Aaron Steven Haddad (August 3, 1982) is an American professional wrestler best known for his tenure with WWE under the ring name Damien Sandow. He also worked in Impact Wrestling under the ring name Aron Rex, where he was the inaugural Impact Grand Champion in 2016.
Haddad started wrestling in 2001, and began appearing for WWE in 2002 as Aaron Stevens on Heat. From 2003 to 2006, Haddad wrestled in WWE's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). In 2006, Haddad reappeared on the WWE main roster as Idol Stevens, teaming with KC James and allying with Michelle McCool. In 2007, Haddad was released from WWE, first embarking on a return to OVW, no longer WWE's official developmental territory, in 2008 and then from 2009 to 2010, wrestling in Puerto Rico for World Wrestling Council (WWC).
Signing again with WWE in 2010, he was assigned to a developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, where he adopted the Damien Sandow moniker. In 2012, Sandow returned to WWE's main roster as an arrogant intellectual. In 2013, Sandow won the Money in the Bank match for a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity, and became the first to lose the cashed-in title match. In 2014, Sandow became a comedic impersonator, leading up to an alliance with The Miz, as his stunt double Damien Mizdow. The duo won the WWE Tag Team Championship while Mizdow became one of WWE's most popular wrestlers. In 2015, Sandow lost the breakup feud to Miz, was put into a team with Curtis Axel, and then taken off television. After his return with sporadic appearances, Sandow was released in 2016.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2001–2007)
Ohio Valley Wrestling
Stevens signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after receiving numerous try-out matches on Heat against opponents such as Stevie Richards, Team Angle, Johnny Nitro and Maven. He also worked an angle where he had his fingers "broken" by Raven on Heat.
He later was reassigned to WWE's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), dubbed Aaron "The Idol" Stevens. At a house show in 2004, Stevens and Nova beat Chris Cage and Tank Toland to win the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship.
On January 4, 2006, Stevens won the OVW Television Championship after replacing Ken Doane in a three-way dance with Brent Albright and then-champion CM Punk. Doane was injured halfway through the match and Stevens came out to replace him. After interference from Punk, who was eliminated earlier in the match by Albright, Stevens was able to pin Albright to win the title. At the March 8 television taping, Paul Burchill cost Stevens the Television Championship against Seth Skyfire.
On August 4, 2006, Stevens made his SmackDown! debut as "Idol Stevens" when he was introduced (along with KC James) by Michelle McCool as one of her favorite "Teachers Pets". The two went on to defeat Funaki and Scotty 2 Hotty with the help of McCool.
The following week, Stevens and James defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick in a non-title match. On the August 18 show, Stevens and James ambushed the Tag Team Champions. The two teams began feuding, with London and Kendrick bringing in Ashley Massaro to counteract McCool. The feud also briefly encompassed the team of Jamie Noble and Kid Kash, who also wanted a Tag Team title shot. Stevens and James got their Tag Team Championship shot against the tandem at No Mercy on October 8, but failed to win the titles. Soon after, both Stevens and James were taken off television and sent back to Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Return to OVW and release
After being removed from the SmackDown! roster when Michelle McCool was hospitalized, Stevens returned to OVW. On March 14, 2007 he defeated Paul Burchill to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship. On May 9, however, Burchill defeated Stevens to regain the OVW Championship. On June 8, Stevens defeated Burchill in a Number One OVW Heavyweight Contendership match. Unfortunately, Stevens would not get to use his title shot due to being released only a few weeks later on August 6.
Independent circuit; World Wrestling Council (2008–2010)
Idol returned to OVW once again on November 12, 2008 surprising and defeating OVW Heavyweight Champion, Anthony Bravado, in a non-title bout. This win guaranteed him a title shot. On November 26, he won the Championship, becoming a two-time champion. He lost the title to Vaughn Lilas at the January 14, 2009 television taping.
Idol returned to Puerto Rico, but in a different promotion, the World Wrestling Council, where he was the "protegido" of Jose Chaparro and a member of the "American Family". He debuted on February 28, 2009, defeating Angel. He defeated BJ for the WWC Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship, before losing it to Shane Sewell. On August 15, 2009, Stevens and Shawn Spears defeated Thunder and Lightning to become the new WWC World Tag Team Champions. Later Stevens feuded with Shawn Spears which ended at Euphoria 2010. Stevens won the WWC Tag Team Champion with King Tonga Jr. by defeating Thunder and Lightning. On October 31 Stevens and Spears lost the Tag Team Championship back to Thunder and Lightning. On February 20, 2010, Chicano named Stevens his new Tag Team Championship partner to replace Bryan. On March 13 Thunder and Lightning defeated Stevens and Chicano to win the titles. After Stevens regained the titles with King Tonga Jr., the duo lost them to Los Aerios (Carlitos and Hiram Tua) on April 24, 2010. Stevens regained the Tag Team Championship from Los Aerios on June 11, 2010, this time teaming with Abbad and lost it to Thunder and Lightning in a three-way match, also involving BJ and Chicano, on July 11, 2010.
Return to WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling (2010–2012)
On July 14, 2010, it was reported that Stevens had signed a new developmental deal with the WWE, and had changed his ring name to Damien Sandow. On December 3, Sandow won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship with Titus O'Neill by defeating Xavier Woods and Mason Ryan in a match for the vacant championship. They lost the championship to Richie Steamboat and Seth Rollins on March 25, 2011. After losing the title, Sandow turned on O'Neill and joined the group formed by Lucky Cannon, Aksana and Maxine. On September 22, Sandow defeated Seth Rollins to win the FCW 15 Championship. On December 6, prior to the WWE SmackDown tapings, Sandow was given a tryout dark match against Yoshi Tatsu, but lost. On January 13, 2012, Sandow lost the FCW 15 Championship to Richie Steamboat.
On the April 6 episode of SmackDown, the character of Damien Sandow debuted in a pre-taped interview denouncing today's pop culture and extolling his virtues. After weeks of promos,Sandow made his debut on the 4th of May edition of Smackdown against Derrick Bateman but before the match got started, Sandow refused to compete against Bateman and claimed that he was a "ignoramus". Sandow competed in the 2012 World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank match but did not win. Sandow also was present at WWE Hell in a Cell competing for the WWE Tag Team Championship along with Cody Rhodes against team Hell No.
Feud with Sheamus (2013)
During the early half of 2013, Sandow began engaging in a rivalry with Sheamus conducting a series of in-ring competitions ideally based on a theme of intelligence which he continued to illustrate during every appearance he made involving Sheamus. On June 17, at Payback, Sandow lost to Sheamus in their pre-show match. The following night on Raw, Sandow teamed with his partner Cody Rhodes in a 2-on-1 match against Sheamus. During that same week on the June 21st episode of Friday Night Smackdown Sandow attended ring-side during the Cody Rhodes match against Sheamus. After the pin by Sheamus, Sandow ambushed him. On June 24, during Monday Night Raw, Sandow and Rhodes teamed to face Sheamus and the returning Christian in a losing effort after Sandow tagged out to Rhodes, causing a confusing transition leaving Rhodes vulnerable to Sheamus' Brogue Kick and pin. Sandow was announced to face Sheamus again in a "Dublin Street Fight" match on Smackdown.
During the opening half-hour of the July 3 episode WWE Main Event, Sandow faced Christian in a losing singles match, preparing themselves for their matches at the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Sandow, along with several other fellow heel wrestlers including Wade Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Cody Rhodes, Antonio Cesaro competed in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a contract for the World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank. Sandow would go on to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match on July 14.
Money in the Bank and Losing Streak (2013-2014)
The following night on the July 15 episode of Raw, Sandow wrestled Christian in a losing singles match before being attacked by Cody Rhodes. that same week during the July 19 edition of Smackdown, Sandow went to the ring, offering Rhodes both forgiveness for Rhodes' attack and the role of being "protector of the Case" referring to guarding the Money in the Bank briefcase. Rhodes rejected the offer and went on to attack Sandow again. During the opening hour of the July 26 episode of Smackdown, airing from Corpus Christi, Texas, Sandow faced Randy Orton in a singles match, which was intruded upon by Rhodes when he came to ringside and took Sandow's Money in the Bank briefcase. Sandow was distracted by this and lost the match to Orton while Rhodes walked out with the briefcase. For the duration of that night, Sandow went on to question every person backstage he could find, in his attempt to locate Rhodes and his briefcase. The night concluded with Rhodes tossing Sanow's briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico further solidying the feud between Rhodes and Sandow. They met at SummerSlam on August 18, in a match won by Rhodes. The following night during the opening hour of Raw, Rhodes again defeated Sandow. On the August 26 episode of Raw, Sandow attended ringside during the intended Cody Rhodes vsFandango match. After the distraction of The Miz and Rosa Mendes dressed as Fandango and Summer Rae, Fandango was defeated by Rhodes. Then Fandango attacked Rhodes, prompting Sandow to join in. The Miz helped fight off both men, leading to Raw GM Brad Maddox to declare an impromptu tag match between the opposing sides. Sandow was beaten after Fandango walked out on him, watching the match conclusion from the stage area. On the October 28 episode of Raw, Damien Sandow cashed in his money in the bank contract on Raw, on the World Heavyweight Champion John Cena, and lost. He became the first superstar ever to lose their cash-in match, becoming the second superstar to not win the title, behind Cena. On the December 2 edition of Raw, Sandow defeated Dolph ziggler to become the #1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship. However, Langston was able to defeat him at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs to retain the title. At the Royal Rumble, Sandow entered the Royal Rumble match at #3 and was the first man eliminated in the match by CM Punk. After the Royal Rumble, Sandow began losing quicker and more frequently going as far as to lose in a single minute to Sin Cara. This is noted quite frequently by commentator, JBL who brought to light Sandow's losing streak and downward spiral. This culminated on April 14 when he was scheduled to face off with Big Show, but opted instead to cut a promo on how he deserved and had earned the right to be World Champion and the admiration of the fans, he was quickly knocked unconscious with a single punch.
Two weeks later, Sandow confronted both Dolph Ziggler and actor, Hugh Jackman; who was promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past, dressed as main antagonist Magneto. Sandow professed his control over magnets and even tried to use telekinesis to lift the microphone from Jackman's hand—he was instead hip tossed and given a Zig-Zag. On the May 12 Raw and on its pre-show, Sandow started delivering worked shoot comments displaying his apparent dissatisfaction at his position in WWE, resulting in his microphone being turned off. Sandow continued to make similar comments with allusions to being handcuffed. After that, Sandow continued to role-play and wrestle as a different character each week, including as Magneto, Sherlock Holmes, Davy Crockett, a rapper called D-Sizzle, Lance Stephenson, and Pete Rose.
Alliance with The Miz (2014-2015)
From August, Sandow formed an alliance with The Miz, who had a movie star persona. Sandow became Miz's "stunt double", Damien "Mizdow". At Night of Champions in September, Sandow's interference helped Miz win the Intercontinental Championship from Dolph Ziggler, but a day later, Miz lost his title back to Ziggler in a rematch on Raw. His portrayals of The Miz, which include performing every move The Miz does whilst he wrestles, has brought him a huge fan support, with "Miz-dow" chants evident throughout all of The Miz's matches. On October 14, on Main Event, he expanded his repertoire, imitating Sheamus on Miz TV, handing over the United States Championship before The Celtic Warrior interrupted him. However, he continued to imitate Sheamus as he spoke, leading to a Clothesline and Brogue Kick. At Survivor Series, Mizdow and Miz won a Fatal 4-Way tag team match by defeating defending champions Gold and Stardust, The Usos and Los Matadores to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship, making it the first ever title he has won in WWE. On the December 29 episode of Raw, they lost the titles to The Usos. In the same night he was defeated by the debuting Ascension. The WWE Universe quickly began to embrace the stunt double, chanting “We want Mizdow” during Miz's matches, though, causing Miz to fire him after they lost the titles to The Usos and to rehire him as a personal assistant. Despite the demotion, Mizdow earned a spot in a “Niagara” commercial, inadvertently embarrassing his ”A-list” boss in the process. At WrestleMania 31, Mizdow stunned the WWE Universe by quitting his job as Miz's assistant and eliminating the Awesome One from the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He would then be eliminated by Big Show, who ultimately won the Battle Royal. Mizdow (now accompanied by The Miz's The Marine 4: Moving Target co-star Summer Rae) then feuded with The Miz over the next several weeks, trading victories on Raw before challenging Miz to a match for the rights to the Miz brand on the April 20th episode of Raw. The Miz won the match after Summer Rae betrayed Mizdow by raking him in the eyes, allowing Miz to hit the Skull-Crushing Finale and pick up the win. As a result of the loss, Mizdow returned to his former name, Damien Sandow.
Teaming with Curtis Axel and return to singles competition (2015-2016)
On the April 27 edition of Raw, Sandow was thanking the fans for their support when he was interrupted by Curtis Axel. Axel, who himself had been mimicking Hulk Hogan, attempted to insult Sandow, only for Sandow to repeatedly parrot what he was saying, much to Axel's annoyance. Axel attempted to attack Sandow, only for Sandow to get the upper hand, hitting him with a Hogan-style big boot and leg drop and running him off. Sandow's parroting was further introduced as a part of his new character on the April 30 episode of SmackDown, as he repeated ring announcer JoJo's introductions before defeating Curtis Axel. He also began being referred to as the "new" Damien Sandow. On the May 5 episode of Main Event, Sandow began impersonating Randy Savage, calling himself Macho Mandow, in a match against Axel. The Ascension attacked Sandow and Axel during their match. On May 11, Sandow formed an alliance with Axel (parodying The Mega Powers) after the Ascension again attacked during a rematch. The Meta Powers lost a tag team match to the Ascension at Payback. On the September 15, Sandow defeated Adam Rose in a dark match prior to Smackdown. He came out wearing his old blue robe and ring attire. However, he wrestled as a face instead of a heel. On November 13, Damien Sandow made his return on television on Main Event, this time having completely reverted to his 'Intellectual Saviour of the Masses' gimmick and defeated Heath Slater.
He was released from his WWE contract on May 6, 2016.
Return to the independent circuit (2016)
After being released from WWE, Haddad announced on his official Twitter account that he would once again be taking independent bookings, returning to his Aaron Stevens ring name because the name Damien Sandow was trademarked by WWE. He said he "took select dates" for wrestling, wanting to "say thank you to the fans", "to meet them, and have a chance to talk to them". His first independent appearance will be on June 11 at a co-promoted show organized by Global Force Wrestling (GFW) and WrestlePro, where he will face Colt Cabana. Haddad is also booked to make his Warriors of Wrestling debut on August 6 and his Tier 1 Wrestling debut the following day on August 7. In June 14, 2016, Haddad signed for WCPW and fought on July 27 and July 28, first fighting Doug Williams to become the no 1 contender for the WCPW Championship, in which he won and went against then champion Big Damo. Damo sucsefully defended the belt.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2016–2017)
On August 10, 2016, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), released a promo teasing the acquisition of Stevens. On the August 11, 2016 episode of Impact Wrestling, Stevens made his debut under the ring name Aron Rex, cutting a promo in the ring and confronting the TNA World Heavyweight, X Division and King of the Mountain Champion Lashley at the end of the show. A week later, he announced that he would be the special guest referee in the No. 1 contender's match between Ethan Carter III and Drew Galloway. At the end of that match, he would be attacked by Galloway over his frustrations due to losing the match. The next week, after Galloway explained his actions, Aron would interrupt him and brawl with him before being separated by officials, thus igniting a feud between the two. Rex would then enter himself in the inaugural TNA Grand Championship tournament where he made his debut match on the September 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, defeating Trevor Lee. The next week, he would defeat Eli Drake in the semi-finals and go on to face rival Drew Galloway in the finals of the tournament at Bound for Glory. But due to Galloway's injury, his semi-finals opponent Eddie Edwards took his spot and faced Rex instead. Rex would go on to win the championship at bound for glory by split decision. On the October 20th episode of Impact during a segment of "Fact of Life" with Eli Drake, Rex showed signs of a heel turn by saying that he was the man on Impact, (having defeated current world champion Eddie Edwards to win the Impact Grand Championship) and insulting Jessie Godderz, steaming from a controversial win Rex had won the previous week). The segment was interrupted by EC3 who attacked Drake, during the struggle, Rex attacked EC3, after being knocked down by the former in his attempt to attack Drake, confirming his heel turn. The double team attack was stopped however by Jessie Godderz who began fighting Rex. On December 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, during an Open Challenge for the Impact Grand Championship, Moose defeated Rex. Moose successfully retained his title against Aron Rex in a rematch the following week.
New gimmick (2017)
After a hiatus, Rex returned on the January 12, 2017 episode of Impact Wrestling debuting a Liberace-inspired character, with a new clean shaven look and sporting plucked eyebrows, lip gloss, a fur coat, naked trunks and oversized rings on all fingers, along with Rockstar Spud as his new manager. He would cut a promo before being interrupted by Robbie E where he would attack Robbie while claiming that the "#1 rule to being 'Rexcellent' is violence is not the answer." On April 4, 2017 Stevens announced that he was no longer with Impact Wrestling.
- Finishing moves
- As Aron Rex
- The Revelator (Discus elbow smash) – 2016–present
- As Damien Sandow
- As Damien Mizdow
- Figure-four leglock - parodied from The Miz
- Skull Crushing Finale (Full nelson facebuster) - parodied from The Miz, 2014–present
- As Aaron "The Idol" Stevens
- As Aron Rex
- Signature moves
- Elbow Of Disdain/Cubito Aequet (Elbow Drop with Theatrics)
- Running knee strike
- Royal Arch
- Sitout Powerbomb
- Shoulder block
- Snap suplex
- Figure four leglock
- Russian Legsweep
- Sitout Rear Mat Slam
- Single Underhook Followed By Multiple knee Strikes
- Corkscrew Neckbreaker
- Backbreaker Followed by a Neckbreaker - Parodied from The Miz
- Tag teams and stables
- "Maharaja of the Ménage-A-Trois-Jah"
- "Mr. Big Time"
- "The Idol"
- "The Chaotic Teen Idol"
- "The (Self-Proclaimed) Intellectual Savior of the (Unwashed) Masses"
- "The Duke of Decency"
- "The Lord of Literacy"
- "The Emperor of Enlightenment"
- "The Enlightened One"
- "The Beacon of Light in a Harbor of Iniquity"
- "Intellectual Savior Of Money In The Bank" (2013)
- "Sir Money in the Bank"
- "The Uncrowned (World Heavyweight) Champion"
- "The Stunt Double"
- "The New (Damien Sandow)"
- "The Alchemist of Entertainment"
- "The Prince of Pageantry"
- "The Sultan of Showmanship"
- Entrance themes
- "Brick House" by The Commodores
- "Forever" by Kid Rock
- "Jesus Christ Superstar" by Andrew Lloyd Webber
- "You Could Be Mine" by Guns N' Roses
- "Hallelujah" by George Frideric Handel (May 4, 2012 - October 27, 2013)
- "Hallelujah" by CFO$ (October 28, 2013 - January 27, 2014)
- "Garden Of Fire" by John Hunter Jr & Jonathan Slott (April 28, 2014)
- "I Came to Play" by Downstait (August 2014 - 2015) (Used while teaming with The Miz)
- "Hallelujah (Rock Mix)" by CFO$ (April 27, 2015–Present)
- "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" by Jim Johnston (WWE; May 5, 2015–present; used as Macho Mandow)
- "Reborn" by CFO$ (WWE; July 24, 2015 – August 21, 2015; used while teaming with Curtis Axel)
- "Resurrection" by Sstaria (TNA; August 11, 2016 – present)
Championships and accomplishments
- Chaotic Wrestling
- Florida Championship Wrestling
- Ohio Valley Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #277 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2011
- World Wrestling Council
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time ) – with The Miz
- Money In The Bank (2013 - World Heavyweight Championship contract)
- Slammy Award for LOL Moment of the Year (2014) - Being The Miz's stunt double
- Slammy Award for Double-Cross of the Yeah (2015) - Eliminates The Miz from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31.