WWE has been announcing post-WrestleMania releases all morning, from expected departures like King Barrett to “I can’t believe they were still under contract” stars like Hornswoggle, but here’s the one that’s gonna make you mad: WWE has parted ways with Damien Sandow. Urge to angrily cartwheel rising.
Sandow began working for WWE in 2002. Yes, 2002. He first signed with them 14 years ago, beginning as enhancement talent on Sunday Night Heat before joining then-developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling. and ultimately getting his first TV run as “Idol Stevens” in a 2006 tag team with KC James and Michelle McCool. He was actually first released back in 2007, returning to another developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, in 2010. There he became “Damien Sandow,” and re-debuted on Smackdown in 2012.
Damien Sandow is a perfect, confusing example of a great pro wrestler with a character that connects (and occasionally becomes incredibly popular), but never gets a happy ending. The Intellectual Savior of the Masses gimmick appealed to a lot of us (read: The Internet), as did his “Rhodes Scholars” tag team with Cody Rhodes. Sandow won Money in the Bank in 2013, but was beaten badly by John Cena in his championship challenge. The peak of the character’s popularity happened in 2014 when he became “Damien Mizdow,” The Miz’s stunt double. Mizdow’s mimicking of The Miz made him one of the best parts of any show he was on, even if stunt doubles don’t work like that. Mizdow was split from The Miz with little fanfare and shuffled into a Macho Man impersonation gimmick that never suited him and tagged with Curtis Axel pretending to be Hulk Hogan. When the Hulk Hogan racism scandal hit, Axel stopped acting like Hogan and Sandow was relegated to infrequent enhancement talent. As recently as WrestleMania 32, Sandow was getting bigger reactions than expected.
We absolutely wish Sandow the best in his future endeavors, and hope someone somewhere is smart enough to give him a real endeavor. Here are a few video clips to rewatch that’ll make you think, “seriously, what the f*ck, WWE?”