Rusev hasn’t been seen on television recently, but the Bulgarian Brute might be taking time off to reinvent himself.
In the photos, the former United States Champion can be seen showing off a mustache, which bears a striking resemblance to the facial hair that was adorned by WWE legend Rick Rude back in the day. Perhaps this is a hint that he’ll be getting a new gimmick upon his long-awaited return to the squared circle.
The appearance change comes after the superstar just spent several weeks taking shots at his employers, with fans and pundits speculating that it’s all leading towards a potential storyline.
As noted by Sportskeeda, Rusev recently posted a photo on his Twitter handle that highlights Google’s policy in regards to deceased employees. Fans interpreted this as him throwing shade at the company for neglecting him, as he hasn’t been given the push he arguably deserves more than most.
Per Wrestling Inc., he also voiced some of his frustrations with his current role in WWE during a Twitter Q&A session. During the tweets, however, he did reveal that he changed his hairstyle, which further suggests he’s working on a new look.
In another example of him making his opinions known, the Bulgarian Brute also stated that his “Rusev Day” gimmick was bigger than the current “Kofimania” craze that’s dominating SmackDown Live.
That gimmick saw him become a huge fan favorite despite being a heel at the time, but WWE never capitalized on the movement. Should he return soon, Kofi Kingston — the current WWE Champion — could be his target.
Rusev has always made his feelings known about his dissatisfaction with WWE. Whether or not his recent comments were storyline-related remains to be seen, but if he is expressing his unfiltered thoughts without WWE’s permission, it probably won’t lead to a push for the wrestler.
As reported by WhatCulture, he and his wife Lana were previously punished by the company back in 2015 for announcing their real-life engagement on social media. The big news just so happened to coincide with a storyline at the time which featured a love triangle between Rusev, Lana, and Dolph Ziggler. After the announcement, the storyline was scrapped.
Hopefully, the change in appearance marks a fresh direction for the superstar. With Bobby Roode recently abandoning his mustache, there’s room in the company for a superstar with interesting facial hair.