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WWE TLC 2015: Ryback vs. Rusev full match preview

Is it on the Kickoff? We don't know! Nope! Match

Rusev vs. Ryback

Process of elimination lead the staff at Cageside Seats HQ to believe this match would be announced for the pre-show.

Very little build? Check. Zero stakes? Yep.

But after Goldust shocked the world by showing up on the YouTube portion of Survivor Series (in an elimination tag that kicked off the Titus O'Neil/Stardust program that has the whole universe buzzing), the new normal looks to be surprise Kickoff matches, so this one will appear after 8PM Eastern. Get excited.

The Road to TLC

The Bulgarian Brute made a surprise return from injury, serving as back-up for new WWE champ Sheamus on the Fallout Raw after the last pay-per-view (PPV). Lana, the Ravishing Russian and Rusev's off-screen fiancée, returned a week later to once again become his on-screen lady love. The couple announced their new kayfabe status and made-out in public on - where else - Miz TV.

Ryback was more interested in smashmouth than tonsil hockey, and broke up the show to get a match started...and to claim that Lana was no longer as pure as the snow white suits she's favored since her return.

You see, contrary to her claims, The Big Guy had it on good authority that she and Dolph Ziggler had sex while they were dating!

In the match that followed, Lana took a dubious bump and Rusev a countout loss to tend when he chose to tend to his love rather than deal with Ryback. The couple's PR tour continued as the future Mrs. Rusev no only denied Big Hungry's claim, but swore to Michael Cole that she's been saving herself to marriage.

Perhaps to defend his woman's honor, or perhaps just because it's what you do when you have a potential non-Kickoff show program brewing, the two men faced off again the next Monday night. This time, a fake injury from Lana produced a double count-out and an Accolade on the floor for Ryback.

That was only one of two matches RuRu would be a part of on Raw, as his primary job is being the champ's right-hand man in his new stable, The League of Nations. He rested up by taking Thursday night off, but he did take a trip to commentary for a throwback to Big Hungry's early days as he squashed The Ascension in two-on-one actions. A post-match stand-off confirmed that we're back to the Bulgarian using his manager/girlfriend as a shield against babyface opponents.

And now we're here, on the not-Kickoff.

What's at stake?

Probably more for The Ryback than for Rusev. Whether or not you believe the former United States champ is in the doghouse for how his engagement broke to TMZ, he does have a prominent role in the main event angle. And an agile hoss with an evil foreigner gimmick is alway going to have a place in Vince McMahon's company.

The former Intercontinental titleholder is probably just fine, as well. Ryback seems cemented in a mid-card babyface squashing a jobber or two he's a believable contender for a secondary title; a win over him means a heel is ready to face someone on the next tier.

If anyone is being "punished" it's probably Lana, but she's also likely already lost what she's gonna lose. However the shoot marriage news got out, in story she's stuck as her man's arm candy and human shield. If there was ever anyone backstage who had plans to push her as a character who could stand on her own, it's doubtful anyone is lobbying for that now.

Can anyone turn this feud into something more than killing time waiting for WrestleMania season to start?

Find out on Sunday night on WWE Network, and right here at Cageside Seats!

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