Rusev made his grand return to WWE action on last week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, squashing Mike Kanellis after his wife Maria teased that the “Bulgarian Brute” was the father of her unborn child.
His return revealed that the former United States Champion now sports a mustache, but many fans were surprised to notice that Lana — his long-time manager and wife — wasn’t by his side. This has only fueled speculation about the company’s plans for the “Ravishing Russian,” but we might not have long to wait to find out what they are.
Citing a report by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Sportskeeda reports that Lana — whose real name is Catherine Joy Perry — is being kept off television because WWE’s creative team has new plans for her character — and they might not involve Rusev.
While it’s not been revealed what those plans are, the company might want to push her as a singles star. She’s been no stranger to in-ring competition in recent years, so perhaps her future will be as a performer in the squared circle.
Given that Rusev and Lana have long been rumored to be unhappy in the company, speculation has mounted that perhaps she’s been kept off television as a political move on WWE’s part. As the Sportskeeda report notes, recent rumors stated that both superstars were absent to prevent them from making an impact on the independent scene when their contracts run out.
At one point, Rusev was one of the most popular superstars on the roster, courtesy of his “Rusev Day” gimmick. Lana, meanwhile, has enjoyed mainstream success outside of Hollywood as an actor and model. Both of them could be success stories outside of WWE.
Since the emergence of All Elite Wrestling as a viable threat to WWE’s dominance in the land of sports entertainment, Vince McMahon is apparently willing to pay unhappy members of the roster to sit at home doing nothing instead of granting them a release from their contracts.
In recent weeks, however, some of these superstars have returned to action after being kept off television for months. After requesting his release from the company earlier this year, Luke Harper made his surprise comeback at Clash of Champions to help Erick Rowan defeat Roman Reigns.
On top of that, Sasha Banks has reportedly signed a new deal to remain a part of WWE for the foreseeable future, while Lio Rush has rejoined NXT after a stint at Monday Night Raw that supposedly led to him attracting some backstage heat from his peers.