This Thursday, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, is WWE’s latest big show in Saudi Arabia, Super ShowDown 2020. The show features Goldberg in one of several title matches, a cage match between Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin, and one of those random gimmick matches that every Saudi show has so they can award a trophy to somebody.
In this case it’s the Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match which was initially announced as including AJ Styles, Andrade, Bobby Lashley, Erick Rowan, R-Truth, and Rusev. However, if you watched Raw last night, you may have noticed that Rey Mysterio has replaced Rusev in the match, even though the graphic they showed onscreen still featured Rusev’s face. So what’s going on with Rusev? This comes after months of rumors of WWE being unable to persuade him to sign a new contract, even though his real-life wife Lana (now kayfabe married to Bobby Lashley) has already re-signed.
The initial report from Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio was that Rusev’s official reason for not going to Super ShowDown is an injury, but also that Rusev “essentially backed out of the show.”
However, PWInsider says that Rusev was pulled from the show because he still hasn’t signed a new contract. Presumably he’s being denied the Saudi Arabia paycheck as a way of pressuring him to sign, but considering how things went last time…
At this point and time We need all the prayers… brother.
— Miro (@RusevBUL) November 1, 2019
…I’m not so sure how persuasive that’s going to be. It’s also worth noting that this isn’t the first time Rusev was pulled from a match in Saudi Arabia. However, he was re-inserted into his Casket Match against the Undertaker at the Greatest Royal Rumble, after briefly being replaced by Chris Jericho, someone Rusev might possibly share a ring with before too long.
Either way, we’ll see if Rusev reappears on TV after Super ShowDown, or if he’s fully in the doghouse until he re-signs or his contract ends.