There really aren’t many dull moments when it comes to Lana and Rusev. The couple is quite entertaining whether it be in the ring or out of it. We caught a glimpse of that through Total Divas, though it's also apparent through social media.
Rusev is never afraid to speak his mind, which always causes quite the reaction amongst WWE fans. Lana tends to work the same way; not only does she speak her mind but she easily grabs everyone’s attention.
But like everyone else, the couple has a lot of skeletons in the closet. In fact, although we refer to Lana as the Ravishing Russian, it is hilarious to note that she isn’t from Russia at all. We’ll delve into that a little later in the article along with lots of other things, many which have to do with events that went on behind the scenes.
We’ll also take a look at Lana’s life before WWE, one that had no links to the wrestling business whatsoever. Finally, we'll also take a brief look at who was with Rusev prior to Lana, and vice versa. Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Let’s get started!
17 Both Kicked Off Of Total Divas
“Kevin Dunn told me that E! Executives took a poll and that we are strongly disliked by the demographic, I’ll make my own show. Once I get rejected from somewhere or whatnot, I’m moving on.”
Those were Lana’s words on the Lilian Garcia podcast. The WWE star was none too pleased with the decision made by the E Network officials. Lana also made the claim that thanks to editing, she was always made to look bad and kind of like the villain of the show. Without a doubt, the couple wants to keep this news on the down low. According to Comic Book, Ronda Rousey might be the one to take Lana’s place.
16 Lana’s Accent Disappeared
Only true WWE fans might have noticed but according to Ring Side News, WWE decided to quietly phase out Lana’s accent. Surprisingly, Lana made the claim that she actually has a harder time cutting a promo without it. Here’s what she told the 411 Podcast;
“I felt like, it was, sometimes when I talk without an accent, I talk fast, and I have to remind myself, really fast, I talk really fast in real life, and I have to remind myself to slow down. So, that is a little bit of a challenge.” Odd that maintaining a fake accent was easier on her than learning to speak more slowly!
15 CMT Awards Experience
It was a big moment for Lana and Rusev as they took part in the CMT Awards back in the summer of 2016. Rusev even brought his US Title for the experience.
Although it was supposed to be something memorable for the couple, it turned out to be the opposite and something they want to keep on the DL. The WWE stars made the headlines for all the wrong reasons as they were voted in as the worst dressed couple at the event. We assume that the E Network was none too pleased with this nod and neither was the couple.
14 Rusev Had A Different Manager Early On
Lana would enter WWE in a managerial role in 2013. What fans forget is that Rusev made his debut prior to that in 2010 with WWE’s developmental brand. Although most fans remember Lana as Rusev’s primary manager, he actually started off with someone else early on. Rusev was managed by Raquel Diaz, Eddie Guerrero’s daughter and WWE star Aiden English’s current wife. She was Rusev’s first manager.
In truth, Rusev would gain a lot of momentum once Lana entered the mix–it went on to bolster the duo onto the main roster. Both were pushed heavily right from the start, so it's easy to forget they haven't always been a duo.
13 Lana Isn’t From Russia
Lana briefly lived in Latvia growing up. But she was actually born in Gainesville, Florida. Both her parents didn’t have connections to Russia either. The two had ancestry in Venezuela and Portugal, as a matter of fact!
Yes, that’s right; Lana hailing from Russia was strictly part of the gimmick and nothing else. Fans finally started to see the true Lana, aka C.J. Perry on Total Divas. Before that, a lot of fans thought she was really from Russia. A lot of credit goes to Lana as she played the foreign role to perfection, especially early on, but that made it tough to shed the fake image.
12 Neither Is Rusev
The goal for Rusev was to create a character reminiscent of Ivan Drago from Rocky. Rusev did a great job in the role, though the truth is, he isn’t from Russia either, and that was only part of his foreign act and a way to add more heat with the audience.
Rusev is actually from Bulgaria. WWE quietly transitioned this as his actual hometown. He was previously announced as being from Moscow, Russia during his earlier days with the company. Rusev grew up in Bulgaria, where rowing and powerlifting became his first real passions. That seems just as fascinating as Russia, making the whole gimmick even stranger.
11 Their Engagement Caused A Stir Behind The Scenes
Once TMZ posted the photo of their engagement, it caused quite the stir behind the scenes at the couple’s workplace. At the time of Rusev’s real-life proposal, the couple was apart from one another on television as Lana was working with Dolph Ziggler while Rusev was alongside Summer Rae. As one can imagine, the decision to post this picture didn’t sit well with the boss, especially because of the storyline plans that were taking place.
Ultimately, WWE had no other choice but to transition away from the storyline. Rusev and Lana would later get matched up together, once again without an explanation.
10 Lana Was Given Eva Marie’s Gimmick
Once Eva Marie parted ways with the company, Lana was given a chance to shine in the ring. Fans couldn’t help but draw comparisons between Lana’s new gimmick and the one Eva Marie had used prior. However, Lana did her absolute best to keep this issue on the DL. Here’s what she told Ring Side News;
“I’m the same [performer] that you’ve always known. It’s funny to me when I hear people say that it’s a new character. I embody ‘Ravishing.’ I come out in the most ravishing dress. I have a ravishing entrance. I’m ravishing people’s hearts. I was managing Rusev and if you’re managing someone in real life, you are going to wear a suit to work. Right now, I’m the focal point, I’m the one competing.”
9 Rusev Angered The Undertaker
This is a big-time no-no in the wrestling business. Undertaker is the most respected WWE star of all-time. Causing friction with the legend is never a good idea. However, that’s exactly what went down with Rusev, in a situation he clearly wants us to forget about.
Once a match between the two was made official, Rusev sent out a tweet saying, “Bury me softly.” It is said that Undertaker didn’t take these words too kindly, so much so that Rusev was actually removed from the match and replaced with Chris Jericho. Who knows if Rusev did some apologizing after the fact, though, because he was later placed back in the match.
8 Lana Had No Prior Experience Before Joining WWE
If there is a knock on Lana, it is the fact that she had no prior wrestling experience before joining WWE. In fact, she didn’t even step foot in the ring as a competitor; Lana was instantly matched with Rusev as his manager. WWE fans tend to be harsh on those with no experience, and for that reason, Lana might want to keep this on the DL.
As for Rusev, he would move to the US in search of wrestling stardom. Unlike his wife, he got the proper training and briefly worked the independent scene. He would later land on the WWE’s radar in the fall of 2010.
7 Lana Dated The Old Spice Guy
Prior to dating Rusev, a little known fact is that the Lana dated a popular and well known commercial face; he goes by "the Old Spice Guy" and appears in most of the commercials for the company. He is also a former football player.
We heard a little bit about the relationship during Total Divas. Lana bumped into Isaiah Mustafa during her bachelorette party, of all the unlikely events. The two did a little bit of reminiscing; no doubt, Rusev wasn’t too pleased about that encounter. But who can blame him? Of course, the two are keen on minimizing any details about their lives pre-marriage.
6 They Had Two Weddings
As if having one wedding isn’t stressful enough, the two decided to have two weddings. The second one took place back in Rusev’s native land of Bulgaria. Lana discussed the differences between the two with WWE.com;
"It was completely different. Specifically starting with the ceremony alone, the Malibu ceremony was on the beach. My dad, who is also a minister, led the ceremony, but it was not a traditional ceremony versus the [traditional Bulgaria one], which was in an Orthodox church and everything was very traditional.” Total Divas caught both of the wedding ceremonies, but Lana and Rusev kept the details on the DL before they aired.
5 The Boss Wanted Lana & Rusev Apart
This was a rumor swirling from behind the scenes. According to the gossip, McMahon was the one that wanted the two separated on-screen. Vince believed that Lana had lots of potential to become a huge face with the company, though that wasn’t going to happen as long as Rusev was by her side.
As we discussed earlier, McMahon would get his wish as the couple went their separate ways on-screen. The Ziggler and Lana on-screen relationship was ultimately a short-lived one thanks to the release of the engagement photo, though, and the fact that McMahon wanted to split the pair up is not mentioned anymore.
4 Lana Was A Lead Singer For A Band
That’s right, back in 2009, a year before Rusev would join WWE, things were a lot different for Lana. She joined a group called No Means Yes. They would even sign with a record label and release a track called “Would You Like That.” They would go on to produce two more tracks after that.
By 2010, the group members had all parted ways and the band was done with. Lana would take part in a couple of music videos after that as a backup dancer. In 2013, she finally changed fields, entering the wrestling business and becoming the talent we know her as today.
3 Lana’s First Passion Was Dance
Unlike many of the other WWE Divas, Lana’s first passion wasn’t to step foot in a WWE ring. Instead, her early dreams consisted of becoming a professional dancer just like her mother. By the age of 14, Lana was already competing at the national stage. She would stick to dance throughout her teen years. She would eventually use these skills once she made the transfer into the music industry.
As shown on Total Divas, Lana has maintained lots of those dance skills to this day. Without a doubt, she can re-enter that field whenever she chooses to, and maybe she'll revive her other passion alongside her WWE work.
2 Lana Acted Prior To WWE
Along with music and dancing, you can add acting to Lana’s lengthy resume prior to joining WWE. She took part in lots of different films and TV shows. Most notably, Lana appeared in Pitch Perfect and later, the sequel Pitch Perfect 2.
Without a doubt, the experience gained from those gigs helped Lana get comfortable once she joined WWE. Although she wasn’t able to wrestle like the other Divas early on, she was more than comfortable on the microphone. A lot of that is attributed to her past in acting and even singing, though she doesn't often share this with fans.
1 Lana’s Backstage Heat
Lana doesn’t have a squeaky clean reputation when it comes to her life with WWE behind the scenes. Lana has various stories of beef with the other Divas, most notably her lengthy rivalry with Paige. One that we finally saw get resolved on Total Divas.
Paige wasn’t the only one. We also saw and heard reports of Lana getting into it with Renee Young, Natalya, and Carmella, just to name a few. She also had some harsh words for Ronda Rousey most recently, though that might have been an attempt to stir things up more than anything else. Of course, Lana would probably prefer for her past comments to go unnoticed.
Sources: WWE, Ring Side News, Comic Book