We joked about how Rusev was actually the sympathetic one during his feuds with John Cena and Enzo & Big Cass. Then Aiden English sang to him and arenas full of fans started chanting his name and making “Rusev Day” jokes all over the internet. Through most of that, WWE insisted on presenting the Bulgarian Brute as the bad guy in his programs.
That’s changed recently, and it was cemented completely with his United States championship win on the episode of SmackDown which aired on Dec. 25. If you weren’t sure, check this tweet from his wife Lana:
He represents every underprivileged kid, every foreigner that hard work leads to profit, that you can create the life you always imagined & that the United States of America is the land of opportunity !You inspire all of us our New United States Champion @RusevBUL ! #SDLIVE @WWE pic.twitter.com/VrSdjDfj0M— Lana Day (@LanaWWE) December 26, 2018
Or if that’s not enough (and I don’t blame you, as social media can get blurry - especially for Total Divas cast members like the Barnyashevs), there’s the official WWE fallout videos where Rusev dedicates his third U.S. title win to his mother:
Given the recent shifts in WWE’s alignment landscape, with former white meat babyfaces like Daniel Bryan now a mega-heel, Becky Lynch a neutral badass and Johnny Gargano living a delusion, Rusev is suddenly one of the most true blue heroes in the company.
Sadly, WWE had him jettison English to do it. Working to keep a friendship alive in the backstage shark tank of professional wrestling would have been a very babyface trait, and it would have given Rusev a set-up man for his comedic stylings. But, the company decided he’d be better utilized as the impetus for a turn, and here we are.
You’re welcome, bud.#USTitle #SDLive— Aiden English (@WWEDramaKing) December 26, 2018
Will Rusev stay over as a Bruno Sammartino immigrant hero? Can he finally climb out of the secondary title scene as he fights to honor Momma, and to make his wife proud?
We asked for it. Will we help push him to better Rusev Days to come, or if Bryan right and we’re just fickle?