WWE SmackDown 5 Takeaways: AJ Styles Has the Right Face Role

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1. Rusev Could Become a Big Winner of the Shakeup

Out of all the superstars who switched brands over the past two days, nobody stands to benefit the most from the “Superstar Shakeup” than Rusev. The “Bulgarian Brute” will no longer have his wife Lana as a manager, but they haven’t been completely separated. In any case, “The Bulgarian George Clooney” is more than capable of holding his own on the mic, and the athletic beast’s work in the ring has rarely been called into question.

By the time SummerSlam rolls around, I hope we talk about Rusev as someone who saw a career resurgence as a result of the switch to SmackDown. Rusev received a pretty nice pop from the crowd when the move was announced, and he’s become a more likable character, perhaps because his program with Enzo and Cass actually made him more sympathetic.

Rusev played the role of the foreign heel quite well, but that trope is beneath him. He’s a witty superstar who came up with more memorable lines than Enzo Amore did during their feud, and that’s saying something. I hope SmackDown does something with him as a mid-carder instead of wasting his talent even further, but the fact that he and Jinder Mahal are on the same brand gives me some trepidation.

Next: Which Brand Won The Superstar Shakeup?

In either case, it was nice to hear him get a pop, I’m glad Lana is getting a chance to be a wrestler, and I hope SmackDown makes the “bold” move to turn one of the company’s most misused talents into a babyface. The tide of the WWE universe is turning in Rusev’s favor, and a post-injury appearance on a new brand is the right forum for that kind of a character switch.