Rusev is without a doubt one of the most popular stars on SmackDown Live at the moment, thanks to Rusev Day, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

At one point during his WWE career, he was known as Alexander Rusev, but a few years ago WWE shortened his name to simply Rusev.

The former United States Champion recently spoke with TV+ about how he got the name Rusev, and he said that it was his friend’s name.

“I had a friend named Vasil Rusev in my rowing classes. I’ve always liked that name. When I first started in WWE, I had the opportunity to choose a name and I choose Rusev,” The Bulgarian Brute said via Wrestling Inc. “The ‘Alexander’ name just sounded like a good Bulgarian name, but the Rusev part I got from my friend Vasil.”

He also revealed where he got the idea for his catchphrase “Rusev udria, Rusev machka” which fans hear before his entrance music.

“The plan was before my entrance music hit to have something said in Bulgarian, but I had no idea what would that be. The idea for ‘Rusev udria, Rusev machka’ came from me and Lana watching Rocky 4. There was something along the lines of ‘What Drago hits, he destroys,” which I liked a lot and I wanted to do something similar to it. I got the mic and it came naturally, ‘Rusev udria, Rusev machka.’ They asked me what that meant and after I explained they liked it.”

The full interview can be watched below.