Former WWE star Aron Stevens, formerly known as Damien Sandow, recently shared his perspective on his time in the company and the challenges he faced despite gaining popularity among fans.
In a conversation on Fightful’s Wrestling Perspectives podcast, Stevens discussed feeling stagnant in his WWE career despite a growing fan base.
Stevens recalled how he experienced a disconnect between his increasing popularity with fans and the lack of recognition he received from “the office.” Despite his rising status among the audience, he realized that his hopes for a significant push were unlikely to materialize. Eventually, he chose to depart WWE in 2016 due to these frustrations.
A recent encounter shed light on the extent of his sidelining. Stevens recounted a conversation with someone affiliated with WWE who had worked there during his tenure. They shared insights into the internal dynamics, revealing that Stevens’ name had essentially been brushed aside in discussions about his potential. The individual mentioned that house show reports frequently listed Stevens as receiving some of the biggest crowd reactions, often on par with John Cena. However, as time passed, certain figures within the company decided to suppress any mention of him, indicating the degree to which he was excluded from opportunities.
“I did an autograph signing a couple of weeks ago, and one of the guys putting the signing on said, hey, I have to let you know something; my friend works for WWE and worked for them when you were there.”
“I knew who he was talking about. They would get the house show reports back and it would list the biggest pops of the night; he said, “You were right there; it was [John] Cena and you.” Then it got to a point where they would bring that back to certain people in the office, who will remain nameless because I’m not that guy to name names and bury people. They said, don’t even mention him anymore. So that’s how far removed I was from any opportunity. They didn’t want to hear my name, yet they kept me on the road for whatever.”
“It’s all good; that’s the entertainment industry, it isn’t ballet, it’s not all fair, and that’s life. But as a performer, I’m just thinking, what do I have to do? Because I was blowing the roof off the place. So I had a bitter taste in my mouth, and then I had the opportunity for IMPACT Wrestling, and many of my friends were there. So I got to go there and get creative and stuff. But then, ultimately, there was an administrative change, and I had to look in the mirror, and I left wrestling after that.”
Despite the challenges and disillusionment he faced in WWE, Stevens highlighted the unpredictable nature of the entertainment industry. He recognized that success isn’t always guaranteed and that life in show business can be unfair. His experience motivated him to explore new avenues, leading him to IMPACT Wrestling and eventually to a role as a manager in NWA.
As Stevens prepares to participate in NWA 75 on August 26, 2023, he serves as a testament to the complex dynamics between popularity, creative direction, and opportunities in the wrestling world.
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