The Bulgarian Brute (previously Russian, forget that though) finally made his name known in the WWE as he faced off with none other than AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. Not only due to his work ethic and the fan backing behind #RusevDay, but the wait seems to have finally paid off for this fan favourite superstar as he prepared for what some people are thinking to be his best match yet.
Fortunately, SteelChair has managed to chat with Rusev to get his thoughts, feelings and even comments on some of the interesting moments he’s been involved with during his WWE career.
The conversation got started with a reminder of how far Rusev Day as a brand has come. The one-off joke snowballed into merch, a loveable catchphrase, and even bringing the operatic Aiden English along for the ride. Rusev commented on the phenomenon.
“It’s amazing to see how far Rusev Day has gone. It came out of nowhere, but at the end of the day people are keeping it alive and people are making it bigger than it was supposed to be so thanks to them that all of this is happening.”
It should be safe to say, even though the Rusev Day train has helped secure a championship opportunity with AJ Styles, it hasn’t been the smoothest of rides. There’s been ups and downs with Rusev’s momentum have been inconsistent, to say the least. WWE does have a past with its own talent getting creative and getting over by their own volition, just look to Zack Ryder for the prime example of how this can be shown at it’s worst. But, it seems that there must’ve been a compromise down the line as Rusev thanks the #RusevDay movement for his success, has it helped him?
“100% yes, I’ve been on the main roster for four and a half, close to five years now. I’ve faced the best in the business, everybody from Cena, to Undertaker, Triple H, and all of them. I have never had an opportunity to go for eh world heavyweight championship before and now thanks to Rusev day, this is happening…When I [debuted], I started with an undefeated streak for a year. It was a miracle why I never had an opportunity before. But, I’m a patient man I waited long enough and now I’m finally here and not going to let anybody down or leave anybody disappointed by the end of the match.”
Speaking of not letting people down, the conversation shifted towards of Rusev’s biggest matches to date. At the Greatest Royal Rumble (greater in terms of numbers I presume), he took on The Undertaker in a Casket match, a match that surprised everyone in terms of how good it turned out to be in quality left many questions hanging in the air. One of the key questions being, how do you react when you’re told you’re facing one of the most iconic men in wrestling history?
“It was definitely something I never expected to happen. when I was told that, I nearly laughed when he told me I was going to face The Undertaker I laughed at him. That tells you that I didn’t expect this match, but it’s definitely a dream come true. I’ve been watching the Undertaker when he first debuted, he’s one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time. It was a great opportunity for me, for my resume, and for my confidence to know that I can hang with anybody in the ring.”
One of the stranger elements to this match didn’t even happen during the event itself, prior match announcements shifted until we didn’t know if Rusev was actually going to face The Undertaker or if Chris Jericho was going to take his place. Rusev enlightened us all when he divulged his side of the story.
“There were so many different rumours, it’s just that I was supposed to face him which was advertised. Just seeing how people were reacting to Rusev day and how people were behind it. I guess that caught [Vince] a little bit of guard and he thought that it might be better not to, so it was changed to Jericho. But then [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] called and said ‘Hey Vince, you promised Rusev, I want Rusev I don’t need this freakin’ Jericho’ so I was back in the match.”
Seemingly Rusev Day was going to be an issue for some of the higher-ups in WWE, but thankfully a quick call from the prince of Saudi Arabia managed to make them see sense… I’m only just realising how weird that sentence was to write in 2018. With the conversation drawing to a close, we found it best to end with a lesson. We asked what was the most important thing that Rusev had learned after his match with a legend in the industry, Rusev had this to say.
“I learned that I’m one of the best in the world let’s put it that way. I’ve learned that I can go in there, I don’t have to know whats happening, we can just go in, have fun, have a 20-minute match and that’s it.”
Rusev undoubtedly has grown so much during his time in WWE. He’s only gotten better as time has gone and now it seems like his hard work is finally being realised as he continues on his path in the company. What will be next for him? Will he become an even bigger force in the wrestling world? all we know for sure that in the future it will for certain be another etch in the calendar and once again be Rusev Day.
All Photos courtesy of WWE.com