Today is Rusev Day. Yesterday was also Rusev Day. As was the day before and the day before that. Tomorow will also be Rusev Day as will tomorrow’s tomorrow. In fact, not only will the following day be Rusev Day, it will also be Rusev Day Eve since the day after is Rusev Day too. The joke, of course, is that every day is Rusev Day.
To get to the very beginning of how this unique holiday came to be, we must first explore the early life of Miroslav Barnyashev, better known to wrestling fans as Rusev.
Rusev Day 1984
The first Rusev Day took place in late 1984 in Bulgaria. Rusev was born on Christmas Day 1984, which was perhaps the first sign that a famous a holiday would one day bear his name.
5 years after Rusev was born, the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe resulted in the fall of communism. Bulgaria would begin the transition towards a democracy. It is not currently known if toddler-Rusev had anything to do with the changes in his country at the time.
Despite electing the Bulgarian Socialist Party into power in 1990, the country suffered. Living standards fell after the communist collapse and accusations of government corruption have been rampant. As the years continued on in the 21st century, however, conditions improved in the country.
Rusev was born in Plovdiv, a city which dates all the way back to the Neolithic era from 10,000BC (or 11,984 Before Rusev) to 2000 BC (or 3984 Before Rusev). A natural athlete, Rusev was sent to a school focussed on athletics. He excelled in rowing and power-lifting.
Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 and around the same time they would export a “Super Athlete” to the United States.
Coming to America…on Rusev Day
Miroslav Barnyashev emigrated from his home in Bulgaria to the United States with the goal of becoming a professional wrestler. He started his career in 2008 under the name Miroslav Makaraov and trained out of Knokx Pro Academy in California. Rikishi and Gangrel head up the school.
Rusev wasn’t long into his pro-wrestling journey before WWE got a look at him. In 2010, they signed him to a deal and sent him to Florida Championship Wrestling, the promotion’s developmental territory at the time.
He had barely a year in developmental under his belt when he was badly injured in 2012. A neck injury would sideline Rusev for over a year. What does a Super Athlete do when he can’t wrestle for a year? Rusev traveled to Thailand where he studied Muay Thai and martial arts.
When Rusev returned in 2013, FCW had become NXT. He also had a new manager by his side.
Lana Celebrates Rusev Day
Lana would make her pro-wrestling debut in 2013 as Rusev’s “Social Media Ambassador”. Her look, accent, and mannerisms resembled the character of Ludmilla Drago from the famous Rocky IV films.
Catherine Joy Perry is better known to wrestling fans as Lana. While she is often billed as from Moscow, Russia, she was actually born in Gainesville, Florida. Her father was a traveling missionary, however, and Perry would spend part of her upbringing in Latvia, which is most likely where she picked up her character’s accent.
Lana studied dance in school and would even join a female singing group before ending up in WWE.
Little is known regarding how Lana ended up with a WWE contract, though it is assumed Rusev had something to do with it. Lana was immediately cast into the role of Rusev’s manager while the two were dating behind the scenes.
Undefeated for a Year of Rusev Days
While in NXT, Rusev would defeat main roster stars as he continued to be built up as a monster. In 2014, he would debut on the main roster in the Royal Rumble. He wouldn’t lose a single match until WrestleMania 31 after riding atop a Russian tank during his entrance.
Following his loss to Cena, Rusev would take part in several mid-card to upper mid-card storylines.
Rusev would lose and regain Lana a couple of times, once to Dolph Ziggler while he enjoyed a rather “Hot Summer”.
While he would often come close to cracking the main event scene, Rusev has yet to reach the heights he did during his initial undefeated streak.
Rusev Day Celebrated by Millions Worldwide
As we enter 2018, Rusev enters his 5th year on the main roster. In the 4 years that he’s been performing on WWE television, Rusev has slowly become one of the more popular Superstars despite never officially being a babyface.
Now, as Rusev Day t-shirt sales sore, there is room to believe a Rusev face-turn is coming and possibly even an opportunity to once again crack the main event scene on Smackdown. Perhaps, the 33-year-old could even celebrate a future Rusev Day as WWE Champion.