Let me get this out of the way right from the start: I don’t dislike Sandow. Quite the contrary. He’s a fantastic in-ring athlete and his work on the mic was sublime. It’s the gimmicks he’s been forced to work with that I’m not a fan of.
A few months later, he cashed in the briefcase, but lost to John Cena. It wasn’t what the fans wanted to see, but it wasn’t disastrous. Sandow put in the performance of his career and showed he could hang with the top guys. His future looked extremely bright, and I for one was massively excited to see where the company took him next. Yet, in early 2014, things had changed.
Sandow was barely on TV at all in the build up to Wrestlemania 30, and his few occasional appearances were in costume. He was a dancer, he was Vincent K. McMahondow, he even pretended to be LeBron James. This is a man who, just months earlier, looked like becoming the next World Champion.
WWE’s choice to change his character utterly baffled me, as he was hotter than ever in the build up to his match with Cena, and just that performance alone showed just how good he was. But that apparently wasn’t enough.
Skip ahead a few months post-Summerslam 2014. Sandow suddenly reappeared alongside The Miz, and was now labelled as ‘Damien Mizdow’, his stunt double. I’ll admit that I did enjoy the Mizdow gimmick. It really showed how talented he is, as he made a gimmick that is, in essence, incredibly stupid, and yet he managed to get more over than he was in his original run.
Whilst I was happy to see him finally getting some recognition, it still wasn’t the Sandow I wanted. He was handed some pretty awful stuff (mostly his imitations earlier in the year), but he put his heart and soul into making the gimmick work, much like his former tag partner Cody Rhodes is attempting to do with Stardust. To add insult to injury, the end of the Miz/Mizdow angle was done so poorly they didn’t even get a pay-per-view match to truly give the angle the ending it desperately needed.
Now a face, Sandow made a return to Raw just a few weeks ago and made a heart felt address to the fans in one of the most feel good moments of recent history. A mini-feud with Curtis Axel seemed like a fun way to get him back into being himself for the first time in over a year. Then the May 11th edition of Raw happened. Sandow was scheduled to face Axel one-on-one, but instead we got ‘Macho Mandow’.
What happened in that creative team meeting that made them think that this was an OK thing to do? They make him go out there to reintroduce himself to the fans, and to get him over as his actual character, but then two weeks later forget everything and restart the cycle.
As for Sandow, this is just the latest in a string of continuous letdowns that have pushed him further and further down the card, and for someone as talented and as well rounded as him, it’s a modern tragedy.