Many have wondered if former two-time United States Champion Rusev is getting buried in WWE storylines. After all, he was surprisingly booked on the Fastlane pay-per-view earlier this month, only to easily lose his match against Big Show. New reports suggest that that’s not the case at all for the former two-time United States Champion, who may, unfortunately, need shoulder surgery and end up missing WrestleMania 33.
When a wrestler gets “buried,” this refers to the act of a wrestler racking up a series of losses, being made to look weak in storylines and angles, or being put in several irrelevant storylines. And when it comes to Rusev’s supposed burial, many believe it came when his real-life wife Lana, then his girlfriend, told TMZ in September of 2015 that she and Rusev had quietly gotten engaged the month prior.
This forced WWE to quickly end a storyline where the real-life couple were at odds with each other, with Lana aligned with Dolph Ziggler and Rusev dating Summer Rae in kayfabe. According to Wrestling Inc., WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was “not happy” that the news of the engagement had leaked out, and save for a brief second run with the U.S. Championship, Rusev has mostly been mired in a mid-card role.
— Slice Wrestling (@SliceWrestling) March 13, 2017
Others have pointed out that the start of Rusev getting buried in WWE came even earlier and may have happened at WrestleMania 31 in 2015, when he defended his United States Championship against John Cena. Prior to this match, Rusev was being built up as an up-and-coming anti-American villain and had easily won feuds against the likes of Jack Swagger and Mark Henry, as WhatCulture noted. At that time, he hadn’t been pinned or submitted in any of his main roster matches over the past year or so, but that all ended when Rusev lost his U.S. Championship to Cena at WrestleMania 31, then lost in three further rematches.
“This sparked a long period of irrelevancy and failed storylines for Rusev, who’s only recently started recovering some of that lost heat,” WhatCulture wrote in that article from last year. “Rusev will likely go on to have a long, successful WWE career, but losing to Cena set his development back several years.”
Due to his quick and unceremonious loss to Big Show in a match at Fastlane that was added on the day of the pay-per-view itself, fans have speculated that it may be another case of Rusev being buried by WWE creative officials and kept in the company’s doghouse. A report from PWMania, in fact, suggested that he may have gotten backstage heat for trading in his long hair for a new, shorter haircut. But a new report from WrestlingNews.co suggests that the quick loss came on account of Rusev needing shoulder surgery and having to be written off television.
The report cited comments from Big Show made at a recent autograph signing session, where the veteran grappler told a fan that Rusev is due for an operation on his shoulder. According to WrestlingNews.co, the publication was able to corroborate the story after “asking around,” and it does appear to be a legitimate injury that would require the “Bulgarian Brute” to take some time off.
As such, Rusev is no longer listed for WWE’s upcoming house shows this weekend and was taken off Saturday’s house show match that would have had him and Jinder Mahal facing Enzo Amore and Big Cass. WrestlingNews.co also believes that the injury may force Rusev to be out of commission for WrestleMania 33.
Although that clears things up with regards to what has been seen as a debacle at Fastlane, it can still be argued that Rusev’s push on the Monday Night RAW brand is still a far cry from what it was in 2014 up until WrestleMania 31. One’s mileage may vary when asked if Rusev is being buried by WWE Creative or not, but at 31-years-old, he remains in the ideal prime of his career, one that hopefully won’t be marred by further injuries or backstage controversies.
[Featured Image by WWE]