It had to come – in fact we were waiting for it. Rusev’s big push happened for one reason and one reason only – to give John Cena somebody to beat at Wrestlemania. Now it’s time for him to fall from grace.
To me, Rusev never had anything about him that stood out and made him an obvious main event contender, yet he was winning matches every week and defeating all his Pay Per View rivals. It didn’t make a lot of sense at the time, until it became apparent who he would be facing at Mania.
While Cena might not be the focal point of the WWE right now, he’s still a very important character on the roster and needs to be wrestling important matches. Cena main evented three Wrestlemanias in a row, but obviously the WWE had other plans for the last two. This posed a problem. If Cena was not to be involved in the WWE title or main event picture, who would he feud with? It needed to be someone significant. The Undertaker was one option, but they found other opponents for him, so they had to take someone and make them seem legitimate, at least up until they fought Cena.
Yes we keep hearing about how the WWE doesn’t think too far ahead and often makes last minute decisions. That may be true, but I don’t think this is a policy they follow for every ‘superstar’ and story line. In Cena’s case, I think a little more planning is involved. The news of John Cena fighting Bray Wyatt was all over internet sites months before Wrestlemania 30 and I’m sure Cena vs Rusev was planned quite a few months in advance as well.
The sad fact is that while most wrestlers receive pushes to build up their careers and in time become main eventers, guys like Bray Wyatt and Rusev were set up to be knocked down by the company’s number one guy.
While I believe Wyatt’s and Rusev’s pushes went ahead for the same reason, I won’t compare them too much, as Wyatt sill holds some relevant significance. Rusev’s destiny won’t be the same. If playing the comparison game, Vladimir Kozlov comes to mind. Another big burly Eastern European, Kozlov made his debut as a powerhouse, beating everyone in his path. He competed for the WWE title and didn’t lose a one on one televised match until almost a year after his debut. His career after that first defeat soon went downhill. After some time spent in ECW, Kozlov found himself teaming with Santino Marella.
Sure, Rusev’s career path may not follow the Ukrainian’s step by step, but it is likely to take a similar downward spiral [I used that term purposely]. He’s already lost twice to Cena, and having him win at Payback, while making many fans happy, wouldn’t make sense in the WWE’s eyes. Cena very rarely loses two PPV matches to an opponent, and he’s not going to start against Rusev. If he was going to put Rusev over, it would have been in a one-off match at FastLane. That match took place and he lost, but the announcement of the Wrestlemania rematch made it clear that Rusev would be dropping the title. After three defeats to Cena [the third is yet to happen, but very likely], Rusev won’t be in a good position. Sure, he may not form a comedy tag team straight away, but he will probably end up in some mid card feuds, where he wins some and loses some. He may even turn face, but it’s not likely to do much for his career.
One thing’s for sure, with the WWE looking to keep the US and Intercontinental belts on high profile wrestlers, Rusev won’t be likely to get a sniff at either title any time soon. He might get a shot at the Tag Team belts as they are being given to any make shift tag team these days.
I’d like to stress that while it is a shame to know Rusev will be buried, he was lucky to be in this position in the first place. Let’s be honest, his in ring ability is nothing more than average. He’s not awful in the ring, but there is nothing in his move set that stands out or we haven’t seen before. His finishing move is more or less the same as another evil foreigner you may remember.
He is a lighter [in terms of color, not weight, but perhaps that too], slightly more talented Big E Langston [who really is awful in the ring]. His vocal ability is again, not horrendous, but it doesn’t make you say ‘give this man 15-20 minutes on the mic every week, he’s amazing.’
Rusev is a product right out of the WWE factory, doing exactly what they wrote on his tin and not shifting one iota. In that respect, he’s no CM Punk or Dolph Ziggler, who have their own characters. He’s one of many WWE creations who are thrown in to the mix for a few years, before they get stale and the WWE don’t know what to do with them anymore [ending in their release]. Fortunately for Rusev, the WWE had nobody for Cena to face come Wrestlemania 31, so he was the lucky one chosen. Once Cena is done with him, he’ll be insignificant again and eventually wrestling in some other independent feds, or doing something different entirely [teaching in Bulgaria?]. Good effort Rusev, it was fun while it lasted.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.