As of late Thursday night, a combination of activities from WWE superstar Rusev and the company has fans wondering if there are issues between the two parties. Rusev (real name Miroslav Barnyashev) was booked for a huge match against The Undertaker, leading to excitement for celebrants of “Rusev Day.” However, things soon changed, as the plans shifted for that match and Rusev was out. There was also an interesting TMZ interview and some curious social media actions leading to speculation of a release. So far, there has been none reported.
Just days ago, a huge match was announced in which the man responsible for “Rusev Day” would face the man responsible for defeating John Cena in about three minutes at WrestleMania 34. A Rusev vs. Undertaker Casket Match was booked for WWE’s upcoming Greatest Royal Rumble 2018 event in Saudi Arabia, but not even a day or so after that announcement came another: Chris Jericho was reported as a replacement for Rusev.
Prior to the news of the match being changed was a Twitter comment and TMZ interview involving Rusev. An interesting tweet from Rusev came after the match with The Undertaker was announced in which he simply said, “Bury me softly brother.” That could have been a referral to the fact it was a casket match, or that Rusev feels the WWE is burying the momentum behind “Rusev Day” right now.
In the TMZ interview, Rusev played up the idea that he would crush The Undertaker and possibly send him into retirement. He also gave respect to Taker as one of the all-time legends in the interview. TMZ used a headline indicating Rusev said he would “crush his old a**,” which led to a tweet from Undertaker’s wife, Michelle McCool, not liking the interview or headline.
All of that has led to speculation that something is up between Rusev and WWE. As Cageside Seats reported on Thursday night, Rusev has now removed all references to the WWE from his social media profiles. In addition, he changed up his Twitter profile. His most recent tweet also is cryptic, as it says, “Life is life…it will be #RusevDay somewhere.”
As of this report, there is no official word of a release from WWE or any reports that Rusev has been released from the company. Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer also replied to a fan tweet last night asking if Rusev was release. Meltzer responded with a simple “No.”
Fans saw Rusev compete on “the grandest stage of them all” in the United States Championship Fatal Fourway match. Heading into the match, Randy Orton was holding the title. Many fans and some oddsmakers believed that Rusev would leave New Orleans as the new champion based on how popular “Rusev Day” has been with the fans. However, Jinder Mahal won the match and is now the U.S. Champion.
Rusev would go on to lose a triple threat match to become No. 1 contender for the U.S. title on this past week’s SmackDown Live. Instead, Randy Orton claimed the win over Rusev and Bobby Roode. Now, Orton will take on Jinder Mahal at the next SmackDown brand pay-per-view, Backlash 2018.
All of the recent happenings seem mysterious based on the quick removal from the match against The Undertaker, the TMZ interview, the social media, and the fact that there have been rumors in the past that Rusev was unhappy with the company. His push has been lacking especially with how much the fans chant for him. Still, as of right now, fans are still hopeful that Rusev Day will continue within the WWE and get the push he rightfully deserves.