Rusev has been lost amongst the shuffle on SmackDown Live over the past year, since his alliance with Aiden English looked to be heading towards the Tag Team Championships, before the team was abruptly broken up and started a short feud against each other.
Rusev and Lana also went on to have an interesting run as part of the Mixed Match Challenge, but The Bulgarian Brute’s year has been somewhat uneventful otherwise after already making an impression on the main roster in his first few years in the company.
SmackDown Live was pre-recorded last week since it took place on Christmas Day this year and Rusev took on Shinsuke Nakamura as part of the tapings.
The Bulgarian star was finally able to defeat The Artist to become United States Champion once again, but even Rusev himself recently stated that he didn’t think that he would ever be given the Champioship again.
As part of an exclusive backstage interview with Kayla Braxton following his victory, Rusev recalled that he had his doubt’s but his wife Lana was able to support him throughout and remind him that it was Rusev Day.
“You know, I had many doubts that this day was gonna come, but my wife was so supportive. She said, ‘No, you work so hard and it will come,’ and here it is. We’re here now,” he said via RingSideNews.
Rusev celebrated his win after SmackDown Live went off the air, and it’s thought that this celebration will continue in the weeks to come as Rusev and Lana now look towards the Royal Rumble where Nakamura will be looking for his rematch since it signals The Road To WrestleMania.