The "Bulgarian Brute" is enjoying being cheered by the fans.
Rusev, throughout his eight years in the WWE system is now starting to be beloved by fans. His "Rusev Day" gimmick alongside Aiden English, has taken off and every Tuesday night on SmackDown Live, the arena rings out in "Rusev Day" chants. While speaking with ESPN, Rusev described the feeling of being applauded by fans after years of being booed out the building.
"I had no idea this was going to happen. This was supposed to be a one-time 'Rusev Day' thing. I never thought in a million years it was going to be what it is today". Rusev added. "It was something we planned to do, but just for one day, but it just caught on fire ever since then. Nobody expected that. I've just been enjoying it. I've been booed out of the building for the past four years, so finally the people now appreciate me, but I'm just having fun, I'm just doing me. Every bad guy or good guy, we all enjoy the crowd reaction, so I'm just going with it."
Although the former two-time WWE United States Champion is technically still a heel, he is not shying away from the adulation from the WWE Universe.
"By far it's the most fun I've had in my career. I mean, I loved WrestleMania 31 with the tank; that was amazing of course. But now I'm showing everybody that you don't have to be stuck being a foreigner bad guy. Being a foreigner bad guy doesn't have to be my destiny and I can be much more than that."
In 2006, Rusev came from his native Bulgaria to the United States with hopes of becoming a WWE superstar.
"I had no idea how [wrestling] worked". Rusev revealed. "I just know that when I even trained in KnokX Pro, I played the foreigner there too. I've just always been doing that. When an American person hears you speak a different language, you're automatically the bad guy, that's the box. I've been in that box since day one in training."
The "Super Athlete" has had many great memories and learned plenty of lessons throughout his WWE career, but two that he specifically recalled during his interview with ESPN was being able to interact with WWE legends; The Rock (RAW) and Stone Cold Steve Austin (WrestleMania 32)
"The Rock taught me you don't always have to talk or move all the time, you can just stand there and soak it in, let the crowd just do what they do. Looking back at the segment, I could tell what he was talking about". Rusev would go on to describe his moment with Austin. "Austin actually punched me in the mouth so hard, he tore his shoulder, so he taught me to never punch someone too hard. I joke with him about it all the time."