As we trudge through the Fall, it’s very clear that things aren’t exactly the most interesting in the world right now in WWE. While I don’t think things are nearly as bad as some people say they are, this past week’s episode of “Monday Night Raw” really didn’t come off as the best shows ever. However, one moment got everyone’s attention and has been the talk of the show ever since: the Rock returning to confront Rusev and have a long segment talking to both Rusev and Lana. The segment woke up the crowd, but the majority of the responses seem to be that Rusev was buried in the segment. Were we watching the same show?
Let’s recap what happened in the segment. Lana and Rusev were out to yell about Big Show ripping down their flag last week and then called him out for a match. Big Show was banned from performing on Monday and therefore didn’t come out, so instead we got a replacement in the form of the Brahma Bull himself, the Rock.
As you would expect, Rock went into a long talk about everything he did that day, listing off every borough in New York City until he finally arrived in Brooklyn. Rock did his usual catchphrases, implied Lana was a prostitute, insulted Russian President Vladimir Putin, and wound up punching Rusev out to the floor before standing tall with his signature catchphrase and high fiving a bunch of fans and leaving.
Now based on that, you might be able to make a case for Rock being put over strongly in the segment. That being said, to call this a burial is as much of an exaggeration as it would be for me to say “Impact” is the worst wrestling show in history (it really isn’t that bad). Today we’re going to look at what it means to be buried and how what happened on Monday wasn’t a burial but rather something positive for Rusev’s career.
First let’s look at what it means to be buried. As a working definition, to be buried in wrestling terms means to have your character lose almost all of its value and plummet down the card due to a series of actions. That last part is important: due to a series of actions. It is very rare, if not downright impossible, for a wrestler to be buried in one night.
Often times wrestling fans seem to think equate a loss or being shown up with being buried. However, that simply isn’t true. The thing people forget is that in wrestling, there’s always next week. There’s always a chance for the person who lost to come back again the next week and destroy someone else to make up for what happened. Look at Rusev during his most recent feuds. More than once he was either laid out or sent running, only to come back and win the showdown matches. Yeah he was down early, but he wound up winning in the end (remember this, as we’ll be coming back to it).
On the other hand, let’s look at someone who actually was buried a few years ago: Long Island Iced Z, Zack Ryder. Riding a wave of grassroots support, Ryder rose up the card and went from a lowly mostly comedic heel to the United States Champion and the man people were chanting for when the Rock himself was standing in the ring. He was in a program with John Cena and was main eventing “Monday Night Raw”, standing next to Daniel Bryan and CM Punk in late 2011.
Now it’s 2014 and he’s been on “Monday Night Raw” seven times this year, losing to Rusev in four of those appearances in less than four minutes combined. So what happened? Let’s look back at what happened after Ryder won the US Title at “Tables Ladders and Chairs 2011.” Ryder went on to win his next four TV matches….and then lost the title to Jack Swagger on “Monday Night Raw”, Jan. 16, 2012. He would win a rematch two months, albeit not for the title. After winning again the next week, Ryder’s next TV win wouldn’t come for another three months.
All of a sudden Ryder was a loser. During his reign as US Champion, Ryder lost the girl of his dreams to Cena, was stalked by Kane like a teenage girl in a slasher movie, spent half an hour trying to change a tire while looking over his shoulder, kept getting destroyed by Kane every time they were in the same place, and had to be saved from Kane by Cena like a damsel in distress.
In short, Ryder looked like a joke and lost all of his credibility. He stopped meaning anything and became just another guy on the roster. His fall from grace came about just as fast and now he’s losing to Rusev in about a minute if he’s lucky enough to make it to “Monday Night Raw” at all. In a word, Ryder was buried.
See the difference? Ryder’s collapse took several weeks if not months and came about as fast as it possibly could have. The question became how bad can it get for Ryder this week and somehow everything kept getting worse and worse. It was like those previous few months had never happened and Ryder was just as worthless as he was before. That’s what it means to be buried.
Now let’s get back to this past Monday. Rock was in the ring with Lana and Rusev, said a few things, and punched Rusev out to the floor. However, there are a few important details to what happened here. Let’s look at some of what Rock said. He really ripped into Rusev, insulting his breath, called him Chewie, said it didn’t matter what Rusev thinks, and said no one had been able to beat Rusev because in fact he was bigger, stronger and more dangerous than almost anyone in the locker room and the only reason people booed he and Lana was because they’re jerks.
So yeah it’s clear that Rock……spent most of his time complimenting Rusev? Yeah that’s kind of been forgotten in all this. Aside from his usual jokes and saying the Russians had bad attitudes, he called Lana beautiful and said Rusev was one of the most awesome forces in the entire locker room. The Rock, one of the biggest stars and greatest talkers of all time, said Rusev was bigger, stronger and more dangerous than almost anyone else in the WWE today.
Wait we’re not done. Later on, Rusev was ready to fight but Rock wasn’t done talking. He said his final line, then sucker punched Rusev. He punched the Russian eleven times to knock him out to the floor and then said his big catchphrase. There was no Rock Bottom, there was no People’s Elbow, there was no spinebuster, there was no pinfall and Rusev was standing as Rock posed.
“But wait KB! Rusev didn’t fight back!” That’s true he didn’t, and it’s totally different than when Mark Henry beat him up and Rusev didn’t fight back or when Jack Swagger beat him up and Rusev didn’t fight back right? This is what Rusev does. He talks a lot, gets beaten up a bit and runs away, then comes back to win the big showdown. You know who else does that? Brock Lesnar. But he’s just a coward who never looks intimidating right?
To summarize, Rock talked about how big of a threat Rusev was, punched him a few times, and stood tall. Somehow, that translates to Rusev, who is still undefeated and rising up the card with every passing week and was in the ring WITH THE ROCK on Monday, is being buried. If getting out talked by the Rock and getting punched out to the floor by the Great One means you’ve been buried, then Rock has buried everyone from Steve Austin to Chris Jericho to Triple H to Hulk Hogan to the Undertaker to John Cena and almost every other major name in wrestling in the last fifteen years.
Those fifteen minutes in the ring with the Rock were the biggest thing to ever happen to Rusev and to suggest that he and Lana were buried means that whoever says that really doesn’t know what burying a wrestler means. Rusev is going to go on to some bigger and better feuds, likely picking up a few titles on the way. If you believe that eleven punches and some compliments from the Rock derailed those plans, you really need to study up on your wrestling history and common sense.
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