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What’s Next For Rusev?

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rusev-lanaRusev is your new WWE United States Champion. This isn’t a huge surprise considering his throwback, anti-American heel gimmick. What better way to get Rusev (and Lana) heat by giving him the one championship that represents the US of A?  His run as US Champion is probably just beginning, and has the potential to be a great building block for the already impressive beginning to Rusev. Sheamus will likely come charging back to demand his rematch, but Rusev is unlikely to surrender his first major title this soon. Plus, Sheamus isn’t exactly dragon-slaying material, and WWE needs a dragon slayer for Rusev.

Not since the great Umaga has a monster heel been built up this way, and WWE should not waste it. Rusev is old school. He’s big, mean, and struts to the ring with an attractive valet. He curses America, yells at the crowd in other languages, and waives his native flag. He draws U-S-A chants as Lana tells the fans to shut up (Is there anything more “pro wrestling” than someone telling you to shut up on a microphone?) Like Umaga, the Bulgarian Brute can move. He’s light on his feet, has quick reactions and great timing with a variety of opponents; Rusev would look great against Sheamus or Rey Mysterio. Add on his recent United States Championship acquisition, and Rusev is positioned as one of the top heels in WWE. He is an undefeated champion, positioned to continue kicking ass and taking names. Whenever he is to be defeated, it should be an epic event; not a match that promotes the WWE Network when most of the world isn’t watching.

Yes, it’s probably going to be John Cena; it’s the obvious fit. But, Cena won’t challenge Rusev tomorrow, so we’ll have to wait for Mr. America, John Cena, to save us from this nasty man. In the meantime, what’s the company’s future top heel to do? After Sheamus, there aren’t many that can bridge the gap to Cena down the road. Here are some interesting ideas:

Bad News Barrett – Interesting, right? He’ll get the “return pop” whenever he’s able to come back, so a babyface push would get a nice little nudge in the beginning. Barrett is awesome; let’s just get that out of the way. His Bad News gimmick was finally over when he got injured, and I don’t think the WWE Universe has forgotten about him. “Rusev, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news!” – That just has a great ring to it. Barrett can go further with the routine Sheamus started, about America giving him opportunities, and blablabla.

Hulk Hogan – He wants to wrestle one more match, and it’s not likely he’d waste that on Rusev. Still, the idea is fascinating for Hulk Hogan to come back and defend the USA one last time. I mean, his song is called “Real American.” This one doesn’t have much to it, because it’s so unrealistic. As a fantasy booker, you can’t help but think it through. Right, Kurt Angle?

Chris Jericho – Think about it. This is PERFECT for Y2J during his next run. He always works well with younger performers, and is the perfect foil for Rusev’s heel routine. Jericho probably could care less about holding the US Championship, so it would be no problem for Rusev to go over on the future Hall of Famer. This feud probably has the legs to go a couple of months, and would be a great warm-up for Rusev before he meets our hero, John Cena. You can almost picture the insults Jericho will throw Lana’s way…

Dolph Ziggler – Does WWE want to unify the Intercontinental and United States Championships? This would be their chance. Ziggler and Rusev would put on an amazing match (or matches), so the in-ring stuff alone would be fantastic. Dolph could handle the patriotic thing for a while, so it’s not the worst fit in the world. The title belts lift this one up a few notches, and make it worth considering.

Whether Rusev gets some bad news, or grabs a second title during his domination, he’s likely headed for America’s sweetheart, John Cena. Many will cry out against the match, as Cena would likely end Rusev’s indestructible run. All undefeated streaks in WWE do come to an end, after all. If Rusev does make it to Cena, it should not be opposed. Fighting Cena makes Rusev the top heel in the company; something he seems destined to be.

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Photo credit: WWE

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