The WWE has transitioned into the new era with the recent unveiling of the new “Women’s Championship,” parting with the outdated “Divas Championship”. The female roster has never known such quality and depth, nor has it enjoyed such accentuated air time. The cast of characters boasts unprecedented athleticism and charisma. It would be easy to overlook the role of the timeless valet, lost in the shuffle, or undervalue the worth of a true villain in today’s story lines.
One Superstar who has momentously gained notoriety during her time in the WWE is The Ravishing Russian, Lana. While only recently making a nondescript and lacklustre debut in actual ring competition, the blonde dynamo has caught the attention of the WWE Universe despite sporadic appearances and inconsistent booking. Part flawless aesthetics, part natural performing talent, Lana has succeeded in being cheered when dubbed as a heel or as an accomplice to one. The starlet has no foreseeable ceiling granted the proper direction and usage.
With her career only just beginning, here are a few things you may not know about the leggy beauty that may surprise you.
15. Is Actually American
Her real name is Catherine Joy Perry and she was born in Gainseville, Florida. Neither of her parents are Russian either. In fact, they are Portugese and Venezuelan. She also attended Florida State University where she was enrolled in dancing and acting. Her time in university would prove fortuitous as it paved the way for many things to come, including her initial claim to fame as a member of a popular fan club for their football team.
14. Grew Up In Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
Lana holds dual citizenship as both an American and a member of the Soviet Union. Early on in life, her and her family relocated to the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic due to her father’s work as a Christian missionary. Her mother pursued a career as a ballet dancer while in the Soviet Union and the family lived in Latvia during it’s declaration of independence in 1990. Lana would remain there until the age of 17, when she would return to the United States for school. Thus, we see there is some authenticity to the SoviEt influence in her gimmick.
13. Pursued Ballet Dancing Growing Up
Before piercing the ranks of the WWE, while still in Soviet territory, Lana wished to follow in her mother’s footsteps and aspired to be a ballet dancer. From a young age, the starlet was enrolled in some of the most prestigious academies in her homeland, including the official training program of the Latvian National Opera. At the ripe age of 14, Lana was dancing for the Latvian National Ballet. The discipline and skill of her craft carved out what we can see today as the pristine physique she parades to the ring.
12. FSU “Cowgirl” Fan Club: First Claim to Fame
While attending FSU in Tallahassee, Lana and other students (notably Jenn Sterger) garnered attention while cheering the Seminoles football team from the bleachers. Lana and her crew dressed as cowgirls, and with every passing game, more and more eyes turned towards the conglomerate of dreamy college girls, prancing from the top row of their home stadium. It was during one nationally televised game on ABC where the color commentator acknowledged the group, marking Lana’s first real “exposure,” as the camera man zoomed in on the rowdy eye candy. By her own account, inquiries started to slowly roll in following her brief camera time.
11. Spokesmodel for Red Bull
As she carried through her studies in acting and dancing at FSU, following her brief airtime, Lana rode the buzz into modelling. Using the momentum generated with her Cowgirl squad, the ravishing Russian found work as a spokesmodel with energy drink mogul Red Bull, amongst other opportunities to parade her god given beauty. The notoriety gained from her time with world’s leading energy drink brand persuaded her into relocating to Los Angeles after graduating from FSU to pursue bigger endeavors, seeing how successful her first real opportunity at modelling had been.
10. Was signed to Ne-Yo’s record label
The Diva was a member of a girl pop music group for a brief period in 2009. Along with three other young women, the band known as No Means Yes would release a couple of singles under prominent RnB artist Ne-Yo’s label. According to Ne-Yo, Lana had potential given her undeniable look and dancing prowess. The record label headman thought it was a project worth undertaking, however, following a few nondescript singles, the group would disband. Nonetheless, her time in the band would serve as a stepping stone to her continuous ascent in show business.
9. Back Up Dancer for Several High Profile Artists
Her training in ballet dancing evolved over time and The Ravishing Russian diversified the variety of her craft. In turn, Lana succeeded in scoring some pretty significant gigs with renowned artists. In fact, Lana has served as a back up dancer to the likes of Keri Hilson, Nelly, Usher, Pink and Akon, to name a few. Travelling with artists and performing night in and night out would only help prepare her for life on the road with the WWE. These experiences would also serve formative to her development in show business.
8. Appeared in Television and Films Before WWE
One would believe that being as gorgeous as she is was all that was required for Lana to pierce in show business, as can often times be the case. But in fact, most of her success are the fruits of her labor. After relocating to LA, Lana trained at the famous Groundlings School, an improvisational training ground for aspiring actors. Her time there led her to some important roles in the field, which include her most notable role in Pitch Perfect 1 and 2. Lana has also acted in some B-List television series such as The Game and Banshee. In addition, she is also set to star in the WWE Studios production entitled Interrogation, scheduled for release in the near future.
7. Character Based on Rocky IV Characters
If there appears to be an uncanny resemblance in both persona and appearance between Lana and Rusev and Ivan and Ludmilla Drago from the Rocky movies, it may be done on purpose. Who can forget The Russian War Machine laying waste to Apollo Creed and his dashing, blonde wife by his side, like a puppeteer for destruction. While Rusev and Ivan might be polar opposites in appearance, Lana and Ludmilla look almost identical, even in ring attire. Lana has admitted to studying the character and her mannerisms in the movie to incorporate them into her gimmick with the WWE.
6. Real life relationship with Rusev
The couple met during their time in WWE developmental territory NXT. They were paired together for script purposes, but that chemistry would soon translate into a real life relationship. While many speculated that the two were actually romantically involved behind the scenes, it was never confirmed until TMZ broke the news about the couple’s engagement in real life. These events proved to be quite troublesome for the WWE and their creative team, as many storylines were forced to be re-written or completely dropped, leaving both superstars in Vince McMahon’s dog house for quite some time. As of today, both appear regularly on television, but have been separated.
5. Will be a Main Cast Member in the Upcoming 6th Season of Total Divas
While the Bellas remain the stars of the hit reality series, their supporting cast of Divas has varied over time. While she’s been announced for the cast, we’re not sure what role it’ll be. However, the word is that Lana will figure prominently on the next season of the show. Many wonder if she will remain in character with her Russian accent and how she will co-exist with the other Divas. Regardless, it’ll make for some entertaining television to come if the rumors are true. This can also only help Lana boost her stock in the long run as well, granting her even more exposure.
4. Ziggler Romance Voted Worst Storyline of 2015 by Rolling Stone Magazine
Usually, accolades handed out by Rolling Stone Magazine are noteworthy and honorable. Not so much, in this case. Anyone who paid close attention to the developments on screen with Lana, Rusev and Dolph Ziggler saw how monotonously it dragged out. Reminiscent of a bad Jerry Springer episode, the whole angle was abruptly just dropped all together after TMZ broke news of Rusev and Lana’s real life engagement, while smack in the middle of an on-screen love affair with Dolph Ziggler. A clear insult to most viewer’s intelligence, this storyline was rightfully discerned by Rolling Stone as the worst of 2015. The WWE universe already knew that, but having Rolling Stone hand out the official title may live on as one of Lana’s least memorable accomplishments.
3. Twitter Beef with Paige
In November of 2015, a back and forth Twitter battle ensued between Paige and Lana, which led many to believe that this went beyond a storyline, given its nature. In a nutshell, Paige was receiving heat following a controversial segment where she mentioned the real life death of WWE Champion Charlotte’s brother, Reid Flair. Lana would tweet that Paige was a real bully, claiming her time in NXT was miserably spent as one of Paige’s victims. Paige would respond with accusations that Lana is only in the business for the fame and has no true affliction with pro wrestling, citing her TMZ scandal as a reference. Real or not, it sure was entertaining.
2. Injury Controversy
At the peak (term used loosely) of the Rusev vs Ziggler feud, Lana would break her wrist during training. Rumors were rampant that The Ravishing Russian was preparing for her in ring debut versus Summer Rae. However, the injury sidetracked those plans. The estimated recovery time was never made clear, despite speculation that it was only supposed to be a few weeks. Later on, WWE would announce that the recovery was in fact set to be four months. The ambiguity around the situation was curious to say the least and many wondered if the injury was in fact as severe as reported. The controversy lies in the fact that news broke about Lana and Rusev`s real life engagement, smack in the middle of the storyline which found her romantically involved with Dolph Ziggler. Recovery or reprimand? She was kept off of television for some time during these coinciding developments. Many believe she found herself in Vince McMahon`s dog house for longer than she needed to actually recover.
1. First Woman to Make Competitive Debut at Wrestlemania
Wrestlemania 32 was held in Dallas only a few weeks ago. This years Showcase of the Immortals served as a milestone not only for Lana, but for all of women’s wrestling. Not only did Lana make her in ring debut, she was also the first female ever to make her in-ring debut on sports entertainment’s grandest stage. She may not yet be able to carry her own in a single’s match, but her tag team match was her initiation to in ring competition and hopefully sets the path for a long career ahead.
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