All eyes are on major promotions like AEW and IMPACT to sign Rusev after his WWE exit, but what if he shocks us all by planting his feet on NWA soil?
Last month, Rusev was one of several then-WWE Superstars who suddenly became ex WWE Superstars thanks to a bevy of releases and furloughs across the company that affected wrestlers and producers on staff alike.
Many of us are already speculating where the former United States Champion could wind up next, with AEW being the more obvious choice. A NJPW run is another, while a run through the independent circuit sounds just as interesting. But what about a run in NWA?
In a new interview with Andrew Thompson over at POST Wrestling, NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis suggested that the Bulgarian Brute would be perfect for the National Wrestling Alliance’s roster.
Realistically, Aldis admitted he didn’t expect Rusev to be a free agent for long – said Rusev would be “at the top of my list” if he was AEW and had the resources to pay for him, and even speculated a WWE return sooner rather than later – but pontificated “If we could get him at the NWA, even for a short period run, it would be huge.”
Huge indeed. And oddly enough, perfect.
NWA, with its grass roots running deep through rich histories encased with the likes of Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes on their totem pole, has presented itself as an old school throwback for fans of old school wrestling.
His earliest days in WWE pegged Rusev as a throwback of sorts. Encompassing the classic invader archetype with Lana as his translator, there are obvious parallels to Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, but also less obvious parallels to other wrestlers who picked up the heel foreigner schtick.
The biggest who comes to mind is Nikita Koloff, another competitor billed from Russia back in the 80’s. Much like Rusev, Koloff stomped his way through the roster as “The Russian Nightmare” as a top heel and United States Champion before becoming popular and beloved enough to justify a babyface turn.
Much like how audiences fell in love with Koloff with ease back in the day, the same fate could come to Rusev. Plus, fans could gain even more respect for Rusev for choosing an equally underseen and underrated NWA to come to rather than a massively popular AEW.
Wherever he goes to next, Rusev is going to be massively over and we are all already anxiously awaiting to tune in to Rusev’s next stop, but a run in NWA just sounds too enticing to pass up on.