Vince McMahon has his own reasons for everything he does and one trend WWE has is changing around their Superstars’ names. Sometimes the reasoning makes sense, but other times it’s just because that’s what The Chairman wants to do.
Rusev used to have a first name, but soon after arriving on the main roster the Alexander was cut from his nameplate. This was a Vince McMahon decision just like every other action his company makes. It still made fans wonder why he did this.
While speaking to At Cafe, Rusev explained his boss’ reason for hacking away at his name once he entered WWE’s fold.
“[WWE] gives you an option to submit names you like,” Rusev said. “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.'”
“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.”
It is interesting to know why Rusev lost his first name, but he’s not the only one. There has been a long list of Superstars who had their last names become their only name. Perhaps Vince McMahon has a unique reason for each alteration.
In the end, changing The Bulgarian Brute’s name worked out for the best because it’s hard to imagine Rusev Day picking up if he still had a first name.
Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the translation