Despite WWE boss Vince McMahon’s apparent fondness for the “love triangle” storyline featuring Rusev, real-life wife Lana, and Bobby Lashley, it now appears that the angle has quietly come to an end. While Lana and Lashley were both involved in separate matches on this week’s Monday Night Raw, Rusev has not been seen on the show for the past two episodes and recently took to Twitter to debunk rumors of an injury or suspension. A new report, however, hints at what could be the real reason why WWE hasn’t been using him as of late.
Citing the latest issue of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WhatCulture wrote that Rusev appears to be in a “contract dispute” with WWE and has yet to re-sign with the company as of the time of writing. This comes shortly after Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that the company’s creative team has nothing for the “Bulgarian Brute,” hence his recent absence from Monday Night Raw programming.
“[I]t looks like he never gets his revenge at the end unless his contract situation works out,” Meltzer reportedly wrote in his newer update, referencing how Rusev had mostly been on the losing end of his rivalry with Lashley and Lana before the feud was seemingly cut short without fanfare.
I just beat the devil out of Bob Lashley! pic.twitter.com/xO1AFGYDwK
— Miro (@RusevBUL) December 2, 2019
Originally scheduled to appear in the men’s battle royal at this year’s Royal Rumble, Rusev was last seen during one of the pay-per-view’s segments, where he and Lashley were removed from the match after getting into a backstage brawl. While this may have suggested that their rivalry would continue after the event, Lashley appears to have moved on to other things, having unsuccessfully fought for a chance to face WWE Champion Brock Lesnar for the title at this month’s Super ShowDown pay-per-view.
While it’s not clear what’s next for Lana if the “love triangle” storyline is indeed over, it was reported late last year that she signed a new five-year contract with WWE, with her husband’s future with the company still up in the air, as it remains today. Liv Morgan, who was introduced late in the angle as Lana’s jilted lover, defeated her on this week’s episode of Raw and seems to be transitioning into a feud with former stablemate Ruby Riott.
Although it’s still unclear when Rusev’s contract actually expires with WWE, all signs point to his deal ending soon, with various sources suggesting he may indeed choose to take his talents elsewhere. As noted last month by Bleacher Report, All Elite Wrestling is among the leading contenders for his services, largely due to his potential to immediately step up as a “top star” and a “game-changer” if he chooses to sign with the company.