Rusev has made an indelible impression on the wrestling world over the last thirteen months. He's dominated the bulk of the WWE roster, made waves in international politics, caught the attention of legends such as Triple H and The Rock, and proven himself the in-ring equal of John Cena.
Though Professional Wrestling is a purely athletic endauvour, wrestlers can develop personas or personalities just as other sports figures have done in the past. "Murderers Row" of the late 1920's New York Yankees, "The Monsters of the Midway" Chicago Bears, and "Image is Everything" for the early 90's Tennis Champion Andre Agassi.
In this vein, Rusev has established an identity as the "Russian Super Athlete." He's the recipient of the finest training, nutrition, and support that the un-free world can muster. As a result he is expected to be an unstoppable monster in the ring. His undefeated streak was a cherry on top of the proto-communist sundae, but most vital was his ruggedness and supreme durability.
Imagine in the early 90's, if Mr. Perfect whiffed on his patented chewing gum spit-and-swat 30% of the time. What if Big Show was suddenly 5'8"? What if Dusty Rhodes was discovered to have a billion dollar trust fund? What if Hulk Hogan had vermicelli arms? What if Kamala held a PhD in linguistics? What if the Big Boss Man robbed a bank? What if Dr. Death learned CPR?
Well imagine no further. Rusev, the indestructible "Russian Super Athlete" is injured and will be out of action for a significant period of time. How are we to reconcile this? Daniel Bryan is oft-injured as well, but that sort of fits in with his spunky underdog personality.
The closest parallel I can draw is when Sgt. Slaughter, the "Real American Hero," turned his back on America in its time of need, joining the forces of Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm. Slaughter became a completely different person, with different moves, altered clothing, and a heinous streak of anti-USA zealotry.
Is that what we are to expect from Rusev upon his return from injury? If he ever returns, that is. The aura of invincibility is gone. Is he going swing in the completely opposite direction to become a Glass Joe type wimp of a Frenchman? Will he become just be a mediocre Russian Athlete without the "Super"? Maybe he'll adopt a different persona entirely. Perhaps a lothorio type in a effort to win back Lana. "Ravishing" Rick Rusev, anyone?
Either way, Rusev has a lot of time on his hands during his recovery and a lot to think about. He has lost his love, his championship, and his very identity. Yet, if he's as tough as he seemed to be only a few short weeks ago, he'll fight harder than ever to get them all back.
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 31 and culminates with WrestleMania 32. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Monday Night Raw-- 5/25/15
Main Event-- 5/26/15
WRESTLER WRANKINGS, WEEK 9 *TOP TEN*
1. John Cena -- 28 points
T2. Neville -- 25
T2. Seth Rollins -- 25
4. Randy Orton -- 21
5. Dean Ambrose -- 18.5
6. Ryback -- 16
7. Sheamus -- 15
8. Dolph Ziggler -- 14
9. Roman Reigns -- 13.5
T10. Bad News Barrett -- 13
T10. Stardust -- 13
12. Rusev -- 11
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!