Last night, on a taped episode of SmackDown Live, the WWE shocked fans by having fan-favorite Rusev win the United States Championship from the longtime champion, Shinsuke Nakamura. As one might expect, this led to a lot of happy fans.
Even happier, though, was the man who won the championship from Nakamura. However, as happy as he was, the WWE didn’t show very much of his reaction on the show. The company quickly cut to a backstage segment involving A.J. Styles and WWE’s boss, Vince McMahon.
It was an exciting moment for Rusev, who hasn’t held a title in WWE since 2015 — when he lost the United States Championship in a match with John Cena at WrestleMania 31.
As Rusev made his way to the back, he talked about how winning the title was for his mother, and how Christmas is his birthday.
“This is for my mother, as she gave birth to me 34 years ago on Christmas day, after three days in the hospital of labor. Thank you, Mama.”
That’s quite the birthday present for Rusev. Even though the win actually happened last Tuesday, it’ll officially go down as taking place on his birthday — because that’s when the event ultimately aired on television.
He also took to Twitter to post his reaction to winning the championship.
“Merry Christmas Happy RusevDay and thank you for the birthday wishes. Best day ever. #AndNew”
While every day might be Rusev Day in the WWE storyline, having Rusev take home the championship on his actual birthday made for a special moment in the wrestler’s career.
This is actually the third time that Rusev has been the United States Champion. Previously, he won the title from Sheamus in November of 2014. His first reign lasted 146 days.
He won the championship again, from Kalisto, in 2016. He lost the title to Roman Reigns after a 126-day reign as champion.
Rusev has never held a championship in the WWE outside of the United States title, but he did win a Slammy award for Match of the Year in 2014. That match was between Team Cena and Team Authority.
It’ll be interesting to see if the WWE decides to keep the United States Championship on Rusev for an extended period. He is a performer that the fans have wanted to see get a major push for some time, and the WWE is promising that they’re going to start giving the fans more of what they want — and less of what they don’t.
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