Talent doesn’t always win out, especially in pro wrestling.
We often assume that the WWE’s most talented up-and-coming stars are going to succeed no matter what, but in many cases, these stars never quite reach the pinnacle of their profession like most expect them to. Oftentimes, it’s through no fault of their own either.
The WWE simply drops the ball with some superstars, no matter how talented they are or how much the fans are begging to see them at the top of the company. In fact, one star is seeing his ball dropped right now.
That man is Damien Sandow.
Almost immediately after the self-proclaimed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” debuted last April, he quickly developed a reputation as one of the best new performers in the WWE. Everything about Sandow—from his gimmick to his in-ring skills to his look to his mic work—screamed main eventer, and yet, he still hasn’t even sniffed the main event picture.
In actuality, Sandow, once seemingly a lock to make it big, has been perhaps one of the WWE’s most poorly booked characters over the last several months. He’s had little to no direction and, of course, has lost far more matches than he’s won.
Suddenly, Sandow’s once bright future seems a little dimmer these days, and that has to change. His cloudy future needs a little sunshine. He needs to start being booked how he should be…now.
The major issue with the recent poor booking of Sandow’s character is that the longer it continues, the less likely it is that Sandow will ever get out of the slump that he’s been in.
When it comes to most of the WWE’s rising stars, there always seems to be this assumption that these stars are definitely going to succeed. Yet, we know that—especially when it comes to pro wrestling—nothing is guaranteed.
That’s as true for Sandow as it is for anyone else.
After all, looking back through the WWE’s history will show you that plenty of stars who once seemed destined to reach the main event may ultimately never do so.
We once thought that “The Chosen One” Drew McIntyre would be a World champion and that he’d be one of the focal points of the WWE for years to come. Instead, McIntyre’s career took a turn for the worse. Not only did he fail to ever reach the main event picture, but he’s now saddled with a lower midcard comedy gimmick as a member of 3MB.
Similarly, you could look at the case of someone like Zack Ryder, who was one of the WWE’s most popular stars and a major player on Raw a little over a year ago. But now? He’s hardly ever seen on TV, and when he does get on Raw or SmackDown, it’s usually to job in less than two minutes.
We could even examine the case of current United States champion Antonio Cesaro, who may be holding gold but loses about 90 percent of his matches and was left off the WrestleMania card. Even though Cesaro is widely considered to be one of the WWE’s best in-ring performers, that hasn’t prevented him from being one of the company’s most poorly booked characters.
You could even look at guys like Wade Barrett, Alex Riley and Kofi Kingston and say that they have failed to reach the level that most expected them to. Although they’ve had some success, it’s not the type of success that we would have pictured them having just a couple of years ago.
But that’s what happens in the WWE. Some stars live up to their expectations, some exceed them and others fall short of them.
Sandow’s talent suggests that he’s going to be someone who, at the very least, lives up to the lofty expectations that many fans have of him. But in the WWE, there’s no guarantee that even the most talented superstars will accomplish everything that they’re expected to.
Where will Damien Sandow be a year from now?
That’s why it’s so imperative that the company start using Sandow the way he should be used as soon as possible. After all, the longer that he goes without progressing or accomplishing much of note, the slimmer the chances become of him ever doing so.
Especially when you consider that the WWE is now loaded with plenty of rising stars (especially on the heel side), you have to think that Sandow is going to need to stick out soon or run the risk of getting lost in the shuffle. With The Shield, Dolph Ziggler, Barrett, Cesaro, Cody Rhodes, The Miz, Ryback, Jack Swagger and so many other stars trying to rise to the top, Sandow is going to have his work cut out for him.
Though he’s one of the most well-rounded rising stars in the company, that doesn’t make it a lock that he’ll evolve into a main eventer or World champion. Hell, many of us expected Rhodes to have reached that level by now, but he hasn’t either.
Sandow has all the tools to get where he belongs, but sometimes, that simply isn’t enough. Sometimes, all the dominoes have to fall the right way, or things simply won’t work out for a star—no matter how hard he works.
Sandow has put in the work, and he’s got the talent. It’s up to the WWE to use it.
But that’s got to happen ASAP, or else it never will.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!