When WWE brought Rusev up from NXT last year they made a point to declare him a Russian sympathiser, along with his manager Lana. She did most of the talking while he just yelled in a foreign language. Of course, Rusev's really Bulgarian (with a rather noticeable tattoo from his homeland on his arm), but WWE turned him into a Russian due to all of the negative attention that the old Cold War enemy and in particular President Vladimir Putin was getting in the news. Now that Rusev has seemingly split from Lana on screen, it appears as though WWE is going in a different direction with the the "Bulgarian Brute." A new entrance video was released for Rusev that was posted on WWE.com where all references to Russia are removed. The entrance song remains exactly the same and there are still highlights of him beating people up on it, but ho more Russian flags or symbols. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4YWhhWJasA How will WWE address this on Raw Monday? That we don't know. The best thing they can probably do is have Rusev come out to cut a promo to say that it was Lana that made him move to Russia, but now that she's gone he's going to go back to representing the country that he's from: Bulgaria. Since Bulgaria is a fairly small country that really isn't in the news a lot, WWE likely won't be dropping the Bulgarian flag down from the ring or pushing that as a way to get heat. It will just be about Rusev the character being booked like a heel. For those of us that thought maybe Lana was just teasing a face turn and going back to Rusev in a month or two, this might mean that they will go their separate ways and the move is a permanent. It's hard to really know for sure although since Lana is dating Rusev in real life it wouldn't be a surprise to see them together at some point.
John wrote at WhatCulture from December 2013 to December 2015. It was fun, but it's over for now. Follow him on Twitter @johnreport. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments as well.