Catherine Joy Perry
March 24, 1985
Gainesville, Florida, U.S
|Occupation||Professional wrestler, professional wrestling manager, model, actress, dancer, singer|
|Years active||2013–present (wrestling)|
|Ring name(s)||C.J. Perry|
|Billed height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Billed from||Moscow, Russia|
|Trained by||WWE Performance Center|
|Debut||October 23, 2013|
(as a manager)
April 3, 2016
(as a wrestler)
Catherine Joy "CJ" Perry (born March 24, 1985) is an American professional wrestler, professional wrestling manager, actress, dancer, model, and singer. She is best known for her time in the professional wrestling promotion WWE, under the ring name Lana.
Perry was born on March 24, 1985, in Gainesville, Florida, the eldest of four siblings. She is of Portuguese and Venezuelan descent. She spent several years of her childhood in the Latvian SSR, where her father worked as a Christian missionary. Perry and her family remained in Latvia after it restored its independence in 1991. 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.
At the age of 17, Perry returned to the U.S. She initially lived in New York City, where she danced at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico, Broadway Dance Center, and Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. She later enrolled at Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, Florida, majoring in dance and acting. While attending FSU, she began attending Florida State Seminoles football games with Jenn Sterger and several other students, cheering from the bleachers while dressed as cowgirls. The students, known as the FSU 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.
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. Upon graduating from FSU, she relocated to Los Angeles with the aim of working in show business.
Music and acting career
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, "Would You Like That", and recorded two others ("7 Years Bad Luck" and "Burn Rubber") before disbanding in 2010. Perry later stated:
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.
Perry went on to work as a backup dancer for performers such as Keri Hilson, Nelly, Pink, Usher, Akon, and Rich Boy. In 2013, she starred alongside Kelley Jakle in the music video for Jakle's cover of the Paramore song "Ain't it Fun". She trained as an actress at The Groundlings School and under the acting coaches Lesly Kahn and Larry Moss. She went on to appear in acting roles such as an episode of The Game in 2011, the lead role in I.C.I.R.U.S. in 2011, the musical comedy film Pitch Perfect in 2012 and the 2015 sequel Pitch Perfect 2, and an episode of Banshee in 2013. In 2016, she starred in the WWE Studios production Interrogation alongside WWE Hall of Famer Adam "Edge" Copeland.
Professional wrestling career
Managerial role (2013–2016)
In June 2013, Perry revealed that she had been signed to WWE and was sent to their developmental branch NXT. She debuted on the October 23, 2013 episode of NXT, under the ring name "Lana", scouting Alexander Rusev. 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. 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. 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.
Lana made some controversial comments during an in-ring promo prior to Rusev's match at Battleground, 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 Jack Swagger. A representative of WWE later told TMZ 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".
Following the November 3 episode of Raw, Rusev defeated Sheamus on WWE Network to capture the United States Championship. At WrestleMania 31, Rusev lost the title to Cena after Rusev accidentally crashed into Lana, knocking her off the ring apron. On May 17, at Payback, Cena defeated Rusev in an "I Quit" match after Lana quit on Rusev's behalf. The following night on Raw, Lana justified her actions by explaining that Rusev said he quit in Bulgarian, only for him to harshly dismiss her; later that night, Lana kissed Dolph Ziggler, turning her face and officially ending their association. After Ziggler being injured by Rusev, he went to return on the August 17 episode of Raw, aiding Lana during a confrontation with Rusev and Summer Rae. Rae went on to "seduce" Ziggler in order to end his relationship with Lana, but the storyline ended quietly, after WWE announced that Lana had injured her wrist while training. On October 11, TMZ reported that Lana had gotten engaged to Rusev, which Lana confirmed. Lana made her return, once again as a villainess, on the November 30 episode of Raw, where she and Rusev referenced their engagement.
On the April 25, 2016 episode of Raw, Lana returned to managing Rusev, After being drafted to Raw as part of the 2016 WWE draft which took place on July 19, Lana made her first appearance for the brand on August 1, where she accompanied Rusev. On August 8, Rusev's and Lana's wedding celebration was usurped by Roman Reigns, and one week later on the August 15 episode of Raw, Rusev competed in a match for Lana's honor against Reigns but lost. In early 2017, Rusev suffered a legitimate shoulder injury, taking them off television.
Early matches (2016–2017)
On the February 29, 2016 episode of Raw, Lana confronted Brie Bella during a backstage segment, arguing that Bella's fans only supported her out of pity for having a "bad husband", On the March 14 episode of Raw, she distracted Brie during a tag team match against Team B.A.D. (Naomi and Tamina), causing her to lose, and aligned herself with Team BAD. On the March 22 episode of Main Event, she brought the returning Emma and Summer Rae to her guild. As a result, Lana faced off Bella in a tag team match at the WrestleMania 32 pre-show, in what would be Lana's in-ring debut, which her team (dubbed Team B.A.D. & Blonde) lost.
On the April 11, 2017, Lana was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the Superstar Shake-up. As vignettes hyping her televised return aired, Lana resumed in-ring competition under her new gimmick at NXT live events that same month. Lana made her return on the June 6 episode of SmackDown Live, unsuccessfully vying to compete in the impending women's Money in the Bank ladder match, while also igniting a feud with SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi. On June 18, Lana was defeated by Naomi in her first televised singles match at Money in the Bank after a distraction by Carmella. She went on to compete against Naomi two more times on the June 27 and July 4 episodes of SmackDown Live, where she was defeated both times in quick fashion. On July 23 at Battleground, Lana competed in a five-way elimination match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women's Championship, where she was eliminated by Becky Lynch. At the Royal Rumble on January 28, 2018, Lana participated in the first ever women's Royal Rumble match as the 13th entrant, but was eliminated by Michelle McCool. Lana would compete in the WWE Mixed Match Challenge, teaming with Rusev, where they defeated Elias and Bayley in the first round, marking Lana's first official win in WWE. On the May 22 episode of SmackDown Live, Lana defeated Billie Kay to qualify for the women's Money in the Bank ladder match marking her first singles win in the company. At the event, Lana failed to win the ladder match.
Various alliances (2018–2021)
Throughout late July 2018, she was booked with Rusev and Aiden English against Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega. This turned Lana face, for the first time since 2015. At SummerSlam, Lana and Rusev faced Vega and Almas which they lost, however they won the rematch on the following night on SmackDown Live. She competed at WrestleMania 35 in the annual Women's WrestleMania battle royal match, but did not win.
Lana turned heel again on the September 30, 2019 edition of Raw, after betraying Rusev and kissing Bobby Lashley, during Rusev's Universal Championship match with Seth Rollins. After Rusev was legitimately released from his WWE contract, Lana remained in character, mocking him on social media. Lana then began a feud with MVP, after he tried to gain Lashley as an ally. At Backlash, Lashley was unsuccessful in capturing the WWE Championship due to an altercation between MVP and Lana at ringside which distracted Lashley and allowed Drew McIntyre to retain his championship. The following night on Raw, Lashley confronted Lana and blamed her for his loss at Backlash stating that she used him to get famous including making their sex life public. Lashley would then ask for a divorce before leaving with MVP. That same night, Lana vented her frustrations to Natalya backstage. On the June 22 episode of Raw, Lana solidified her alliance with Natalya by distracting Liv Morgan thus helping Natalya to win the match. In August, the duo began feuding with the returning Mickie James.
On the September 14 episode of Raw, after Lana and Natalya lost to The Riott Squad (Morgan and Ruby Riott), Nia Jax performed a Samoan drop on Lana through the commentator's table. That would become a recurring theme, as Jax would Samoan dropped Lana through the table on weekly basis during Raw. On the October 12 episode of Raw, after Lana and Natalya lost to Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose, Natalya left Lana in the ring claims that she's done, thus, ending their alliance. On the main event on the same show, Lana won a battle royal by last eliminating Natalya to challenged the Raw Women's Champion Asuka for the title, turning face in the process. In the following week on Raw, Lana challenged Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship, but was unsuccessful. After the match, Jax Samoan Dropped Lana through the commentator's table in the fifth week in a row. On November 22, at Survivor Series, Lana participated at the traditional Survivor Series elimination match as part of team Raw. During the match, Lana was told by her teammates to stand on the ring steps, not to tag in again. At the end of the match, Jax and Bianca Belair from team SmackDown were counted out, leaving Lana the sole survivor thus winning the match for her team.
On the next day on Raw, Lana challenged Asuka again for the Raw Women's Championship, however, the match ended in no-contest as Asuka was attacked by the Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler who were on commentary. As Lana saved Asuka from Jax who tried to Samoan drop her through the commentator's table, the two defeated Baszler and Jax, as Lana escaped going through a table for the first time in a couple of weeks. On the next Raw, Raw Women's Champion Asuka and Lana defeated the Women's Tag Team Champions again after Lana pinned Baszler. On the December 14, 2020 episode of RAW, Jax and Baszler injured Lana's arm and leg making her unable to compete in the TLC pay per view match with Asuka as her partner against Jax and Baszler for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match. She returned on January 31, 2021 at the Royal Rumble as the 26th entrant, and lasted 9:28 before being eliminated by Natalya. The following night on Raw, she teamed with Naomi to earn a future Women's Tag Team Championship match. They were scheduled to fight in a Tag Team Turmoil match in Night 1 of WrestleMania 37 to determine the no.1 contenders for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship at Night 2 against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, and they were eliminated by Billie Kay and Carmella. On June 2, 2021, Lana was released by WWE.
Lana has appeared in six WWE video games. She made her in-game debut at WWE 2K15 as an NPC, appearing during Rusev's entrance and winning celebration. She later made her managing debut in WWE 2K16 and later appearing in its follow-ups, WWE 2K17 and WWE 2K18. She was confirmed to be a playable character for the first time in WWE 2K19 and followed that up with appearance in WWE 2K20. and WWE 2K Battlegrounds.
|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|
|Pitch Perfect 2||Legacy Bella|
|Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon||Lana||Voice|
|2018||Another Version Of You||Gwyneth||Kiril's (real life husband Miroslav Barnyashev) ex-girlfriend|
|2021||Cosmic Sin||Sol Cantos|
|2008||The Millionaire Matchmaker||Herself||Episode: "Tai/German"|
|2009||The Real Housewives of Atlanta||Episode "Better Tardy Than Never"|
|2011||The Game||Ashley||Episode: "A Very Special Episode"|
|The Fresh Beat Band||Steguitarus||Episode: "Veloci-Rap-Star"|
|2011–12||I.C.I.R.U.S.||Brit||Recurring role (7 episodes)|
|2015–19||Total Divas||Herself||Guest (season 4) |
Main cast (season 6–8): 36 episodes
|2016–18||Total Bellas||Episodes: "Quickie Fix", "Bella-Mania" & "The Bella Comeback"|
|2009||"Would You Like That"||Non-album single|
Awards and accomplishments
- Rolling Stone
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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During a training session...Lana had sustained an injury in the ring.
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I hit Paige so hard with my kick to her face that I should have just went ahead and pinned her.
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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.
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