January 13, 2017

Lana On Triple H Being Hands On With Her Character, Rusev Being 'Hysterical', Her In-Ring Future

WWE star Lana recently spoke with Complex and below are some interview highlights:

On the origin of the “Ravishing Russian” character:

“Well, there was a lot of different factors. My first day in developmental, Dusty Rhodes was in charge of creative. I would come up with literally about 15 different ideas because I’m an actor, I’m a storyteller. I have a creative mind. So I come in and start speaking Russian on my first promo ever. This is my first week in NXT. Eva Marie was put on the show, Jojo was put on the show, and then me and Alexa were sent to developmental, which I’m thankful for because I learned so much from Dusty Rhodes and Triple H. I started speaking Russian, switched over to English, and then Dusty Rhodes was like, ‘Baby, I want you to work with Rusenov.’ And I was like, ‘Who’s Rusenov? Who’s that?’ And then I figured he was the Bulgarian. We just started doing different promos, especially comedy promos. But I would come in every single day and would have meetings with Dusty, pitching different characters like nine-page character scripts and elaborate storyboards, everything. Using different people, putting on scenes. When Adam Rose shot all of his vignettes, he made me his first AD/PA because he was just like, ‘Your mind is so creative.’

But Triple H was the person. They were already in talks about bringing Rusev up. Triple H had seen a lot of our stuff, but it was more comedy stuff that we were doing, and he was like, ‘I want you to try to do something serious.’ Triple H told me to watch Rocky IV. He told me to try different hair things. So I showed him, I was in Pitch Perfect. And I was trying all these different things, and he told me to try an accent. I showed him a picture of me in Pitch Perfect as a Barden Bella where we were all buttoned up with our hair in a bun. And he said, ‘That’s the look.’ And so that’s where I started creating the suits and the buns. At first, he said I should just do Russian, and then I started playing around with a Russian accent because I had never really done much of that in English. But then in two weeks, like that, I was put on NXT TV. Three months later, we debuted at the Rumble.”

If she has the itch to wrestle:

“Oh yeah. Of course. Absolutely. I love my job, and I love that I can work with Rusev. He’s my husband, and I’m happy I can support him. He’s so an extension of me, and I’m so thankful. But yeah, I will go after that championship when the time is right. And I will become champion when the time is right. But those things don’t happen overnight. When I step in that ring, I will be great. Just like when I’m on the mic, I know I can turn that whole crowd, that’s how I’m gonna be in the ring. I’m training, and I got to NXT so I get my fix, but I’m the slow and the steady. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Total Divas allowing fans to see a different side of herself and Rusev:

“Oh yes. I’m so excited. I come from a storytelling, acting background, and Total Divas has given me the opportunity to take these types of interviews where I can really be like, ‘This is who I am.’ That first year I was in WWE, it needed to be that way. It needed to be that you bought we were these cold, mean, Russians and Soviets. So I’m really thankful because you’re seeing who I am and what has made me, and you see Rusev, and I mean he’s hysterical. He’s one of the funniest guys, and I think why people will understand why I’ve fallen in love with him. And I’m also really happy because I’m quirk-ier than Lana—as in my Ravishing Russian. I’m quirk-ier than the Ravishing Russian that I play on TV, but I’m able to show this American side of not being perfect, versus the Ravishing Russian who’s perfect at everything. But as Lana, the Russian-American that I am on Total Divas, I’m able to show how the Ravishing Russian is still an extension of myself. You see how I’m a Russian-American, and I grew up over in Russia, along with the discipline. And my whole thing is, ‘No matter what, be resilient.’ And that’s what the Ravishing Russian is. She’s resilient and she stands up for truth, and that’s how I am. We’re storytellers. We’re no different than if you go watch Scandal or House of Cards. We’re storytellers, and so to be able to show people that we have real lives, I think people will better appreciate that we’re talented performers and actors and athletes. There’s nothing like that in the world, where you have people who are athletic and actors and entertainers, and we’re here to put smiles on peoples’ faces. I’m excited people get to see that.”
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