Coming out of SummerSlam, the WWE Universe figured the company has something against WWE Superstar Rusev. Failing to beat John Cena at the Battleground pay-per-view, Rusev was placed into a program with Randy Orton. On the SmackDown Live shows leading up to SummerSlam Rusev was able to manage some offense but was often left for laying at the hands of an RKO. It seemed clear going in that Orton would leave the Biggest Party Of The Summer having gotten the best of Bulgarian Brute, but rumors were that Rusev could come out the surprising victor.
Not only did Orton win, he won in a mere nine seconds. This loss continued Rusev’s losing pay-per-view streak since defeating Zack Ryder at Battleground in July of 2016, and it has sparked speculation Rusev is either on the outs or due for a change and that his WWE future was uncertain.
In the latest issue of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required), Dave Meltzer reported that the quick loss was less about Rusev and more about Randy Orton, who the WWE felt needed a decisive win to get back in the main event picture. With that in mind, this nine-second confrontation is just the beginning of a feud that will kick off between "The Viper" and the monster from Bulgaria. The idea is that the first match was a fluke and that Rusev will have a lot to say about being embarrassed on upcoming episodes of SmackDown Live.
So far, this has not been the case, and the WWE didn’t have either Orton or Rusev appear on the program this past Tuesday night, but that could be because of the number of debuts that took place after SummerSlam.
Meltzer tried to make it clear that for fans who believe Rusev is getting the shaft, (which many believe he is) the SummerSlam booking call wasn’t really “anti-Rusev” but rather “a major pro-Orton decision.”