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Lana (wrestling)

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Title: Lana (wrestling)  
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Subject: Alexander Rusev, WrestleMania 31, Payback (2014), American jazz dancers, Pitch Perfect 2
Collection: 1985 Births, 21St-Century American Actresses, Actors from Gainesville, Florida, Actresses from Gainesville, Florida, American Ballerinas, American Christians, American Contemporary Dancers, American Expatriates in Latvia, American Expatriates in the Soviet Union, American Female Dancers, American Female Models, American Female Professional Wrestlers, American Female Singers, American Film Actresses, American Hip Hop Dancers, American Jazz Dancers, American People of Portuguese Descent, American People of Venezuelan Descent, American Television Actresses, Current Wwe Divas, Fictional Russians in Professional Wrestling, Florida State University Alumni, Living People, People from Riga, Professional Wrestlers from Florida, Professional Wrestling Managers and Valets, Sportspeople from Gainesville, Florida, The Groundlings
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Lana (wrestling)

Lana in April 2015
Born Catherine Joy Perry
(1985-03-24) March 24, 1985
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Residence Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Other names C.J.
C.J. Perry
Occupation Professional wrestling manager, actress, dancer, singer
Years active 1999–2005 (dancer)
2005–present (model)
2008–present (actress)
2009 (singer)
2013–present (professional wrestling valet)
Partner(s) Dolph Ziggler
Modeling information
Hair color Blonde
Eye color Hazel
Measurements 34–24–34 (US/UK)
86.5–61–86.5 (EU)[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Lana[2]
Billed height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)[2]
Billed weight 119Ib (55kg)
Billed from Moscow, Russia[2]
Debut October 23, 2013
(as a manager)

Catherine Joy "C.J." Perry (born March 24, 1985)[3] is an American professional wrestling manager, model, actress, dancer, and singer currently signed with WWE under the ring name Lana.


  • Early life 1
  • Music and acting career 2
  • Professional wrestling career 3
    • World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE 3.1
      • Managing Rusev (2013–2015) 3.1.1
      • Managing Dolph Ziggler (2015) 3.1.2
  • Other media 4
  • Personal life 5
  • Filmography 6
    • Film 6.1
    • Television 6.2
  • Discography 7
    • Singles 7.1
  • In wrestling 8
  • Championships and accomplishments 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Early life

The eldest of four siblings, Perry was born in Gainesville, Florida,[4] to parents of Portuguese and Venezuelan descent. 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.[4][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.[4][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) in Tallahassee, Florida, majoring in dance and acting, because she wanted to "experience the traditional American university".[1][4]

While attending FSU, Perry 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 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, with Musburger quipping "1,500 red-blooded Americans just decided to apply to Florida State."[7][8][9]

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.[4] Upon graduating from FSU, she relocated to Los Angeles, California with the aim of working in show business.[4]

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.[4][5] 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".[4]

Perry went on to work as a backup dancer for performers such as Keri Hilson, Nelly, Pink, Usher, Akon and Rich Boy.[1][4][10] 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.[4] 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.[11] In March 2015, it was announced that she would be starring in the WWE Studios production Interrogation, alongside WWE Hall of Famer Adam "Edge" Copeland.[12]

Professional wrestling career

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE

Managing Rusev (2013–2015)

Lana (left) celebrating a win with Alexander Rusev in April 2014.

In June 2013, Perry revealed that she had been signed to WWE and was sent to their developmental branch NXT.[13] She debuted on the October 23, 2013 episode of NXT, under the ring name "Lana", scouting Alexander Rusev during his match against CJ Parker.[14] 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.[15] In December 2013, the duo of Rusev and Lana were compared to Ivan and Ludmilla Drago, the antagonists of the 1985 film Rocky IV.[16][17] Rusev and Lana later appeared at NXT Arrival, where Rusev attacked Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze.[18]

While Rusev made his main roster debut at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 26, 2014,[19] 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.[20][21][22] Rusev wrestled his first match on the main roster on the April 7 episode of Raw, squashing Zack Ryder.[23] 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.[24][25]

Lana holding the WWE United States Championship at WrestleMania 31 in 2015.

Lana made some controversial comments during an in-ring promo prior to Rusev's match against Jack Swagger at the Battleground pay-per-view event, 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.[26][27] 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.”[28]

Following the November 3 episode of Raw, Rusev defeated Sheamus in a WWE Network exclusive match to capture the WWE United States Championship.[29] At Fastlane on February 22, 2015, Lana set up a distraction which led to Rusev defeating John Cena.[30] However, at WrestleMania 31, Rusev lost the championship to Cena after Rusev accidentally crashed into Lana, knocking her off the ring apron.[31]

Managing Dolph Ziggler (2015)

At Extreme Rules, during Rusev's rematch for the championship, Lana garnered a positive reaction from the crowd, leading to Rusev banishing her from ringside and causing dissension between the two.[32] It happened again at Payback, where John Cena defeated Rusev in an "I Quit" match when Lana quit on Rusev's behalf.[33] Lana justified her actions the following night on Raw, explaining that Rusev was saying "I quit" to the referee in Bulgarian, only for Rusev to harshly dismiss her. Later that night, Lana kissed Dolph Ziggler, who was then attacked by a frenzied Rusev. In response, Lana slapped Rusev and left with Ziggler, turning her face and ending their association in the process.[34] Rusev unsuccessfully attempted to reconcile with Lana on the May 25 episode of Raw.[35] Despite Rusev suffering from an allegedly broken foot, he would still appear on television and make numerous attempts to sway Lana from Ziggler. On the June 29 episode of Raw, after Lana and Ziggler confirmed their storyline relationship, Lana was insulted and slapped by Rusev's new accomplice Summer Rae, which led to Lana attacking Rae.[36] On the July 6 episode of Raw, Rusev and Summer Rae again came out to insult Ziggler and Lana. This turned out to be a trap; Rusev viciously attacked Ziggler by hitting his throat with his crutch, and removed his ankle brace which showed his injury was healed.[37] It was subsequently announced that Ziggler had suffered a bruised trachea in storyline.[38] Ziggler returned on the August 17 episode of Raw, aiding Lana during a confrontation with Rusev and Rae.[39] This altercation prompted a match between Ziggler and Rusev at SummerSlam, which ended in a double count–out due to interference from Lana and Rae. After the match, Lana and Ziggler brawled with Rusev and Rae.[40] On the August 31 episode of Raw, Rae was shown following Ziggler into his locker room backstage. Later on, Rae was shown running out of the locker room, followed by Ziggler, who was nude barring a towel. Ziggler would then explain the situation to Lana as Rae simply walking in on him while he was in the shower.[41] On the following episode of SmackDown, Lana, Ziggler and Rae appeared on Miz TV, where Rae claimed that Ziggler had kissed and attempted to seduce her, and presented footage of Rae and Ziggler kissing on an episode of Raw in 2014, leading to Lana attacking Rae in response.[42] On September 7, WWE announced that Lana had suffered a wrist injury while training before a live event and would require surgery, which would take Lana out of action for approximately four months.[43]

On October 11, TMZ reported that Lana had gotten engaged to Rusev in real life.[44] Lana then confirmed the engagement[45] and it began being used in the storyline on television, which resulted in Rae ending her association with Rusev on the October 12 episode of Raw.[46]

Other media

Lana has appeared in two WWE video games as a "manager". She made her in-game debut at WWE 2K15 and appears in WWE 2K16.

Personal life

Perry is currently engaged to wrestler Miroslav Barnyashev, better known by his ring name Rusev.[47] The couple reside in Nashville, Tennessee.[48]



Year Title Role Notes
2008 Benny Future and the Madman from Manchester Arabella
2011 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son Dancer Uncredited
2011 Big Time Beach Party Dancer Television film
2012 Pitch Perfect Footnote #5/Opening Bella
2014 American Hustle Uncredited
2015 Soul Alexis
2015 Pitch Perfect 2 Legacy Bella
2015 Interrogation


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"
2011 The Fresh Beat Band Steguitarus Episode: "Veloci-Rap-Star"
2011–2012 I.C.I.R.U.S. Brit Recurring role (7 episodes)
2013 Banshee Crystal Episode: "Wicks"
2015 Total Divas Herself Episode: "Tea Mode"



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

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • "The Ravishing Russian"[2][35][49]
  • Entrance themes
    • "Внимание! (Attention!)" by CFO$[51] (April 14, 2014 – May 17, 2015)
    • "Here to Show the World" performed by Downstait and composed by Jim Johnston[52] (August 23, 2015 – September 7, 2015; used while managing Dolph Ziggler)

Championships and accomplishments


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External links

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