When the WWE Superstar Shakeup occurred, a number of stars that were former main event talents from Monday Night Raw switched over to SmackDown Live but have not made their in-rin debut yet for the Blue Brand. The reason for the delay revolves around injuries as both Kofi Kingston of New Day and the monster Rusev were both out of action.
In a video posted to Facebook, Rusev announced that he is returning to action and has demanded a WWE world title shot against the champion at the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Rusev also said that he has not heard from Shane McMahon about his demands yet so he will show up next wee to SmackDown Live in New Hampshire to get his answer.
Rusev was last seen in the WWE shortly after Fastlane when Rusev lost to Big Show. With Rusev gone, his wife Lana was also taken off the road, and the two will return in separate angles, but both on SmackDown Live. While Rusev is returning and demanding a WWE world title shot, Lana looks like she is returning as a dancer-type character.
411mania reported that Lana made her return to the ring in NXT in her new character at house shows to work on her actual wrestling skills. Lana has been working as a manager for Rusev for the last few years and has done very little in the ring, so the WWE is bringing her along slowly while promoting her return through vignettes on SmackDown Live.
According to Wrestling Inc, it was surgery to repair an injured shoulder that took Rusev out of action. The news came thanks to his Fastlane opponent, Big Show. According to the WWE super heavyweight, he put over Rusev strong when the Bulgarian was coming up, and this was a way to put Big Show over heading into WrestleMania 33 since Rusev was taking an extended time off for the shoulder surgery.
The Big Show was supposed to wrestle Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33, but that match was killed when the WWE and Shaq hit a roadblock in their negotiations. As a result, Big Show was just a member in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, and the last time Rusev was seen was in a squash match to Big Show at Fastlane.
SmackDown Live is a show that promotes itself as one that builds stars, so it shouldn’t be hard for Rusev to build his way back into a main event talent there. After years of fans saying the WWE had dropped the ball with Bray Wyatt, SmackDown Live is where he became a world champion.
In similar fashion, Rusev has all the talent in the world and is someone the fans love to boo. Despite this, on Monday Night Raw, he did no better than win two United States Championships, despite having a great feud with John Cena during that time. He never reached higher and languished for over a year in the League of Nations faction, something Wade Barrett admitted was created just to put Roman Reigns over.
With Rusev out of action for just over two months, SmackDown Live has a chance to bring him back and do something special with him from the start. At the upcoming Backlash pay-per-view event, Randy Orton defends his WWE world title against Jinder Mahal, and many fans have been unable to get behind Mahal as a true contender since he was a jobber up until now.
Rusev does not have that baggage. Despite never getting a chance for the world title on Raw, Rusev was still seen as a main event talent and someone who could put on great matches with anyone. Rusev is someone WWE fans can believe can realistically win.
There is also the fact that Rusev and Jinder Mahal were tag team partners last time WWE fans saw him. That means that Rusev has a built in angle, whether Randy Orton or Jinder Mahal is the WWE champion. That can also make Rusev a great contender for this year’s next big thing on SmackDown Live.
[Featured Image by WWE]