In March, Damien Sandow appeared during a Florida Championship Wrestling show at the Miami-Dade County Fair.
Eight months later the “intellectual savior of the masses” elevated from WWE developmental to the main roster and finds himself on Team Dolph Ziggler in the WWE Survivor Series PPV on Sunday, Nov. 18 from Indianapolis.
Sandow’s scholarly persona isn’t that far removed from the man himself, considering his stellar academic performance attending Worcester State University in Massachusetts. He says he dual majored in psychology and urban studies.
“My intelligence is something that I’ve always adapted to whatever aspect of life,” Sandow said. “In anything, one must use their mind when they go forward and embark on any venture in life. I simply adapted that to WWE.”
The Aristotle of WWE began his journey into sports entertainment with Killer Kowalski. The legend also trained the likes of Triple H and Kofi Kingston.
“That was tremendous,” Sandow remembered. “The knowledge that he gave me as far as foundation goes and an outlook on how you approach things in this industry is something that still serves me very well today. I apply it on a daily basis.”
Sandow’s meteoric rise didn’t necessarily happen overnight. He signed his first contract with WWE in 2002 through Ohio Valley Wrestling, the company’s former feeder group. After four years, Sandow was promoted to SmackDown as Aaron “Idol” Stevens with KC James. The two were paired with Michelle McCool and dubbed the “Teachers Pets.” Despite initial success, the stint didn’t last long. He was returned to OVW where he was eventually relegated to the independent scene, before another opportunity. That trend continued until he was signed to FCW in 2010. Sandow is proof positive that perseverance and determination can pay off.
“Timing is everything,” he said. “I did not think the WWE Universe was quite ready for my message, so I simply went and sharpened my sword of intellect. Then when I felt the WWE Universe was ready, I came back at WrestleMania and began my crusade of enlightenment.”
For the arrogant performer, his inspiration comes from the world itself.
“Have you looked at society?,” Sandow said, morphing into his WWE character. “I mean look at these people. These people need someone to show them the right way. I am the beacon of light and harbor of iniquity. I simply want to be the light that people steer their lost ships by at night, thus becoming better people.”
A few of his trademarks and mannerisms are throwbacks to flamboyant WWE Hall of Famer Gorgeous George. Among them is his cartwheel, which he calls “Rotation of Illumination.”
“It’s simply a physical display of how well-rounded I am inside and outside the ring,” Sandow said. “It is intelligence meets balance meets physical fitness. It is simply the only thing that can truly display how well rounded a competitor I am.”
Fans have compared Sandow to former WWE superstar and manager “The Genius” Lanny Poffo.
“I simply have to deal with the crusade at hand and enlightenment of everyone,” Sandow said. “The Genius Lanny Poffo as we know him, is someone who recites poetry. I do not recite poetry. I simply recite statements. My verbiage is geared more toward people enriching their lives. So I do what I do for the people.”