Some fans are upset that Rusev went from a championship bout at ‘Extreme Rules’ to the ‘SummerSlam’ curtain-jerker match.
The SummerSlam kickoff show aired live on the WWE Network. Including the pre-show, this year’s WWE SummerSlam features a 13-match card, and the entire event is expected to go at least seven hours. While some fans feel a bit overwhelmed by the length of the WWE pay-per-view, others are thrilled that they get such a large amount of live action in one setting.
The SummerSlam pre-show started with Rusev and Lana squaring off against Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega in a mixed tag team match. Prior to the contest, “The Ravishing Russian” and “The Bulgarian Brute” were shown backstage, telling Aiden English to stay behind because this was their time to shine on “Lana and Rusev Day.” It appears that a storyline is starting to form that will eventually split the threesome up, though the WWE often teases storylines with no follow-through, so only time will tell.
Rusev and Almas started the match out, and as expected, the two talented athletes had a solid showing. In a humorous moment at the beginning of the bout, “Cien” ran the ropes to do his patented lazy-man pose, but this time Vega joined in. Andrade used classic chain moves and locked “The Bulgarian Brute” in an armbar in the ropes for nearly a full five-count. Annoyingly, the match was then disturbed by a WWE commercial for the very event fans are currently watching, SummerSlam.
Rusev attempted a tag, but Vega yanked Lana off of the apron to prevent it. Andrade delivered a running double knee followed by a reverse tornado DDT. Almas perched himself on the top rope to deliver another double knee, and “The Bulgarian Brute” blocked it by sending “Cien” flying to the ringside floor. Rusev then made the hot tag to “The Ravishing Russian.”
Lana broke into the wrestling business just five years ago, and her in-ring career started in 2016. Considering that she has only been featured in a few matches since her in-ring wrestling debut, Lana was very impressive during her SummerSlam match. She didn’t do anything too fancy, but the moves that she did deliver looked solid.
After delivering a bulldog and performing a Lanarooni, “The Ravishing Russian” slammed her opponent and delivered a sharp kick to Vega’s face. For the finish, Andrade distracted Lana, and Zelina rolled her up and illegally used the ropes to secure the three-count. The winners of the first SummerSlam pre-show match were Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega.
This was an entertaining match and a decent way to get the crowd warmed up. The only troubling thing is how the WWE is positioning Rusev. Just last month, at Extreme Rules, “The Bulgarian Brute” squared off against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. Now, he’s in the curtain-jerker spot at SummerSlam. To be fair, numerous popular WWE superstars aren’t on the card at all, including Sasha Banks, Bayley, Bobby Roode, and Bobby Lashley.
Rusev being featured on the preshow may be a much better position than other wrestlers, however, it remains a bit disappointing to fans to see the WWE push Rusev all the way to a championship contest, and then for nothing to come of it afterward, except for an opening spot on SummerSlam.
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