It definitely didn’t start out that way. When the crowd in Manchester was booing so loudly we couldn’t hear Lana claim her sex addict husband Rusev got her pregnant before she started having lots of sex with her side piece, Bobby Lashley, it was bad.
And as we get ready for Rusev to face Lashley in a tables match at TLC this Sunday (Dec. 15) in order to get a kayfabe divorce from the Ravishing Russian, it’s still not GOOD good. Those programs exist on Raw and SmackDown. But this isn’t The Miz standing up for his family (and possibly Daniel Bryan’s soul) against Bray Wyatt, or a frustrated Seth Rollins taking out his frustrations with the fans on Kevin Owens, or Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch admitting they can’t beat Kabuki Warriors alone.
It has, however, left behind the sex jokes which would make a 12 year old embarrassed to admit they watch the show. By making a match with his wife’s lover the condition upon which he’ll allow her to live happily after with him, we’ve at least entered into wholesome(ish) campy nonsense.
And occasionally delivering campy nonsense is one of the things I love pro wrestling for.
Could we do without Lana being presented as a conniving harlot (again), or any of the potential racial reads casting Lashley as the other man makes possible? Absolutely. And even as the material has gotten less cringe-worthy, Bobby and his lady still also aren’t very good actors.
But Rusev is a charming performer. Allowing him to play an audience surrogate who’s frustrated with the whole angle has been a smart move (they also let Kevin Owens channel our disbelief in recent weeks, which made the whole thing more palatable). The rest of the show is also more enjoyable with The Battle For Brand Supremacy™ behind us. That makes the 15 or so minutes of cuckold theater we get each week easier to take.
There’s a question mark in the headline for a reason though, Cagesiders. I have to watch the show, and am really not sure. Have I been gaslit into thinking Rusev/Lana/Lashley is entertaining? Or is it actually entertaining?