By RJ Marceau
Last year, Rusev was a top heel and destroyed every challenger in his way. Rusev defeated Big E, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger and the Big Show. Rusev defeated Sheamus for the United States championship on a post-Raw match. Rusev was strong as the United States Champion defeating Jack Swagger at TLC and had a good performance in the Royal Rumble. After the Royal Rumble, the WWE decided to book Rusev in a feud with John Cena. Most WWE fans know that once a WWE superstar, who is new, faces John Cena they will flounder. I don’t think booking Rusev vs. John Cena was bad, but the execution was abysmal.
The match at Fastlane shouldn’t have occurred. This was a cheap way for the WWE to get Rusev and Cena over by having Cena lose a match to Rusev. Cena “passed out” leading to Rusev winning by submission. Fastlane should have been a face-off between the two men, which ended in a massive brawl. This would help make the feud seem important and the match at WrestleMania 31 must-see.
At WrestleMania 31, Rusev should’ve beaten John Cena. The pay-off for a young superstar is winning a big match on the biggest stage. How can Rusev come out on a tank and lose? If they wanted John Cena to be United States Champion, wait until Extreme Rules. All eyes are on WrestleMania, and winning on the big stage means more then any other PPV of the year. Rusev losing killed all his momentum.
Winning at WrestleMania and losing a hard fought battle at Extreme Rules is how the WWE should’ve booked Rusev. After losing to Cena, have him involved in the Intercontinental Championship tournament, which he wins instead of Ryback. I don’t think Ryback had a bad run as IC champ, but Rusev should’ve been in a bigger storyline in the summer. The storyline involving Summer, Lana and Dolph wouldn’t have existed in my booking because Lana and Rusev shouldn’t have broken up. I know WWE saw money in Lana as a babyface, but she has done next to nothing since joining Dolph Ziggler.
Rusev and Lana should have stayed together with Rusev being IC Champion destroying the likes of Cesaro, Neville and Dolph Ziggler leading into a title for title match at SummerSlam with John Cena. Rusev beats Cena for the United States Championship. Rusev destroys Cena after the match, which writes Cena off TV for Night of Champions and Hell in a Cell instead of John Cena taking time off now. Rusev loses his IC Championship to Kevin Owens at Night of Champions and retains his United States title against Neville.
Rusev gets his rematch against Owens at Hell in a Cell. Rusev loses again to Owens, but has a strong showing inside Hell in a Cell. Rusev is involved in a traditional Survivor Series tag team match and is the sole survivor for his team. At this point Rusev would be a top heel in the WWE. Rusev comes out on Raw saying he has beaten everybody, and at TLC he will have a U.S. open challenge in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. At TLC, John Cena returns to the WWE, in his hometown of Boston, and accepts Rusev’s challenge. Cena defeats Rusev in an amazing TLC match. This allows Rusev to be put in the main event picture as a viable threat. Do I see Rusev ever winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? No, but I think as a top heel the WWE should’ve experimented with him in the main event scene.
Unfortunately he lost to John Cena at WrestleMania, Extreme Rules and Payback. They split up Rusev and Lana, and Rusev was involved in one of the worst feuds this summer with Ziggler, Lana and Summer Rae. The only positive since WrestleMania is his involvement with Sheamus and King Barrett, which may be a heel faction in the works. If the WWE just booked him strongly and had him win at WrestleMania, Rusev wouldn’t be another guy with zero direction. This is how the WWE should’ve booked Rusev.