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Rusev Day: A Reaction Character

Rusev Day: A Reaction Character
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The following editorial was written by Ivan Barrera and does not reflect the opinions of WrestleZone as a whole. We encourage you all to discuss Ivan’s thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post and follow him on Twitter @NIb0124

Rusev’s debut gimmick of being a foreign heel was outdated and overdone. We’ve seen it many times before. He was another star with substance and potential and was eventually fed to John Cena at WrestleMania. Good in ring, hottest manager on the roster, but doesn’t have the feel of a major player in WWE. That’s okay, though. Not everyone can be, nor should they. Rusev as a top mid-carder in the title picture is fine so long as the match and feud quality delivers.

That said, I’m not feeling his feud with AJ Styles. In fact, I don’t particularly care for Rusev Day. I have a hard time finding out where WWE came up with it. It’s one of those outlandish and goofy gimmicks where someone gets over on a catch phrase or gesture. It’s similar to when Emma was popping invisible balloons or Tye Dillinger’s “Ten”. Rusev is a reaction guy. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you can’t go out on a limb and make a reaction guy a world champion just because the crowd cheers for him.

But Rusev has an upside. He’s a good wrestler with a unique name. He’s fallen off the radar due to poor booking, this whole Rusev Day gimmick included. Pairing Aiden English with Rusev and Lana is almost as awkward and unrealistic as when Rob Van Dam was being managed by Ricardo Rodriguez. In my opinion, Rusev can ditch both Lana and English, and do okay on his own.

Lana as his personal announcer isn’t special. WWE seems to be intent on putting focus on her as an in-ring performer, so let them both go their separate ways for now. Aiden English may not have an easy time on his own. Even as a member of the Vaudevillians he was just barely treading through water on the main roster. He’s another reaction guy, a bit of comedic relief. WWE could throw caution to the wind with him and see if he does any good as a singles performer, but I have my doubts. Rusev is being pulled down by English. All English does is sing Rusev day for him, Rusev does everything else.

While I do think Rusev has a bigger upside than “Rusev Day”, being an upper mid-carder is likely his cap. Rusev just isn’t a world champion, but that’s all right. Not everyone will be. There are plenty of undeserving guys who have been there, and there are plenty of deserving guys who won’t ever get there. Rusev is neither, he’s a good wrestler who would do well in upper mid-card angles and as a United States or Intercontinental Champion. It doesn’t sound like the best perception of the Bulgarian Brute, but it has to be a better fit for him than his current gimmick.

Best case scenario, Rusev and Styles put on a clinic. Lana and English get involved. Styles overcomes it all and retains the championship, as he should. Styles is the best wrestler in WWE today. On SmackDown Live, he’s the best choice to have as the world champ. Maybe, Rusev crushes Styles post-match and earns a rematch two days later on SmackDown, where he is thwarted again. He loses nothing by putting Styles over. Losing to Styles in a WWE Championship match isn’t the same as when he was pinned in a dreadful US Championship fatal four-way at WrestleMania. The fact that he’s somehow involved in the world title scene just months later tells you that WWE is trying to do right by him. If he can put on a good showing against Styles at Extreme Rules, then hopefully Rusev is given more solid material to work with.

Related: AJ Styles Hypes Sunday’s Match With Rusev