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.
After being removed from the SmackDown! roster when Michelle McCool was hospitalized, Stevens returned to OVW. He lost to Charles Evans upon his return and no mention of his tag team venture with KC James was made. On March 14, 2007 he defeated Paul Burchill to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship. On May 9, after title defences against Cody Runnels and Mike Mondo, Burchill defeated Stevens to regain the OVW Championship. The championship was vacated and Stevens lost to Jay Bradley in a three-way match including Burchill. On June 8, Stevens defeated Burchill in a Number One OVW Heavyweight Contendership match.
He got his title match in a three-way match, again including champion Jay Bradley and Paul Burchill. The match was not only for Bradley's title, but also Stevens's car and Burchill's house. Bradley defeated both men and won all the stakes. His last match for OVW before his release was a two-ring steel cage flag match, which, along with Al Snow, Atlas DaBone, Chet The Jett and Colt Cabana, he defeated Michael W. Kruel, Ramon, Raul, The Belgium Brawler and Vladimir Kozlov.
Idol Stevens in 2008.
Stevens made his return to the independent circuit at NWA 60th Anniversary Show losing to Mike DiBiase II in a match for the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship. He appeared for XCW Wrestling Mid-West and Derby City Wrestling for the next few months before re-signing with OVW. On November 7, 2008 he lost to Steve Boz at A Tribute Fit For The King, a tribute show for Jerry Lawler.
Return to OVW (2008–2009)
Stevens returned to OVW 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. On December 3, 2008 he teamed up with U-Gene to take part in OVW Southern Tag Team Championship number one contendership tournament, in round one they defeated Theta Lampda Psi. A week later, they lost to Anthony Bravado and The Buck. Stevens lost the title to Vaughn Lilas at the January 14, 2009 television taping. In February 2009, he lost to Mike Mondo in an OVW Television Championship match which also included Johnny Punch. His last match for OVW was on February 11, a rematch for the championship which Mondo again won.
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. His last match for WWC before signing with WWE came on July 31, losing to Joe Don Smith.
On the April 6, 2012 episode of SmackDown, Sandow, presenting his new gimmick of a grandiloquentpedant, appeared in a pre-taped interview denouncing today's popular culture and extolling his virtues. After weeks of vignettes, Sandow made his WWE in-ring re-debut on the May 4 episode of SmackDown, but refused to compete in his scheduled match against Derrick Bateman, claiming that the audience would neither learn nor benefit from him facing an inferior opponent. On the May 18 episode of SmackDown, Sandow again refused to wrestle against Yoshi Tatsu but after Tatsu accused Sandow of cowardice, Sandow assaulted him. On the May 25 episode of SmackDown, Sandow defeated Tatsu decisively in his debut match. The following week, Sandow refused to face Ezekiel Jackson; despite Jackson forcing the match to begin, Sandow won the match. On the June 8 episode of SmackDown, Sandow had intentions of attacking Hornswoggle, who was mocking Jim Ross, but was intercepted by Tyson Kidd before he could do so. The following week on SmackDown, Sandow defeated Kidd in a match. On the June 29 episode of SmackDown, Sandow defeated Zack Ryder to qualify for the World Heavyweight ChampionshipMoney in the Bank ladder match at Money in the Bank. However, he was unsuccessful as the match was won by Dolph Ziggler.
Sandow addressing a crowd in 2013..
On July 23 at Raw 1,000, Sandow interrupts D-Generation X regarding their sophomoric and disgusting behaviour which he believed had brainwashed society; Sandow also declared that he would be a martyr if DX disposed of him. However, DX assaulted Sandow and laid him out. Sandow then began a feud with Brodus Clay the on July 30 episode of Raw, attacking Clay when he laughed at a video of Sandow's beatdown at the hands of DX. Sandow and Clay finally faced off on the August 20 episode of Raw, where Sandow won after a roll-up but he was attacked by Clay after the match. On the August 31 SmackDown, Sandow had his first singles loss after being intentionally counted out against World Heavyweight ChampionSheamus, who would later hand Sandow his first pinfall loss in October.
On the September 24 Raw, Sandow aligned himself with Cody Rhodes, attacking WWE Tag Team ChampionsTeam Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) and vowing to become the next champions. The duo, now known as Team Rhodes Scholars, entered a tournament four days later on SmackDown, and defeated The Usos to advance. Team Rhodes Scholars defeated Santino Marella and Zack Ryder in the semi-finals, and then Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara in the finals to earn a shot at the tag titles. Team Rhodes Scholars got their title opportunity against Team Hell No on October 28 at Hell in a Cell, where they won by disqualification, thus Team Hell No retained the titles. This led to a title rematch on the November 14 WWE Main Event, which Team Hell No won. During the match, Rhodes suffered several legitimate injuries, placing their partnership on hold. On the November 23 SmackDown, Sandow unsuccessfully challenged Kofi Kingston for the Intercontinental Championship, his first singles title opportunity in WWE. From December 2012, Sandow begun a search for an apprentice by quizzing members of the audience. Sandow and Rhodes reunited on the December 10 Raw and won a fatal four-way tag team elimination match, earning them the right to face Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara in a number one contender Tables match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs six days later, which Team Rhodes Scholars won. Team Rhodes Scholars received their title shot on the following Main Event, but were again defeated by Team Hell No. On the January 7, 2013, episode of Raw, Team Rhodes Scholars defeated Team Hell No in a non-title match to earn another shot at the WWE Tag Team Championship. The title rematch took place on January 27 at the Royal Rumble, where Team Rhodes Scholars once again failed to capture the tag team titles. On the following SmackDown, Sandow and Rhodes mutually decided to dissolve Team Rhodes Scholars and remain "best friends". However, they reunited during the pre-show of Elimination Chamber on February 17, but were defeated by the team of Brodus Clay and Tensai. Sandow and Rhodes then aligned themselves with The Bella Twins in a feud against Tons of Funk (Clay and Tensai) and The Funkadactyls (Cameron and Naomi). The two teams were originally booked to face each other in an eight-person mixed tag team match on April 7 at Wrestlemania 29, but their match was cut due to time constraints. The match instead took place the following night on Raw, where Tons of Funk with The Funkadactyls emerged victorious.
On the May 15 episode of NXT, Sandow unsuccessfully challenged Big E Langston for the NXT Championship. While Sandow hosted a series of mental challenges on SmackDown, Sheamus repeatedly interrupted Sandow and tried to solve the challenges. However, when Sheamus failed to solve the puzzles, he instead resorted to physical violence with the Brogue Kick. On June 16, during the Payback "kick-off", Sandow was defeated by Sheamus in a singles match. The following night on Raw, Team Rhodes Scholars defeated Sheamus in a handicap match after Sandow pinned him with a roll-up. The rivalry culminated in a Dublin Street Fight on the June 28 SmackDown, where Sheamus emerged victorious.
Money in The Bank (2013)
On July 14 at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Sandow won the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match, thus earning the opportunity to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at any time of his choosing within the next year. During the match, Sandow threw Rhodes off the ladder just as he was about to win the match, which led to Rhodes attacking Sandow the following night on Raw, effectively dissolving Team Rhodes Scholars. On the July 26 episode of SmackDown, Rhodes stole the briefcase from Sandow and threw it into the Gulf of Mexico; Sandow jumped in to save it, but gave up as he could not swim. On the August 5 episode of Raw, Rhodes gave Sandow the briefcase that he retrieved from the Gulf of Mexico, but kept the contract itself. Sandow then introduced a new custom made Money in the Bank briefcase with a fresh copy of the World Heavyweight Championship contract on that week's SmackDown. Later that night, Sandow attempted to cash in his contract on a vulnerable Alberto Del Rio, but was attacked and laid out by Rhodes. On August 18 at SummerSlam, Sandow was defeated by Rhodes in a singles match, and again the following night on Raw. Sandow ended his feud with Rhodes the following week on Raw, when he and Fandango were defeated by Rhodes and The Miz in a tag team match. In October, Sandow feuded with Dolph Ziggler, losing him on October 6 at the Battleground pre-show, and again the following night on Raw before defeating him on the October 23 Main Event. On the October 28 Raw, Sandow confronted World Heavyweight Champion John Cena; stating his belief that Cena's arm was still injured, Sandow assaulted it and then cashed in his Money in the Bank contract, but Cena won the match by pinfall. This made Sandow the second wrestler to fail to win a title upon cash-in and the first to outright lose his cash-in match. On the December 2 Raw, Sandow defeated Dolph Ziggler to become the #1 contender for the Intercontinental title. However, Langston was able to defeat him at TLC to retain the championship.