RUSEV CRUSH! – A Look At The Brute’s Persona From Then Till Now

By David Travers - @GuannacoTRAVERS

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This article will be on Rusev’s character. We will focus on his character in NXT to his build up and match at WrestleMania 31 and whether his character has anything left to offer.

Rusev, real name Miroslav Barnyashev was born in Bulgaria and emigrated to the United States of America in the mid 200s in the pursuit of becoming a wrestler.

September of 2010 saw Barnyashev sign with then WWE’s developmental brand Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) which, was where he was given the ring name Alexander Rusev.

After suffering a broken neck in 2012, that sidelined Rusev, he then traveled to Thailand and learn and studied the martial art of Muay Thai. During the time that Rusev was away from the squared circle WWE then rebranded FCW, NXT.

Once back in action in May of 2013. Rusev competed in a battle royale for the right to challenge then champion Big E. Langston for the NXT Championship, the match was won by Bo Dallas who went on to win the title. Russell’s first singles match back from injury in the newly rebranded NXT was against Dolph Ziggler whom he lost to.

Rusev then  had a brief partnership with fellow wrestler Scott Dawson and the two under the managerial services of Sylvester Lefort  formed the tag team the “Fighting Legionnaires.” After the team disbanded with Rusev turning on Lefort and starting a singles run.

He then formed an alliance with Lana, the partnership of Lana and himself were compared to that of   Ivan Drago and his wife Ludmilla  the who antagonists in the 1985 movie Rocky IV. Which became his persona when he and Lana reached the main roster  in 2014.

Rusev’s first appearance in the WWE main roster was at the 2014 Royal Rumble, where he entered number 6. Showing a great deal of strength he was then eliminated from the match by four wrestler. I was very impressed with Rusev in the Royal Rumble, although brief I got to experience visually what Rusev had to offer, and I thought he would make a permanent spot on the main roster.

Rusev’s first match back on the main roster was in a Squash match victory over ‘The Long Island Iced-Z” Zack Ryder. Lana and Rusev continued their Anti-American Gimmick and Rusev was named ‘Hero Of the Russian Federation’  and declared that he had relocated to ‘Mother Russia, which resulted in his ring name being slightly tweaked to just Rusev.

Rusev picked up a string of victories against the likes of R-Truth and Xavier woods, and then moved up to bigger names such as Mark Henry, Big Show, Jack Swagger and even rising star Big E. Lana dedicated all of those victories to President of Russia Vladimir Putin which created and revived a lot of heat from the fans. To further strengthen their Anti-American gimmick.

Rusev won his first championship in the WWE by defeating Sheamus on the November 3rd episode of Monday Night Raw after Raw went off the air for the United States Championship.

He then wrestled at Survivor Series as apart of Team Authority Rusev was counted out of the match after going through the Spanish Announce Table, although he was eliminated he kept his undefeated streak alive as he was neither pinned nor submitted.

At this point Rusev’s character has been very dominant which is what a power house is suppose to do, unlike most power house wrestlers Rusev can actually wrestle and shift his weight around the ring. Although his string of victories haven’t been against the best of wrestlers, so not The Rock, Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels or any other wrestler that properly embody the whole American Patriarch except maybe Jack Swagger with the whole ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ and Zeb Colter by his side.

Rusev was apart of  2015 Royal Rumble, and from what I saw back in 2014. I was expecting the same kind of display of strength which I did indeed see as he entered number 15, which has always been a good number to draw, get those late numbers and pick up from where the others have left off. Rusev made it all the way to the final two ultimately being eliminated by Roman Reigns who then won the match, and would go on to headline WrestleMania 31.

Rusev then engaged in what I felt was the turning point in his career, good or bad take what you will and each to their own. I personally felt it was a kill shot to the character I will explain why later on. Rusev then feuded with fan favourite, face of the company, the ‘Tom Brady’ of professional wrestling , you guessed it  and his name is……….JOHN CENA! We’ve all seen the vine circulating the internet.

In my opinion the feud did well for Rusev, but has since lost his momentum  and has engaged in a pointless feud with Dolph Ziggler over Ziggler and Lana’s romantic connection and Rusev’s lust for her to come back to him. Hardly an ideal storyline for either superstar.



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