Rusev and Aiden English Add Spark to WWE Clash of Champions, SmackDown Tag SceneDecember 6, 2017
A dash of Rusev and a pinch of Aiden English is proving to be an invigorating blend for both WWE Clash of Champions and the SmackDown Tag Team Championship picture.
The Lion of Bulgaria is finding his groove once more as a self-celebrating, grinning bruiser. His partner, meanwhile, has proved to be a winning wingman, the crooning crony at Rusev's side.
And after a win on Tuesday's SmackDown, both Superstars are now officially a part of the Dec. 17 pay-per-view card.
Rusev and English downed The New Day in San Diego in a quality match. The victory inspired general manager Daniel Bryan to add the duo to the tag title match at Clash of Champions.
With that move, the bout increases in appeal.
The New Day taking on The Usos again felt tired. WWE throwing Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin in there was a solid move. But Rusev and English's inclusion adds instant electricity.
They have been among the most entertaining acts on SmackDown of late. Their chemistry clicks. They feel like genuine friends on the stage, two delusional scoundrels who believe the world is against them.
As Wrestleview.com pointed out, the San Diego fans ate up the "Rusev Day" routine:
It's not a complicated addition to their characters. Rusev and English simply believe each and every day is Rusev Day and demand that we all celebrate it.
We saw another glimpse of their comic timing in a backstage interview following their win on Tuesday:
In the vein of surprise hits like Chris Jericho's list, this shtick is working. It's funny and has caught on quickly.
That shouldn't shock anyone. The Bulgarian Brute has overachieved with pedestrian material before.
As Kyle Fowle of Real Sport wrote: "It really is incredible how Rusev can run with literally every single terrible angle he's given."
SmackDown showcasing Rusev and English of late is the right move. They would make intriguing champs, entertaining rivals opposite The New Day or, at the very least, fresh faces in the title chase.
Their match against The New Day in San Diego was one of the night's better contests.
Rusev provided the muscle as the physical backbone of the team. English's character work before and after the opening bell stood out. He's an over-the-top egotist with a love for song and SmackDown's answer to Elias.
And now they will bring their buzz to Clash of Champions and make the title contest more fun than it would have been without them.
Suddenly, things are looking up for the SmackDown tag team scene in 2018 even with The Colons and The Ascension becoming non-factors and The Hype Bros and American Alpha both parting ways.
The Bludgeon Brothers have looked like championship material thus far. Gable and Benjamin add an athletic, engaging team. And now The Lion of Bulgaria and his singing sidekick are making things much more interesting.
It's easy to look forward to what those two villains will do at Clash of Champions and beyond.