Two years ago, Rusev and Aiden English were one of WWE’s most fun and popular acts. Earlier this month, both men were laid off from the company. In an interview with Inside The Ropes, English talked about his WWE career, including why he thinks fans loved Rusev Day so much.
English says that after The Vaudevillains ended and he brought back his Drama King character, he was paired up with Rusev “by pure circumstance.” He was supposed to sing the Bulgarian national anthem at the first Rusev Day segment in which Rusev was given an award from his hometown and attacked by Randy Orton. English explains that “as far as I know” that segment was all Rusev Day was supposed to be, “but we got such a good response in the arena and on social and everything that they were like, ‘Let’s do something next week.'”
The act’s popularity grew and “by Survivor Series two months later, there were people in every building chanting ‘Rusev Day’ and then the rest is literally history. It was so organic, man… People just loved the idea of celebrating something every single day.”
But English says it wasn’t just the idea of a daily holiday that hooked fans:
What I truly, truly believe is what resonated with people as ridiculous as some of that stuff was… at the end of the day, to really, really look at it, here you had this character Rusev who for the longest time was the Bulgarian Brute. He’s the big foreign bad guy. He comes out and beats you up. And it worked. He had a tank entrance for WrestleMania with John Cena. That’s pretty good. But he’s always just been kind of a big, brute-y bad guy. I mean, he is such a fun-loving, goofy, funny dude.
Rusev saw the chance to be himself on WWE TV and took it, and English says he put more of his own personality in the act too. “All those backstages, we pretty much took what they wrote for us and threw it out,” he says. “So I think people saw these two characters who were for a long time kind of in these boxes all of a sudden get a chance to just play and experiment and be themselves… People saw that, and I think that’s what resonated.”