Miroslav Barnyashev, better known by his ring name (Alexander) Rusev, is one of the most iconic Superstars that WWE has produced in this decade.
3-time WWE United States Champion, Rusev belongs to that category of wrestlers who had their names changed/shortened either due to a particular (creative) reason or just because Vince McMahon wanted so to do.
During a recent appearance on At Cafe, Rusev revealed the reason why The Chairman shortened his name immediately after his main roster debut.
“[WWE] gives you an option to submit names you like. And I was thinking about it. Then to make a joke with my friend Vasil, Vasil Rusev, who I used to share a rowing boat with, I chose Rusev. And I was Alexander Rusev with Alexander later being dropped. I liked Alexander because it sounded [mighty] and Bulgarian. But then it got dropped because Vince Mcmahon said ‘Ugh, Alexander, they’ll start calling you Alex as a nickname and you have to be a Russian/Bulgarian villain, we’re dropping it.’”
As it turns out, The Bulgarian Brute himself coined the iconic catchphrase that WWE plays during his entrance. Rusev’s wife Lana also screams those four words to boost him up during matches.
“I made [the catchphrase ‘Rusev udrya, Rusev machka’] myself. Our character, mine and Lana’s, that we present in the ring was very [inspired] by Rocky IV, we took a lot from there. And I remember a scene where Rocky’s trainer says that whatever Drago hits, he destroys. And I was thinking how something similar can work for me. And one day we had to record it in studio and that’s when ‘Rusev udrya, Rusev machka’ was born.”
Rusev and Lana’s contracts are set to expire “relatively soon” and at this point, there’s no solid word on whether the real-life couple has renewed their contracts amidst frustrations with the creative.