Rusev furthered his dominance over the WWE roster Sunday night at Battleground with a victory against fierce rival Jack Swagger.
WrestleZone.com broke down how the match ended:
Rusev wins via countout. Rusev reversed the Patriot Lock & forced Swagger to hit the ring post. Climbs into the ring before 10. #Wrestlezone— WrestleZone.com (@WRESTLEZONEcom) July 21, 2014
Rusev tweeted right after the win:
Bleacher Report's Justin LaBar provided his thoughts on the match:
This is as about simple and an "old school" of a match to put together as you get. Great stories & build help make that. #WWEBattleground— Justin LaBar (@JustinLaBar) July 21, 2014
On CSR I said double count out or DQ-something that doesn't diminish Swagger but keeps Rusev momentum. Still a good finish #WWEBattleground— Justin LaBar (@JustinLaBar) July 21, 2014
WWE captured a Vine of the two entering the building:
The Bulgarian Brute has run roughshod since debuting a few months ago and there is no end in sight to his reign of terror. Rusev's impressive string of wins has also helped Lana spread her message of Russian superiority, which American fans certainly haven't been receptive to.
The WWE Universe was eager for an American hero to emerge and one eventually did, although it came in the unlikely form of Swagger. He and Zeb Colter have been trying to "fix" the United States for well over a year, but they finally decided to stand up for their country in a positive manner.
Colter and Lana attempted to achieve detente during the go-home episode of Raw, but those efforts proved futile as the situation turned into a major brawl. Rusev accepted Swagger's Battleground challenge before the Real American slapped on the Patriot Lock.
Swagger's triumphant moment gave Colter plenty of confidence entering the pay-per-view:
Despite Rusev heading toward Battleground on a sour note, Lana still felt as though she and her client would ultimately reign supreme:
Although Rusev normally lets Lana do all the talking, he made his intentions quite clear on Twitter as well:
The match was an all-out battle between two of the best big-man workers in WWE today. Rusev has flashed a great deal of athletic potential since bursting onto the scene, while Swagger has always been vastly underrated in that regard.
Their respective styles meshed well and made for a match that the fans really got behind. Properly building a mid-card feud has become somewhat of a lost art in professional wrestling, but it was clear Sunday night that the creative team did its job in terms of making the viewing audience care.
The United States vs. Russia angle was wrestling's bread and butter throughout the 1980s. It hasn't meant as much since the Cold War ended, but now that tensions are seemingly heightened once again, USA vs. Russia is back en vogue.
Was having Rusev beat Swagger the right move?
This seems to be a rivalry that still has legs, so it wouldn't be particularly surprising to see it continue leading up to SummerSlam. With Rusev coming out on the winning end, however, WWE needs to do yeoman's work in terms of reestablishing Swagger's credibility.
Swagger has done a lot of losing over the past year, but fans didn't seem to care about that when he initially stood up to Rusev. Now that he has been saddled with a loss within the confines of this feud, though, WWE must build him back up to maintain interest in the storyline.
As long as the writers are able to do that effectively there is no reason why this feud can't keep going. The fans love to boo Lana and Rusev mercilessly while engaging in "USA" and "We the people" chants to back Swagger and Colter. Getting the fans to be vocal can be difficult at times, but this rivalry has delivered.
Fans often wax poetic about the Attitude Era and long for it to return. While edgier programming was certainly a part of that time in wrestling history, it is most notable for the fact that WWE made use of all its talent and constantly had intriguing angles in the mid card.
Rusev vs. Swagger hearkens back to that, so hopefully this is just the first of many battles between the foreign bad guy and American patriot.
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