WWE's Rusev & Lana were this week's guests on Lilian Garcia's Chasing Glory podcast. The couple would speak openly about their current state in WWE, and Rusev specifically harbors some frustration after losing the WWE United States Championship at last month's Royal Rumble PPV.
Rusev has a special place in his heart for the WWE United States Championship, mostly because it was the very first singles title he ever held in WWE. However, now that he has lost his Title, Rusev believes that both the U.S. Championship and his character in WWE are bound to get lost in the mix of everything.
"[Winning the U.S. Championship again] meant a lot, it always does because it was the first championship I ever won," Rusev said. "And one thing, it kinda hurts me because nobody cares about it. It feels like I'm the only one who cares about that title and I wanted to make it bigger. I wanted to make it what it was back when we wrestled John Cena for it. But it seems like every time someone else has it, nothing happens and now they're lost. The title is probably going to get lost again and I'm going to get lost, too.
"I always want to see myself on the [WrestleMania] card and I picture myself there, but again - It's not like I like it. Don't get me wrong, I hate seeing that because we came so strong and we were so featured. But I feel like, the more you hang around, the more you're forgotten. It doesn't matter how good you are. I think I'm good, I always think that I'm good...It doesn't matter what I do, I kinda end up with the same thing."
Rusev has tried numerous tactics in an attempt to catch Vince McMahon's eye, including cutting his hair shorter and pitching his own original ideas. Rusev feels like his efforts are futile because McMahon isn't responding exactly how he had hoped.
"I do want to look my best, I do want to be at my best 'cause I do want to be WWE Champion, I do want to be on top," Rusev explained. "I don't want to be forgotten, but that's what irks me, I do all these things but nothing changes. And that's where the frustration comes. Alright then, what am I supposed to do? Cut my hair? I did that. It was not a good decision. No, I love the short hair but I got a few uncles that [didn't like it]. I'm just trying to do something to catch Vince McMahon's eye, with this, with that I'm trying. We go, we pitch, we talk, he just never comes to anything.
"It was last year around WrestleMania and before that when the whole Rusev Day started and everything. I thought it was my time. And I keep pushing for it to be my time and I keep talking to everybody, but nobody wanted to do anything. It's very frustrating. But still, as frustrating as it is, I'm like, alright, let's go to the gym. Let's get better, let's do whatever we can."
Rusev can't help but be discouraged about his Rusev Day character dwindling, and when Lilian Garcia asked him what he has planned next, his response was quick.
"Not Rusev Day," Rusev replied with a chuckle. "I mean, as I said, we tried to push it a year too late, so nobody cares about it anymore. I mean, [Lana] will say, 'That's not true!'
"The Rusev Day thing, Aiden had a big part in it," Lana explained. "And I said this way before it ever happened, we would ride in the car and I know I drive him crazy because I love wrestling, I love talking about ideas and my mind just thinks creatively. I love it! And this would be when we were probably in the program with Roman Reigns, so this was like when we were heel, up on top, and then we did the split with Dolph thing. Which, we think was a great story.
"In this thing, we weren't pushing the Russian thing as much and it had it's run," Lana continued. "You have to evolve and I'm like, we have to find something - a singy, songy, chanty thing - we have to, so they can boo it or they can do the opposite. Like, "New Day sucks" to "New Day Rocks" is a perfect example of it...Then he got paired with Aiden and we still couldn't find it. And he got paired with Aiden and he sang Rusev Day, and within a couple weeks, people started with a little kid singing it online, and then we went to Europe and all of Europe started chanting it on the European Tour. And I knew it was going to catch fire."
Aiden English would eventually be split up from the group and he is a current commentator for WWE's 205 Live show on the WWE Network. Rusev admitted that the Rusev Day trio actually fought to stay together but WWE management had a different vision for them.
"Once [Aiden] was gone, it's like, it's just not the same," Lana said. "It's not the same and I think he had a big part of - he only introduced me a couple times singing and, immediately, people are [singing the Lana song]."
"Management had different visions and we fought, we fought [because we wanted to keep it going]," Rusev said. "If it ain't broke, there's nothing to fix. Because I keep referring back to last WrestleMania and all that because I just watched the WWE 24 special. And the whole weekend, the whole months leading in after was all about Rusev Day and people singing. Top selling merch, everything."
You can listen to the full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.