Being the Filthy Hipster Internet Smarks we are, the gang here at With Spandex is firmly on board the Rusev hype train. Unfortunately, the train’s only destination is a Siberian work camp, but that’s beside the point. Sure, the guy is kind of a jerk to flags, but he’s loyal to his country, he has an awesome friend, and his wrestling style revolves around sheer power. He’s basically the Superman: Red Son version of Hulk Hogan. There was a Lana in that story, too!
The point is that he’s a foreigner, and in the world of wrestling, foreigner equals BOO THIS MAN. Shouldn’t there be some nuance to all this? Designated Voice of Reason Jim Ross certainly thinks so. Here’s an excerpt from his blog yesterday:
It’s interesting as to why WWE apparently feels Rusev should be booed….apparently only because he’s Russian. The powerhouse rarely cheats, is a patriot to his native land, is a beast, isn’t a coward, and has not lost via pin or submission. What is there among those items that I am supposed to dislike? The nationalistic storylines can still work but the “foreigner” still has to have heel tendencies and nuances.
A patriotic beast of high moral fiber… are we sure JR isn’t talking about the Estonian Thunderfrog here? But seriously, he hits the nail on the head. You can’t only play on latent xenophobic tendencies among WWE audiences, you have to find other things that Americans recoil at and roll it all into a big ball of evil. I personally think Rusev should start saying that he’s come to take our guns and cancel our Netflix. THAT would be a heel worth booing.