we got one of the most memorable midcard storylines of the last ten years. Damien Mizdow got chants of “MIZDOW’S AWESOME”, chants WWE management never intended him to get. He was bottom of the barrel at this point, but fans still gave him great reactions.

    The Mizdow storyline can be compared to Daniel Bryan’s push in 2013-14, on a much smaller scale. Bryan was entertaining as part of Team Hell No, once the “weak link” storyline started, Bryan got much stronger reactions than management hoped for. It forced them to let him main event Summer Slam, despite them being unsure about his drawing power. As time went on, it was clear WWE did not want Bryan to main event WrestleMania, but he turned every match and every segment he was in into gold. Management simply couldn’t ignore the “YES” chants any longer, and he was put into the main event of WM 30.

    Mizdow was meant to be a nothing, a nobody. But management couldn’t ignore his reactions, and had no choice but to run with it, albeit on a small scale. The Miz played a huge part in this, with his heel work being excellent as he mistreated Mizdow. The truth is they had great chemistry together, with fans wanting Damien to finally stand up to The Miz and tell him off. It was a long, drawn out affair, one that saw them become tag team champions. The crowd popped during the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal when Mizdow finally, once and for all, turned on The Miz. We didn’t get much of a pay off in terms of a blow off matches (what we got was forgettable, with Summer Rae’s involvement at the end) but the journey was well worth it. After all the abuse, Miz slapping him, ordering him to shine his shoes and costing him matches, we saw someone the audience organically was connected with stand up to the jerk.

    Really, maybe Sandow has been his own worst enemy for the last few years. What I mean is, most of his segments involved humor, most of which as a heel. Wrestlers generally are supposed to be taken seriously in order to advance up the card, but Sandow always put a comical vibe on everything he did, even before he dressed up as Magneto. He sort of came off as a joke, and using a phrase I used before, became someone fans laughed at instead of laughed with (unlike Chris Jericho). He certainly did his job as an entertainer, but maybe it wasn’t the right kind of entertainment. Maybe no one saw the long term ramifications of what he was pigeonholing himself into.

    Today we see him as Macho Mandow. I have to admit, his impersonation of Randy Savage is dead on, to the phrases, wrestling and mannerisms. He and Curtis Axel are very entertaining together, but Sandow has become typecast. Michael Richards (before the racist outburst)got himself typecast himself as a comical fool because he did such a great job playing Kramer. I believe WWE management has labeled Sandow as someone who can never be taken seriously as a main eventer. His humor should have been used in a way similar to Chris Jericho, where you always viewed him as someone who could tell jokes, not BE a joke, and be taken seriously as the same time.

    The future looks bleak for Sandow, but even if his career ended today, he can hang his head high. Throughout the years he made a true connection with the WWE Universe. If he didn’t, there’s no way managment could have justified giving him as much mic time as they did. He put smiles on people faces for years, even if his character wasn’t in on the joke. Macho Mandow, singing his own rendition of Randy Orton’s and Sheamus's theme songs, the aforementioned Gulf of Mexico segment, all things that fans remember and made them laugh.

    Damien Sandow has not had a great career in terms of kayfabe achievements. A tag title belt and a Money In The Bank briefcase are all the hardware he’s had in his career. But in terms of giving us memorable programs and segments, he’s done that. Comparing him to people like the Ascension and Tyler Reks, and countless other forgettable WWE superstars, he has a lot to show for the years of hard work he put into WWE, even if mostly on an entertainment level. As it is, Damien Sandow has had a worthwhile WWE career.
     
    Deezy likes this.
  2. Deezy

    Deezy Well-Known Member

    brethart2
    newjack
    ddp
    therock
    nwo
    wolfpac
    Fans and critics always seem to forget that all tv time is a precious commodity. And a few minutes in tv equals X amount of dollars in their pockets be it now or later when they are not in WWE.

    There is a reason why so called washouts and so called buried individuals could easily headline any pro wrestling company out there just from their WWE time.
     

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