Damien Sandow has wrestled under his real name, Aaron Stevens, on the independent scene since he was released from the WWE back in May. Sandow headlined the group that included Hornswoggle, Alex Riley, Zeb Colter, El Torito, Wade Barrett, Cameron, and Santino Marella. They fell victim to the WWE’s annual spring cleaning and were dropped by the company. Ryback, Cody Rhodes, and Adam Rose soon left Vince’s kingdom of their own volition in one of the bigger WWE roster turnovers in recent memory.
Many of them have wrestled, or will wrestle in the indies like Sandow, but Damien becomes the first of this recent crop to join a mainstream American promotion when he makes his TNA debut Thursday night on Impact Wrestling. There has been talk of Rhodes joining Ring of Honor and Ryback heading to New Japan, but TNA remains the number two wrestling promotion in the United States, albeit a distant second.
Initially upon his release, Sandow claimed he was going to take a break from wrestling to pursue other opportunities and offers. He wisely maintained a sunny disposition towards the company that released him as there’s always a chance to return to the WWE in the future. In light of his return to the ring in front of a nationwide audience, Sandow spoke to Rolling Stone to reveal why he decided to sign with Dixie Carter and TNA.
“TNA just seemed like the perfect spot for me. They are a growing company with a proven track record. I really believe that they have their finger on the pulse of what the audience wants, and they will gear their product towards that… I really was not planning on signing with anybody this soon, I was serious about that. But the way the conversations went with several TNA officials, and the strong feeling of a family atmosphere, really made me want to explore the possibility of getting in the ring sooner than I expected.”
It is not known what ring name he’ll be using in TNA, although it’s assumed it will be Aaron Stevens. The vignette promoting his arrival only refers to Sandow as “He” and “Him.” But they’re selling a gimmick that will feature him doing things “his way.” Few actually get to do things their way in WWE, so perhaps this a dig at his former company that didn’t fully allow him to stretch his wings or reach his potential.
TNA has certainly had its fair share of struggles recently. Not only have they changed networks, but there are constant rumors about the sale of the company. All that being said, there is still plenty of talent on the roster. Sandow simply wants to contribute creatively and help TNA reach new heights.
“The challenge is to have a television show that continually gets better with every single episode and that is not just on me. That is on every one of us as a team. And everyone, as a team, really seems to be motivated and headed in the right direction.”
When asked if he’d prefer to face Matt Hardy, Bobby Lashley, EC3, Moose, Drew Galloway or Michael Bennett, Sandow opts for the box labeled “all of the above.”
“I am just looking forward to showcasing myself in a way that I have not been in the past. There is so much talent at TNA that I just can’t name one person that I really want to face over another. It’s just a pleasure for me to have creative freedom and continue to work with talented supportive people.”
Some of these quotes may feel cliched and blase, but the hope is that he’ll throw political correctness out the window when he arrives in the Impact Zone. Many felt he was muzzled or buried while in the WWE. Thursday night, Sandow gets a new opportunity to showcase what his fans had hoped for all along.
[Image via WWE]