Alexander Rusev: NXT’s brewing storm

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August 29, 2013

Shortly after joining WWE’s Developmental System in April 2011, Rusev suffered a severe knee injury: – a torn ACL and a torn meniscus. After more than six months, Rusev returned to action, but lady luck was nowhere to be found, as the injury bug struck again with a vengeance. 

“I broke my neck,” he explained. “I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but eventually my right arm just stopped moving. I thought it was my shoulder but the MRI showed otherwise,”

Forced onto the sidelines again with a neck injury, Rusev decided he would take advantage of the recovery time and take a trip that would change his life. 

“I’ve always had an interest in Muay Thai fighting,” he said “I love the discipline and toughness of it so I traveled to Thailand to study ways to incorporate it into my style.” 

The trip paid off for Rusev, who returned to the ring sporting a Muay Thaiesque fighter look, a rejuvenated mindset and a brand new style.

“My fighting style allows me to use my knees and elbows. I learned to kick trees with my bare feet to strengthen my legs,” he said. “I love my training because it teaches me to separate pain from my body. That’s why I break a board before my match.”

Check out Rusev's photos

Even today, Rusev adopts a different training philosophy than most: “I don’t train for looks but for efficiency. I train with logs, rocks and most objects you find in nature. It makes me stronger.”

There’s no question Rusev has a tumultuous past, which begs the question of his future. Is Rusev the storm that NXT never saw coming? Was his near victory over Ziggler a sign of his future dominance? And was the frustration he felt throughout the last two years the same frustration he plans to create for others? The answers may lie in his words. 

“I want my name to be remembered for 1,000 years,” he said. “That way, I will never be forgotten when I’m done inside the ring.”

Follow Alexander Rusev on Twitter: @RusevBul

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