Before Miro joined AEW, he was “Rusev” in WWE. And before the promotion heartlessly released him at the start of the pandemic, he was involved in a terrible storyline.
Every time I think about Miro’s run in WWE as Rusev, I feel two emotions. Firstly, I feel a little nostalgic, because he had one hell of a babyface run and got so many things over, most namely the chant/catchphrase “Rusev Day”.
But I also feel a little upset as a wrestling fan, since Vince McMahon basically did whatever he could to undermine Rusev’s organic popularity with us as a fanbase. Rusev worked hard to get over and shed the stereotypical, anti-American heel gimmicks that the Chairman and CEO saddled him with.
Now, Miro, as he is known in AEW, is about to do bigger and better things with the newest major wrestling promotion.
Reflecting on his time in WWE, Miro had an interesting quote on Talk is Jericho about his final big storyline in WWE. I won’t rehash it, because it’s too annoying to rehash it. Instead, I’ll simply say “Rusev, Bobby Lashley, Lana, and Liv Morgan”, and you’ll know what it’s about.
Paul Heyman said that Miro was headed for the main event of WWE WrestleMania
Miro spoke about his conversation with Paul Heyman, who was responsible for Raw’s creative at the time. Heyman told him that the payoff for this often-embarrassing storyline was the main event of WrestleMania.
"“And I left and I stayed home for three or four months and I think Paul Heyman called us with that story, and I was like, ‘Where is it leading?’ Of course because this is my first question. Cool, it’s not my favorite story but where is it leading? ‘Main event of WrestleMania. One of the main events of WrestleMania.’ When you hear that, what are you gonna say? There’s plans and this is September, October, whatever it was so it’s a few months planned and it’s very realistic. Cool, I jumped on board and I knew it was a red flag since the beginning.”"
My first thought after reading this quote was, “Yeah, right.”
I mean, who the heck saw this Rusev, Lashley, and Lana love triangle storyline as being a main event of WrestleMania match. There was no title on the line, and at the time, we had a feeling the main event would involve one of these wrestlers: Brock Lesnar, Sasha Banks, Roman Reigns, the Fiend, Drew McIntyre, Becky Lynch, the Undertaker, or another part-timer like John Cena or Goldberg.
There was no way WWE had a long-term plan for that storyline
Those were the reasonable selections, not this feud, which was solely done for shock value to grab the ratings.
Meaning, there was never a long-term plan for this storyline. Heyman and WWE were probably just stringing everyone involved in the storyline along, telling them that the additional eyes on the segments would help their careers.
It did nothing of the sort. Though Lashley, Lana, Liv, and Miro are all doing better now in different, better-suiting roles. Miro is in AEW, Lashley is the United States Champion with the Hurt Business, Lana is getting a babyface push (apparently), and Liv is back with Ruby Riott.
But the main event of WrestleMania? That was never, ever going to happen. I’m not sure what Heyman was selling there.