A Matter of Character - Damien SandowBy Matty J. DouglasGreeting all, hope 2012 is treating you well. It’s Monday and you know what that means? Another FCW Standout to examine, before he debuts on WWE Television. I’ve already written glowing reviews of other FCW Superstars, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins, and this week I will write about another FCW favorite of mine, Damien Sandow.<!--more--> Damien Sandow (formerly known as Aaron “The Idol” Stevens) has reinvented himself since entering FCW. When he was initially brought up to the main roster in August of 2006, with then partner KC James, I didn’t think much of him. Now almost six years later, I think he’s one of the WWE’s best prospects. It’s a testament to hard work and perseverance.I will analyze Damien Sandow’s current character in FCW, pointing out it’s strengths and weaknesses, while also highlighting the strengths of Damien Sandow as a performer and the effect I believe he will have on the Main Roster once called up. Let’s Do This!Physical
Damien Sandow has a different look than most of the WWE Roster which, as I’ve outlined in the past, is very good thing. He’s a pretty big guy, around 6’4 and 250 lbs, but it is his facial features that stand out. His facial features are very distinct, and his signature beard definitely helps set him apart from his colleagues more. If you were to put him in a line up of the wrestlers in FCW, he would likely catch your attention on look alone.Not only does he have a unique look that will help him on the next level, but he is also a pretty damn good wrestler. He knows his way around squared circle and employs a strategy that has a little bit of everything during his matches. He uses an array of power maneuvers, mat wrestling, and some submissions to weaken his opponent and pick up victories. Aside from his wrestling talent, he is very expressive during his matches. His facial expressions are fantastic, whether he is dominating an opponent, or his opponent is getting the best of him. Is he the best wrestler in FCW? Technically no, but he is very skilled in the ring and has a list of valuable physical intangibles that will help him succeed on the next level.For your viewing pleasure, here’s a Match he had against Seth Rollins in FCW for the FCW 15 Championship.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSNWsEVxdWIPersonality
On FCW television, Damien Sandow comes off as selfish, entitled, and devious. He is condescending and boastful in his tone and choice of words, when addressing others, and never forgets to inform the public that he is a man of means. He is well educated, and loves to show off his extensive vocabulary when cutting promos as a way to demonstrate that he is of a higher class than everyone else. He has very few true friends, only political allies that help him to achieve his goals.As much as I think the arrogant heel shtick is becoming a little overplayed in the WWE, I really like it as a part of Sandow’s personality for one reason. The reason is that he does a great job of acting as though he isn’t boasting when he really is. Rather than use pure, unadulterated arrogance/cockiness and listing off his accomplishments as a way to force you to see how great he is, he uses condescension and scholarly vocabulary to demonstrate in a more subtle way that he is better than everyone. If you ignore the condescending tone, it can even sound as though he’s incredibly polite, never failing to preface a statement with a please, and close with a thank you, which I think is brilliant.Words and Actions
As a promo guy, I’d say Damien is above average. He won’t set the WWE Universe ablaze with his mic skills, but he will be able to keep their attention in doses, which is really all you need to have success in the WWE. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, he is at his best when he is given a platform to speak AT people, much like a politician. He is good at remembering the long speeches he is told to give, and hitting all the right notes throughout. His weakness is back and forth conversation. He isn’t bad at acting like he is having a conversation with guys backstage, but it’s not his strong suit (It isn’t a lot of guys strong suit actually. A lot of those backstage segments feel so forced and unnatural). It’s an easy issue to avoid, if you simply keep him in positions where he can basically spout off his opinions and views at people, rather than actually trying to converse with them. It works with his condescending personality that he doesn’t have discussions. He simply talks AT those he views as common folk.Here is one of his promos from FCW:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4vtYX02z10His actions are that of the sneaky heel, who will employ a quick thumb to the eye, low blow, etc to gain the advantage in a match. He is the same way in his dealings outside of the ring. Anything that needs to be done to gain an advantage, he will do it. He doesn’t leave things to chance or take risks. He hedges his bets, always, to ensure he comes out of any situation smelling like roses.Motivation
Damien Sandow’s character is an American citizen that blames The American People for the economic, political, and social unrest in the country today. He believes that they are unwilling to accept responsibility for their own actions, have shown an inability to work hard to give themselves better lives, and have thus fostered an America that stands for sloth, gluttony, and self-entitlement. He believes he is a shining example of what America and Americans should strive to be. He believes he is what the founding fathers envisioned when they formed the nation. He believes he must show everyone the right way to live, and bring about a new renaissance, and revolutionize the way Americans think and act. It is this belief that drives him in everything he does.Motivation is meant to inform the character, the way they think, and act. That is why I like Damien’s motivation a lot. It’s easy to understand, and it explains so much about why he is the way he is. Most importantly, it’s a reflection of the times we live in, which makes him an even more intriguing character.Conflict
A major conflict with Sandow, is his view of people and society in general. The way he views others as lazy, entitled, underhanded, and selfish is classic projection. He is definitely all of those things, but he projects those qualities onto others to disparage them. Eventually someone will bring to light that he is a hypocrite, and he will either have to look himself in the mirror and admit that he is everything he presumably hates, or eliminate the person who dare point it out.Another problem he has, is that he has no sympathy or empathy for anyone outside his bubble. His bubble mainly consists of himself and his varied interests. That means the people he gets to help him to achieve his goals, he doesn’t really care about them or their well-being. Eventually they will realize that, because he can only hide that for so long, so maintaining allies/connections is going to be a problem for him.Going Forward
Now it’s time to figure out how we elevate Damien Sandow to the main roster. I’d put him on Smackdown, because I don’t want him on the same show as Alberto Del Rio (there are parallels between the two characters, though I find Sandow’s more interesting personally). It’s also a given that I don’t want to bring him in the way that they brought Del Rio in, with weeks of vignettes that show how rich and aristocratic he is. He needs something a little different. Here’s my idea:Introduce him sitting in a press box during a Smackdown broadcast as one of WWE’s newest investors and shareholders. Have the announcers talk about how he has a lot of shares of WWE stock and is a huge wrestling fan. For several weeks show him up in a private box watching the shows, while Michael Cole tells us about how great he is.Eventually have him approach Teddy Long or whomever the Smackdown GM will be at that time (due to my prediction last week), and say that since he’s bought his shares, he’s taken up wrestling as a hobby and wants to compete next week. He forces the GM’s hand and is given a match the next week, where he shows off undeniable ability. He can pretend to be humble and that he is simply a quick study, but will knowingly condescend every wrestler on the roster with the comments he makes. He will continue to wrestle regularly from that point on, while also using the political sway of being a major stockholder in the company to his advantage. I’ve liked the idea of a wrestler holding a tremendous amount of shares in WWE stock ever since they became a publically traded company. Have the character treat wrestling as a hobby/pet project and a platform to preach about the failings of America today, rather than treating it seriously and with respect as other Superstars do, and Damien Sandow will get loads of heat from the WWE Universe.There you have it, but as always I ask, what do you think? Do you see potential in Damien Sandow? Do you think he has a unique and distinct look that will help set him apart on the main roster? Do you think his shtick too similar to Alberto Del Rio’s (I personally find it better)? How awesome is his FCW entrance music (reminds me of the theme song from the old show "The Adventures of Sinbad"
)?Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas. Excuse me as I retreat to my Mind Palace. If you get that Sherlock reference you’re awesome! Have a great week everybody.