Greetings everyone, this will be my first ever article on this site and I hope to do well with it, if there are any mistakes then please lend your voices out for me to rectify them.
For this particular short article I shall be discussing the current and unfortunate devaluation of CJ Perry, better known by her stage name as Lana.
But before I can get in-depth on what is currently wrong with the character, let’s go back in time to the very beginning of her intriguing career, one with a background that did not start with professional wrestling.
An actress, a dancer, singer and model, enough feats that could (surprisingly) give her the edge in the modern world of professional wrestling, where such talents are the current priorities to make it in the WWE, overshadowing the actual necessity of wrestling which the company has been pushing more and more further away from. Her early career holds such notable records, such as joining an all-girls band No Means Yes, releasing their only singles together, and participating in numerous photo-shoots for notable figures, along with having the chance of being a spokeswoman for Redbull and Matrix(the energy drink, not the movie…).
Fast forwarding to the Summer of 2013, it was formally announced that this individual would be signed in to the development brand of NXT, with no background in professional wrestling she was placed in a role that was completely and utterly foreign to her, yet despite such facts she immediately came to brace and rapidly adapted to new world of “Sports Entertainment”. Shocking everyone for her revered performance as a valet (to be truthful, giving me reminiscence of Miss Elizabeth during her prime days as a valet with Macho Man when I started to pay attention to her in NXT) she quickly made herself stand out from the other women in the company, who either were performing physically or vocally, but not purely as a valet as she did.
Carrying on the role of “The Ravishing Russian”, essentially being the backbone on the amazing pair of Rusev & Lana, armed with her ethics and background as a model, she would go out her way to execute her role in all means as possible. by taking her means one step further. Such a prime example would be that she never deviated from her character even when the camera was on her at all, assimilating it into her personal life as she went around Twitter and around the world with this persona, denying claims of her actual name and proudly embracing the role that she was given.
It was not long afterwards that she was pushed on to the main stage of WWE in the Winter of 2014, and with no surprise carried out perfectly with her persona of a heel villainess that would go out of her way to make sure that she was booed, and booed she was. It was this particular trait that she perfect to the greatest of degree, having the ability to vocally make you think “She is so beautiful, but at the same time I really wish someone could put these bad guys in their place!”.
This is what I like to call a “perfect heel”, someone that you’re enticed to hate because they played their role perfectly as the intended bad guy. Never deterring from such role, she became what seems like a fresh of breath air from the poisonous cloud that has been plaguing the Divas locker room, whom are more concerned with putting on 2 minute matches or having their priorities focus on Total Divas with little to no passion when it comes to acting(lest you all want me to remind you of “I wished you died in the womb!” angle), a show that I made very clear that I would rather see cancelled for the sake of the “Divas Division”, so they can get back to doing what they originally were meant to do, perform in the ring, either it by physically or vocally backstage.
It was already made known months ahead that Rusev was eventually going to be hitting a brick wall in terms of his character development, and that brick wall was in the form of John Cena, it was reported countless times on this site, and many others that such an unfortunate set of event was inevitable and may have negative repercussion for Lana as well. What we didn’t expect was what followed with the change of her character development, which was probably the most damnable thing that WWE has done so far for this year, the creativity with Roman Reigns being the second.
It is currently seen as the “Vince Mentality“, whereas if a character is beloved by the fans for the reason of liking to hate their character and praising them for playing their role perfectly, he would automatically have the inner mentality of “If they are liked so much, better turn them face and overpush them to the Moon without the approval of the fans!”. It is the very same creative mistake that unfortunately led to the sudden halt of Roman Reigns’s character, when he was creatively mishandled with those awful Looney Tunes scripts along with being forced to portray something that he was not. He was known and loved by the fans for being a genuine “badass” member of The Shield, one that was eliminating people left and right the previous Royal Rumble and being cheered by everyone at the time in hopes that he would evaluate to Wrestlemania over Batista, only for the following year in the same event for the situation being completely reversed, with him being booed due to the creative mistakes of Vince.
And that is the point I want to make, Lana is a terrific heel, people love her as a heel, people love to boo her because they want to boo the character as intended. To drastically change something that shouldn’t be fixed in the first place has already been proven before to be an absolute recipe for disaster. She could play the crowd in the palm of her hand, being the deciding factor of when they can cheer, or boo at any given time with any words that she is capable of phrasing out, why deviate from such a perfect formula ? It is such a formula that is rare in a company that is so devoid of true heels, or a figurative bad guy that is hated because they play their intended role perfectly, and not hated because they are legitimately not wanted on television anymore for wasting 30 minutes of every RAW talking about themselves in a hopeless act to stay relevant (*cough*).