by: Mitch Nickelson
Everybody’s favorite Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, made waves with his appearance at last night’s Battleground event. Well, Rusev didn’t necessary make the waves, but rather his manager, Lana. The Ravishing Russian defended the Motherland and said that Russia was not to blame for “current events.” She also dedicated Rusev’s match to the man who makes fools out all of us Americans, Vladimir Putin.
All of this pro-Russian sentiment by Rusev and Lana has been going on for months. It’s made Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter into American heroes and is one of the best things going for WWE right now. But as far as last night’s shenanigans were concerned, many major news outlets were not so impressed. New York Daily News, The Washington Post, and the UK Daily Mail were just a few of the myriad of news outlets that blasted the WWE. Many consider the “current events” comment to be a tasteless reference to the commercial airliner that was shot out of the sky in Ukraine last week. Almost 300 people died from the incident. Did WWE go too far this time? The WWE issued this response…
“Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than 3 months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended.”
Personally, I didn’t find the antics to be that worthy of all this backlash. They did push boundaries and no matter what WWE corporate is saying now, the remarks that Lana said yesterday were received by the audience as a reference to the downed plane. WWE knew that full and well before she said it. But the subtle reference addressed the real-life international tensions with Russia, something that would be a gigantic elephant in the room if they didn’t. And if Americans (and the rest of the international community) are actually ticked off with Putin’s country, I’m all for having a TV villain that our anger can be directed at. The WWE Universe has loved chanting for the “Real American” Jack Swagger. Let Rusev be the Putin-punching bag and the chants of “U.S.A.” will only get louder.
Let’s go Swagger. Let’s go America. And kudos to Rusev and Lana… those two helped stoked the fires of patriotism.
Follow me on twitter @MitchNickelson. Want more Mitch? Head on over to TJRWrestling.com and read my brand spankin’ new article about all of the goofy gimmicks that Damien Sandow has been doing. I find him hilarious, but his lack of competitive direction boggles my mind. Thanks for reading. Share and comment if you feel like it.