It's never good to see anybody lose their job, but when one sifts through the list of recently-released WWE stars, a few names cause a little more head-shaking than others. One such star is Rusev, the barrel-chested Bulgarian powerhouse who spent six years on the company's main stage. During that time, Rusev went from playing the role of a classic anti-American heel to becoming a sentimental fan favourite, if for no other reason than the fact that the man behind the role is a genuinely likeable guy.
There were points in Rusev's six-year run in which it felt like WWE wasn't exactly doing right by the big man, emasculating him and/or setting him up to endure humiliating losses. Contrary to that, Rusev did have his share of triumphs in WWE, and now's as good a time as any to look back on them with some wistful fondness.
Wherever Rusev may go and whatever he may do next, "The Bulgarian Brute" definitely left a deep footprint in the WWE landscape. Here are a few of his greatest hits.
5. The Winning Streak
With Lana at his side, as well as the apparent blessing of Vladimir Putin, Rusev cut a vicious swath through WWE in 2014, running through the opposition with no apparent antidote to his might. For close to a year, Rusev went nominally unbeaten.
After guzzling up the lower third of the roster, Rusev began dispatching the likes of Rob Van Dam, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, and Big Show, before defeating Sheamus to capture the United States title. In this time, Rusev had been built up extremely well as an immovable threat.