Unfortunately, Rusev suffered an injury weeks before WrestleMania 33 that kept him off of the show. Recovering from shoulder surgery, Rusev will be sidelined for the near future and will also miss the upcoming “Superstar Shake-up” scheduled for the next episode of WWE Raw. Addressing his time for recovery, his wife and valet Lana was on the Busted Open Radio show to give information about his expected return.
As of now, the timeline for Rusev stepping back into a WWE ring to compete is two to four months. Thankfully, a silver lining in this dark cloud stems from Rusev not being involved in a major storyline before his departure, which reduces any fear of his spot being assumed by someone else if he was in a main event position.
Before his absence, the last “major” feud that Rusev had was with Enzo Amore over the affection of Lana. While Lana was making advances toward Enzo, it all proved to be a ruse, as he was brutally attacked by Rusev. This led to Big Cass stepping in to protect Enzo. However, the angle dissolved, and Rusev was left without a significant involvement in WWE programming.
After friction took place within his tag team with Jinder Mahal, the two were assigned to compete at WWE Fastlane against an opponent of then-General Manager Mick Foley’s choosing. Mahal faced Cesaro and was defeated. Rusev faced the Big Show and was also defeated. Big Show executed multiple chokeslams to the Bulgarian Brute, as well as a Knockout Punch. This was a way to write off Rusev, as he prepared for surgery.
As of now, there is still no concrete plans for Rusev upon his return. Showing a bit more of his comedic side with his “handsome” references, there are some who believe that a babyface turn may be in store. However, there is still unfinished business with Big Show that may resume upon his return.
When he first appeared, Rusev was heavily pushed as a Russian-sympathizing anti-American, who was on a mission to usurp power from the United States and shift it to the country he represents. Names such as Big Show, Big E, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and Sheamus all attempted to dethrone Rusev but were unsuccessful. On his way to becoming one of the most pushed villains on the roster, he lost his United States Championship to John Cena at WrestleMania 31. Since then, Rusev has not been able to reach the status he once was.
Although he was able to win at WrestleMania 32 as a part of the League of Nations faction against The New Day, as well as commence another U.S. Title reign, Rusev’s stock is still not at the level of when he ran roughshod through WWE talent in 2014. Even before his surgery, there was nothing very interesting that Rusev was involved in, as he was trying once again to become relevant on the Raw brand.
Being away from WWE could possibly help Rusev, as the Creative team has the ability to allow him to once again be an asset to the respective brand that he is competing for. Moreover, with the “Superstar Shake-up” approaching us, this could even give Rusev an opportunity to be a top name for the SmakDown Live brand. Whatever direction Rusev goes when he returns from shoulder surgery, his hope is certainly that it will be better than where he left.
This two to four-month timeline puts him back in the ring before the next “Big Four” pay-per-view, SummerSlam. With all the potential that Rusev has to be a top star, as well as what he has proven since his tenure on the main roster, a major role within WWE storylines is the desire for both him and Lana moving forward.
[Featured Image by WWE]