Miroslav Barnyashev (Bulgarian: Мирослав Барняшев; born December 25, 1985) is a Bulgarian professional wrestler, former rower, and former powerlifter. He currently works for the WWE where he wrestles under the ring name Rusev. He is two-time WWE United States Champion. He used to compete under the ring name Alexander Rusev earlier in his main roster and NXT career but later dropped the Alexander. He is the first Bulgarian to have wrestled for WWE.
|Born||December 25, 1985|
|Lives in||Tampa, Florida, United States|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Alexander Rusev|
|Billed height||5[convert: invalid number]|
|Debut||November October 5|
Before becoming a professional wrestler, Barnyashev became a professional rower. He was also a powerlifter and was considered for the Bulgarian national powerlifting team in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
He was signed by the WWE in April 2011 and competed for their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He defeated Mike Dalton in his first televised match on the July 17, 2011 episode of FCW.
Shortly after he debuted in FCW, he tore both his anterior cruciate ligament and his meniscus and spent six months rehabilitating. When he returned to the ring, he suffered a broken neck which temporarily paralyzed his arm. While he was rehabilitating his injury, he traveled to Thailand and studied Muay Thai.
FCW was rebranded into NXT Wrestling and he began wrestling on NXT on the May 30, 2013 episode when he competed in an 18-man battle royal to determine who would become the number one contender to the NXT Championship. He was eliminated by Mason Ryan. He returned and had a televised match on the August 21, 2013 episode of WWE NXT (recorded on July 11, 2013), which he lost to Dolph Ziggler.
He began to be accompanied to the ring by Sylvester Lefort as his manager. He formed a tag team with Scott Dawson named "The Fighting Legionnaires" and stopped having Lefort as his manager when he attacked Lefort during a tag team match on the October 30 episode of WWE NXT. He later started having Lana manage him instead.
He debuted on the main roster on January 26, 2014 at the Royal Rumble. He entered the Rumble at #6 and was eliminated by Kofi Kingston, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and Seth Rollins. After not appearing for several months, he returned on the April 7 episode of Raw alongside Lana where he squashed Zack Ryder.
In May 2014, he adopted the gimmick of a Russophillic, anti-American. It saw him announced that he had relocated to Russia and was named "Hero of the Russian Federation". In the same month, The WWE shortened his ring name to simply "Rusev". He began feuding with Big E, whom he defeated in multiple bouts at Payback on June 1 and at Money in the Bank on June 29.
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- He was ranked #65 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2014.
- "World Wrestling Entertainment Signs 'The Bashing Bulgarian'". One Click Media Group. Novinite. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
- "Alexander Rusev bio". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Florida Championship Wrestling Television Report: All FCW Champions in Action; Johnny Curtis Gets Another Shot at the FCW Title; Alexander Rusev Makes His Television Debut". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Alexander Rusev: NXT's brewing storm". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "WWE NXT TV report". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "James's WWE NXT Results 8/21 & 8/28 & 9/4: Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn MOTY contender, A.J. Lee title defense, Summer Rae, Swagger, new feuds & developments". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Making money: Sylvester Lefort's lucrative path to NXT". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "James's WWE NXT Report 9/11: Paige defends Women's Title, Xavier Woods main event, Overall Reax to weak episode". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "James's WWE NXT Results 10/30 - Week 70: Paige vs. Summer Rae, WWE prospects in action, Overall Reax". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "James's WWE NXT Report 11/20 - Week 73: Bo Dallas returns, Beat the Clock Challenge ensues, Ohno/Hero wrestles prior to his release, Overall Reax". WWE. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "WWE Royal Rumble PPV Results 1/26 (Hour 3): Royal Rumble vs. The Crowd main event match". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
- "Caldwell's WWE Raw Results 4/7: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - WM30 fall-out, WWE Title match teaser, Bryan's first night as champ, Warrior, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Vladimir Putin makes his WWE debut at 'Extreme Rules'". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Raw results: The Shield shatters and Wyatts rebound as Money in the Bank takes shape". WWE. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Raw results: Evolution adapts, Adam Rose celebrates and Sheamus triumphs". WWE. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Rusev def. Big E". WWE. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "Rusev def. Big E". WWE. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- "WWE Raw results, November 3, 2014: The Authority severs ties with Randy Orton and Rusev fulfills his U.S. Title destiny on WWE Network". WWE. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
- "Daniel Bryan es el #1 del PWI 500 del 2014 – listado completo". SuperLuchas (in Spanish). Retrieved November 4, 2014.
- "Rusev's first reign". WWE. Retrieved November 4, 2014.
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