It was a short few years ago that Rusev moved up from WWE NXT to the main roster and started to become one of the top heels on the roster. After a nice, long undefeated streak with his manager, Lana, by his side, Rusev finally faced off with John Cena, where he suffered his first loss. After that, his career spiraled down, ending with him taking a role in a faction with Sheamus, Wade Barrett, and Alberto Del Rio. He lost his manager as the WWE moved Lana into a wrestler role and it looked like Rusev’s time on top had ended. However, recently the crowd had begun to chant “Rusev Day,” and the Bulgarian monster found a new life. As he told ESPN, it was not something anyone expected.
The Start Of Rusev Day In The WWE
When Rusev, a heel on the SmackDown Live roster, entered the Royal Rumble match in January, everyone stood and cheered for him. Despite there being good guys in the ring, fans all started chanting “Rusev Day” as the Bulgarian came out to compete.
Interestingly, Rusev said that he and the WWE planned to use “Rusev Day” on one occasion to put more heat on him. A villain declaring a day to honor himself should turn most fans against him. However, fans had been wanting to cheer Rusev for months, and they latched on to the fake holiday.
“I never thought in a million years it was going to be what it is today… But it just caught on fire ever since then. Nobody expected that.”
Even a villain that had no heat at all and received almost no reaction from the crowds caught on with the celebration. Aiden English, the former member of the Vaudevillains tag team that failed to catch on, has been the mouthpiece introducing Rusev, generally with a song. While fans had no use for English before, they even cheer him now.
Rusev On Getting Cheered By The WWE Universe
With the fans picking up the Rusev Day chants, the WWE has allowed Rusev and Aiden English to continue to use it, and the cheers are getting louder. Even when facing a popular superstar like Bayley and her partner, another feel who is getting cheered in Elias, fans were entirely on the side of Rusev in the WWE Mixed Match Challenge.
“I’ve been booed out of the building for the past four years. So finally the people now appreciate me. But I’m just having fun, I’m just doing me.”
According to Rusev, the fact that Rusev Day has taken off proves that he can make it in the WWE without playing the part of the foreign heel. While that role has worked in the past for men like the Iron Sheik, Rusev doesn’t want to be limited by the foreign heel role in the WWE, and thanks to Rusev Day, it looks like the WWE Universe is giving him that opportunity.