WWE superstar Rusev spoke with Bulgarian based outlet Video DIRBG to discuss his involvement with WWE. The Bulgarian Brute said that the original direction of his character was meant to be representative of Russia but pivoted after the 2016 US Election. Thanks to Wrestling Inc.'s Chris George for the transcription.
"It's true, we keep up and Vince [McMahon] keeps up with what's going on globally," Rusev said. "He noticed that tension between Russia and America at the time and that's when it was decided that I'll go represent Russia and Putin and whatnot. But things changed, [Donald] Trump was elected as US President and he is a WWE Hall Of Famer etc.
"'Also people saw more [of me] from Total Divas and we started trying different stuff and we struck gold with 'Rusev Day' two years ago. It started kind of as a joke. After Randy Orton beat me in 10 seconds and I beat him back the following week it was decided that we'll throw a celebration and we got the Mayor of Plovdiv to give the key me to the city. Aiden English who is a great singer and actor learned the Bulgarian anthem in a day and sung it and we just started adding 'Rusev Day' to everything. That's when things took off, the [Rusev Day] shirt was the top seller."
During his time in WWE, Rusev has gained massive success through major feuds with the likes of Roman Reigns and Randy Orton and his catchy Rusev Day tagline. Despite this success, Rusev said he never has let the popularity of being a WWE superstar change his real-life character.
"It never affected me much," Rusev said. "I don't think I'm very different from most people. My job involves many people seeing me more but that's just about it. I'm the same guy from Plovdiv that departed from here in 2005. Fame gets in some people's heads, I'm not like that."
Speaking on social media in pro-wrestling, Rusev said he understands its power but chooses to use social media as an advertising tool. He also admitted to running his social media himself while his wife, WWE superstar Lana, has assistance with her accounts.
"Well social media has become huge in the last years and that can have both its advantages and drawbacks," Rusev admitted. "I try using it to advertise myself more.
"I manage them myself and that's why they look the way they do. My wife has help and that's why she has 4 million followers more than me."
Rusev has been off WWE programming recently. He has no definite return date with a contract soon to expire.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Video DIRBG with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Chris George contributed to this article.