If you are among those that celebrate Rusev Day every chance that you can, then the announcement-then-reversal of his Casket Match versus Undertaker at the Greatest Royal Rumble was likely a damper on your Bulgarian Ballyhoo.
The question now moves to: was his removal yet another blurring of the lines between company interest and self preservation?
It has been an on-going speculation that Rusev has been unhappy with his role with the company. The rumbles have become more of a roar in recent months, beginning at Summer Slam 2017.
At that point Rusev had not won a pay-per-view event since 2016 Battleground. He entered a match with Randy Orton, but was squashed in less than one minute, fueling speculation that he was on his way out. His next round of apparent antics was prior to the recently completed WrestleMania where he was reported to have threatened to quit before his addition to a four-way match with Jinder, Randy Orton, and Bobby Roode -- which he was added to and lost in.
According to his wife, yes.
Lana posted to Twitter, "All over the world, little boys and girls are celebrating #RusevDay, they smile for the greatest Superstar ever ! I've already spoke with @WWE officials to change that match because I REFUSE to let my husband @RusevBUL compete in a Casket Match at #WWEGRR! Happy #RusevDay"
Her public posting of the "refusal" backed the company into a corner, one where it has to balance whether one mid-card performer -- who has become one of the most over-with-fans on the roster -- to hold the card hostage because of a self-made push.
The WWE responded quickly, if sneakily, by removing Rusev Day chants from its SmackDown YouTube channel. It also filled the vacancy in the match with someone much more willing to take a fall to the over-the-hill Undertaker: Chris Jericho.
Rusev has also, albeit more subtly, responded on social media.
He posted on Twitter, "Life is life... it will be #RusevDay somewhere."
The Bulgarian Brute was less cordial in an clip from TMZ, where he said he would end the already ended career of Taker.
"He is a legend in the WWE. But so am I, it's Rusev Day," he told the interviewer. "Undertaker is kind of a little bit in the past. I'll beat him so bad it may be his last fight."
If the WWE had plans to have the Brute take yet another loss -- and be made to look really weak being rolled into a casket by a performer who can barely make it down the entrance ramp -- it would only be consistent with past patterns of behavior that he and Lana have exhibited.
As for Jericho, the match against Undertaker will mark his first with the company since the July 25, 2017 episode of SmackDown Live where he lost a triple threat United States Championship match to Kevin Owens and AJ Styles.0comments