In a company that has seen its former CEO and Chairman of the Board in a tag match against “God” and Shawn Michaels, as well as a faction with one of the men portraying blackface as a joke, it is no surprise that WWE wanted to take part in yet another controversial angle.

While on his “Oh…You Didn’t know?” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer and former lead writer of the “SmackDown” brand, Road Dogg, revealed a highly controversial angle WWE wanted to do that likely would have received backlash.

“We always talked about, ‘Hey, let’s have Rusev burn an American Flag,'” Dogg said. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh, you couldn’t do that’ … I was one of the first people, ‘Oh, you can’t do that!’ Well, then I started writing for the television show and I started thinking, ‘Hey, this is a television show.’ You know what I mean?”

“Here it was like, ‘It may be real heat to have, you know, John Cena tied up and burn an American flag in front of John Cena, and then you go to the Flag match.”

John Cena and Rusev, now better recognized as Miro, feuded on two different occasions — once in 2015 when Cena was interested in the United States Championship and once in 2017 on the “SmackDown” brand. Cena walked out of both feuds on top. In their 2015 feud, he walked away having ended Rusev’s undefeated streak by defeating the Bulgarian Brute at three back-to-back-to-back PPVs.

In 2017, Cena stood over Rusev as the winner of their intense Flag Match at Battleground 2017, the feud in which the burning of the American Flag was discussed.

Since then, Miro has joined AEW, being released from his WWE contract in 2020. Miro has found championship success in AEW, winning the TNT Championship and holding the title with pride, even deeming himself “God’s Favorite Champion”. Miro most recently wrestled at Forbidden Door in a four-way match also involving PAC, Malaki Black, and NJPW’s Clark Connors to determine the first ever AEW All-Atlantic Champion. Ultimately, the match was won by PAC.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit the “Oh…You Didn’t Know?” podcast with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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