Rusev has gone from a significant feud spanning more than three months with Roman Reigns to little more than an afterthought as the WWE makes its way towards one of the big four pay-per-views of the year, Survivor Series. Reigns and Rusev engaged in easily the most physical and intense rivalry that culminated inside the devil’s playground that is Hell in a Cell two Sundays ago.
Reigns, of course, retained the United States Championship that was on the line during their rivalry. He has since moved on to the biggest angle on Monday nights, joining forces with Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman on Team RAW for the traditional 5-on-5 elimination match against Team SmackDown at Survivor Series. Meanwhile, Rusev may not have a place on the card at all.
Coming out of Hell In A Cell, knowing that RAW would have to put together a five-person team to take on their counterparts from the blue brand, it seemed logical to include Rusev in the high-profile match. Reigns, Rollins, Owens and Jericho were virtual locks, but as it turned out, it was Braun Strowman who ended up filling the final spot. Technically, Rollins was the last member named to the team, but the top four stars of the brand made the most sense from the get-go, assuming the Universal Championship wasn’t going to be defended.
So where that leaves Rusev in the short-term is unclear. He lost to Sami Zayn on the latest episode of RAW in a match to determine who would answer Dolph Ziggler’s open challenge for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series. Last week, we reported that Zayn was on the fast-track for the spot, and though there were rumors circulating that WWE creative was going to wait to unveil the opponent until November 20, the determination was made official Monday night.
That makes five official matches for the big event in Toronto in less than two weeks. There are three inter-promotional traditional elimination matches, the IC title match now between Ziggler and Zayn and of course, the mega-match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. There are bound to be additional matches added, either to the main card or the kickoff show, in which Rusev could be involved, but with little to no significance.
Whether that is by design or coincidence is unknown, but according to Cageside Seats, there could be changes coming for the Bulgarian Brute. It appears as if the WWE will be giving the idea of Rusev turning babyface a test run over the next month or so.
While there has not been any indication of such a turn on television, nor may there be through November, WWE officials have been considering the switch for Rusev for some time. Rusev is booked to face Brock Lesnar at an upcoming WWE live event on December 3 in Mexico, and they will use that match either as a barometer for the turn, or part of the bigger storyline.
It’s become clear that WWE has booked Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman as the heels in the program with Goldberg, and they may continue with that demeanor at the event in question in Mexico. It doesn’t necessarily mean Lesnar will fully turn heel, but it will provide a good indication whether Rusev can handle the proposed turn. He’s already engaged somewhat in the program when he and Goldberg got physical a week ago on RAW.
Ever since his debut on the main roster in 2014, Rusev has only been a heel. His pairing with Lana was dissolved a year later after weeks of support showered on her by the WWE Universe. The split didn’t really benefit either one, and when they announced their engagement publicly, the WWE was forced to reunite them, but not without on-screen punishment.
The brand extension has also forced more turns than usual to keep angles and matches fresh. Rusev may be next in line for such a move, which would likely be welcomed by the fans so that they can finally cheer for his bride properly.
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