This Sunday, Jack Swagger meets Rusev in a battle of “The Real American” against “The Bulgarian Brute”. Don’t let the nickname fool you though, he’s fighting in honor of Russia.
A short month ago, Jack Swagger was a heel at the bottom of the card. He played the role of an afterthought in the titular match of the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. The night after that PPV, everything changed.
Rusev was in the ring with Lana, as she ran down America, and all of the failures it presented to Rusev in hopes of taking out the Bulgarian Brute. That is when Swagger and Zeb Colter interrupted, sparking one of WWE’s quickest and greatest face turns ever.
Zeb defended America and verbally attacked Rusev and Lana, forcing Rusev to try and attack Swagger, but Swagger was able to stand tall over Rusev. That is the formula that they have followed up with for the past couple of weeks, and it has built one of the hottest feuds going right now.
The biggest unknown though has nothing to do with WWE. It has to do with Flight MH17, which was shot down on Thursday. This is not the place to discuss this tragedy, however Russia’s involvement leaves a lot of questions about the direction of Rusev and Lana. Those questions will begin to be answered when a winner is declared in this match.
Without further ado, here are the predictions from Michael Dunlap, Lance Augustine, Jordan Campbell, Marcus Hagness, Matt Perri, Benjamin Raven, and myself, Mike Smith. Be sure to give us your predictions in the comment section below.
Michael’s Take: USA! USA! For the first time in years, Swagger seems to be relevant again. The crowd is behind him and I’ve always been a fan of his in-ring work. He’ll get his mouth busted open (as he always does) and he’ll go over clean.
Lance’s Take: Swagger has turned into a babyface over night, and the fans are actually behind him. Both guys have great mouthpieces in Lana and Coulter, and they have added a lot to the feud. With the recent tragic events of this week, I can see a Swagger win here to boost him and add to his face turn.
Jordan’s Take: It will be interesting to see what happens to Rusev’s character in light of recent world events. WWE was onto something when they had Swagger and Zeb Colter turn face and confront Rusev and Lana. WWE should continue that momentum with Swagger getting the win over Rusev this Sunday. The win by Swagger should also be the first step in the alteration of Rusev’s character.
Marcus’ Take: I really want to pick Swagger in this match more than I am proud of. Why WWE hasn’t made the right hand over your heart t-shirt available yet is beyond me, but I don’t think they want to settle Rusev’s steam just yet. I see Swagger giving Rusev his best match to date as he is the best in-ring worker he’s matched up with so far. Lana and Zeb on the outside of the ring gives this match possibilities for a screwy finish that leaves the door open for a re-match. I will predict Rusev wins by submission but taps out to the Patriot Lock with the referee knocked out.
Matt’s Take: In light of the recent downing of MH17 in Ukraine, I have a feeling that Swagger wins the match. If he doesn’t, I have a feeling that Lana will, at the very least, tone down the swooning over Vladimir Putin. I can’t imagine the match going any other way. They’re not going to do a no-contest a PPV event.
Benjamin’s Take: Will Rusev’s dominance continue, or will face Jack Swagger get a semi-push? This, like with Big E, has the chance to make Rusev look even more formidable. Umaga 2.0 is on a roll and he’s not about to get derailed by Swagger on the midcard at a non-Big Four PPV.
Rusev wins in a solid match that shows off both big men’s skill set.
Mike’s Take: Wednesday, I would’ve told you Rusev would easily win this match. Now, after the events of Thursday with Flight MH17, I think Swagger has a shot. Still, I think WWE stays the course with Rusev and Lana, albeit while toning down the act a little bit. I still think Swagger taps out to end this one.