Rusev had a dream of becoming a professional wrestler. He moved to the United States from Bulgaria in the mid-2000's so he could train even though he had no idea WWE could be a possibility.
Before Rusev had a holiday named in his honor, he trained with Gangel and Rikishi. The Vampire Warrior recently spoke to Jim Varsollone at the Florida Supercon. Rusev's name was mentioned and Gangrel discussed how he trained The Bulgarian Brute at the beginning of his career.
"Me and Rikishi we had a school called Knokx Pro out in California," Gangrel said. "Yeah and we had [Rusev] come through as a talent. One of the current stars in NXT, Vanessa Bourne -- I trained her as well."
Rusev had to sacrifice to achieve his dream of becoming a pro wrestler. Gangrel continued to explain what kind of struggles Rusev had to overcome in order to train with him. Holding down multiple jobs and sleeping in his car paid off for Rusev in the end, and Gangrel couldn't be happier for him.
"Rusev has gone the furthest of and the most right now," Gangrel continued. "He was a big Bulgarian guy from Bulgaria. He moved from Bulgaria to become a pro wrestler and that cat slept in his car, he didn't miss a class.
"He was delivering food, bouncing in a bar, and driving a taxi. But in-between all that, he was at wrestling school or sleeping in that parking lot so he wouldn't miss his next class. His dedication is proof that hard work pays off. I couldn't be happier for him that it paid off. Because you know, he wasn't the most athletic coming in or this or that, but he had heart and he had drive and he had passion.
"I'm so blessed that I was a part of his life and seeing his success now. I ride that wave. Deep down inside I'm like, 'yeah! I may not be [in WWE] anymore but a piece of me is.' That's so awesome."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Jim Varsollone with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription