clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE Night of Champions 2014 match card preview: Mark Henry vs. Rusev


Rusev vs. Mark Henry

Somebody sees a lot of money in Rusev, the anti-Russian angle afforded everyone who faces him or all of the above, because even taking into consideration some outside the box counter-programming moves, this angle has received some prime promotional real estate on recent WWE television.  Can it pay off that investment?  Who cares?  HOSS FIGHT!

The Road to Night of Champions

Mark Henry returned from his latest injury-mandated time off as part of a classic "Creative has nothing for you" tag team with The Big Show.  When it became clear that, despite whatever chemistry the two may have, there was no place for them in the current, one-storyline at a time pair division, the World's Strongest Man was spun off as the latest defender of the American Way.

The Bulgarian Brute has marked a steady course since his surprise call-up from NXT and appearance in this year's Royal Rumble match.  After briefly receiving the standard heel monster diet of jobbers to squash, he moved into competitive programs with Big E and Jack Swagger that not only showcased his power and surprising agility, but also his ability to sell an opponent's offense.  While many, your present company included, feared that Swagger would get the nod to defeat him because 'Murica, he has vanquished his foes and continues to proudly represent his social ambassador Lana's hero, Vladimir Putin.

It's a classic pro wrestling story.  Unlike E's "why are you so hyped about America again?" or Swagger's "your excitement for America makes me feel icky" directions, the man who twice represented the United States on their Olympic weightlifting team was tired of seeing Rusev beat up his fellow babyfaces and run down the country in which he was born and raised.  Mix in a great line about opening an international wing of the Hall of Pain, and you've got yourself a feud:

Since then, there's been the usual back and forth, with Rusev getting the upperhand through nefarious means after feud-stallers like arm wrestling competitions, followed by the past week of Mizark outsmarting his foe and closing shows with Old Glory waving and the Stars & Stripes forever playing over the loud speakers.

What's at Stake?

National pride, of course!

More important to the scripted entertainment at hand though is Rusev's "undefeated" streak.  Commentary and his opponent have made frequent mention of the fact that the newcomer has yet to be pinned or submitted in singles action on the main roster.  Wherever that path ends, it should seem like a big deal.  If it came at Night of Champions, it would certainly be a shock...but probably not the bid moment WWE needs if they hope to see the hero of the Russian Federation in a higher profile spot on future cards.

For the World's Strongest Man, win or lose, a compelling match would only add to a reputation that is getting better as he gets older.  While his ancillary skills are almost universally lauded, his in-ring performances can be a little hit or miss.  Will this be more reminiscent of his dramatic run as World Heavyweight Champion, or the lumbering performances we got while feuding with Ryback?

Expect hard-hitting action with patriotic trappings, both in the match and the aftermath - all of which you can follow right here at Cageside Seats!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats