Rusev Reveals How He Got His Name And Catchphrase; Talks Uncertainty With WWE Debut, John Cena, More

As noted, Rusev was recently interviewed by TV+ while in Bulgaria, as seen in the video above. The interview is in Bulgarian, here are some more transcribed highlights:

In WWE, you go by the name Alexander Rusev or just Rusev. Where does the "Alexander Rusev" or just "Rusev" come from and why did you choose to go by it in WWE?

"I had a friend named Vasil Rusev in my rowing classes. I've always liked that name. When I first started in WWE, I had the opportunity to choose a name and I choose Rusev. The 'Alexander' name just sounded like a good Bulgarian name, but the Rusev part I got from my friend Vasil."

You are very famous for the saying ("Rusev udria, Rusev machka"). Did WWE wanted you to say something in Bulgarian or it was your idea?

"The plan was before my entrance music hit to have something said in Bulgarian, but I had no idea what would that be. The idea for 'Rusev udria, Rusev machka' came from me and Lana watching Rocky 4. There was something along the lines of 'What Drago hits, he destroys," which I liked a lot and I wanted to do something similar to it. I got the mic and it came naturally, 'Rusev udria, Rusev machka.' They asked me what that meant and after I explained they liked it."

When you signed with WWE, was there anyone who knew anything about Bulgaria?

"No, definitely not. To be a foreigner may be an advantage, but disadvantage as well. It was advantage for me for sure. They loved the fact that I could speak a foreign language and that I look apart from everybody else."

That seemed to make an impression on John Cena as well, who said in an interview that a small country like Bulgaria has Rusev and should be proud.

"That's very flattering and thanks to John for the nice words. He is a big fan of weight lifting and knows a thing or two about Bulgaria because of that. Most wrestling fans in WWE heard about Bulgaria after I showed up on the scene."

What are your memories from your main roster debut at the [2014] Royal Rumble?

"I remember that nothing was certain that night. They called me up but I didn't know if I was going to participate or not. I was there, just waiting the whole day. At one moment I was in the ring and I saw a big graphic on the tron that had my name on it. It was like a millisecond and when I turned around It was gone. I had a feeling that It might finally happen. On the same day they called Lana (she wasn't at the arena) and she took the first flight and came there. We weren't sure that we were going out together and if the crowd is going to accept us but It happened and it was like a movie, everything worked fine."

Were you nervous because of that many cameras and people around you?

"Not so much ? you are ready, at at least you have to be. I've always believed in my ability, but the feeling that all that hard work sums up in that one day, that one moment ... is just unbelievable."

Who was your toughest opponent in the ring to this day?

"My biggest opponent and at the same time my highest rated is John Cena and our match at Wrestlemania 31, because I was undefeated that whole year. First, I was able to defeat him at Fastlane, we had our great match at Wrestlemania, where I entered the arena on an army tank."

When they offered you to have the Russian flag and you had to praise Russia, a lot of Bulgarians condemned you. Tell us more about this, because as we know, you are nationalist – judging from Facebook and Twitter and everything you have said so far in WWE. Even more, you did a Bulgarian wedding with Bulgarian traditions.

"Even when I was back in NXT, I used to go out under the Bulgarian anthem a few times. People in Bulgaria called me a clown and that I wasn't worthy to use the Bulgarian anthem on a show like this. As I was this, I was like "Why ? What do they have so much against It ?". It was very wired for me to hear that kind of response. I was going out, representing our country in a good light. I wasn't doing porn or anything that can embarrass us. But this is normal, I guess. When you're good at something, there's always someone to spit on you. As far as the Russian Flag goes, that was a part of the show, part of the script. We are playing gimmicks, even though some people don't realize that. They like one gimmick and dislike another. That's the whole point. Right now I have the opportunity to be myself, to be just Rusev and I guess I'm going good."

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit TV+ with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.