Exactly.I'm dumbfounded that people still act like Wrestler X is midcard for life.
Look at the WWE's Main Event scene thesedays; Rollins, Reigns, Styles, Owens, Kofi, Becky, McIntyre,, etc if they can be Main Eventers then literally anyone can. Lance Storm could be a Mian Eventer in this Era, proven by the fact that flippy Lance Storm (Seth Rollins) is.
You dont have to be good enough to be a Main Eventer anymore. Literally some of the worst Pro Wrestlers of all time are endlessly stinking up the Main Event scene thesedays. Thesedays its more likely that someone is too talented to be a Main Eventer. Anyone who shows any kind of talent or passion is a career jobber in WWE, they prefer untalented, lazy, ball lickers like Rollins.
Rusev was crazy over at times, dedicated, understood all the little things, but he didnt suck the McMahons off backstage so they refused to push him.
Going to try and respond to a little bit of everything I can see from this thread. Frankly if Reigns can be pushed as the top guy, most guys on the roster nowadays can be. Rusev in particular is a better talent and was already extremely over. He was also still over after the Aidan split (for anyone stupidly trying to say that was only over because of Aidan). He was over until they took the IC Title off him early last year and turned him heel for no reason. He was also the only thing over in the whole Rusev/Lana/Lashley storyline that recently happened.
His promo work and in ring work is nothing exceptional, but he's good in both. He's shown to have really good-great matches with Nakamura, Styles, Reigns, Cena, etc and he can cut a good promo/do a good job. Such as his first promo after becoming #1 contender against AJ Styles, or the divorce segment with Lana that was the only good segment in the whole debacle that was that storyline. Hell, some of the segments with Lana shortly after they split up in 2015 were gold as well. Although back then Lana pulled her weight, Rusev was doing a great job as well.
This myth that he can't cut promos, can't wrestle great matches, can't get over without someone else needs to stop (albeit the first two are opinions but since people state them as facts I'll leave them in). He's proven all of these wrong already on multiple occasions, even in some shitty circumstances. Again I don't think he's exceptional in any category, but he's a jack of all trades that can be one of the most over acts in the company to the point he can get people to stay invested in a shitty storyline. He has his stinkers of course (the one recently with him in front of the green screen on the beach was stupid, and the matches with Lashley were definitely not good), but he could've had a WWE Title run as well as anyone. Especially in 2017 when he was red hot.
He's also got a look that's legit enough to be in that top spot believably. I think there are two things holding him back:
1) Vince doesn't care about him as a face, which is where Rusev shines. Vince sees Rusev as a foreign heel, but everything else points to Rusev being a better face (personality, mic work... maybe his in ring work is better suited as a heel). I don't think Vince can get behind Rusev otherwise, despite him being a top merch seller at one point.
2) Vince has trouble wanting to push people who get over on their own. He always has. Even though Daniel Bryan got his main event moment, we know originally he was planned to face Sheamus (even though by that point he was the most over main in the company). They did absolutely nothing with Sandow after the Mizdow thing ended. Even if you think he shouldn't be a main event guy, how do you take arguably the most over wrestler in the company at the time and proceed to do nothing with him besides put him back in an impersonation gimmick?
I mean, even look at Drew McIntyre. I like Drew right now, I think he's doing the best work in his career and perfect for this role. I think he deserves to beat Brock and win the WWE Title. However, let's not pretend Drew's push came because he was over. Drew got over because they got to work on ways to get him over to push him. He came out at the Rumble and eliminated Brock in the fashion he did. He looked like a million bucks. To their credit it worked, but he was not over before the push began. Fortunately, the crowds didn't turn on him and instead embraced him.
Vince only wants to push people who gets over by his design. Anyone else will eventually be thrown away and positioned to fail.
3) The one knock on Rusev I'll say seems to be true is he either doesn't seem to take things seriously, or he complains about it on twitter in a sarcastic back handed way. Don't get me wrong, his tweets are hilarious and only makes me a bigger fan of his, but I can understand why that doesn't help his case when it comes to people in charge of the company. It can come across maybe he's not fully mature enough to be put in that top guy role. Also since he apparently had a lot of input on the recent angle with him/Lana/Lashley, he definitely doesn't come across as the best guy to help put together storylines. He also didn't handle the criticism of the angle very well (although to be fair, pretty much every wrestler I've seen doesn't handle fans criticizing them well).
To conclude this overly long post, I'll say that he's absolutely deserving of a main event push/title run. At this point if they had him return and started pushing him towards the WWE Title as a face, I genuinely think it would work. He's got a real life backstory that (while at this point might be a bit generic) is one fans could really get behind and appreciate if that was pushed to the WWE Title. Now would he be a permanent main stay in the main event? That would depend how a WWE Title reign went. My whole thing is, they never really gave him a chance to be that. They don't give anyone that chance anymore when they get over on their own. There a number of guys over the years besides the ones I've mentioned who have, then they don't get pushed and then their popularity fizzles out.