We are just a few days away from WWE Fast Lane on WWE Network and there is a definite feeling in the air on the Road to Wrestlemania. One of the marquee matches of the show from the FedEx Forum in Memphis Tennessee is none other than John Cena versus the Bulgarian Brute Rusev For the United States Title. It’s patriotic roots are not new to professional wrestling actually there the most old-school page of the playbook at the regards to wrestling booking. It’s even made the jump to the silver screen especially in the 1985 feature film “Rocky IV” starring Sylvester Stallone as beloved icon the Italian stallion Rocky Balboa against the Russian Machine Ivan Drago played by Dolph Lundgren. The similarities are actually pretty uncanny if you look at them.

A look at Rusev/Drago comparison

Here is Brigitte Nielsen as Drago’s spokeswoman in the film


And here is the Ravishing Russian Lana


There’s no doubt their similarities that WWE took from the popular movie franchise to create a dominant force in WWE making a post Soviet Russian menace that has been dominant in the company for the last year. Rusev says he will crush you while Dolph/Drago said he would break you. It’s quite interesting to see the creative license being done. But there’s one problem with the storyline.

Sure much like Dolph Lundgren in the film the current US champion has been dominant not losing one television via pin fall or submission since his debut last year. Of course he didn’t kill Apollo Creed (sorry for spoilers to a 30-year-old movie) but he did destroy Xavier Woods a.k.a. Consequences Creed in one of his debut feuds and the company. He’s beaten Mark Henry, Big E, Sheamus, Big Show and many more on his road to Wrestlemania so it’s understandable that it’s time for somebody to topple the Russian sympathizer. And I don’t really care that’s its John Cena. You want to keep away from the title picture this is a good feud for it.

But the booking using Cena as quote”the old man” that had gotten soft and lost his edge is different than in the movie mainly for one reason. Balboa was always vulnerable to any challenge. Whether Apollo Creed, to Tommy Gunn there was always a of doubt and that’s what made the character likable. John Cena has been said you’re my next hill to climb I’m going to climb you and submit my legacy.

Look at the segment from this past week’s Raw. And see if you can spot the clerical error that WWE made in booking this feud. And it’s very simple. John Cena basically kicking the crap out of the Russian six days before their big match. It’s like if Rocky took out Apollo Creed in the first movie what be the point of the second film?

See the problem, it took months for anyone to knock the Bulgarian brute off his feet let alone to knock him completely out. It doesn’t put Cena in peril this makes Rusev look weak considering they’re using the term “old man” pointing out the injuries of the poster boy for the company. If he loses then he lost to a man that had with a ton of injuries. This really shouldn’t have been mentioned. This really lessens the effectiveness of a victory if Rusev does get the victory this Sunday. They should’ve shown John training like a madman the last few weeks instead of fun of his opponents. Really show that he is taking it seriously as a threat. I understand WWE has its fans but the structure for this has been done very much for anyone. They’re doing the best with what they can do. But these little touches we’ve done so much more to put over both men involved.

All this said I am curious to see what they do not with only the Cena-Rusev showdown but Daniel Bryan versus Roman Reigns as well. It should be interesting Memphis this Sunday with the Eye of the Tiger. That’s all I have right now I will see you later

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.