WWE Raw hasn't been lighting the world on fire lately, and part of that can be attributed to how much television time has been devoted to the dreadful Bobby Lashley, Lana and Rusev storyline since it started.
Before resurfacing on Raw one night removed from the Clash of Champions pay-per-view, Rusev had been away from programming for over five months. While one could argue that this angle has given him newfound exposure he wasn't getting before, it has unfortunately come at the expense of his credibility.
Another common defense from fans regarding this horrid storyline is that it has helped Rusev reach a new level of popularity, which is far from the truth. In fact, he was already one of WWE's most over stars, and this storyline has only further proved that.
For a guy who went undefeated for a full year and was heavily protected upon debuting on the main roster, it's amazing how little regard WWE has had for Rusev recently.
Once he inevitably hit the roadblock that was John Cena, Rusev slowly slipped down the card and was put in a program similar to what he's a part of at the moment. The storyline saw him dump Lana, who then linked up with Dolph Ziggler, while Rusev found a new female manager in Summer Rae.
The entire angle was a complete waste of time and benefited no one. It ended abruptly once Rusev and Lana leaked their legitimate engagement online and they were reunited on WWE TV as a unit soon after.
With or without Lana, however, fans have always enjoyed Rusev because of how he always makes the most of whatever he's involved in, specifically whenever it's clear the company has no plans for him.
Despite moving him to SmackDown in mid-2017, WWE seemed to go out of their way to ruin any momentum he had by having him lose multiple matches to John Cena and Randy Orton. It was a result of those defeats that he took it upon himself to start something that he never knew would be as successful as it was: Rusev Day.
That throwaway line from Aiden English during a random bit on SmackDown that year led to Rusev scoring some of the loudest reaction he'd ever heard in his career. Typically, WWE waited way too long to capitalize on the phenomenon by turning him face, but it was fun while it lasted.
This storyline Rusev has going with Lashley and Lana is yet another example of the company attempting to humiliate him for essentially getting himself over. Those cheap tactics worked with Zack Ryder years ago, but the angle has oddly had the opposite effect on Rusev thus far.
As silly as it is for Rusev and Lana to tease getting divorced on the show, fans have played their part in reacting to The Bulgarian Brute like he's the biggest babyface in the world. Unfortunately, his deafening cheers have yet to lead to a renewed push for him or anything along those lines.
If nothing else, they simply serve as a reminder that Rusev has remained over in spite of the stupid storyline.
Nothing is set in store regarding Rusev's future with WWE. It's already been confirmed that Lana has re-signed for the next five years, but that doesn't necessarily mean he will be sticking around with her, especially if he has aspirations of actually being taken seriously as a singles star.
Perhaps the worst part about this ongoing love triangle is that there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. It will drag on and on until Rusev has been banned from every arena in the country because of the existing "restraining order" put in place by Lana.
Although WWE may not see him in such a light, Rusev is considered main event material by a majority of the WWE Universe if the raucous reactions he has received over the years are any indication. Whether he'll ever return to that level remains to be seen, but at least he and his hilariously dry humor can be counted on to bring the goods no matter what.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.