The two teams began feuding, with London and Kendrick bringing in Ashley Massaro to counteract McCool. The feud 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 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.
As 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 Ohio Valley Wrestling (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. Stevens regained the Tag Team Championship from Los Aerios on June 11, this time teaming with Abbad, and lost it to Thunder and Lightning in a three-way match involving BJ and Chicano on July 11. His last match for WWC before signing with WWE came on July 31, losing to Joe Don Smith.
Intellectual Savior of the Masses (2012-2013)
On the April 6, 2012 episode of SmackDown, Sandow, presenting his new gimmick of a grandiloquentpedant, appeared in a pre-taped interview denouncing popular culture and extolling his virtues. After weeks of vignettes, Sandow made his WWE in-ring return under the new gimmick 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 refused to wrestle against Yoshi Tatsu, but Tatsu accused Sandow of being a coward, causing Sandow to assault him. On the May 25 episode of SmackDown, Sandow defeated Tatsu decisively in his debut match. The following week, he refused to face Ezekiel Jackson, and despite Jackson forcing the match to begin, Sandow won. On the June 8 episode of SmackDown, Sandow went to attack Hornswoggle but was intercepted by Tyson Kidd before he could do so. The following week on SmackDown, Sandow defeated Kidd in a match.
On the September 19 SmackDown, Sandow aligned himself with Cody Rhodes, and they started a feud with WWE Tag Team ChampionsTeam Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane). The duo, which adopted the team name of 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 episode of 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 began a regular segment in which he unsuccessfully searched 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 February 1 SmackDown, Sandow and Rhodes briefly dissolved Team Rhodes Scholars while remaining "best friends", but reunited on February 17 at the pre-show of Elimination Chamber, 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 and the Funkadactyls emerged victorious.
Mr. Money in the Bank; slump (2013-2014)
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 by attacking Sandow. On June 16, during the Payback "kick-off" show, 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 defeated Sandow.
The July 14 Money in the Bank pay-per-view marked the beginning of the end for Team Rhodes Scholars. Both Rhodes and Sandow entered the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match; just as Rhodes was about to win the match, Sandow threw Rhodes off the ladder and retrieved the briefcase himself to earn the opportunity to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at any time of his choosing within the next year. Despite winning the briefcase, Sandow went on to lose many matches before his cash-in, with a total of 1 win and 12 losses on Raw and SmackDown. The split of Team Rhodes Scholars was confirmed the next night on Raw when Rhodes attacked Sandow. Rhodes dominated the feud between him and Sandow; throwing Sandow's briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico, which forced Sandow to introduce a new custom-made briefcase; thwarting Sandow's attempt to cash-in on a vulnerable Alberto Del Rio; and defeating Sandow twice in singles matches, one of which was at SummerSlam.
After moving on from his feud with Rhodes, Sandow went on to lose to the likes of R-Truth, Santino Marella and on the Battleground pre-show, Dolph Ziggler. On the October 28 Raw, Sandow confronted World Heavyweight Champion John Cena; stating his belief that Cena's arm was still injured following Cena's match against Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell, Sandow assaulted Cena's arm 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 (after Cena himself), and the first to lose a cash-in outright. After Sandow's cash-in, he was noted to have become more generic as he stopped doing cartwheels and started wearing plain black ring attire. Sandow's misfortune continued when he challenged Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston to a title match at TLC and lost.
In January 2014, Sandow entered the 2014 Royal Rumble and was eliminated by CM Punk, becoming the first man eliminated from the match. He then started a losing streak that lasted until May, which included him losing to the likes of Darren Young, being pinned in an eight-man tag match, and losing to Sin Cara in one minute.
On the April 28 Raw, Sandow dressed as Magneto to confront guest star Hugh Jackman (who plays Wolverine) and Dolph Ziggler, which resulted in Sandow being attacked by both Jackman and Ziggler. On the May 12 Raw and 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 later made comments with allusions to being handcuffed.