Road Dogg says WWE only pushed AEW star so John Cena could beat him (Exclusive)

Brian James, also known as Road Dogg, recently recalled how Rusev’s WWE push ultimately ended against John Cena.

Rusev went an entire year without losing via pinfall or submission before John Cena defeated him at WrestleMania 31 in 2015. The Bulgarian Brute remained in WWE until 2020 before joining AEW, where he now performs as Miro.

James, a WWE producer at the time, spoke on Sportskeeda’s “The Wrestling Outlaws” show about the unpopular WrestleMania 31 booking decision:

“You realize it was just to prop him up to have Cena beat him at ‘Mania,” James said. “That’s what we did. Look, that’s not new way of thinking. There may not be a creative reason why, but I guarantee there’s a reason somewhere behind the scenes, handshake deal, whatever. ‘I want this, I need this,’ whatever, and it may not be a creative reason why. ‘We’re gonna prop this big heel up, Cena’s gonna beat him, and then we’ll try to move on.’” [6:31-7:16]

Rusev underwent a career resurgence when he became one of WWE’s biggest fan favorites in late 2017 and early 2018. James, SmackDown’s lead writer around that period, believes the company failed to capitalize on his popularity:

“Truth be told, he was resurrected when he became kinda quasi babyface, and then we did everything we could to hold him down,” James jokingly added, referring to other decision-makers backstage in WWE. “You don’t always know the reasons!” [7:16-7:30]


Watch the video above to hear James’ thoughts on Brock Lesnar’s eight-second WWE Championship win over Kofi Kingston in 2019.

Rusev’s stock decreased after losing to John Cena

In October 2015, TMZ reported that Lana and Rusev were engaged in real life. The couple were involved in an on-screen romance storyline with Dolph Ziggler and Summer Rae at the time. As a result, then-WWE Chairman Vince McMahon abruptly nixed the angle.

Brian James believes the incident played a big part in Rusev’s lack of success after his storyline with John Cena:

“So, there was some issues with Lana and him, the engagement, and they were in the middle of a story. There were some things that if people had a negative idea about them, I see where they got it, but I think it’s also youth and mistakes. In my mind, you don’t let that hinder you from making money, and I believe Miro is a guy that you could have made money with.” [8:07-8:37]

The three-time United States Champion recently returned to in-ring action after a two-month absence. He teamed up with Darby Allin and Sting to defeat The House of Black at AEW All Out on Sunday.

Do you think WWE should have booked Rusev better after his feud with John Cena? Let us know in the comments section.

Please credit Sportskeeda’s “The Wrestling Outlaws” and embed the video if you use quotes from this article.

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