As one of WWE's best talkers, characters and a compellingly brutal in-ring performer, Damien Sandow is a star on the rise.
What's the best way to use his talents? What's a story that can showcase his abilities, keep him in the spotlight and entertain the fans?
Assuming he doesn't win the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match in July, here is a proposed scenario for Sandow in the months to come.
For a few weeks in a row on WWE Raw, the announcers refer to rumors of a secret buyer in talks about buying the show. Renee Young and Josh Mathews ask Superstars and authority figures alike what they know about this rumored deal, but no one knows anything.
Word of the negotiations spreads to WWE.com, and speculation leads to folks mentioning names like Donald Trump and Shane McMahon as possibilities.
It's not until the night after SummerSlam that reports surface that the mystery buyer has completed the purchase and will announce himself on the air. WWE Raw opens that night with Sandow's music hitting and the Intellectual Savior of the Masses sauntering down to the ring.
Sandow tells the world that he is the secret buyer, using the money he's earned in masterfully playing the stock market, and that he now owns WWE Raw. He boasts about how much more substantive the show will be and how improved the quality will become under his helm.
He says that his first act in charge will be to place his friend Cody Rhodes in the main event in a WWE title match. The night before, Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena in an intense, physical match at SummerSlam.
Bryan comes out to complain. His ribs are taped, and he walks with a slight limp.
"I just fought the match of my life to earn this championship," Bryan says, "and now you want me to defend it the next night against Cody Rhodes?" He then starts to chant "No!" as the audience echoes him.
Sandow informs him that he has no choice. Unless he wants the WWE Championship stripped from him, he has to defend it.
Much of the rest of the show features Sandow favoring the Superstars he respects and shafting the ones he doesn't.
He calls Wade Barrett a gentleman and awards him a match of his choice. He gives William Regal a chunk of time to address the crowd. Sandow puts himself into a match against Randy Orton in which the referee is forced to let him fight by no-disqualification rules while being extra harsh on Orton.
Rhodes fails to win the title from Bryan but makes Bryan earn the victory by surviving a vicious onslaught. The show ends with Sandow promising Bryan in a growl, "That title is coming off you eventually. I will see to that."
Over the next few weeks, Sandow continues his favoritism.
He hires David Otunga as his personal adviser and disallows the world title Money in the Bank winner to cash in on WWE Raw while Alberto Del Rio remains champion
Cena announces his intention to battle Bryan in a rematch at Night of Champions. Sandow seems to go along with this but eventually interjects during the contract signing.
"You may have overlooked this crucial detail, but my name is on that contract as well," he announces.
Sandow promises to overwork Bryan in the meantime. He puts him in a non-title cage match against Ryback one week and in a handicap match against the Prime Time Players the next.
Bryan survives each time but is increasingly drained.
Sandow rules WWE Raw in tyrannical fashion, and his list of enemies grows, each man against him increasingly agitated as they are continually kept off the show or embarrassed by him. One man in particular becomes overcome with rage: Orton.
Sandow has made him compete in a dance-off against Fandango, which he refused to compete in, instead hitting Fandango with an RKO. Sandow has made Orton serve as a referee on one night and the bell ringer on another.
The Monday after Night of Champions, Sandow is furious.
He lost his Triple Threat match against Bryan and Cena. He promises fans that they will see only displays of intellectual brilliance and educational segments for the entire WWE Raw.
Sandow pulls out a copy of Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. He promises to read the entire massive novel on live TV.
Orton's music hits.
Sandow stomps around the ring. "Who turned on that ignoramus’ music? Consider yourself sacked!"
The Viper steps into the ring, tears the book out of Sandow's hands and stares him down. Sandow says that if Orton strikes him, then disciplinary action will follow.
Orton manages to goad Sandow by means of calling him a coward into a match at Over the Limit.
He gets Sandow angry enough that he puts his ownership of WWE Raw on the line. If Orton loses, he must only compete on WWE SmackDown. If Sandow loses, he gives the show back to the McMahons.
As the buildup increases, the singles match becomes a six-man elimination tag match. Orton recruits Sheamus in spite of their differences as well as The Miz. Sandow teams with Rhodes and Barrett.
The Over the Limit match sees Rhodes and Barrett get eliminated first, leaving Sandow to overcome a three-on-one disadvantage. Sandow is brilliant in the ring, outsmarting his opponents en route to taking out Miz and then Sheamus.
Orton and Sandow battle intensely until the latter's legs are so wobbly that he can barely stand. He struggles to his feet, but he can’t get up. He looks up to see Orton charging at him for a punt, and like a samurai accepting death, he closes his eyes and takes the hit with honor.
Sandow loses the match and the rights to WWE Raw, but we find out Monday that he had a favorable item written into the contract for this match. Were he to lose, he would get a match against the WWE title Money in the Bank winner with the championship contract on the line.
So it isn't until the next night when he wins the red briefcase that it makes sense why he had a smile on his face after Orton pinned him.
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