Rusev had a couple of memorable feuds with John Cena during his time with WWE, including one in 2015 that lead to a match at WrestleMania 31. Rusev lost his United States Championship to Cena that day, but he also acknowledges how much working with Cena helped his career.
Rusev talked about Cena’s influence on him when he joined The Ryback Show.
“I was blessed,” Rusev said. “To this day, I pray and I’m so thankful that I got to work with John Cena who taught me every single thing, and talking about the crowd, the timing, and it’s just an unbelievable experience, man.
“You can tell that there are people who work with him, their timing versus the people who never work with him, and it’s such a difference. I feel so blessed working with him. And even to this day… every day, I give thanks to John for teaching me how to wrestle.”
Not only did the two of them have great chemistry in the ring, but they also got along outside of it. Rusev noted that Cena taught him about cars.
“[We had a] great relationship. I never had a bad experience with John. John taught me about cars because I love cars, and he taught me about cars. And I got a Mazarati because he recommended that it was a fantastic car,” revealed Rusev. “I’ve been in his house for dinner. I think it was a christening for me – we started working a program and he invited me into his house to kind of see who I am, and we hung out. It was fun, man.
“Every time I hung out with John, it was fun. He’s an amazing dude and he works out really hard, and he was always open for advice. He’ll never shove you on the side. He will never do any of that.”
Rusev was released from WWE in April but said he still keeps in touch with Cena, who he considers a mentor.
“He texted me the other day that I look great – because we still text to this day. And John, I think we have a great relationship, and I always wanted him to be kind of like my mentor. I always talked to him because who else knows better, you know, than John Cena? The guy who’s probably the greatest superstar of all time after Hulk Hogan,” said Rusev.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Ryback Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.