In a recent interview with WrestlingNewsCo, former WWE wrestler Matthew Rehwoldt, formerly Aiden English, discussed the "Rusev Day" phenomenon of 2017 and why Vince McMahon hesitated to push him and Rusev as babyfaces. Rehwoldt dispelled the idea that WWE aimed to squash the storyline, emphasizing that the duo would have been split up and assigned to different roles if that were the case.
Rehwoldt stated, "They kept booking us, putting us on shows, and giving us promo time. So, they acknowledged that there's something not to ignore." He explained that the real issue arose from McMahon's perception of the wrestlers.
Once McMahon formed an opinion about a wrestler, it was difficult for him to change his mind. "I think he liked Rusev a lot — as The Bulgarian Brute," Rehwoldt said. "So, that's where our conflict came about, with how the booking went or whatever you want to call it."
Rusev Day Duo Persevered, Gained Immense Popularity
Despite the lack of support from McMahon and WWE's creative team, Rehwoldt, and Rusev persisted in their roles, with the former taking pride in their efforts.
Though booked as heels, the duo gained immense popularity within the WWE Universe, and their "Rusev Day" shirts even became the top-selling WWE merchandise item for a brief period. Rehwoldt shared that McMahon believed WWE fans were mocking Rusev and him with the "Rusev Day" chants, comparing the situation to fans poking fun at Kurt Angle by chanting, "You suck." He said, "Vince legitimately thought they were making fun of us...like the audience was mocking us with Rusev Day chants." Rehwoldt emphasized that this mentality was the primary obstacle they faced.
Ultimately, the Rusev Day act continued without a definitive storyline payoff. Rehwoldt reiterated that McMahon's unwillingness to see Rusev as a babyface led to the front running its course until "they forced the wheels to fall off." Rehwoldt's insights into the backstage workings of WWE and the "Rusev Day" storyline offer a glimpse into the challenges wrestlers face when trying to break through and redefine their characters within the organization, even when they have the support of the WWE Universe.
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