Damien Sandow is in trouble. If Team Rhodes Scholars breaks up, the Intellectual Savior of the Masses will find himself back at square one.
Because the sad reality is, with his one-dimensional character and unreal personality, Sandow needs Cody Rhodes to succeed in the WWE.
Despite having been associated with the WWE in one way or another for the past 11 years, Sandow hasn’t reached the top. It is in his current run with Rhodes that he grabbed the fans' attention and has a real chance at tag-team gold.
Sandow signed with the WWE in 2002, had a few tryouts on Sunday Night Heat and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling. In OVW he won the tag-team championship with Nova before moving to SmackDown. As Idol Stevens, he was unable to capture the tag-team titles with KC James.
After bouncing around from OVW to the independent circuit to World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, he returned to the WWE as Sandow.
Sandow's been involved with the WWE for as long as John Cena. So why hasn’t he attained the same level or near to the same level of success as Cena?
The problem is, he’s missing that over-the-top persona that still translates into somebody real. His gimmick is a throwback to old-school heels. When Cena is onscreen, you get the idea you are watching what he’s like in real life. Sandow still comes across as a cartoon character.
He needs Rhodes to round out his persona and make himself interesting.
He was going nowhere fast after his SmackDown debut, involved in predictable vignettes about his intellect and beating jobbers every week.
He had moments of singles stardom. Beating Zack Ryder and getting a spot in the Money in the Bank match was a great first step.
But things didn’t click until he began to team with Rhodes. Once paired up, the two quickly became contenders to the tag-team titles. They came close to winning the straps at Hell in a Cell.
But once Rhodes was injured, Sandow was suddenly a ship without an oar. He lost at Survivor Series. Sheamus, Kofi Kingston and John Cena beat him. His only wins came over Tyson Kidd and Santino Marella.
For some reason, instead of maintaining the Rhodes Scholars momentum as a singles star, Sandow was back to predictable in-ring promos. His search for an apprentice was unfunny and was dropped the moment Rhodes returned.
Why? Because Sandow is too one-dimensional, and he needs Rhodes to round himself out.
Sandow is a wonderful wrestler. Much like Dolph Ziggler, he can sell just about any move. His own repertoire is varied and interesting.
But it’s the aforementioned throwback to old-school heels that is doing him in and holding him back. In an era of breaking the fourth wall, there’s nothing real about him. Today’s fans are invested in a wrestler based on more than just his character.
Sandow deserves more than what he’s been given so far in the WWE. A tag-team championship would do wonders to getting him off the ground. But again, what happens when Team Rhodes Scholars eventually split?
Interestingly, a team breakup would mean Sandow would need Rhodes in order to succeed once again. Only in this case, he would need to soundly beat his teammate.