Damien Sandow

Damien Sandow
Damien Sandow Profile

 

Sandow was born Aaron Steven Haddas on April 3, 1982 in Worcester, Massachusetts. He began his wrestling training at the tender age of 16 under the wizened eye of Killer Kowalski who also trained Triple H and Chyna.

He started his professional career working the independent circuit, most notably Chaotic Wrestling under the name of Aaron Stevens. His only noteworthy achievement was acquiring the World Wrestling Alliance (WWA) Heavyweight Championship for all of one day.

He appeared in WWE’s developmental territory of Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) as Aaron “The Idol” Stevens. He won the OVW Tag team Championship with partner Nova and also the OVW Television Championship from 2003 – 2005.

In 2006, Stevens changed his name to “Idol Stevens” and appeared on SmackDown! with partner KC James. The two were ambitious, setting their eyes on the WWE Tag Team Championship held by The Brian Kendrick and Paul London. After a failed attempt to win the belts, Stevens returned to OVW.

On his return he was able to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship and later drop it back to former champion Paul Burchill. The two would feud thereafter briefly with Stevens never able to capture the Heavyweight gold again.

After floundering in the independents again, Stevens reappeared in OVW, but it had dissociated itself from the WWE at the time. Stevens regained the OVW Heavyweight Championship for a second time by defeating Anthony Bravado. Just shy of two months later, Stevens dropped the title and left OVW shortly thereafter.

In 2009, Stevens appeared in Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council, winning the tag team championship several times with various partners and also won the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship for a brief period.

In 2010, he was recruited by the WWE again, this time in the developmental territory of Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Now known as Damien Sandow, he won the FCW tag team Championship with partner Titus O’Neill and lost it a few months later to Heath Slater and Richie Steamboat.

Around this time, Sandow’s character was evolving into a snobbish heel intellectual which would serve him well during his future tenure in mainstream WWE programming.
He got his shot in April of 2012 where he appeared on SmackDown! denouncing popular culture and informing that he would only face opponents whereby the audience can learn and benefit.

He went on an impressive winning streak, defeating Tyson Kidd, Tatsu and Ezekiel Jackson in his first few weeks. He also won a qualifying match to partake in the Money In The Bank ladder match, but lost at the actual event.

He feuded briefly with Brodus Clay and won their encounter, but he later suffered his first pinfall loss to Sheamus.

He formed a successful tag team with Cody Rhodes known as the “Rhodes Scholars” and started feuding with the WWE Tag Team Champions Kane and Daniel Bryan (known as Team Hell No). The Scholars did have some tag team victories, but were unable to wrest the titles from Team Hell No.

The Scholars wrapped up 2012 feuding once again with Brodus Clay and his partner Tensai, this time incorporating a female component in the form of the Bella Twins for the Scholars and the Funkadactyls for Clay’s team. The Scholars would lose the mixed tag team match on Raw.

In 2013, things turned up for Sandow as he would compete in a Money In The Bank ladder match including teammate Rhodes. Rhodes was just about to snatch the briefcase when Sandow threw his partner off the ladder and won the briefcase for himself and the chance to cash it in to become champion. Thereafter, Sandow entered a career slump, losing to Sheamus and losing a long series of matches against former Scholar partner Rhodes. Sandow then cashed in his opportunity to fight Champion John Cena, but he lost the bout altogether. Things went further downhill from here, jobbing to Darren Young, Big E Langston and Sin Cara.

In 2014, Sandow started a new successful gimmick, whereby each week he would impersonate a different celebrity including the likes Vince McMahon, Sherlock Holmes and LeBron James. This gimmick started getting over with fans and soon Sandow found himself on the rise again.

He formed a tag team partnership with the Miz whom he eventually started to imitate as well, calling himself “Damien Mizdow”. Mizdow helped Miz win the Intercontinental Championship belt from Dolph Ziggler, but Miz dropped the belt back the next day.

Miz and Mizdow won the WWE Tag Team Championship in a Fatal 4 way bout, but would shortly lose it to the Usos.

Dissention developed between Mizdow and Miz and Mizdow finally split from Miz and turned face in the process, even though he was immensely popular with the fans before this owning to his impressions.

Mizdow would then feud with Miz accompanied by a new valet in Summer Rae. As the two feuded, Rae eventually betrayed Mizdow by raking his eyes and joining Miz. Mizdow, disgraced, then reverted back to his old “Sandow” namesake.

He still did not give up his impressions and soon morphed into “Macho Mandow” in parody of the late Randy Savage while forming a partnership with Curtis Axel (Joe Henning) who was impersonating Hulk Hogan. The duo deemed themselves the “Meta Powers” in mockery of Hogan and Savage’s “Mega Powers”.

Once the Meta Powers had played its course, Sandow’s career went into the toilet again, jobbing to everyone, engaging in squash matches, dark matches and lost battle royal involvements. He was eventually released from the WWE much to the fans dismay, thinking that was a travesty that Sandow never wore the WWE Heavyweight Championship belt or got the recognition he deserved.

In 2016, Sandow went back to his Aaron Stevens name and returned to the indie scene. He appeared in Dixie Carter’s Total Nonstop Action (TNA) under the name of “Aron Rex”. Rex had some success here, winning the Impact Grand Championship which he would eventually lose to Moose after having a feud with Eli Drake and Ethan Carter III.

After a brief hiatus, Rex re-invented himself as a flamboyant Liberace type of prima donna along with his sidekick Rockstar Stud which he continues at present.

Sandow has certainly had his share of tough times, but with ingenuity, talent and perseverance, he has had continued success beyond the WWE and his commitment to his fans does not go unappreciated.

Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Balsky for contributing the above wrestler profile.

Dr. Stephen Balsky is a chiropractor currently in practice in his native Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been a wrestling fan since age 13 and is very passionate about the product, especially the “old-school” 80’s – 90’s era. He completed his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2015 and currently is also working part-time as a professor in both business and healthcare.

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damien_Sandow
http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/features/damien-sandow-on-life-after-wwe-and-his-thank-you-tour-20160513

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