Opinion: Rusev desperately needs a face turn
Is there any one more popular and over with fans (with the exclusion of Daniel Bryan) than Rusev? Rusev is the second most popular star in WWE right now and his 'Rusev Day' gimmick is extremely over with the fans.
His merchandise sales have been off the charts and he generates better reactions than most babyfaces on the roster.
In spite of his overwhelming popularity, WWE refuses to portray him as a heroic figure on WWE programming. He's being portrayed as a monstrous heel these days. It's high time WWE realizes his true potential as a top babyface.
WWE had a golden opportunity to capitalize on Rusev's momentum and popularity at Extreme Rules by crowning him WWE champion, but they just let it slip. Rusev has always been a heel in WWE, his heel character has gotten stale and boring. Rusev will get lost in the shuffle on SmackDown Live if he remains a heel.
SmackDown Live has a total of 4 top-tier heels excluding Rusev. This list includes Samoa Joe, The Miz, Shinsuke Nakamura and the recently returning Randy Orton. The mid-card includes heels like Andrade 'Cien' Almas and The Bludgeon Brothers.
While the blue brand has a total of 3 top-tier babyfaces which include Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy. Jeff Hardy is currently dealing with a few injuries and has been written off TV.
That leaves SmackDown Live with only 2 top babyfaces. Given his popularity and gimmick, Rusev could add some considerable depth to the babyface side on the SmackDown Live roster.
The opportunities are countless for the Bulgarian Brute. He could win the United States championship from Shinsuke Nakamura at SummerSlam. He could try to put an end to Randy Orton's vicious mean-streak in a SummerSlam rematch from last year.
He could put over Andrade 'Cien' Almas. He could have another shot at the WWE Title as well after AJ Styles drops the title to someone like Samoa Joe.
Rusev is currently rumored to turn on Aiden English and feud with him. This would mean that he would remain a heel which just isn't working for The Bulgarian Brute right now.
Rusev has great potential as a babyface, his gimmick is extremely over with the fans, SmackDown Live needs a top babyface and the fans want to see Rusev in the big leagues. Turning him face right now is exactly what's best for business and Rusev himself.