WWE Superstar, Rusev recently spoke with Bulgarian show At Cafe, where he revealed the reason Vince McMahon changed his ring name.
“[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.”
H/T to WrestlingInc.com for the transcriptions.