There are few Superstars who have fallen as quickly and as suddenly as Damien Sandow has over the last 10 months.
Cashing in his Money in the Bank title opportunity on then-World Heavyweight champion John Cena on the October 28 episode on Raw seemed like the beginning of big things for the "Intellectual Savior of the Unwashed Masses." Targeting Cena's injured arm, the crowd solidly behind him as he did so, Sandow looked to be on his way to winning the title and enjoying the first main event run of his life.
Then he ate an Attitude Adjustment from Cena and was pinned by what was essentially a one-armed man.
Since that fateful night in October, Sandow has been on a downward spiral that has seen him become a glorified jobber and a comedy act. Recently, however, the creative team has started testing the waters for a disgruntled Sandow character who desperately wants the microphone to air his grievances.
He has repeatedly begun promos that tear down management and focus on his displeasure with his spot, but the microphone has been shut off on him every time.
While the attempt at developing the character is commendable, ripping off the highly successful CM Punk angle from 2011 will not help rehabilitate the Sandow character.
First of all, fans have already seen it before. Recently, in fact. The so-called "pipebomb" promo cut by CM Punk in June of 2011 is still fresh in the minds of the fans that saw it, and having Sandow attempt to do something similar would only come across as a cheap imitation—a ripoff, if you will.
Secondly, the Sandow character does not lend itself to that type of promo. An intellectual who speaks properly and thinks himself smarter than everyone else, the idea of him going off on some sort of impassioned rant does not mesh with what we know about the character.
That Sandow does not have the connection with the audience is the third major flaw in the recent booking strategy. When Punk cut his promo three years ago, he had built up such a wealth of respect with the audience that they had a connection with the character. Love him or not, the people cared about Punk.
Sandow has been so devalued and torn apart by his booking over the last year that fans simply do not care about him. It took a ridiculous Magneto costume and Hollywood celebrity Hugh Jackman to get the fans to react to Sandow a month ago, and after ditching the outfit, he returned to the same heatless state he was in before.
There are ways to rehab the character, though, that will not result in failed rehashes.
For starters, winning matches would be nice. Sandow is a talented worker whose abilities in the ring have never been questioned. Putting him in there with guys that fans care about and letting him get over on them would be an excellent way to show the people that Sandow should be back on their radars.
Dropping the "Intellectual Savior" gimmick would be the next best step. It was a one-trick pony that was never going to get over at the top of the card. Losing that and freeing Sandow to speak more naturally and develop that part of his act would do wonders in helping fans, and management, accept him as a player at the next level.
Essentially, the Sandow character needs a fresh start. While starting over may be a bit drastic, wiping the slate clean and beginning anew may be the only way to wash the stench of the last year off of him.
Otherwise, he may be destined to join others who, like him, have shown great potential but have fallen by the wayside thanks to a mixture of poor characters and even worse booking.