On What Rusev Is Saying (Русев удря Русев мачка!)

“Русев удря Русев мачка!”

Have you wondered what it is Rusev is saying at the beginning of his entrance music? It’s been driving me crazy because I couldn’t make it out. Then I finally saw it in one of his tweets and spent a little time with Google Translate.

Rusev udrya Rusev machka! is Bulgarian. It’s hard to hear in his entrance: I always thought I heard budrya instead of udrya. Machka stumped me because in Russian that sounds like “little ball”. I also wondered if it was a borrowed version of the word “match”. In general I’ve thought he was speaking Bulgarian because I recognized it as a non-Russian Slavic language, but then he has little off-mike conversations with Lana so I wasn’t sure if perhaps I just couldn’t make him out. Russian and Bulgarian are similar, but Bulgarian is not one of the Slavic languages I’ve spent time around so I don’t have a sense of its differences.

Anyway, what he’s saying is unsurprising: Rusev hit Rusev crush! In my opinion he sounds like a hulking troll, like “Me hungry me eat!” Which is funny, because as his English improves he sounds more like a cunning, formidable nationalist heel than a brutish meatheaded import. His English promos must be scripted, but he delivers them like he means it. The ya and a on the verbs udrya and matchka are gerund endings, so more literally this is something like “Rusev hitting Rusev crushing.” But that’s awkward, must be a structure that doesn’t translate quite right. Or maybe it’s the grammar of a hulking troll in Bulgaria.

Lana, by the way, has crystal clear Russian. When most Russian women speak to me I’m a deer in the headlights, despite my skills at translating difficult prose. I’m just really weak at oral comprehension, I have to see the words to make sense of them. But Lana’s diction and accent are like that of an angel to my ever-struggling ears. I know what she’s saying, every time! I also wrote about her linguistic curiosities here.

If you’re visiting this post as a translator, student, or native speaker of a Slavic language, I would love to hear your take on the words of Lana and Rusev. I’m also wondering if there’s a place somewhere on the interwebs where people are discussing these two from a critical perspective, either in English or any other language. Please chime in if you have any leads.

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12 Comments

  1. Beka L.
    July 17, 2015

    Whatever you do, don’t try to ask Siri what it is. She thinks you’re asking about “much cock”. Thanks for the info!

    • July 18, 2015

      Oh jeez, that’s funny. Thanks for commenting!

      • Bryan
        July 22, 2015

        Lana is from Florida. She’s american.

        • Beka L.
          July 22, 2015

          I heard that as well. She was actually in the movie Pitch Perfect. I spotted her in a crowd of girls singing. You have to really be amped about your gimmick to work that hard to learn Russian, which sounds like a difficult language. She sounds good to me anyway, a person born in Russia might say she’s terrible. 👍🏻

          • July 22, 2015

            If I might nitpick the semantics, the character Lana is Russian. The actress CJ Perry is from Florida. To my trained but not native ear, her Russian can pass for native. I believe she spend part of her childhood in that part of the world. (Lithuania maybe?)

  2. Josh C.
    May 10, 2016

    Andrea,
    According to Lana’s wikipedia page, she spent time in Latvia during and after Latvia was a part of the Soviet Union.

  3. Ilan
    June 23, 2016

    As some who grew up in Soviet Ukraine, I too am fluent in Russian and don’t speak a word of Bulgarian but languages that are this close, most of the time the words are similiar to some extent but you have to know where to look because many verbs take different meanings according to context.
    I was also wondering about the beginning of Rusev’s entrence but until I saw it in writing I couldn’t figure it out.
    удря immedietly struck me as something derived from the word удaр(hit -noun) and it indeed looks like a gerand form.
    мачка, first association took me to other slavic languages like czech, slovak and serbian – in all of those though obviously spelled different the word means cat(female) – there’s even a famous Kusturica film called crna macka beli macor – the c has ch so crna is very close to черный -black and beli is white.
    first association didn’t make much sense. I tried to find something that is associated with force and sounds like “mach”. closest thing I though of and is the only one that makes sense is the word мять which in the correct context means “to crush”.

  4. Joseph Kane
    October 11, 2016

    You do know she’s not Russian right? Its a work and a fake accent.

    • Andrea Gregovich
      October 11, 2016

      Thanks for you comment. Lana, the character, is Russian. CJ Perry, the actress, is American. At that time I was writing about the character. I’ve since learned that people can’t grasp this distinction in my writing, so I’m more clear about it now.

    • Ilan
      October 12, 2016

      It’s a work, yes of course.(to people who are not fluent in pro-wrestling terminology: a work is something that is scripted. a shoot is something that is real)
      However, her accent isn’t fake… it’s as real as it gets and so is her native level of Russian. Yes she’s American but she spent her childhood in Soviet Latvia and kids do tend to learn languages including the native accent pretty fast.
      People who traveled to different countries or watched a lot of TV as children can be native in more than one language(including the accent).
      Also to add to that point, WWE has fans all over the world, including Russia and that means that if WWE would half assed it – “Lana” would have been cast by someone who doesn’t speak Russian and just pretends to and the Russian fans and wrestling bloggers would have had their day to spew all the possible hate at the WWE for lack of being genuine. On second thought, if CJ didn’t speak Russian, WWE would have probably created some other angle and a different gimmick for CJ.

      • Andrea Gregovich
        October 17, 2016

        By the way Ilan, thanks for chiming in on this! This post has gotten so much traffic I’m a little exhausted by it so I forgot to respond to both of your comments, but it was interesting to read your linguistic take.

  5. Ilan
    October 18, 2016

    🙂

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