Randy Orton got back on track Sunday at SummerSlam, as he defeated Rusev in a bout that was over in a flash.
It was one of the quickest matches in SummerSlam history, as an RKO out of nowhere from Orton seconds into the match was all it took to defeat Rusev. Previously Rusev had ambushed Orton before the match officially began. Most in the WWE Universe wondered why Rusev didn't have more time in the ring:
In the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, it looked as though neither Orton nor Rusev would be significant factors on the card, despite the fact that they were both in featured matches at Battleground.
The Viper lost a Punjabi Prison match for the WWE Championship to Jinder Mahal due to interference from The Singh Brothers and The Great Khali, while Rusev fell to John Cena in a flag match.
Despite the loss to Cena, The Bulgarian Brute's confidence never wavered, and he picked up an impressive victory over Chad Gable on SmackDown Live a couple of weeks later.
After that win, Rusev got on the mic and claimed that nobody on the blue brand could beat him. He demanded competition, which resulted in Orton making his presence known.
The Super Athlete didn't appear particularly happy to see The Apex Predator, and his mood was further ruined when Orton laid him out with an RKO, as seen in this GIF courtesy of WWE's official Twitter account:
Sunday's match came at a pivotal time for both Superstars, as each has scuffled a bit recently
While Orton was in the WWE title scene, neither his feud nor his matches with Mahal seemed to click, especially in comparison to much of the great work he did during his angle with The Wyatt Family.
Rusev was out of action for months due to an injury, but instead of returning with a bang, he was fed to Cena, which is the same result that began his downturn in WWE a few years ago.
SmackDown is somewhat lacking in terms of top-level stars in comparison to Raw, as evidenced by the decision to hotshot Mahal to the top of the card, but both Orton and Rusev have the potential to be in that position.
The Viper has been there many times as a 13-time world champion, and while it can be argued that putting him in the main event scene feels stale, he is a reliable performer who consistently gets huge reactions wherever he goes.
Rusev has never quite made it to the main event regularly, but his in-ring work is solid.
Opportunities may be dwindling to move up the card with Shinsuke Nakamura transitioning to a main-event role and Cena back in the fold.
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