Damian Sandow

Damien Sandow Is Wrestling Comedy Gold!

Aron Stevens (@thearonfiles) is an actor and professional wrestler known for his time in NWA, TNA and also WWE where he performed under the name Damien Sandow. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet to talk about being part of NWA’s roster, what he has learned from working with Billy Corgan, his approach to comedy in pro wrestling, his hilarious storylines in WWE, his unsuccessful cash-in as Sir Money In the Bank, wrestling against John Cena, being The Miz’s stunt double when he was Damien Mizdow, being released from WWE, being on “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson” and much more!

Quote I’m thinking about:
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball

GREEN CHEF: Go to https://greenchef.com/60insightpod and use code 60insightpod to get 60% off, plus 20% off your next two months

ROCKET MONEY: Join Rocket Money today and experience financial freedom: https://rocketmoney.com/cvv

BETTERHELP: Get 10% off your first month with the code INSIGHT at http://betterhelp.com/insight

MUDWTR: Get 15% off with the code CVV15 at http://mudwtr.com/cvv

MAGIC SPOON: Get $5 off with the code CVV at http://magicspoon.com/cvv

MYBOOKIE: Bet on WWE! Get up to $200 cash bonus when you use the code CVV and sign up at http://mybookie.ag

BLUECHEW: Use the code CVV to get your first month of BlueChew for FREE at http://bluechew.com

PLUNGE: Get $150 off your Plunge with the coupon code CVV150 at http://plunge.com

BONCHARGE: Go to http://boncharge.com/CVV and use coupon code CVV to save 15%

On being on the same wavelength as Billy Corgan:

“Well, I mean, again, the wrestling version of me and the acting version of me, those are very different people. Obviously, I think my resume in wrestling reads a little bit deeper than my resume in Hollywood. That’s true today, it certainly was true five years ago. Billy and I, when the first time we met was at Impact. And we had just like a, Oh, hey, what’s going on? We actually had a mutual friend from WWE and stuff. So we knew each other, at least we’re saying what’s up too. So, I meet him, and like, okay, cool. Because again, [he’s a] rockstar, right? If you grew up in the ’90s, yes, it’s the Smashing Pumpkins, everyone knows Pumpkin songs, they’re kind of ingrained in the subconscious of that generation. Now I mean, dare I say, some of those songs, like a Rat in a Cage, everyone knows that. The Rat in the Cage song, it’s everywhere, it’s in video games. It’s kind of a movie trailer. And okay, that’s all great, right? But when I met him, we get into this conversation about Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis. And we’re talking and as someone who has admittedly, always thought outside the box, when it comes to approaching wrestling, and I’ve taken risks, admittedly. The way he was talking about the match, I instantly was like, okay, like, this guy knows what he’s talking about. Like, it completely went from, we have this weird wrestling relationship where even to this day, right? There was a tag team, that they were at a show that we were both at. And, the second I saw those people, oh, God, here we go. I saw that team and I saw Billy kind of do the same thing. And then we looked at each other was like, okay. We see the business, I think through a very similar lens, in terms of like what it is, is art.”

On taking time away from wrestling to recharge:

“Yes, 100%. Because I was mentally just in a very interesting place in my life. It wasn’t the best spot, shall we say? As people, not just as performers, but as humans, we have this spectrum of emotions that we go through. And as we get to different points in our life, depending on circumstances, or a number of circumstances, we can find ourselves in a good place a bad place, or just lost. I find that those times are where the most growth happens. Because it’s how you deal with it. When I left the WWE, I was really not in a good place. I had let myself down. I couldn’t look in the mirror for 18 months. I’d shave with the lights out, because it was just like this weird thing I was going through. But eventually, like with anything it came to a point where I said all right, I’m the same guy who wrestled the invisible friggin man and made it work, what is wrong with me? I had become [someone], especially in Hollywood, which is like a weird thing. WWE, they own the name Damien Sandow. But no one can rock Sandow like I can, but it’s your Damien Sandow, like Scott Hall Razor Ramon. And like the list goes on and on, whoever, we are right at our best. I think we need to kind of hold on to that when we’re at our worst because that just reminds us of what we’re capable of. So I said, Yeah, you know what, okay, and I had some management, some representation out there in Cali that I was like, No, you know what, they’re not my kind of people. I have to at the very least be true to myself and not try to conform to you know, lose 10 pounds, shave, you need to look more like this, you need to look more like that. And you need to be doing these kinds of scenes you need to be doing… It’s kind of like shut up, you know what I mean? It’s like, it’s at the end of the day in Hollywood. There’s a game, right? I mean, there’s not a game, there’s multiple games being played on multiple different levels. And this is no secret, right? And it’s like, there’s a saying those who can’t do teach, which is like, Huh? Is it true 100% of the time? No, because there are a lot of teachers, my acting coach is a working actor. And I booked more with him than anybody. So like he’s actively doing it. He’s actively engaged in the process. And people in Hollywood, they sell this dream. And it’s completely void on many levels of just common sense to where you have to wake up and say, You know what, no, you want me to do this kind of thing? You’re an idiot. You know what I mean? Because at the very least, I have explained to you, I don’t want to do this.”

On losing his identity when he left WWE:

“The long answer to that question is yes. But the deeper answer is, I had to make peace with myself is that wrestling was part of who I am. Because, it’s funny, right? I think the reason that I’m able to perform at the level I perform at is, and by the way, it’s funny when you work with people because, in NWA, I even have this reputation of I don’t really talk a lot in the back. When you go out there, it’s just like do it, because that to me was like, that’s where the fun is. But it’s an interesting place to be when you can have this realisation that although things didn’t turn out the way you wanted, although you put yourself on this trajectory, from the time you were whatever age, and I was always used to accomplishing every single goal I had, I find a way to do it. And then you find yourself in a spot and again, I don’t want to get into the why. When people look at my career, there’s a lot of why did this happen? What the reality is, is that it did happen for whatever reason. I’ve heard theories, but I don’t even want to publicly say them. Because it’s not for me to say, because I don’t know if they’re true or not. So it’s not going to improve my situation for talking about it. If I had to break any news, it would be to you, Chris. But no, it was just essentially saying alright, enough. I have to evolve. So many people in the industry try to hang on to this image, snapshot of who they were at their prime. And although we should embrace who we are and who we were at all periods of our life, provided we weren’t axe murderers or anything like that. But in terms of this linear development as people, it’s important to evolve. So for me, like the current character I’m doing now. It’s a it really is kind of like this cornucopia or Chop Suey, or like whatever. Chop Suey is probably the better analogy in this case. But the bits of my personality, like there’s a little bit of everything sprinkled in there. If you ask anyone really close to me, they’ll the character that I’m playing in NWA, it’s not that far off from who I am. You know what I mean?”

On the possibility of politicking a different Money in the Bank cash-in:

“I could have, but in the long run, it would have been futile. To look at the bigger picture, we were going up against Monday Night Football and the World Series, I believe. And look, as a performer, no matter what anyone says. So the internet’s an interesting place now in 2023. And I’ve really, for the most part, been extremely blessed of the feedback I’ve gotten from the internet fans and just like fans in general, not to get off subject again. But when I walk into a store, and someone recognises me, because I really kind of don’t look like Sandow anymore. But like, You are my so-and-so’s favourite wrestler, and they don’t even watch wrestling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten that compliment. Because I want to appeal to everybody. I like wrestling fans, if they see me, one way or another they are getting everything I have. Whether it’s a promo, a match, I am putting every ounce of energy I have into that performance, every single night. And the non-wrestling fan that just happens to be flipping through the channels or happens to be at a show, if you can kind of make them go that is the cool thing, because that’s how you attract more and more people. And it’s better for the business that way. So like I try to appeal to like, some element, right?” 

On Damien Mizdow:

“I think there was no Mizdow without Miz. And if I didn’t have a subject to base my satire on, I wouldn’t have had that. So that’s a testament to the timing Miz and I had. Miz and I are, you know, I say we’re friends. Like, we haven’t really talked or anything. But if we saw each other, it’d be cool. Like, there’d be what’s up, man, we came up in OVW and stuff. And out there though, we had timing about it, because that’s all that was. It was Miz doing his thing. And then allowing me to do my thing. And then going into it, he was very, very cool about it. Our best moments were not discussed. Truly, they weren’t, we didn’t talk about them. They happened organically.”

On the birth of Damien Mizdow:

“That was born out of boredom. I was on Raw, like, what am I doing here? But the thing was, I had the thing happen with the briefcase. And then okay, they start giving me what I thought was a push, then two weeks later, I’m dressing up as different people. Alright, whatever, here we go. I embrace that. They put me with Miz. The only reason Mizdow works is because I was on television consistently. And if you put me in a role consistently on television, if I go to any company, like any owner of any company, right? And I would say this now, and I can say this, I hope this does not sound braggadocious or whatever. But this is just based on kind of my calculations. Based on the knowledge I’ve acquired. If you give me 30 seconds for three to four weeks I will be able to get myself over no problem. If you give me 60 seconds, we’ll be selling T-shirts. Because there is an art to how you do this. And now again, that’s 30 seconds of like, I would need some creative freedom in there. But wrestling shouldn’t be hard, because it isn’t hard.” 

“And I think now developmental systems are great but in the more kind of under a microscope developmental because I’ve been in both, and I’ve been involved in both. Like, I had never learned more in OVW when I got to like sit under learning trees I did there in OVW. I’m a Kowalski guy and I will always like that. That is who broke me in, that is who gave me my break. Mike Harlow, who is the head trainer of Kowalski’s. He has a wrestling school up in New Hampshire. And if anyone’s in the northeast, like Dare I say like, I would recommend going to high school Mike had a very big hand in laying my foundation to work technically. I knew how to bump, I knew how to feed. And then OVW, I just learned it was psychology on a completely different level. To be around the people and to actually work a territory, to actually go and have spot shows and do angles on TV and have to kayfabe like we couldn’t be seen together out in public and it was just really cool. And then again, like the Paul Heymans of the world coming in and taking over, it was just one thing led to another. And I know he’s controversial, and people give him, whatever shade they want to sling his way. But Jim Cornette taught me, I would say, damn near 50% of everything that I know about the business today. It wasn’t like I was having these like, in-depth conversations with him every single night, no. Working for him, the first time you ever do an angle on TV, and you have to take it around to a house show. What do people want to see? And that’s just like where the finer points or ring psychology come in that God they get lost today. And it’s so sad to hear like as a heel, right? If you’ve told this story, and a babyface is just like, you don’t have to do anything, but just back up and let it happen. Let the crowd happen because you’ll get yours at some point. You know, it’s like people trying to cram five pounds of rocks in a two-pound bag. That expression is usually you know, something other than rocks. That’s what it is right? And just like Remember, it’s about the people outside the ring, not the people inside the ring.”

On Cody Rhodes:

“Cody and I, we were I would say like in terms of the totality of wrestling, we were a very underrated tag team. If you look at what we did in the matches we’ve had with various people. And we tagged for a minute. And like, We travelled together and stuff, [did you win the titles?] I don’t think we did. I think Miz and I did. But no, Cody. He has always had a drive and a determination about him. And I’m just very, very glad that he’s determined and again, taking the risks that he has, and staying true to who he is. And I think that’s just wonderful. Because like when you see someone stay true to who they are, whatever that truth is. Because, like only they can define it. But they kind of reach the apex of what they would like to be and that’s awesome.”

What is Damian Sandow grateful for?

“My health, family and the ability to go forward.”

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enter your email address to receive exclusive content from CVV!



Enter your email address to receive exclusive content from CVV!