Guest: Damien Sandow
Date: April 19, 2017
Recap by: Christopher Gaspare
TOP NEWSWORTHY ITEMS
-Sandow says he is not retired despite reports; he is simply moving onto other projects and could return to wrestling.
-Sandow is appearing in an upcoming movie and producing a television series now.
-Sandow does not hold any ill will towards WWE or TNA; he has “fond memories.”
-Sandow consistently changed what the writers wrote for him without suffering any real criticism.
00:00: Show introduction and staff introductions
03:53: Discussion of the Get High and Watch Wrestling show
07:07: Weekly news – The death of Matt Anoa’i
09:04: Weekly news – Lucha Underground contracts
12:01: Weekly news – Braun and Big Show match
17:39: Weekly news – Shane McMahon transitioning to UFC
20:42: Weekly news – Injury of Dash Wilder
25:03: Weekly news – Fast and the Furious release
28:28: Sponsor Ads
29:05: Sandow on the Muhammed Ali Center
31:58: Sandow’s current projects
34:25: Training with Killer Kowalski
37:36: Retirement rumors
42:31: WWE scripting and breaking script
48:28: Listening to fan reaction
52:07: The Intellectual Savior gimmick
58:44: Sandow on Rip Rogers and the Performance Center
1:03:26: The differences between OVW and FCW
1:06:45: Sandow on wrestling in Puerto Rico
1:09:18: Sandow on his attitude toward being pushed
1:12:10: Sandow on any regrets he has
1:17:56: The Rhodes Scholars
1:20:05: UpUpDownDown appearances and creating characters
1:26:38: Sandow on Vince McMahon
1:34:58: End of interview
1:37:58: Sponsor Ads
1:38:15: Show End
Show introduction and staff introductions
X-Pac welcomes everyone to the show and introduces his co-hosts Jimbo and Thea Trinadad from TMZ. Thea is a former lingerie football player and track athlete in college who has been a wrestling fan all her life.
Discussion of the Get High and Watch Wrestling show
X-Pac and Jimbo discuss the Get High and Watch Wrestling show from this past weekend. The event was held in an old theater and sold out with about 200 people attending. X-Pac mentions that Doug Benson and Ryan Satin were in attendance. They plan to hold another event in the future, but there are no definite plans.
Weekly news – The death of Matt Anoa’i
X-Pac says, “it’s hard to find words” for Rosey’s death and that the Anoa’i has always been good to him. They all offer condolences to the family.
Weekly news – Lucha Underground contracts
They team discusses Lucha Underground wrestlers reportedly being allowed to work television tapings for Impact. AAA has apparently absorbed or taken over aspects of Lucha in some way, and some wrestlers are trying to get out of the Lucha contracts because of this. On Lucha and AAA having a closer relationship, X-Pac says, “that’s a messy bed to be in.”
Weekly news – Braun and Big Show match
X-Pac is shown the clip of Braun superplexing Big Show that caused the ring collapse. X-Pac says that typically he doesn’t think big guys should be doing things like that, but sometimes “rules are made to be broken,” especially when there are two men of this size. Overall, though, Pac says wrestlers need to “stay in [their] lane” when it comes to the moves they do; it should be determined by their size and build. Jimbo wants to know who they make the ring collapse, but X-Pac won’t tell him.
Weekly news – Shane McMahon transitioning to UFC
Apparently, Tommy Dreamer and Bubba Ray Dudley were interviewed recently and raved over Shane McMahon’s training regimen. Pac is asked if Shane could fight in UFC. He thinks he could have if it weren’t for Shane being “a couple years older” than him. There is a brief discussion of Ronda Rousey coming to WWE eventually. X-Pac thinks it could still work but not as well as it would have two years ago as her “stock has fallen.”
Weekly news – Injury of Dash Wilder
Wilder’s broken jaw is discussed next. Pac says that he had a broken jaw once, but he isn’t absolutely sure it was broken because he didn’t go to the hospital. He says that particular injury is difficult because the wrestler loses a lot of weight due to not being able to eat and then needs to focus on gaining it back. Pac really wants to know who broke Wilder’s jaw because he says it takes a lot of force to do that, but nobody in the room knew. (Note: It was Hideo Itami with a GTS.)
Weekly news – Fast and the Furious release
The beef last year between Vin Diesel and The Rock seems to be squashed now. X-Pac says he would “bet [his] life” that the beef was nothing more than “an angle” to sell the movie. The crew discuss plans to go see the movie together.
Damien Sandow on the Muhammed Ali Center
Sandow is in Los Angeles because he is on the Development Committee for the Muhammed Ali Center, an organization that promotes Ali’s legacy as a fighter and humanitarian.
Damien Sandow on current projects
Sandow says he splits time between Louisville and Los Angeles. He has recently been cast in a Lionsgate movie, which he doesn’t discuss anymore, and he is going to be producing a television show. It’s all new territory for him, but his motto is “Have aspirations, but not expectations.”
Damien Sandow on training with Killer Kowalski
Sandow discusses briefly how when he was sixteen, Tony Rumble introduced him to Killer Kowalski at a show and he started training. He is the only person in his class that made it outside of the independents: “I’m the lucky one.”
Damien Sandow on retirement rumors
When asked about retiring from wrestling, Sandow says that he never said he was retiring and that it was an internet rumor. He is “taking a break” and currently does not know if he will return to wrestling or not. He says that things with Impact wrestling “didn’t line up,” but he loved the locker room and has “nothing but good things to say” about the opportunity. He admits, “I miss my interactions with the fans” and that “even when you’re out, you’re never fully out.”
Damien Sandow on WWE scripting and breaking script
Sandow says, “The only thing you have control of is the crowd…what they give you, you can’t control.” Pac mentions a skit that was written for him and Sandow for an episode of RAW, and X-Pac says, “It sucked so bad.” He backtracks and apologizes for the comment: “[The writers] have a lot of stuff to write for a lot of people.” Sandow chimes in with a more politic reaction: “We took what we were given and made it better.” Sandow then gives a lengthy account of the Mizdow angle’s start: “I don’t want to say I had a reputation with the writers for being a certain way, but like the Mizdow stuff was not planned, that was me. I was literally bored on Monday Night Raw and decided to fall down. When I was the smart guy in the blue bathrobe, they would hand me something and it would be like, eh, let me try it this way. I will say this – to the powers-that-be and I’m not talking about the writers – to their credit, every time I went and said, ‘Hey, instead of doing it this way, could I try it this way, they trusted me.” He says that he was trusted “as a performer” after a while. He says that after the split with Miz, he came out in a black shirt as himself and cut what he thought was a heartfelt promo, and the crowd “ate it up.” He says, “How it was handled creatively after that, I had no control over.” His focus was always on making things better for fans because tickets are still a lot of money for a middle-class family.
Damien Sandow on listening to fan reaction
Sandow says the key to getting along is knowing what the boss wants and what is the story being told. He criticizes the philosophy of “lets hit each other with a thousand moves” that many wrestlers have even though they are all “working their tails off.” He says they don’t listen to the fans enough. He says if an opponent hits him as hard as he can and the crowd reacts, he’ll have the opponent do it again. But if “a smile” or “holding the mic like a wine glass and saying a stupid insult” generates just as much reaction, then the performer should do that instead.
Damien Sandow on the Intellectual Savior gimmick and opportunities
Sandow is asked if there was one character he would like to revisit; he replies no, but he would have liked to have seen the Intellectual Savior as a babyface. He says the gimmick itself was “simple.” He explains that WWE spends money on guys with vignettes and have them go over top talent immediately to generate a reaction, but the Intellectual Savior gimmick only needed was a camera shooting him from the shoulders up for thirty seconds each week, and “it elicited more of a reaction.” He continues, “The character was simple…that element of simplicity is missing [in the modern product].” He chose the pink tights for the character, and Dusty Rhodes was responsible for the blue robe. The idea is that he looks one way coming to the ring, and another way inside the ring. A babyface version of the character would have been fun, he says, because “as a heel, verbally, the babyface has to keep one up on you,” but if the Savior was a face himself, he could have let loose more on the mic. Ultimately, he says, “I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity as I received” with both WWE and TNA/Impact.
Damien Sandow on Rip Rogers and the Performance Center
Sandow says Rip Rogers in OVW taught him to “simplify everything.” Pac mentions the Performance Center and how it is “not the way to go about it” and wrestlers need to “go other places” in order to learn. Sandow says that the Performance Center is “the best facility in the world,” but he agrees. He provides an example of having to cut time at WrestleMania and needing to improvise and that a wrestler can only learn that by working in front of crowds continuously.
Damien Sandow on the differences between OVW and FCW
Sandow says Ohio Valley Wrestling was more like the “Wild West.” The office didn’t offer much input, but in FCW, the office cared more, which he appreciated.
Damien Sandow on wrestling in Puerto Rico
Sandow talks briefly about working in Puerto Rico for Carlos Colon. He tells a story where he was wrestling a top star and got a good reaction from the crowd. He came through the curtain, and Colon told him, “Good job.” Sandow asked if he watched, and Colon told him, he didn’t have to watch the event to know anything about a segment. He could hear the crowd reaction.
Damien Sandow on his attitude being pushed
Sandow says that he received great reactions at house shows. “I did my job. [Management] heard it. What they do with it is on them. I can only do the best I can do.” Pac praises his attitude and wishes he had that attitude earlier in his career. Sandow says it didn’t come overnight. He recalls being off TV a couple months and returning for the Royal Rumble where the fans chanted for him the whole match. He would get frustrated in the back, “Did you not hear that?” He says it takes time, but “you have to have perspective.” He reiterates that he has “fond memories of WWE.”
Damien Sandow on any regrets he has
Sandow is asked if he has any regrets, and he says he doesn’t. Instead, he says, “Nothing can duplicate 20,000 [fans] in the palm of your hand.” Anything after that will “never be enough.” X-Pac equates it to a drug, “that uncut shit.”
Damien Sandow on different characters and kung fu
Sandow is asked a couple bland questions about different characters and training in kung fu when he was a kid, but neither answer generates much interest from Sandow. He watched kung fu shows on Saturday mornings.
Damien Sandow on the Rhodes Scholars
Sandows says he and Cody Rhodes “definitely clicked.” He is asked if he would have liked to have the tag titles, but he responds while titles mean something, he would rather create “good TV” and “[fan] responses” than hold titles.
Damien Sandow on UpUpDownDown appearances and creating character
Sandow enjoyed appearing on UpUpDownDown and playing his Sizzle character, who provided rapping commentary on the show. He says some characters just feel right and are a part of you; acting lessons can only help so much. “I want a part I can become.”
Damien Sandow on Vince McMahon
Sandow says he didn’t have constant interactions with Vince. Sandow says that Gorilla has changed so much since Pac was there. Vince “stands way in the back” in Gorilla and it’s hard to even make eye contact with him. Pac wonders if Sandow should have sought Vince out more; Sandow says maybe. He says that after a few weeks of the Mizdow gimmick, Vince approached him and said, “Well, I notice your mimicking Miz. Do whatever you want. If it gets too overboard, I’ll pull you back.” Sandow says there was “not too much negative” with Vince.
End of interview
Pac thanks Sandow for appearing, and the two make plans to meet up soon.
X-Pac again discusses what a great attitude Sandow has, and Jimbo plugs Pac’s upcoming events to end the show.
SCORE AND REVIEW (8/10)
The news items did not have much interesting outside X-Pac’s discussion of how big men should wrestle. The interview with Damien Sandow, however, is solid. Sandow is an articulate, humble, and generous guest on this show. The interview is straight forward and touches on interesting topics that most fans would want to hear about: Sandow’s treatment by WWE, his recent announcement about leaving the business, and his stop-and-start gimmicks. The interview only gets off topic a few times due to a few banal questions from Jimbo and X-Pac rambling about a non-sequitur. For Sandow fans, this is a treat, but this is also worth listening to for fans who are interested in character development and the writing process at WWE.