No matter how many times we see him cartwheel across the ring in victory, whether it is alone or with an assist from his partner, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow always seems to elicit the same response from people.
"He is going to be a main-eventer real soon."
Undoubtedly, Sandow's path to glory in WWE will never be considered a short one. Once known as Idol Stevens on the SmackDown roster in 2006, Sandow jumped back and forth between OVW and WWE before getting his release and spending time in Puerto Rico, capturing the WWC Heavyweight Championship at one point. He signed a new developmental deal with WWE in 2010 and spent a year-and-a-half in FCW before evolving into the intellectual savior of the masses we have come to know.
While people like Tensai and Brodus Clay were hyped with vignettes and teases before their actual debuts, their subsequent careers have not lived up to the hype. Sandow not only delivered on his promise to save the masses, he did it faster than just about anyone in recent memory.
Not only did he put on an impressive showing in the World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match at Money in the Bank, he confronted the entirety of D-Generation X and attempted to spoil their reunion at Raw 1000. It became clear after taking both Sweet Chin Music and a Pedigree that not only did he have a lot of fans on places like B/R, but he has them backstage as well.
At the moment, Sandow and Cody Rhodes are on the cusp of winning the Tag Team Championships. They defeated Kane and Daniel Bryan by disqualification at Hell in A Cell and will likely receive a rematch some time after Survivor Series. I fully expect them to become champions and keep the belts for quite some time, turning into role models for how future champions should carry and conduct themselves in public.
In fact, I would think they could remain champions until the next Money in The Bank pay-per-view. By that point in time, there is no telling what the championship landscape of the WWE could be like. CM Punk will likely have finally lost the WWE Championship, and the World Heavyweight Championship situation was certainly thrown for a loop since The Big Show surprised a lot of people by defeating Sheamus.
Both Rhodes and Sandow were in the World Heavyweight Championship Ladder match, but I see Sandow making his way into WWE Championship contention this time.
While he certainly does not garner the heel reaction of a top star like CM Punk, spending 60 seconds on the microphone insulting a crowd's inferior mental capacity is more then enough to have everyone despise him. He will be even more obnoxious as a WWE Tag Team Champion, and what a coup it would be for a title holder to win a contract for the richest prize in the game.
The sudden emergence of Ryback can only help someone like Sandow rise to main-event status. If Ryback's popularity continues, he will need someone other than CM Punk to answer his bellows of "Feed me more."
Sandow could not only accomplish this, but his character is the polar opposite of Ryback: Ryback is the epitome of everything Sandow has attempted to shelter and save us from since he debuted.
The Intellectual Savior of the Masses is primed for greatness in WWE. They have wisely not rushed him into anything he was not ready for, which we saw happen with both Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio earlier in their careers. The resurrection of the tag team division is yet another plus for Sandow, who can bide his time as one-half of the Rhodes Scholars before getting the chance to show off how truly great he can be.
When Sandow does eventually win the WWE Championship in less than a couple years from now, we can all remember how we knew from the second he first aired a vignette on SmackDown that he was destined for a top spot in WWE.
From his athleticism and robust move set to his bleeding condescension, he has every tool you need to become one of the greats. Right now, the top men are John Cena and CM Punk, but in less than five years, I believe they will have given up their spots. Sandow will not only be the one to beat in terms of heels, he will have a slew of newcomers in NXT waiting for their shot at him.
I can't wait.