Lana and Rusev recently informed the WWE Universe that they will no longer be a part of the Total Divas cast, but the E! Network’s loss should be the WWE Network’s gain.
It’s been a strange start to 2019 for Rusev, who spent the entirety of 2018 as one of WWE‘s most beloved superstars, with the promotion finally pulling the trigger on a true babyface turn for the three-time United States Champion.
Unfortunately, Rusev lost that title, which he initially won on his birthday (the Happiest Rusev Day of them all) in an epic Christmas Day match against Shinsuke Nakamura, to The King of Strong Style on the Royal Rumble pre-show. He then failed to re-capture it from R-Truth days later on SmackDown Live, turning heel and aligning with Nakamura (of all people!) in the process.
So, in all honesty, the news that Lana and Rusev are no longer a part of the Total Divas cast isn’t the weirdest thing to happen to him this year. But it’s certainly a disappointment, considering that some WWE fans saw the married couple as one of the best aspects of the show.
Apparently E!’s audience and executives saw it differently.
Lana told Lilian Garcia on the excellent “Chasing Glory” podcast:
“We were first told that we were a shoo-in. We were told that we were incredible on this season. That E! Loves me, Bunim-Murray loves me, WWE loves me. WWE loves us. That we should be working on a spin-off show.”
“Apparently they had a meeting with the E! Executives and apparently there are new E! Executives now and when Kevin Dunn told me that E! Executives took a poll that we are strongly disliked by E! demographic. I’m hated, we’re hated. E! Executives thought our stories were very slapstick. It was a strong no. I was shocked. I’m not liked. Part of me is like, ‘Maybe I’m just not a likable person.’ I know I’m a good person but maybe I have an annoying personality and I’m not liked.”
Straying away from the fickleness of reality television feedback and the potential veracity of any input from a certain long-time WWE executive, the news that Lana and Rusev will no longer be a part of Total Divas hurts. I mean, where will we be without Rusev’s glorious thighs?
But, you know what? Let’s focus on a different quote, which comes from Rusev:
“I want my own show. Once I’m rejected from somewhere, I’m moving on.”
Not only is that a great mentality to have, but “I want my own show,” is the line that stands out here.
Can someone make it happen?
The WWE Universe can’t get enough of “The Bulgarian George Clooney”. He saved the mayor of Plovdiv. He got Aiden English over. He dressed as a clown. He prints T-Shirts. He taught Lana (and the whole world) how to eat like a monster.
This is all comedy gold, and Lana and Rusev can provide more of that on the WWE Network. We’ve seen The Miz and Mrs. blow everyone out of the water with their ratings and high-quality programming, and Rusev and Lana could provide similar value.
Now, they probably aren’t going to get a deal with the USA Network (at least not initially), because Miz had experience on the “Real World”, on “The Marine” franchise, on Psych in a cameo, and as a WrestleMania main eventer. Plus, Maryse is a former two-time Divas Champion, a GOAT manager, and has maybe the most underrated sense of humor in wrestling. (Remember her Nikki Bella impression?)
But you know what? Rusev is just as funny as Miz, got “Rusev Day” over as hell, and is also unafraid of making fun of himself. Oh, and Lana is both “Ravishing” (which is a state of mind few attain) and hilarious, and we honestly haven’t seen enough of her ability to entertain an audience on a show; the segments on Total Divas were apparently edited in a way that didn’t help her.
With the WWE Network aiming for more changes and original programming as they look to shift their record growth to the next level, adding a reality TV show featuring two of their most down-to-earth and downright funny superstars could be a great idea. If Lana and Rusev are willing, they could create an awesome, authentic, and easy-to-watch show on their own terms. I mean, what would WWE have to lose?