Damien Sandow and partner Cody Rhodes appeared to be on the fast track to the Tag Team Championships, but an injury suffered by Rhodes on last week's episode of Main Event promises to keep him out for a significant amount of time. Sandow will have an opportunity to shine as a singles competitor; however, Rhodes' absence will prove to be detrimental.
Although Sandow may already have one of the best characters in the WWE currently as well as a very bright future ahead of him, he was in a great situation as one half of Team Rhodes Scholars. Neither Sandow nor Rhodes had anything on the horizon as individuals, so putting them together was a smart move that kept them both relevant.
It can be argued that Rhodes was the more obvious beneficiary of the team since he was lost after losing the Intercontinental Championship, but it has been great for Sandow as well. As good as Sandow proved to be on the mic with his Intellectual Savior character, he was having matches with the likes of Yoshi Tatsu and Ezekiel Jackson, so the tag team definitely helped put him on the map.
The tag-team division was an absolute wasteland prior to a few months ago, but it has suddenly become an integral part of WWE programming again. Had Sandow and Rhodes been competing for the tag titles when Kofi Kingston and R-Truth held them, then nobody would have cared. Feuding with Team Hell No was a very big deal for both of them, though, particularly for a newer star like Sandow.
Kane and Daniel Bryan are both legitimate stars in the WWE with huge fan followings, so a lengthy feud with them would have been a springboard for Sandow. Unfortunately for him, though, it was cut short. It puts Sandow in a really difficult situation because the upper mid-card scene is short on good faces, and he isn't yet in a position to move up to the main event.
There is no question that Kane and Bryan are superior to anyone who could possibly be pitted against Sandow at this point. Team Hell No hasn't been receiving as much television time as they did when they initially teamed up, but they are still featured every week, often on both RAW and SmackDown, meaning that Sandow and Rhodes were receiving the same treatment.
Team Rhodes Scholars seemed very likely to eventually capture the Tag Team Championships, especially with so much dissension between Kane and Bryan, and that would have helped Sandow as well. The tag titles actually mean something again in terms of prestige and exposure, so Sandow would have been better prepared to embark on a singles career after a run with the straps.
I'm not saying that Rhodes' injury, which is likely to keep him out for an extended period of time, is going to doom Sandow, but it is going to force the writers to rush him into something. A feud with Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston wouldn't be bad, but it seems like Wade Barrett is going after the title at the moment, so it seems unlikely.
Aside from that, the options are limited. R-Truth is tied up with Antonio Cesaro at the moment, Randy Orton may be turning heel in the near future, and while The Miz appears to be turning face, he would have to go over Sandow in a potential feud, so it would only halt his momentum. Sandow is simply in a state of flux after clearly being on the ascent alongside Rhodes.
Sandow's future is unquestionably as a singles competitor and a potential world champion, so he'll likely be able to overcome this setback, but it certainly isn't ideal. Many probably think that Rhodes' injury is good for Sandow in terms of allowing him to go off on his own, but the circumstances aren't in his favor right now.
As long as Sandow continues to excel on the mic and in the ring, he'll be able to reach his full potential, but now he has a bit tougher road than he did before.