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SK Exclusive: The Real Reason Why Rusev Wasn't On SmackDown LIVE

Rusev did not appear as planned on SmackDown LIVE this week. We reveal why.

Rusev could be destined for big things on SmackDown LIVE

What's the story?

As revealed on The Dirty Sheets Podcast via our "DS Breaking News" show, Rusev did not appear on SmackDown LIVE this Tuesday as initially advertised because the WWE are undecided about how to use him. You can listen to the podcast by just clicking on the following Soundcloud link.

In case you didn't know... 

Rusev was advertised to appear on the May 16, 2017, episode of SmackDown LIVE to confront Shane McMahon about receiving a WWE Championship match at Money in the Bank. However, the Bulgarian Brute, who was drafted to SmackDown LIVE from Raw in the Superstar Shake-up, failed to appear on television. 

The heart of the matter 

As things stand, the WWE aren't sure about what Rusev will be doing at Money in the Bank. Initially, SmackDown head writer Ryan Ward had proposed an idea for Rusev to win the Money in the Bank contract, which was agreed upon. However, there was a change of plans that resulted in the former United States Champion being pencilled in to challenge for the WWE Championship at the show instead. 

As things stand, Rusev is still set to challenge for the WWE Championship despite the fact that he remains Ward's first choice to win the prestigious briefcase as he outlined in a booking meeting earlier this week. In Ward’s proposed scenario, Shane McMahon would refuse Rusev’s demand for a title shot and place the Bulgarian in the Money in the Bank ladder match instead. 

Therefore, the WWE has decided to postpone the confrontation between Rusev and Shane till they can settle on a creative direction. 

Also read: WWE officials very unhappy with Rusev over haircut

What's next?

Randy Orton will defend his WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal this Sunday. The Viper is pencilled in to retain his title and then face and defeat Rusev at Money in the Bank - that is unless the WWE opt to re-visit their plans to have Rusev capture the Money in the Bank briefcase.

Author's take

The Rusev gimmick does need freshening up and having the Money in the Bank would certainly do that. However, the WWE should make sure that they don’t flip-flop their main title too much. 

Nakamura, AJ Styles and Baron Corbin are all destined to hold the belt at some point in the near future; therefore, it is likely that Rusev will count the lights at Money in the Bank.

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