Wrestlers come from all over the world these days to compete on the world’s largest stage – Rusev is no exception. The Bulgarian’s body structure and muscle mass should not come as a surprise especially when you discover that before wrestling, he had a stint as a powerlifter and rower.
Rusev, as at 2018 is signed to the WWE and fights under the SmackDown brand. For his efforts, he has clinched the United States Championship twice. The massive Bulgarian fighter has established himself as one of the most popular figures within the promotion. This is true irrespective of the fact that he plays heel almost always.
Rusev’s Biography (Age)
Rusev was born in Plovdiv, the second largest city in his home country, on December 25, 1984. His real name is Miroslav Barnyashev. Miroslav’s athletic history started when he enrolled in a sports school. This led to him participating in rowing and powerlifting in later years after school.
In his bid to become a professional wrestler, Miroslav moved to the United States where he eventually began training at the Knokx Pro Wrestling Academy in Torrance, California.
Starting in 2008, the Bulgarian wrestled under independent promotions such as the New Wave Pro Wrestling and Vendetta Pro Wrestling before signing a professional contract with the WWE in September 2010.
Pro Wrestling Career and Injury
Up until July 24, 2014, Rusev, going under the name Alexander Rusev fought in WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Wrestling Championship (rebranded as NXT in 2012). Here he suffered multiple injuries but managed to record victories against main roster wrestlers like Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Sin Cara.
The Bulgarian powerhouse made his main roster debut in April 2014 in a Royal Rumble event. He went on to gain high-profile victories against the likes of Mark Henry, R-Truth, Big Show, Zack Ryder and Sheamus. His victory over Sheamus saw him take the United States Championship title from the wrestler. He successfully held on to the title in defense matches against Jack Swagger and John Cena. He eventually lost it to Cena at WrestleMania 31 after a 146-day reign.
After ending his affiliation with his manager, Lana, who had been with him since his NXT days, Rusev suffered a fractured foot in a match against Ryback, making it impossible for him to compete for the Intercontinental Championship that was vacant at the time. However, he went on to beat Cesaro and Kevin Owens in a triple threat match to get a shot at challenging John Cena. He won Cena by disqualification after Owens attacked him during the fight.
After a storyline relationship with fellow wrestler Summer Rae, Rusev got engaged to his former Lana in real life. This led to his television romance with Rae ending on October 12, 2015, in an episode of Raw.
Rusev won his second United States Championship title on May 22, 2016, at the Extreme Rules event – winning Kalisto by submission. The Bulgarian successfully defended the title against Titus O’Neil, Kalisto, Cesaro, Zack Ryder and Mark Henry across different pay-per-view events. Roman Reigns eventually took the title from him after he defeated the Bulgarian on September 25, 2016, at the Clash of Champions, ending his 126-day reign.
After a brief alliance with Jinder Mahal, Rusev and Lana would disappear from competition in order for the wrestler to have a surgery due to an injury he had sustained.
Rusev who was drafted to the Raw brand at the 2016 WWE draft was moved to SmackDown at the 2017 WWE Superstar Shake-up on April 11, 2017. Here, he had a thoroughly publicised feud with Randy Orton. As of June 19, 2018, he had recorded bouts with the likes of The Undertaker, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode, and Daniel Bryan.
The towering fighter has also been featured in a series of WWE games, making his debut in WWE 2K15 as a playable character.
Net Worth – How Rich Is He?
The pioneer fighter joined the WWE in 2014 and since then, has been rumored by different sources to earn about $250,000 to half a million every year. His net worth is estimated to be $1 million.
His Wife (Lana)
As stated earlier, Rusev got engaged to his manager Lana in 2012. Besides being his manager and “social ambassador”, Lana – whose real name is Catherine Joy Perry – is also a professional wrestler, actress, singer, model, and dancer. She was once a part of a singing girls group known as No Means Yes. The group was signed to singer Ne-Yo’s record label. They disbanded in 2010. Rusev and Lana got married in July 2016, and they live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Rusev’s Height and Other Facts
1. The Bulgarian stands at a reasonably tall height of 6 feet (1.83 m) and maintains a body weight of 138 kg (304 lb).
2. WWE wrestlers come from all over the world, however, Rusev is the first ever from his home country of Bulgaria to be signed to the platform.
3. During his early wrestling days, he was trained by WWE greats Gangrel and Rikishi.
4. Rusev was fighting with no protection for his feet except for ankle socks. However, after fracturing his foot in one of his injury spells, the fighter decided that shoes were a good idea after all.
5. He has been part of different wrestling stables throughout his career. The most popular include The Fighting Legionnaires during his time at NXT and The League of Nations while at Raw.