For years Rusev was portrayed as the typical anti-American heel on WWE television. Now, he’s got the crowd in the palm of his hands simply by declaring “Rusev Day.” It’s quite a change from when he was waving the Russian and Bulgarian flags and detesting Americans on the mic every week.
During a recent media call, Rusev said he wasn’t surprised when fans responded positively to his recent change (via Wrestling Inc):
“No, no, it didn’t take me by surprise. I mean – yes and no. It’s because, they think I’m more than that (a foreign heel). They think I’m more than a stereotypical guy from a country that speaks broken English. They see more than that. They see my passion and connect with me, and I connect with them. That’s why, now, instead of boos, you hear the Rusev Day chants. So, I’m still Bulgarian, and I’m still speaking, and I haven’t changed anything. But it all happened organically, and that’s how the best things happen.”