After being mysteriously removed from the card for WWE’s upcoming Super ShowDown pay-per-view, it looks like more information has emerged on why Rusev won’t be competing at the event, which will take place on Thursday in Saudi Arabia.
As cited on Tuesday by Wrestling Inc., Dave Meltzer suggested on that day’s edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that Rusev “essentially backed out” of Super ShowDown due to an injury. This was followed up by a report from PWInsider, which specified that the “Bulgarian Brute” has claimed he’s suffering from an injured back, though neither source mentioned anything about a possible timeline for his recovery.
After missing multiple weeks of action on Monday Night Raw, Rusev returned to the show on its February 17 episode, as he and Humberto Carrillo lost in a tag team match against Bobby Lashley and Angel Garza. Prior to being replaced by fellow red brand wrestler Rey Mysterio, the 34-year-old was scheduled to compete in the Tuwaiq Mountain Trophy Gauntlet Match at Super ShowDown— a match which will also feature AJ Styles, Andrade, Lashley, Erick Rowan, and R-Truth.
The news of Rusev’s supposed back injury comes amid continued speculation regarding his contract status with WWE. As of earlier this month, the former United States Champion remained deadlocked with the company over the terms of a new deal, and while his initial confirmation for Super ShowDown seemed like a sign that he was getting closer to resolving these issues, reports also stressed that both sides had yet to come to terms. As of this writing, there hasn’t been any update as to whether he and WWE are any closer to ending their stalemate.
— WWE (@WWE) December 31, 2019
Although a number of WWE superstars have been vocal about their refusal to compete in any of WWE’s Saudi Arabia events, it doesn’t appear that Rusev has any known issues over appearing in these pay-per-views, despite the fallout from last year’s Crown Jewel in early November. In an interview with The Sun shortly after last year’s event, Rusev said that he was happy with how Crown Jewel had helped break barriers in women’s wrestling for Saudi audiences. He expressed interest in returning for future shows in the kingdom, particularly due to the money he and his wife, Lana, could earn.
“I make a lot of money, I will definitely go back,” he said. “I love it, I love every single trip that we do there, I love how we break barriers with women wrestling there and Lana being able to go.”