After a lacklustre 2015, Rusev was in desperate need of a re-boot in 2016. By WWE rekindling his on-screen romance with Lana and having him win his second United States Championship from Kalisto, everything has begun to look back on track for the Bulgarian Brute.
John Cena was rumoured to be his next challenger, but after AJ Styles' surprise heel turn and the appearance of Titus O’Neil after his match on Raw against Zack Ryder, it is evident that is highly unlikely to happen.
O’Neil is an out of the box selection and you would expect Rusev to go over in this feud. This begs the question of what is next for the superior athlete?
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On July 19th SmackDown is going live and will have its own unique writing team, roster and even potentially championships.
Rusev would be an excellent superstar to head up SmackDown’s mid card division… but not as the United States champion.
The European Championship was unified with the Intercontinental Championship in 2002 and became defunct after only a five-year tenure. Rusev would be the perfect guy to re-introduce the championship as his gimmick is highly reliant on his Bulgarian roots.
WWE even teased glimpses of this, when Rusev was claiming on Raw to be the best in America on Memorial Day of all days.
The angle of him portraying Europe as better, or just Bulgaria being better than the United States, sets up matches with wrestlers who are virtually fighting for the pride of their nation.
The best way WWE could book the championship coming into play is having Rusev debuting the championship in one of the opening segments of the July 19th episode of SmackDown. WWE wouldn’t have to necessarily replace his current United States championship with the European title either.
Just prior to SmackDown’s re-boot Rusev should drop the US title to an up and comer like Apollo Crews. The shock victory would be excellent for developing both characters and then WWE could make the United States Championships exclusive to the Raw brand.
Rusev being drafted away from the title without getting an automatic rematch could have Lana promoting him as still a champion. Becoming overly jealous and Rusev constantly desiring to be a champion just makes sense and then gives him justification to debut and bring out the championship to begin his reign.
Obvious top European talent like Cesaro and Neville would make suitable contenders for the championship and be easy match-ups for WWE to book. Once the title gains some credibility then it can become open game for anybody, with Rusev still treating it like his most prized possession.
Should WWE bring back the European Championship and would Rusev be the perfect guy to lead the way on SmackDown? Have your say in the comments sections.