Monday on Raw, Rusev destroyed R-Truth in the most one-sided match between Elimination Chamber participants on the show.
As I mentioned on the PodNasty Wrestling Podcast, Rusev continues to be presented as a rising star and still feels the freshest among an underwhelming field in the Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber.
The lower-leg injury Rusev suffered during the SmackDown tapings, per WWE.com, may keep him out of the Elimination Chamber on Sunday. If so, nobody else will be able to restore value to the intercontinental title the way Rusev can.
Unlike his competitors, he is the only character who continues to develop on WWE TV with a featured storyline. On Raw, Rusev and Lana were used in multiple segments, and their split is a focal point of WWE programming.
Headed into the Chamber, all other combatants seem like backdrops to Rusev's budding feud with his former manager. Even Dolph Ziggler, Lana's new squeeze, has admitted that a vengeful Lana is using him, and he's OK with it.
An Intercontinental Championship win for Rusev would have added another layer to his storyline with Lana while giving him a built-in feud for the title against Ziggler.
Successfully defending the belt against Ziggler multiple times would have restored Rusev to his pre-Cena form while furthering his ongoing split.
The Money in the Bank field is wide open. If the Money in the Bank Ladder Match was tomorrow, we would take few midcarders, if any, seriously as a favorite.
Rusev is the exception to that rule. Winning both the WWE Intercontinental Championship and the Money in the Bank briefcase would easily make him the hottest WWE Superstar, adding further credibility to a title in transition.
If Rusev is unable to compete in the upcoming Intercontinental Championship Elimination Chamber, it would render the match a lost cause. Given the turmoil in a dormant division, if he can't be intercontinental champion at this moment, there's little reason to have it around.