Rusev Lacks the Depth Needed to Succeed Long-Term in WWE

Anthony Mango@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

Rusev asks the heavens above for some character development
Rusev asks the heavens above for some character developmentCredit:

One of the newer additions to the main roster in WWE is Rusev, The Bulgarian Brute who has been routinely destroying everyone in his path for weeks on end.

He has been on a roll, scoring victories over everyone he's faced, no matter what their past accomplishments were.

It would seem as though this could possibly last forever, since WWE loves to ask "who can stop Rusev?"

However, sooner than later, this is all going to turn south for Rusev, and things will take a turn for the worse.

Rusev may seem like he's on a path of destruction, but he's actually on a path toward utter failure.

Right now, WWE wants to convince the audience that Rusev is an unstoppable force that the audience will revel in for years to come.

Unfortunately, the creative team members are also trying to do this in a way that requires the most minimal amount of effort on their part.

This is all going to backfire not only on convincing the audience to care, but also on convincing themselves that Rusev is worth the time and attention, and not all of it is Rusev's fault.

One of the big problems with Rusev is that he doesn't have a strong enough character to build a foundation on for a future career.

Sure, the anti-American foreigner has been done successfully a multitude of times in the past, but fans should not forget that it has also failed just as often, if not more.

It is about as easy as they come, and fans can get bored of it very easily unless you do something to stand out and keep it interesting.

In Soviet Russia, loincloth wears Rusev
In Soviet Russia, loincloth wears RusevCredit:

Rusev is The Bulgarian Brute and so far, that is it.

What makes him so different from Sheamus, who not only has a similar nickname in The Celtic Warrior, but also has the same core concept of being a non-American who is tough?

All wrestlers are supposed to be brutes in a way, seeing as how this whole sport revolves around hurting other people.

Merely being from a particular country does not mean you suddenly have enough character to sustain yourself.

If that were the case, Kofi Kingston would have been a world champion by now, seeing as how he's been from both Jamaica and Ghana, West Africa.

Where is the success for Scottish wrestler Drew McIntyre, who is jobbing as a member of 3MB instead of being The Chosen One?

There isn't such an intense hatred between these countries right now to capitalize on it in a way that worked for Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in the past.

There needs to be more substance beyond a country of origin.

The way to achieve that substance is to have promos and segments that form an actual personality behind the performer, but WWE has completely neglected to do this so far.

All the fans know about Rusev is where he is from and that Lana can tell him to crush people and he'll follow suit.

While not everyone who has made it to the top of WWE has been as good as Stone Cold or The Rock on the mic, it is an undeniable fact that verbal skills can take someone a long way.

Technical wrestling ability is admirable, but WWE can find those people anywhere.

The true attribute that doesn't get ignored is charisma and when someone creates a character than the fans are interested in.

Do people know Hulk Hogan for his in-ring work or his promos?

Most likely, you can spit out all of his catchphrases but can't name a true barn burner of a match where he shows off classic wrestling abilities.

Shh! You're not allowed to speak!
Shh! You're not allowed to speak!Credit:

Rusev has barely spoken more than a few words on the microphone, and what he has said has had no worth.

This past week on Raw, Rusev literally just repeated the words that are spoken at the beginning of his entrance.

How is that going to give audiences a better impression of him?

Managers can be really effective in helping out the people that lack the mic skills, but only if done properly.

They must make a significant enough impact on the audience in a way that not only keeps themselves in the spotlight, but more importantly transfers that heat onto the wrestler.

Lana is as devoid of a character as Rusev is right now, for the most part, with nothing to her other than her country of origin.

If she weren't an attractive woman with legs to kill for, she wouldn't be in this position, as she's accomplishing nothing when it comes to character development.

She certainly isn't on television every week for her mic skills, that's for sure, and it takes more than a pretty face to go far in WWE.

Take a guess where every guy is looking
Take a guess where every guy is lookingCredit:

There's no shortage of sexy women that can walk from one side of the stage to the other and spin around in a circle like Lana does.

If you really think about it, is Lana doing anything to make fans boo Rusev, or is she just making them avert their eyes to pay attention to her?

She receives a reaction from the male audience and at the same time, nobody is erupting with hatred when Rusev crushes someone like instructed.

But what's important is that he does crush people, right?

As long as you are a big guy in WWE and you beat people up, you should succeed, because having an over-the-top appearance that looks impressive is what matters most, and the rest can be filled in later.

On the contrary, even Rusev's appearance is going to work against him in the long run.

It is often ridiculous to criticize how someone looks, but in this business, it does in fact play a big part.

Sculpted by the gods
Sculpted by the godsCredit:

Rusev's body shape is awkward and doesn't lend itself to the same magnitude necessary for being a future world champion.

He is by no means a small man or a twig, but instead of being tall and muscular, his physique can be better described as stout.

If you put Rusev next to Big Show, he will look like a runt, and if you put him next to someone who is more chiseled like John Cena, he will look out of shape.

Sure, if you put him in the ring with Evan Bourne, he will come off as though he could eat him up, but who doesn't?

WWE highly values people with bodies like Batista and Brock Lesnar, but Rusev is not one of those.

He can be better compared to Big E, who is on a downswing right now.

Big E was a muscular young guy on a roll and was even given the Intercontinental Championship in preparation for better things, but he's not exactly in a good spot at the moment.

Just because Rusev is the shiny new toy doesn't mean that this won't happen to him, either, because it follows the pattern.

WWE has a track record of not following through with their pushes over a long period of time.

Ryback, Brodus Clay, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow and Fandango are all current roster members who received big pushes at one point recently yet are in no position to break out.

Everything done to build these men up amounted to nothing in comparison to what the intended goal was, so what makes Rusev any different?

Just because you win now, doesn't mean you'll win in the end
Just because you win now, doesn't mean you'll win in the endCredit:

History has shown us that WWE has a timetable of around six months or so before it goes from being serious about pushing someone to simply giving up on them.

In fact, some wrestlers don't even make it that far along before the rug is pulled out from underneath them.

If the selling point for Rusev is that he looks like he can move fast for someone of his size, let us not forget what happened to Husky Harris.

The Bray Wyatt character is receiving a lot of praise at the moment, but nobody batted an eye at the Army Tank with a Ferrari Engine beforehand.

So if Rusev has nothing special to offer with his wrestling skills and no character, what is to stop him from becoming the next Warlord or Barbarian rather than the next Andre the Giant, or even Rikishi?

Unless he is upgraded immensely in the personality department, Rusev is doomed to be yet another failed experiment.

He will end up being as much of a waste of time as his squash matches have been.

What do you think of Rusev? Does he have what it takes to go far in WWE, or is he a failure waiting to happen?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, whether you agree or disagree!


Anthony Mango is the owner-operator of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment as well as the host of its podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.


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