Despite looking, sounding, and selling merchandise like a top WWE star, Rusev has struggled to get meaningful reps in front of WWE cameras. The disconnect between promotion and opportunity reportedly lead to the Bulgarian Brute asking for his release.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, a source within WWE says that Rusev did, in fact, request to part with his WWE contract. However, WWE countered by putting him in the US Championship Match at WrestleMania 34 alongside Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Jinder Mahal.
The specifics are still hazy, but this report fits a certain narrative. Just days ago, WWE added Rusev to the US Championship match. Before then, Rusev and his sprouting popularity looked to be destined for the ever-arbitrary Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
Considering Rusev's contributions, specifically his #RusevDay creation that is the top-selling shirt on WWE.com, being relegated to a pre-show battle royal was an insult.
It makes perfect sense of Rusev to have been salty about his usage, the same goes for WWE sticking him in a title match to assuage his frustrations. Now the question begs, will he win?
Before we start handicapping Rusev's WrestleMania odds, it's worth pointing out that Rusev allegedly asked for his release in 2017 as well. However, that report was quickly labeled as Fake News, as it drew the ire of both Rusev and his wife Lana.
However, this story seems to fit. Given the success of #RusevDay, the 2-time US Champion possessed the leverage necessary to forced WWE into throwing him a bone. Now a proven veteran of WWE, Rusev would instantly garner attention from other promotions with the chance of becoming a bonafide star. In short, it's in WWE's best interest to keep the Bulgarian Brute happy.
And that sentiment may charge Rusev winning at WrestleMania 34. Already surging with organic momentum, it now appears that the company may be behind Rusev. If anyone other than Randy Orton leaves New Orleans as US Champion it will be Rusev.