In less than a week, Rusev saw WWE hand him the biggest opportunity of his career: a casket match with The Undertaker at The Greatest Royal Rumble. Then, just hours later, he was switched out for Chris Jericho, only to be re-installed as The Deadman's opponent on Monday.
The fluidity of the situation fed a slew of rumors, but apparently, there is a simple explanation for Rusev Hot Potato.
According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, Rusev going from in to out, to back to in, was nothing more than the latest example of the fickle nature of Vince McMahon.
FWIW: I’ve heard from multiple sources that the Rusev/Greatest Royal Rumble switcheroo was just a case of Vince McMahon being Vince McMahon (ie creative changes) and had nothing to do with the TMZ interview ... which I’m told was a setup shot for Total Divas.— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) April 18, 2018
This is certainly the least interesting notion, but it appears to be a truthful one.
Rusev was originally announced as Taker's opponent on April 11. However after an off-color tweet, a misquote by TMZ, and a report from The Undertaker's wife, Michele McCool, Rusev was removed and replaced by Chris Jericho.
Lana, Rusev's wife
"All over the world, little boys and girls are celebrating #RusevDay, they smile for the greatest Superstar ever!" Lana wrote. "I've already spoken with @WWE officials to change that match because I REFUSE to let my husband @RusevBUL compete in a Casket Match at #WWEGRR!"
It appeared that #RusevDay had been shut down by WWE but during this week's RAW it was announced that the Bulgarian Brute was back in play for the casket match.
This change looked to come on the back of yet another tweet by Lana.
"After much thought, I have notified @WWE officials that I have changed my mind. @RusevBUL will celebrate #RusevDay by burying The Undertaker in the sands of Saudi Arabi and will win the Casket Match at #WWEGRR!" she wrote.0comments
But if Pro Wrestling Sheet is right, then it was Vince McMahon, not Lana, who couldn't make up his mind.
We'll likely never know what sparked the series of changes, but hopefully, the swapping is done. Barring another change, you can see Rusev take on The Undertaker at The Greatest Royal Ruble on April 27 live on the WWE Network.