Damien Sandow can be more than a punch line even while wearing a spacesuit or a leotard.
His current character is one-dimensional, that of a man who changes into a new outfit each week. Beyond that, WWE can turn him into a more compelling heel if he uses that to anger fans, if it's a part of his mental decline or leads to a rivalry or two.
For now, though, he's the man WWE turns to when it wants to throw in a goofy moment.
Sandow is too good a talker and wrestler to just be a bop bag that everyone smacks around. Even without a major character change, he can be a more valuable part of the roster. A few tweaks and some focus are all he needs.
Impersonations with a Purpose
Imagine that on Sept. 29, when Raw returns to Chicago, CM Punk's music hits. The fans erupt, shoot to their feet and chant Punk's name.
Instead of the Chicago native making his long-awaited return, though, it's Sandow who emerges from the curtain. Decked out in Punk's trademark boots and sporting fake tattoos, Sandow mimics Punk's "It's clobbering time" routine. Count on boos echoing.
It certainly worked for Paul Heyman.
Rather than just be a random character or someone who only appeals to a small percentage of the audience (like dressing up in Oklahoma gear in University of Texas country), Sandow would be riling up the entire WWE fanbase.
It'd be hard not to grow angrier with him with each teasing appearance.
One night, he could come out as Steve Austin, another as Goldberg. Imagine the vitriol that would come his way were he to come out in face paint to Sting's music.
Those would lead to far more powerful moments than what we've seen from him so far. Playing an impostor Bret Hart was funny, but it made him more of a goofball one dismisses rather than a heel. It's the kind of moment one forgets soon after. After all, it didn't really effect either Sandow or Hart.
Toying with the audience is a better way to get him actual heat. It associates him with the sting of disappointment, making him the clear villain.
Inside the Intellectual Savior's Mind
Fans don't yet know why Sandow has chosen to raid WWE's costume trunk time and time again.
He seems to be angry with both fans and WWE itself, but it's unclear how slipping on a spacesuit is a way to express that. That creates a disconnect between character and audience, offering little reason to invest.
We know that Randy Orton is seeking the World Championship, that Brock Lesnar just wants to hurt people and that Bo Dallas will annoy us as he attempts to inspire. Sandow doesn't have obvious motivations like these.
What was he trying to accomplish when he came out as Davy Crockett? The costume just felt like a cheap prop, because there was no obvious reason for him to wear it.
Getting a clear view of what he wants will make him more compelling.
Perhaps all his losses could start to eat at his brain. He could go costume-hunting as part of an identity crisis. An unstable and insane version of The Intellectual Savior has great potential.
Rather than his costume changes being just for laughs, they could be evidence of his downward spiral. Maybe he actually believes he is these people. Show him backstage talking to himself in the mirror or angrily responding to someone who tries to tell him he's not Sherlock Holmes, Papa Shango or Mickey Mouse.
His disappointments need to affect him, causing him to lash out. A desperate, angry, delusional man on the rampage makes for entertaining TV, leotard or not.
Digging into the character makes far more sense than just trotting it out each week with no development.
A Rival to Rile Him Up
Each week, there's a new Superstar who topples Sandow. Adam Rose, Sin Cara and Dolph Ziggler have all had their shot at stomping on him in whatever costume he's in.
WWE should work to craft a feud for Sandow rather that just make him fodder. It would give him a place to focus his rage and allow him to be in an actual story, not just isolated segments.
Big Show ran into him a few times, including when he was putting on a basketball demonstration as Lance Stephenson.
The company could take this further and have Big Show dismiss and defeat Sandow a few times in a row. At first, Sandow could be just flustered and portrayed as a harmless loon. Eventually, though, driven into a dark enough place, he could start to become more of a predator.
It would create a stunning juxtaposition were Sandow to beat Big Show down with a steel chair dressed as Amelia Earhart.
The matches could then get more competitive, as Sandow would be more threat that pest at this point. That can result in some memorable moments courtesy of the vile acts Sandow commits, as well as some quality matches.
As it stands, fans are only getting in sigh-inducing contests when Sandow is involved.
Without a rival, he'll remain stagnant. There is no motivation for him, no object of his aggression. Give him a foil, focus on him as he goes mad over time, have him antagonize the crowd and watch him become a more fascinating character.
For now, he's the unwatered plant sitting in the corner. He needs a story and some attention from WWE Creative to blossom.
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