Rusev Day is over. The gimmick that came from out of nowhere has taken the WWE Universe by storm. That kind of magic is rare so when it happens, fans from all walks of life can appreciate it. They cheer it, they chant it and they can’t get enough of it.
But in this modern era of pro wrestling, what does it truly mean to get over? At first glance it does seem that all a guy needs is a trendy catchphrase to set the world on fire and suddenly he’s thrust into the main event scene.
After all, where would Stone Cold Steve Austin be without “Austin 3:16?” Would The Rock have become The Rock without “If you smell what The Rock is cooking?” How could Daniel Bryan have beaten the odds without the Yes Movement?
History may very well be repeating itself. WWE may have a new headliner on its hands, a rejuvenated Superstar who’s ready for his day in the sun. Is Rusev taking his first steps on a year-long road that could lead him to world title immortality at WrestleMania 35?
Is that really what’s happening? Rusev’s WWE career began in 2010 and during the past eight years, he’s been the heel that fans love to hate. He’s big, he’s scary and he’s ferocious. Rusev is everything a monster villain should be and much more.
Rusev is easy to hate. He has no redeeming qualities as a heel; he’s merciless, vile, and he never does the right thing. He spewed venom at America and everyone that stood up for the red, white and blue. All Rusev wants to do is crush and he usually always crushes the guys that fans love.
He did his job and he did it very well. WWE pointed him at its top babyfaces and Rusev wreaked havoc on all of them. Vince McMahon loves the big mean antagonists and Rusev definitely fit the bill. What more could anyone ask for in a heel?
But somewhere along the way, Rusev fell into a rut. Fans were no longer impressed. They were complacent. He was still big, still mean and still scary. But he was also treading water. It’s not as if the crowd didn’t appreciate him anymore; they just didn’t seem to care.
However the Rusev Day gimmick has changed all of that. Suddenly all of the potential that fans saw in him from day one has once again manifested itself. Rusev is a heel but he’s become a favorite for many that believe he deserves to finally get a shot at the top. But would it work?
Fans saw something of themselves in Daniel Bryan’s character. He shouldn’t have a chance. Life had beaten him down so many times, how could he ever hope to rise up? Why did he keep fighting? It was obvious that WWE didn’t want him on top, so why should he even try?
But every time fans looked into Bryan’s eyes, they saw it. They saw him. Bryan was special and everyone knew it. Behind his calm demeanor was a man that was raging to succeed. He knew what he could do and he knew how good he was in the ring. He would not be denied and fans could see that. They lived through him and without their support; he never would have made it.
The Peoples Champion was hated from the start. The Rock was a smiling babyface that wanted approval but did not get it until he turned against the fans. Rock made them love him because of his natural charisma and he kept them interested because of his unpredictability.
He was good in the ring and better on the mic. Rock was a star and every time he was on camera, he chewed up the scenery. The Rock was on the road to big things and the fans knew it. He exuded an air of confidence that only the truly great talents share. Rocky was an entertainer. He was born for the bright lights and no one worked harder to get to the top than he did.
Steve Austin became Stone Cold thanks to the 3:16 promo. He grabbed the fans’ attention and he never let it go. He struck at just the right time and gave the crowd the kind of hero they had not seen since Dusty Rhodes. Austin was a man’s man and he captivated the crowd with every word and every match. He was real. He was believable. Like The Rock and Daniel Bryan, Stone Cold was inspiring.
When was the last time Rusev inspired the crowd? When fans look at The Bulgarian Brute character, do they see greatness? As he’s flanked by Lana and her phony accent, does Rusev come across like the real deal? At what point did Rusev’s job as the big nasty heel suddenly morph into that of the wildly popular Superstar on the verge of big things? Is Rusev Day truly that monumental?
Or is the crowd just enjoying the gimmick? Maybe Rusev is getting over because its fun to chant for him. The fans that toss beach balls around during the show are the same ones that randomly chant nonsense during matches. They cheer heels, boo babyfaces and often try to take over the show.
So if Rusev is indeed put to the test and given the platform to prove himself, will fans go along for the ride? Will they support him the way they did with Austin? The Rock? Daniel Bryan? Is it possible that Rusev is over only by today’s standards? Could it be that’s actually good enough?
Rusev is selling merchandise and that’s a good thing. He’s becoming more valuable to WWE. Rusev the man had done more than enough to succeed. He put the work in. He shared the ring with the best and he held his own. Every time he’s had the chance to impress, he’s done it.
After eight years maybe this is the best time to see if he really can connect. Maybe he is more than just a catchphrase. Maybe it truly is Rusev Day after all.
The Good, Bad and Ugly: Pre WWE Elimination Chamber 2019
Is WWE Elimination Chamber shaping up to be Good, Bad, or Ugly?
Bobby gives us the Good, Bad and Ugly of how Elimination Chamber looks on paper!
WrestleMania is obviously the big show coming up but we have a couple of pit stops along the way. This pit stop is a Good one though. We have potential for a lot of changes, a lot of memories and a lot of action in a jam packed Pay Per View! Let’s find out if the layout is looking Good, Bad or Ugly?
WWE Title Elimination Chamber Match– Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe
Like all Elimination Chambers of the past, we have a lot going on here in this one. The Chamber itself will lend a hand in this ultra-violent, insane battle for a prestigious Championship. The participants are also bred for action, as all of them have been in crazy matches almost their whole respective careers. How do you make it even better than it already could have been? You add Kofi Kingston after he had a freak of a showing on this week’s SmackDown. This match is going to be non-stop and deliver even to the most outlandish fan. I expect nothing but Good, in fact, Great things here, and a hell of an effort. However it will be Daniel Bryan retaining his New Title! I also expect to see the return of a certain “creepy, kooky family” and I don’t mean Gomez. Follow the buzzards because this match is going to kill it!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match– Nia Jax & Tamina vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Carmella & Naomi vs. The Riott Squad vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville vs. The IIconics
Like the WWE Title Match, this match has the advantage of being in an Elimination Chamber almost guaranteeing success. It will be entertaining and full of action. The talent here is 50/50. Some Good, some Bad, and even some Ugly, however we will see an abundance of Good here as the teams will need to show off, and put the WWE Crew on notice. These teams have a lot to prove in this historic match. They will show up and they will beat the hell out of each other until only 1 survives, and it will be Good. It has to be Good. The whole world is watching. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville Win!
WWE Raw Women’s Title Match– “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (C) vs. Ruby Riott
Ruby Riott is dangerously underused but this match is to act sort of as a remedy to that. Riott and her girls bring a ton of entertainment value and the in ring work isn’t disappointing either. This is Ruby Riott’s biggest match so far in her career and puts her center stage against one of the most watched athletes of any sport, Ronda Rousey. With a talent like Ruby Riott, Rousey should be able to keep it together and have a Good, concise match. Hopefully Riott can control her. Rousey Retains!
WWE Intercontinental Title Handicap Match– Bobby Lashley (C) w/ Lio Rush vs. Finn Balor
Both guys are rocking out lately. Finn Balor never loses a step and always delivered. He simply is one of the best. Everything he does gets the audience amped up and he constantly outdoes himself putting it all on the line. Lashley since having Lio Rush has been very impressive. Not having the pressure of promo’s and being able to just be this freak of nature has suited him well. Not to mention Lio Rush being actively working and being a huge part of the match will benefit the whole thing. The Man of the Hour is supremely talented and can move around like no other. With Lio Rush, Lashley certainly deserves his current run and dominance. Even with Lio Rush in the ring, Finn Balor will shock the world and win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
WWE Cruiserweight Title Match– Buddy Murphy (C) vs. Akira Tozawa
Another 205 Live match with two underappreciated, great high flyers. Buddy Murphy’s unorthodox style is an acquired taste but a Good one. And athough Tozawa has become a comedic character he can certainly move around the ring artfully. It will be a solid match but will not leave any more of an impression than 205 Live ever does. Most just don’t seem to care. Buddy Murphy Retains!
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Title Match– The Miz & Shane McMahon (C) vs. The Usos
As Good as the Usos are, and as Good as Shane and Miz are, this match isn’t very exciting. The buildup, the gimmicks and stories are all really unnecessary. McMiz is obliviously horrible. Shane McMahon is an incredible athlete and a genius. He has had some of the craziest matches and high spots as any legend. The Miz, one of the best and most underappreciated figures in sports entertainment. The Usos are straight legends. So why should we be skeptical? The chances of botched, awkward spots will be aplenty and the match already is pointless. There are chances for serious injuries to all and a ton of potential for failure. McMiz will win but that is the biggest loss of the night. So many other teams could have a shot but McMiz with the belts is an unforgivable waste.
Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman
Before this gets Ugly, Baron Corbin has been a lot better as of late. He has improved immensely both on the mic and in the ring. He has been working hard and getting a lot of tv time to show for it. Strowman always is a major presence anytime he is on camera but has been horrible lately. This could be a very ugly, hard to watch match and we will all hope and pray for a quick squash to give more time to some other more deserving matches.
- GOOD- 6
- BAD- 1
- UGLY- 1
All signs point to Good. This show looks like it has some big time spots ahead and a lot of potential changes to occur. No matter the outcomes we can all expect it to be a Good, entertaining pay per view. Can Elimination Chamber deliver or will it be an Ugly shame? We will all be watching Sunday Night where all of our questions will be answered. Enjoy the show!
Vitalli: Pro Wrestling Is For Everybody. Kind Of…
Is pro wrestling for everyone? There are two sides to the argument, and this is the side most aren’t qualified to share.
The generational fight for pro wrestling continues, but this time you get the view from the talent side thanks to Dom Vitalli!
Wrestling is for everybody. You see and hear it all the time. Sounds cool to say and looks great on a t-shirt, but what happens if we really break down such a broad statement? What if, something that has become common place, particularly out there in the indie scene, creates more harm than good? There are two viewpoints one must consider when encountering this statement; the fan’s and the wrestler’s.
For the fan, I think this term is nearly flawless. Anyone, from any socioeconomic background, can enjoy professional wrestling, especially with the variety available out there in today’s market. In general, wrestling fans are quite welcoming to newbies, aside from the internet or course! Die hard wresting fans have a very unique way to make brand new fans feel at home and a part of something special. On the other hand, we also need to consider that not everyone loves this as much as we do. To this day, I’m sure we all hear every now and then, “you still watch that stuff”? No matter how great wrestling can be, how exciting/entertaining it is, or how much it plays on our heartstrings, there will always be those that just do not get it. Those people, wrestling is surely not for.
So what about the wrestlers? Surely pro wrestling is all-inclusive and should be open to anyone and everyone, right? Wrong! Now when I say that, I don’t mean that from it’s broadest perspective. Of course it should be open to wrestlers of all color, race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on. What I’m referring to is, just because you love professional wrestling, doesn’t mean you get to be a part of this. For years I have heard the argument from so many people that have snuck into our locker rooms that they deserved to be there because they’ve, “been a fan for X amount of years” or “am more passionate about this than anything else”. That’s all fine and well, but those are just claims any and everyone can make. Then what?
Somewhere along the line, the barriers to entry to pro wrestling became a bit too lax. If you ask me, it’s because policing a dressing room is now looked down upon as a form of “bullying” from a much more sensitive generation. We are still on the tail-end of the last generation of guys that had to fight, scratch, claw, and nearly sell a vital organ just to be considered to enter this amazing business. Forgive us if we don’t take too kindly to those that get in on east street. Also consider, the talent pool has been completely watered down due to this epidemic. This generation has a tremendous amount of guys and gals with amazing talent and natural ability. Far more than years past. It also has a gigantic surplus of people that call themselves wrestlers that really have no business being inside of a wrestling ring, let alone on our side of the rail. These folks are put on low-level, castaway shows due to them “being a nice guy” or “deserving a shot” completely unrelated to any of their ability of lack thereof. For every Shane Strickland’ there are 100 Shitty McBackyard’s. To me, safety needs to be the top priority for all wrestlers. The more lax we get on who we allow on our stage, the more we put our bodies, our livelihood, at risk.
The fans are the fortunate ones here. There is a wrestling show out there for all of you. Something that will strike a cord within and put a smile on your face while you get lost in the moment. As for the wrestlers, remember that what you do is not easy. If done right, it takes years of hard-work, sacrifice, and training to attain. It is okay to be protective of what you hold so dear. Just remember this; everyone wants to get into the nightclub known to be the most difficult to get into. The nightclub that let’s anyone in is almost always the backup plan or last resort with the shittiest clientele. Wrestling should ALWAYS be the hottest nightclub in town.
Dom Vitalli has two decades of experience in a professional wrestling ring, and has grown to be one of the most renown trainers in the state of Arizona.