Damien Sandow is a ridiculously talented WWE superstar, who figures to be a future main eventer and World Champion.
But with his time at the top still a ways away, one thing is becoming very clear: Sandow needs Cody Rhodes.
Two weeks ago on Main Event, Rhodes was injured after a botched back body drop that gave him a concussion and various shoulder injuries. Since then, Team Rhodes Scholars has been put on hold for the time being, and Sandow has been forced to go solo.
While many thought this might be a way, albeit an unfortunate one, for Sandow to break out on his own as a singles performer, it hasn’t taken long to see that the WWE isn’t ready to push Sandow as a singles star just yet. In fact, Sandow has quietly turned into a jobber of sorts over the last couple of weeks, which has been very surprising to see.
Just go back to the traditional 5-on-5 match between Team Ziggler and Team Foley at Survivor Series, and look at how that match was booked. Remember who the first person eliminated was? Yes, it was Sandow.
In a bit of a shocker, Sandow was the first guy eliminated not just from his team but from the entire match, even being outlasted by a last-minute addition to the match, David Otunga. Sandow’s rough week was only just getting started, though.
The next night on Raw, Sandow faced Sheamus for the second time on the WWE’s flagship show. Sandow lost the first one, and though he put up a valiant effort the second time around, he lost that one as well.
Just four days later, Sandow found himself losing yet again, this time in an Intercontinental Championship match (how did he earn that title shot?) against Kofi Kingston. He lost the bout in clean fashion, marking his third clean loss in a six-day span.
Now, fast forward to Wednesday's episode of Main Event, where Sandow will take on John Cena in the show’s main event. I won't even have to read the show's spoilers to know that Sandow will lose that match as well.
That, of course, would mean that Sandow will have suffered four major losses in a span of less than two weeks, having been eliminated by Kane at Survivor Series and lost singles matches to Sheamus, Kingston and Cena. While I get that heels lose way more often than they win, I have to seriously question the WWE’s decision to turn Sandow into a “jobber to the stars."
The company is trying to build this guy up into one of its top heels of the future. Yet, for some reason or another, he has been chosen as the guy who always loses to already established babyfaces.
Would this happen if Rhodes wasn’t currently injured? I don’t think so.
The bottom line is that the WWE was more than willing to push Sandow and Rhodes as a tag team, seemingly positioning them for a run for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but that it evidently isn’t willing to push Sandow as a singles star.
I’m not advocating that the WWE pushes Sandow to the top of the mountain like it has with Ryback, but I don’t understand the reasoning—other than an incessant need to push babyfaces over heels—behind continuously booking Sandow to look like a loser.
The WWE is really hurting the guy’s standing in much the same way that it’s done with Alberto Del Rio. ADR has lost so many major matches recently that I don’t think anyone really views him as much of a viable main eventer or world title contender, anymore.
With the way that Sandow is currently being booked, the WWE is running the risk of having the fans dismiss him as a legitimate heel before he even realistically gets the change to establish himself as one—a direct result of the fact that Rhodes is currently sitting on the sidelines with an injury.
Had Rhodes not been injured, I highly doubt that Sandow would have been thrust into his current position as the heel who is used to make the babyfaces look good. In all likelihood, Sandow and Rhodes would still be positioned as the top challengers for Team Hell No’s WWE Tag Team Championship.
While I’m not saying Sandow’s future is all doom and gloom, it’s certainly seems a little less bright now than it did just a few short weeks ago when he and Rhodes were one of the most pushed duos in the WWE.
I think that both Sandow and Rhodes will ultimately succeed as singles stars down the road, but with neither figuring into the top storylines as we approach The Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season, the best bet for either of them to make an impact in the coming months was for them to compete as a tag team.
Their days as a tag team seem to be far from over, but as Sandow’s stock seems to drop every week, he needs Rhodes back by his side more than ever.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!