It was only a week ago that Damien Sandow, along with other former WWE talents, was released and I’m still racking my brain as to why. Sandow himself has stated he wasn’t surprised and the reason given simply was that the WWE had no plans for him and were focused on their NXT talent. That being said, I’d like to look back at the career of Sandow as I believe his time in WWE can be defined by his popular statement of “You’re Welcome!”
The Sandow vignettes in 2012, immediately had me intrigued because unlike other gimmicks on the roster, we knew instantly why Sandow was coming to the WWE. He insulted the intelligence of wrestling fans and their sophomoric standards for entertainment and he was arriving to bring some class to the WWE . This instantly made Sandow a top bad guy. Sandow would berate fans with his superior intellect and titled his opponents ignoramuses. One of Sandow’s finest outings that encompassed all of this was when he interrupted DX on RAW 1000. Sandow held his own on the mic with this legendary group but got what was coming to him when you accurately disparage hooligans and half-wits.
I think a missed opportunity with Sandow was not giving him his own talk show, to replace Miz TV. Sandow’s charisma and ability to berate fan favourites would have made the show a highlight segment for RAW and Smackdown. Also Sandow would hold in-ring segments where he would test the intelligence of fans in hopes of finding an understudy (perhaps to replace Ignatius who was only ever teased online). These could have made for fun segments especially at house shows.
Looking at Sandow in his pink attire and refined manner, you’d be surprised by his aggressive in-ring style. After singles matches, Sandow found himself in a tag team with Cody Rhodes named “Rhodes Scholars”. Both men would team up on and off and even challenge for the tag titles. Rhodes would be considered a friend which was significant as not many met the high standards of the Intellectual Saviour of the Masses. Eventually this led them to a Money in the Bank Ladder match, where Sandow would win the briefcase. Throughout the buildup and following the match, Sandow couldn’t help himself and would berate all the competitors in the match including Cody. This led to feud between the two where Cody would throw the briefcase in the sea on an episode of Smackdown and both men meeting at Summerslam in a featured match.
As has become an expectation with Money in the Bank winners, Sandow began a losing streak. Alongside that, he no longer sported his blue robe and towel and he eliminated his in-ring antics such as cart-wheels and pink tights–essentially ridding the gimmick. He started to wear his black shirt, black tights and white boots and became a rather generic guy. Sandow would eventually cash-in his Money in the Bank against John Cena after viciously attacking him. The two had an entertaining bout with an equally fun rematch later. Sandow would come up short but it certainly looked as though Sandow belonged in there with the top guy. WWE appeared to not feel the same and this was the beginning of not knowing what to do with this talented superstar.
Sandow would occasionally pop up dressed as absurd characters and losing to his opponent. He claimed that it was perceived that fans didn’t find him entertaining as he was and so he dressed up in an effort to “entertain”fans. I quote entertain because I believe it was others who didn’t find him entertaining because fans surely adored Sandow. Sandow would continue to do this and at first, as a fan you take it for what it is as comedy segment in the show. As Sandow continued his impersonations, it was apparent the effort Sandow was putting in for a short comedic segment.
This led to his greatest impersonation as the Miz. Yes, the Miz! He was billed as the Miz’s stunt double. As stupid as this may sound, this was another chapter in Sandow’s career. Mizdow! Sandow had been imitating superstars prior to this and doing a remarkable job. However, this time the impersonation stuck with the WWE Universe. Mizdow would imitate all of Miz’s offense and mannerisms during matches while being on the outside which fans found incredibly entertaining, Later on as the duo formed a tag team, fans clamored to see Mizdow compete over the Miz. This increased the despise for the Miz and he refused to give the crowd what they wanted and Miz’s jealousy grew as fans chanted “WE WANT MIZDOW” or would boo when Miz pointed to himself and cheer when he pointed to Mizdow in arenas around the country. Mizdow’s popularity would grow as he helped the team capture tag team gold and during the Andre the Giant Battle Royal fans grew excited as it Mizdow was the final two in the match. He was unfortunately eliminated and Miz and Mizdow squared off in one of the worst blow offs to a popular feud. Absolutely no reward for the Mizdow for all the efforts he put forward in becoming one of the most popular guys on the roster.
The end as we know it was in sight from this point on. Sandow did get an opportunity on RAW to thank the fans for all their support of what he’d been doing in the ring. This was yet another chance to give Sandow some momentum moving forward as he had the backing of the WWE Universe moving forward. Unfortunately he was placed in a short-lived tag team that poorly mimicked the Mega Powers. They were barely on TV and the team disbanded after the Hogan controversy. After this Sandow was barely on RAW or Smackdown. That never derailed his popularity. Sandow was in a pre-show, tag team match at the 2016 Royal Rumble in which he got the loudest ovation. At Wrestlemania he got a tremendous ovation from 100, 000 fans. At a house show overseas, Sandow tweeted about the ovation he got. in his final RAW match he competed in another Battle Royal where his elimination got a tremendous response (of disappointment).
So what is next for Sandow? Clearly he has the ability to connect with any audience in a myriad of ways. Personally, I could see him fitting in very well with Lucha Undergroud. He’s announced his “Thank you Tour” on the independent scene to thank fans for their support. Looking back at his career, I believe it is we as fans who should thank him because to have a superstar like this for the short duration we did–only one thing can be said to us, “You’re welcome!”