Lana (wrestling)

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Lana
Lana April 2014.jpg
Lana in April 2014
Born Catherine Joy Perry
(1985-03-24) March 24, 1985 (age 29)[1]
Gainesville, Florida, US[2]
Occupation valet, professional wrestling manager, model, actress, dancer, singer
Years active 1999-present (dancer)
2005-present (model)
2008–present (actress)
2009–present (singer)
2013–present (professional wrestling manager)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Lana[3]
Billed height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[3]
Billed from Moscow, Russia[3]

Catherine Joy "C.J." Perry (born March 24, 1985) is an American professional wrestling manager, model, actress, dancer, and singer. Although born in Gainesville, Florida, Perry was raised in Riga, Latvia and speaks fluent Russian.[4] She is currently signed with the professional wrestling promotion WWE under the ring name Lana, where she manages the WWE United States Champion, Rusev.

Early life[edit]

The eldest of four siblings, Perry was born in Gainesville, Florida to parents of Portuguese and Venezuelan extraction. She spent several years of her childhood in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union, where her father worked as a Christian missionary.[2][5] Perry and her family remained in Latvia after it declared its independence from the Soviet Union in May 1990. From an early age, Perry aspired to become a ballet dancer like her mother. She attended the Riga Choreography School – the ballet school of the Latvian National Opera – and began dancing with the Latvian National Ballet at the age of 14.[2][6]

At the age of 17, Perry returned to the United States. She initially lived in New York City, where she danced at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico, Broadway Dance Center and the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. Perry later enrolled in Florida State University (FSU), majoring in dance and acting because she wanted to "experience the traditional American University" [2] While attending FSU, Perry began attending Florida State Seminoles football games with Jenn Sterger, Fabiola Romero, and several other students, cheering from the bleachers while dressed as "cowgirls". The students – known as the "Florida State Cowgirls" – entered the public consciousness after being acknowledged by commentator Brent Musburger during a game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes that aired on ABC in September 2005.[7] Perry parlayed the exposure into a modelling career, appearing in photoshoots in publications such as the RIDGID Tool Calendar and working as a spokesmodel for the energy drinks Matrix and Red Bull.[2]

Upon graduating from FSU, Perry relocated to Los Angeles, California with the aim of working in show business.[2]

Music and acting career[edit]

In 2009, Perry joined "No Means Yes", a girl group signed to Ne-Yo's record label comprising Perry (billed as "C.J."), Kat, Shea and Tanu. The group released one single – titled "Would You Like That" – and recorded two others (titled "7 Years Bad Luck" and "Burn Rubber") before disbanding in 2010.[2][5] Perry stated on joining "No Means Yes", "A girlfriend of mine in college referred me to the man that was putting the group together. I honestly was so scared to sing and I didn't even know a song to sing at the audition so I sang "Jesus Loves Me." I remember them saying we can work with her tone because she has the right look and she is a model that break dances. I am so thankful to this day for that experience because I do not think I would have ever gotten the role in Pitch Perfect if I hadn't overcome my fear to open my mouth and sing".[2] Perry went on to work as a backup dancer for performers such as Keri Hilson, Nelly, Pink and Usher.[2][8] In 2013, Perry starred alongside Kelley Jakle in the music video for Jakle's cover of the Paramore song "Ain't it Fun".

Perry trained as an actress at The Groundlings School and under the acting coaches Lesly Kahn and Larry Moss.[2] She went on to appear in acting roles such as an episode of the television program The Game in 2011, the musical comedy film Pitch Perfect in 2012, an episode of the television program Banshee in 2013. She landed the lead role in I.C.I.R.U.S. as Brit in 2011. Perry was cast as a "Legacy Bella" in the sequel Pitch Perfect 2 in 2014.[9]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Lana (left) with Alexander Rusev in April 2014

WWE[edit]

Managing Rusev (2013–present)[edit]

In June 2013, Perry revealed that she had been signed to WWE and was sent to their developmental branch WWE NXT.[10] Perry debuted in NXT on the October 23, 2013 episode of NXT, under the ring name "Lana", scouting Alexander Rusev during his match against C.J. Parker.[11] On the November 6 episode of NXT, Lana became Rusev's "social ambassador", using a Russian accent and developing a character who majored in Foreign Affairs and Business and Social Media Marketing in college.[12] In December 2013, the duo of Rusev and Lana were compared to Ivan and Ludmilla Drago, the antagonists of the 1985 film Rocky IV.[13][14] Rusev and Lana later appeared at NXT Arrival, where Rusev attacked Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze.[15]

While Rusev made his main roster debut at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 26, 2014,[16] Lana made her main roster debut on the January 31 episode of SmackDown, where she and Rusev in the following weeks appeared in a series of self-promotional videos and speeches.[17][18][19] Rusev wrestled his first match on the main roster on the April 7 episode of Raw, squashing Zack Ryder.[20] In early May, Lana began dedicating Rusev's matches to her "hero", President of Russia Vladimir Putin, as well as adopting an Anti-American, Russophilic gimmick.[21][22]

Lana gained mainstream notoriety, when, during an in-ring promo prior to Rusev's match against Jack Swagger at the Battleground pay-per-view event, she made comments blaming the United States for current world events and praising Putin. Although she did not directly mention it, some media outlets said Lana was making reference to the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which happened three days before Battleground, to help build heat for Rusev in his feud against Swagger.[23][24] A representative of WWE later told TMZ.com that the segment was not specifically about the Malaysia Airlines crash, noting that the Rusev-Lana storyline "has been a part of WWE programming for more than three months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended.”[25]

On the November 3 episode of Raw, Rusev defeated Sheamus to capture the WWE United States Championship.[26]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Benny Future and the Madman from Manchester Arabella
2011 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Dancer Uncredited
Big Time Beach Party Dancer Television film
2012 Pitch Perfect Footnote #5/Opening Bella
2013 Soul Alexis
2014 Pitch Perfect 2 Legacy Bella

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2008 The Millionaire Matchmaker Herself Episode: "Tai/German"
2009 The Real Housewives of Atlanta Herself Episode "Better Tardy Than Never"
2011 The Game Ashley Episode: "A Very Special Episode"
The Fresh Beat Band Steguitarus Episode: "Veloci-Rap-Star"
2011–2012 I.C.I.R.U.S. Brit 7 episodes
2013 Banshee Crystal Episode: "Wicks"

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single Album
2009 "Would You Like That" Non album single

In wrestling[edit]

  • Nicknames
    • "The Mistress of Destruction"[8]
    • "The Ravishing Russian"[3][27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lana - Awesome friends and awesome birthday thank you !...". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "C.J. Perry". Roynette Brown. May 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Lana". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ http://www.saywhatnews.com/cjperry.html
  5. ^ a b "C.J. Perry". NewEnglandHipHop.com. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Modern ballet performance dedicated to Holocaust victims to premiere at the Latvian National Opera". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia. September 2002. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Florida St.'s Cowgirls: Where Are They Now?". Lost Lettermen. September 11, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Saxton, Byron. "Mistress of destruction: The true life story of Lana". WWE. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  9. ^ Soden, Dan (June 28, 2014). "WWE Diva Lana Films Role For Pitch Perfect 2". OvertimeNation.com. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Four Diva Hopefuls to Head to NXT (Update)". Diva Dirt. Retrieved April 10, 2014. [unreliable source]
  11. ^ James, Justin (November 1, 2013). "James's WWE NXT Report 10/30". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 3, 2013. 'Lefort comes into the ring and Rusev knocks him to the mat with a belly splash for no obvious reason. [Rusev] goes to the back without Lefort.' 
  12. ^ James, Justin (November 21, 2013). "James's WWE NXT Report 11/20". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved November 21, 2013. The Mysterious Blonde announces Alexander Rusev. Apparently, she is "Lana" his social ambassador. 
  13. ^ Saxton, Brian (December 4, 2013). "'The NXT Champ Report': Bo Dallas evaluates five of NXT's rising stars". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved January 3, 2014. Alexander Rusev and Lana remind me of that duo from "Rocky IV." 
  14. ^ James, Justin (February 6, 2014). "James's WWE NXT Report 2/5". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  15. ^ Howell, Nolan. "NXT ArRival: Neville reaches for the gold". Canoe.ca. Québecor Média. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  16. ^ Caldwell, James (January 26, 2014). "Rumble PPV news: Batista, undercard losers not included, this year's surprise entries, Bray's big night, The Crowd". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  17. ^ Parks, Greg. "Parks's WWE SmackDown report 1/31: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Friday show, including The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan & Sheamus & Rey Mysterio". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ Parks, Greg. "Parks's WWE SmackDown report 2/7: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of the Friday night show, including Orton vs. Christian". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  19. ^ Caldwell, James. "Caldwell's WWE Raw results 3/10: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw – Bryan "hi-jacks" Raw, Taker & Hogan back on TV, Cena vs. Wyatts feud continues". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  20. ^ Caldwell, James. "Raw news: Bryan's first night as champ, Taker update, Cesaro joins Heyman, Warrior returns, RVD returns, Paige debuts & wins Divas Title, other NXT intros, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  21. ^ Seife, Andy (May 4, 2014). "Alexander Rusev def. R-Truth & Xavier Woods (2-on-1 Handicap Match)". WWE. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 
  22. ^ Payne, Marissa (May 5, 2014). "Vladimir Putin makes his WWE debut at 'Extreme Rules'". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ Payne, Marissa (July 21, 2014). "WWE alludes to Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 during ‘Battleground’ and it did not go over so well". Washington Post. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  24. ^ "WWE's Lana under fire for pro-Russia comments". Toronto Sun. July 21, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ "WWE's Lana references Malaysia air tragedy during pro-Russian skit," TMZ.com, July 21, 2014. Accessed 07-22-2014. [1]
  26. ^ "WWE Raw results, November 3, 2014: The Authority severs ties with Randy Orton and Rusev fulfills his U.S. Title destiny on WWE Network". 
  27. ^ "WWE Main Event results: The fallout from the Raw after WrestleMania". WWE. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Внимание! (Attention!)". iTunes. April 21, 2014. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 

External links[edit]