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   April 20, 2014



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Damien Sandow


Damien Sandow with the Money in the Bank briefcase in September 2013. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

Aaron Steven Haddad from Worcester Massachusetts, better known to wrestling fans as Damien Sandow and the self-proclaimed “Savior of the unwashed masses”, is a talent that has been discovered at an early age, being considered a prospect by the WWE not even a year into his career. After training under the tutelage of world-renowned pro-wrestling legend and WWE Hall-of-Famer Killer Kowalski, Aaron made his debut in 2001 at the age of 18. Having been trained by one of the most prolific mentors in the business, a man who helped people like Triple H, Kofi Kingston and Johnny Curtis achieve stardom provided him with the work ethic he remains to this day and it would influence his career in more ways than one.

After taking his first professional steps in the business in small companies like Chaotic Wrestling and World Wrestling Alliance, Haddad signed with the WWE to become part of their developmental company OVW under the gimmick Aaron Stevens. Making his strides fast, even winning multiple titles during his run, he made his way to the big show in August of 2006 as part of an angle surrounding Michelle McCool. Being rebranded as Idol Stevens he started a short-lived feud against the then-tag-team-champs Paul London and Brian Kendrick alongside KC James as the Teachers Pets, concluding in several matches against fellow contenders and an unsuccessful title shot before ultimately being sent back down to OVW where he would go on to achieve more title-success before being let go from the company in August of 2007.

Haddad’s run on the independent scene was a brief one though, as he returned to his former employer in Ohio after only 15 months of absence for a short run before working in Puerto Rico for a short time. He would sign another developmental deal with the WWE in July of 2010, this time under the name of Damien Sandow. Less than two years later, after a short stint in the WWE-farm league FCW, he made his debut on Smackdown, being introduced beforehand through several vignettes and interviews to further present his gimmick of an intellectual. His role over the following weeks would be to refuse performing in matches as well as criticizing the audience, fellow wrestlers and the public at large and their “disgusting behavior”. He would collide with the reunited DX on the 1000th episode of Raw as well as Brodus Clay among others before aligning himself with Cody Rhodes to build the Tag Team Rhodes Scholars. They would go on to defeat several contending teams like The Usos, Primo & Epico and Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara to earn numerous title shots against the reigning champions of Team Hell No, though the challengers would never be able to win the titles themselves.

After feuding against the tag team champions, Tons of Funk and Sheamus, the Rhode Scholars would meet their inevitable doom at the 2013 Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View. The two partners collided in the contenders match for the World title as Damien Sandow not only prevented Cody Rhodes from retrieving the briefcase to emerge victorious but also went on to win the match and therefor the future title shot. The skirmish would lead to the teams split and feud as Cody would repeatedly attack and insult his former partner, even going so far as to steal his briefcase and contract to throw it in the Gulf of Mexico. Sandow fell to his former tag team partner at the 2013 Summerslam without putting his future title opportunity on the line before Cody was let go by the company after being defeated by WWE Champion and fellow Money in the Bank winner Randy Orton.

-- Frederik Heinen

DAMIEN SANDOW STORIES

  • Oct. 29, 2013: Hallelujah! Damien Sandow talks Kowalski, Puerto Rico
  • Sep. 9, 2012: Damien Sandow one strong character