A brand new gimmick for a familiar face in WWE has caused the women’s star to fire back at fans. WWE’s Lana, real name C.J. Perry, has been well known for the past several years as the ringside manager and real-life wife of Rusev. When the WWE’s “Superstar Shake-Up” arrived several weeks ago, both Rusev and Lana were moved from Raw to SmackDown Live. Soon after, it became clear that these two would not be working as a pair on the “blue brand” due to vignettes showing Lana with a new gimmick. That gimmick has received some negative reviews from fans, which has Lana blasting them on social media over it.
While she has yet to show up on the WWE SmackDown Live television program or in the ring, Lana has been featured for several weeks now in promotional segments. The pre-recorded video clips show her in a long dress with side slits as she dances, does splits, and poses around a chair to a jazzy, upbeat melody. The videos, which are under a minute long, finish off with a “Coming Soon” on them, very similar to what fans went through as they waited for the debut of “Emmalina” who, after weeks, dropped that gimmick and became just “Emma” on WWE Raw.
According to WrestleZone on Wednesday, Lana fired off several tweets earlier this morning in response to the fans who are criticizing her dancer gimmick. In one tweet she talks about being part of the women’s revolution by standing up and speaking out to all the top superstars in WWE. In another she mentions “feminism” and that it gives her the right to do as she wishes with her body. She also mentions she will “Lana kick” heads off in the ring and brings up her background in the study of various martial arts.
The four tweets from Lana each respond to different fan comments on Twitter regarding her newest gimmick. One of the comments says that it appears WWE has reverted to the pre-women’s division days when there were pillow fights and “Bra and Panties” matches. Another comment calls out Lana for being unable to wrestle so Vince McMahon is having her dance instead. Clearly, the comments got under the Ravishing Russian’s skin as she’s reportedly been putting in the work to improve her in-ring skills.
While Lana hasn’t officially appeared on the “blue brand” she has appeared in the ring. She appeared in a women’s tag team match during WrestleMania 31. During that match, the Total Divas star debuted an interesting purple outfit choice and did a standing split pose on the ring apron. The image of that pose went viral and was featured as a topic of conversation on the Total Divas show in one episode.
There have also been recent reports of Lana having matches during WWE NXT live house shows and using the new gimmick. One report says she danced in the ring for about a minute. A Wrestling Inc report back on March 10 said that Lana worked an event in Largo, Florida, and defeated NXT women’s wrestler Aliyah in a match there.
Many fans and analysts gave the duo of Lana and Rusev a lot of credit for their ability to generate heat as a heel combination in the past. During various feuds, Lana was the “mouthpiece” who would get fans riled up over her announcing how great Russia, Vladimir Putin, or her husband, Rusev, were. Over time, fans grew to love Lana like a fan favorite, so it may be some tough love from the fans now.
However, it may be premature to criticize the “gimmick” without giving Lana a chance to shine in a new role. One issue with some parts of the WWE fanbase has been a lack of patience when it comes to letting talents hone their craft and shine in the ring. Hopefully, with time and training, Lana will be able to let her actions in the ring show the naysayers that the dancing gimmick isn’t all that defines her.
[Featured Image by WWE]