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Rusev was originally supposed to be in the battle royal at WrestleMania, here is why plans changed

Going into this week’s Smackdown Live, creative appeared to have nothing for Rusev to do at WrestleMania and it was assumed that he would be in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It was mindboggling to think that they couldn’t put him in a featured match especially since he is so over with the fans.

Well, on this week’s Smackdown Live, he was added to the United States Championship match and it will be a Fatal 4-Way. He will face the champion Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Jinder Mahal. The Fatal 4-Way was set up after a Smackdown Live tag team match that featured Rusev and Mahal beating Orton and Roode. Rusev pinned the champion and GM Daniel Bryan added him to the Mania match.

It turns out that the fans are the reason why he was added to that match because, as reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rusev’s strong merchandise sales prompted WWE to pull him out of the battle royal and move him into the U.S. title match. Back in December, we talked about Rusev being one of the top merchandise sellers in the company. At one point, he was the number 1 seller on and WWE had to reorder merchandise at the arenas.

The decision to add Rusev to the U.S. title match must have been made just hours or days before Smackdown Live because last week Rusev was on Twitter asking to take on a celebrity at WrestleMania.

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