Chris Jericho has replaced Rusev as the opponent of The Undertaker at The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia on Apr. 27, which will be streamed live on WWE Network. Lana posted on Twitter yesterday afternoon that she told WWE officials she refused to let her husband compete in a Casket Match.
All over the world, little boys and girls are celebrating #RusevDay, they smile for the greatest Superstar ever ! I’ve already spoke with @WWE officials to change that match because I REFUSE to let my husband @RusevBUL compete in a Casket Match at #WWEGRR! Happy #RusevDay
— CJ (Lana) Perry (@LanaWWE) April 12, 2018
Then Rusev at the same time yesterday afternoon removed his WWE handle and stopped following WWE.
Life is life….. it will be #RusevDay somewhere
— . (@RusevBUL) April 12, 2018
This occurred hours after TMZ published a video with Rusev vowing to send the Undertaker into retirement. However, the headline read: “WWE’s Lana & Rusev Rusev’s Gonna Retire Undertaker … CRUSH His Old Ass!” Rusev did not call Taker “old,” though.
What Rusev actually said is: “He is a legend of WWE, but so am I. It’s Rusev Day, you know? Undertaker is kind of a little bit in the past… I’ll beat him so bad, maybe it’s his last fight, yeah.” He said he hasn’t even reached his prime yet, but Undertaker is past it.
Social media blew up with people thinking Undertaker his wife Michelle McCool should be upset by the comment. McCool, though, clarified she was not upset.
Had to listen to see if “crush his old a$$” was ACTUALLY said! Guess some people are smarter than others…😎🙄🖤 https://t.co/avOLWKORV8
— Michelle McCool (@McCoolMichelleL) April 12, 2018
On Twitter, that led to a follower noting that Undertaker donated to President Trump “after he physically mocked a disabled reporter… anyway, keep on fighting the good fight.” McCool called that part of her husband’s “personal life.”
That led to another follower posting the political donations of Undertaker (real name Mark Calaway).
Don't care who he supports but he did. pic.twitter.com/59njxc9gW5
— WCW Center Stage Podcast (@PIWShow) April 13, 2018
Other fans continued to push back against McCool even thinking that calling out Taker for his age would be an issue in the first place.
Very sad to see Undertaker has become an "entitled snowflake" that is against free speech! I guess he has to burn those alt right t-shirts he wears every day now!
— Joey (@JoeyOnEarth) April 12, 2018
Didn’t WWE just do an angle where the heels made fun of 38 year old Mickie James for being 38? Undertaker is 53. His entire gimmick at this point is “will old man fight again?”
— Ammo (@fromAMMO) April 12, 2018
Another fan pointed out this isn’t even new territory in terms of Undertaker opponents.
Rusev was nothing but respectful nothing was said last year when John Cena called him an old man with a bad hip
— Mike Godwin (@mgodwin86) April 12, 2018
Fans are concerned that Rusev being replaced by Chris Jericho is due to this dust-up.
this is what is wrong with the wwe today..new guy over with crowd says something and the old guys wife whines about it..rusev will get buried even more now for dare trying to get heel heat
— tiger fan (@tgrfan42069) April 12, 2018
McCool tried to instill some calm in the situation and clarify that she isn’t actually upset with the comment and was just clarifying Rusev never actually said what the headline said he said.
Had Rusev not been pulled from the Saudi Arabia match against Undertaker, this wouldn’t have become an issue, in all likelihood, but the perception – fair or not – among many fans is that Rusev is being punished or pushed aside because of a promo he cut to promote the match which was taken out of context. McCool appears to be trying to defend Rusev by saying he didn’t call Taker old, but fans are interpreting that as meaning that had he called Undertaker old, that would have been a problem. Rusev is popular and many fans, obvious by the “Rusev Day” chants, want to see Rusev get a bigger push, and this removal from a high profile match has led to a backlash.