WWE fans have yet to see a Rusev face turn, as the “Bulgarian Brute” has played a villainous role on screen since debuting on the main roster in 2014. Initially booked as an unstoppable foreign heel, Rusev has held the WWE United States Championship twice, and has since stood out as someone who’s more than a big guy with unusual skill and athleticism for a man his size. He’s proven to be an entertaining promo man in his own right, and can now hold his own on the mic without much help from his manager/real-life wife Lana. Still, he’s never been tried out as a good guy, though that may change now that he’s been booked as Brock Lesnar’s next opponent after Survivor Series 2016.
It’s already been confirmed – Lesnar will be facing Goldberg at Survivor Series on November 20, and much has already been said about that match. It also looks like “The Beast” will have more on his plate after that pay-per-view show. He was confirmed earlier in the week to be competing at a non-televised WWE Live event in Mexico City on December 3, with no opponent named at that time. But according to Wrestling Inc, which printed WWE’s official announcement, Brock Lesnar’s next opponent post-Goldberg will be Rusev, who may or may not be making a face turn ahead of, or following their Mexico match.
“Mexico City becomes Suplex City this December! WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar will step into the ring in Mexico City, Saturday, Dec. 3, for a thrilling WWE Live Event at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico. The show starts at 8 p.m. local time.
Joined by his advocate, the always-outspoken Paul Heyman, this Live Event marks The Beast Incarnate’s first in Mexico with WWE. And it won’t be an easy night for Lesnar, since his opponent that evening will be none other than The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev.”
— WWE (@WWE) November 2, 2016
Just how plausible are the odds of Rusev making a face turn, now that we know he’ll be up against Brock Lesnar early next month? Though WWE Live house shows are often a chance for the company to test new rivalries or gimmick/alignment changes before they get televised, it bears mentioning that Lesnar is being booked as the heel in his feud against Goldberg, and WWE wants to keep it that way for the meantime. According to a previous Inquisitr report, this was proven when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was so upset that Minneapolis fans were cheering their hometown hero Lesnar that he cut short a promo segment featuring “The Beast” and his manager Paul Heyman.
If Lesnar remains a heel after Survivor Series, his Mexico City match against Rusev could serve as a way to test the Bulgarian’s viability as a babyface, if not highlight an ongoing face turn. Plus, Rusev’s recent involvement in the Goldberg vs. Lesnar feud does suggest something may be going on with his character, now that he’s seemingly done feuding with Roman Reigns for the latter’s U.S. Championship.
On the other hand, there are those who don’t see the Lesnar match as something that may catalyze a Rusev face turn. Cageside Seats, for instance, sees the match solidifying Rusev’s status as a mid-card heel, as someone who can take the loss to current/future Hall of Famers in their occasional appearances and make them look good in the ring.
Once again, it should be emphasized that non-televised WWE Live events aren’t part of the company’s storyline canon, and are oftentimes opportunities for WWE Creative to experiment with new ideas. But who knows what’s next for Rusev? Is a face turn coming, now that he isn’t playing a major role in any Monday Night RAW storylines? It’s too early to say, but having him feud with Brock Lesnar does seem like an interesting way to get him over as a good guy, should that indeed be the case.
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