As the Money in the Bank match for an opportunity at Alberto Del Rio’s World Heavyweight title began, the WWE Universe was holding its collective breath wondering which superstar would end up climbing the ladder and snagging the coveted briefcase.
After dispatching his longtime partner Cody Rhodes, the self professed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” Damien Sandow was the lucky individual to get his hands on the case.
And thus began what promises to be one of the hottest rivalries that the WWE will likely have this summer.
Rhodes will claim that Sandow betrayed him. Sandow will counter that he was simply seizing a golden opportunity.
But his apparent betrayal of Rhodes could end up being the catalyst of bigger things in the immediate future for Sandow, who had spent a significant amount of time in various WWE developmental systems before being brought onto the main roster in vignettes in April 2012. He debuted a little bit over a month later in a quick match over Yoshi Tatsu.
And yes, Sandow had been on the main roster briefly in 2006-2007 when he was featured as one of Michelle McCool’s “Teacher’s Pets,” but he received little attention and was relegated back to the developmental promotions.
Rhodes, on the other hand, has a wrestling pedigree second to none, with his father Dusty Rhodes being a three-time NWA World Heavyweight champion and a WWE Hall of Famer. In addition, his half-brother Dustin was a three-time WWE Intercontinental champion and has won numerous other titles in various promotions.
Cody himself has also tasted championship glory with the company, winning the WWE Intercontinental title twice, along with four reigns with some incarnation of the tag team titles with various partners. But Cody was never able to win the big matches, unable to secure a World title in various attempts to do so.
Eventually, Sandow and Rhodes were paired together, and they seemed like the perfect team to unseat Kane and Daniel Bryan as WWE tag team champions. However, they were never able to get the job done, and in recent weeks, it seemed as if the two were no longer on the same pompous page.
Rhodes seemed to be a crowd favorite during this year's Money in the Bank, with a performance that seemed to be bordering on his turning face.
Once Sandow tossed him from the ladder, it seemed as if Rhodes was almost instantaneously a changed man. His attack on Sandow after his match on Raw with Christian further cemented a new mentality.
Splitting the team does a variety of things. First, it allows both to shine as singles competitors, as both are very talented in the ring. Second, it gives Sandow the opportunity to showcase the skills that had been stifled for some time when he was living in the shadow of the much more popular Rhodes.
Sandow, whose superior microphone skills as well as solid ringwork belie a vicious streak that comes out often in the ring, could easily cash in the briefcase and be our new World Heavyweight champion.
Plus, it serves to turn Rhodes into a face character, which could have been difficult had he been feuding with anyone else.
Rhodes’s character is that of a pompous jerk. And the only way to make a pompous jerk look like a good guy is to place him in a feud with a guy that is even more irritating. And despite his ring skills, Sandow has a tendency to ignite a chorus of boos anywhere he goes with his condescending manner and shameless goading of the WWE Universe.
And we soon may see that Sandow has exactly what it takes to be the World Heavyweight champion.
However, it stands to reason that the company may have him feud with Rhodes over the briefcase, perhaps even as soon as at SummerSlam. And in that scenario, with Rhodes playing the hero, will two bonafide superstars be born?
Or will we see the emergence of one future World champion at the expense of yet another superstar that continually falls by the wayside?