On the recent episode of SmackDown Live, Lana made her debut after weeks of vignettes. Officially placing herself as a separate act from her husband Rusev, Lana interfered in a segment involving the women’s Money in the Bank participants – Becky Lynch, Tamina Snuka, Charlotte Flair, Carmella, and Natalya – along with the Women’s Champion Naomi, and requested to be in the ladder match. After Shane McMahon denied her request, she began to have a heated verbal exchange with Naomi.
Later in the evening, Lana found a way to finagle her way into the title picture, as he cost Naomi her match by tripping her off the ring. This led to Naomi going into McMahon’s office and demanding a match with Lana, even willing to put her title on the line. So, this officially set the stage for the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship being defended at Money in the Bank.
The decision to place Lana in the women’s championship picture has received a great deal of criticism from the fans. On social media, there were plenty of comments that did not favor her getting a title shot. One user felt that it was awkward that Lana was involved in the match and cost Naomi the match. Another user believed that Lana receiving a title shot did not seem believable, and it felt “frozen.” Others feel that she is only receiving her meteoric push as a result of her looks.
Regarding the latter comment, those who agree with that statement could be right. In fact, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Lana is receiving her push as a result of being the closest person to Eva Marie regarding filling the role originally slated for her.
However, Lana is making sure to remain confident in her ability to become the women’s champion of the blue brand, and this is affirmed by a recent post.
— CJ (Lana) Perry (@LanaWWE) June 8, 2017
For several weeks, Eva Marie would appear on SmackDown after being called up from NXT. While many were incredibly critical of Eva Marie’s in-ring work, WWE still felt as if the character of a sensual heel woman fit her the most. As a result, she made her way up the ladder and was used for the role. Throughout her appearances, she would receive a grand announcement to the ring, only for her match to be cut short over instances such as a feigned injury or a “wardrobe malfunction.”
On one scheduled appearance, she even had a “flight delay,” causing her match to postpone. The last opportunity that the WWE Universe had a chance to see her was when she was involved in the multi-person match on the pre-show of WrestleMania 32, and those reviews were also very critical.
Despite this, WWE still wanted this type of character to work out. Although Lana was used to fill the role, it still may not work. This is due to speculation that Lana may be turning babyface soon, stemming from her reaction during the most recent SmackDown Live at the Mohegan Sun in Wilkes-Barre, PA. When she was denied an opportunity from Shane McMahon, he was even booed, and “We want Lana!” chants commenced.
Based on this effort to make Lana a star on SmackDown Live, WWE is certainly not incapable of giving an underdeveloped main event talent championship gold, as seen by Jinder Mahal. Lana has added to this speculation of her becoming champion by posting a picture of her with the title.
They laughed at me & said "keep dreaming"…..so I did ???? I'll make history & become the first RAVISHING Smackdown Women's CHAMPION !! ! pic.twitter.com/jtYWDU5nig
— CJ (Lana) Perry (@LanaWWE) June 11, 2017
If Lana does end up winning the title at Money in the Bank, it will be very susceptible to much controversy. However, with WWE placing a greater emphasis at times on their relationships outside the ring, such as the Total Divas series, it will not be a big shock if she does indeed become the new champion.
[Featured Image by WWE]