From the WWE Rumor Mill: Rusev added to US Title match because of strong merchandise sales
Why WWE made the decision to remove Rusev from the Andre the Giant Battle Royal
What's the story?
It seems that Rusev's popularity was indeed 'duly noted' as the reason why Rusev was added to the United States Title match at WrestleMania is because his merchandise sales have been so strong, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter
In case you didn't know...
Back when Rusev was given the keys to Bulgaria, declaring it to be Rusev Day, I don't think anyone could have foreseen how ridiculously over that declaration would make Rusev.
However, since then Rusev Day has been a prevalent chant in WWE shows and has even started filtering into non-WWE independent wrestling shows.
The heart of the matter
Dave Meltzer covers Rusev's addition to the match in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter and basically indicated that Rusev had earned his way into an actual match that wasn't the Andre the Giant Battle Royal.
The only other change is that the Rusev Day merchandise sales have led to Rusev being pulled from the Battle Royal and put into a four-way for the U.S. title, joining previously announced champion Randy Orton, and challengers Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal. This was set up on Smackdown in a tag team match where Mahal & Rusev beat Orton & Roode when Rusev pinned Roode.
Rusev being a competitor on the 'Mania card is sure to bring about a huge pop and chant from the audience so this is definitely a smart move from the WWE capitalizing on Rusev's popularity. Who knows, he may even win the title?
Well, I'd imagine Rusev Day calendars and t-shirts will continue to fly off of the WWE Store's shelves and that Rusev will get one of the biggest reactions of WrestleMania weekend. But, Roode, Mahal, and Orton all have good cases for leaving New Orleans as United States Champion.
I for one, am elated, that this year WrestleMania will be on Rusev Day and we might just get to see Rusev win the US Championship at the Grandest Stage of Them All.