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Lana Opens Up About Romance W/ Rusev, Her Influences In Wrestling, & Evolution

Lana Opens Up About Romance W/ Rusev, Her Influences In Wrestling, & Talks Evolution
Photo by Robin L Marshall/Getty Images

The Inquisitr’s Carter Lee recently caught up with WWE Superstar Lana, while The Ravishing Russian was in New York on a Total Divas press tour. The Smackdown Superstar opened up on a myriad of topics.

On Total Divas Season 8:

If you’re a wrestling fan definitely tune in because you’re going to see Paige come back, her return. You’re going to see her retire. You’re going to see what she’s going through. She really opens up, and her story is really, really powerful. I think that if you’re a Paige fan or a wrestling fan you’re going to be crying your eyes out. Even if you know nothing about wrestling, she has a powerful story and I think that people should definitely tune in. It can inspire a lot of people’s lives. You’re also going to see me take a lot of Fireball shots, per usual, on my days off, which is always entertaining to watch. It’s a little wild. I mean, someone has to bring the entertainment, and apparently, I do a lot of that, for better or for worse. But you’re also going to see how I’m so happy about wrestling. I love wrestling. There’s nothing like it in the world. I love storytelling and entertaining people, but there’s no better adrenaline rush and high that you get than wrestling and being an in-ring competitor. You’re going to see me have setbacks and disappointments, and what I do with them. That’s something I’m excited about sharing to the world because we all have setbacks. We’re all gonna have failures. We’re gonna have disappointments, and what we do with our disappointments and what we do with our setbacks are going to define our future, and it’s going to define our destiny. I think that this will hopefully inspire people and also be relatable. I’m not the strongest or the fastest or the best in-ring competitor, but no one will stop me from achieving my dreams. You’ve got to get back up.

One her influences in wrestling:

I was always a fan. Growing up, I remember watching when I was really little, like 3-years-old, I clearly remember Hulk Hogan and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. I was so terrified of him [Roberts] because I hate snakes. All my friends watched it, and all my brothers’ friends. I would always try to figure out, especially as I got older, how are they going through these tables? How are they landing on ladders? Like, how is this happening? It was so fascinating.

On her romance with Rusev:

He’s really upset that I don’t remember. I remember meeting him the second day at a tanning bed. He told me he was from Bulgaria, and I spent time in Bulgaria, so we immediately connected. Then on the third day, I had a promo with Dusty Rhodes—he was the artistic director of NXT, and he ran all the promo classes and character development—and I had about five different pitches. My first one, I just started speaking Russian, and then I switched to perfect English. Dusty pulled me aside afterwards and he’s like, ‘I want you to work with Rusev.’ [Laughing] I’m like, ‘Rusev? Who is that? Oh, the tanning Bulgarian!’ I’m so passionate about the business, and I’m so passionate about storytelling, and I made him come to my house every day and practice promos and vignettes. We would shoot vignettes on my phone. I was a nut. A complete nut. Within two months we were packaged together and on TV. I would say probably a month in, I sort of had a crush on him, but I wanted to really make sure I liked him. I didn’t want to just start dating someone in the business, so I just stayed friends with him. I tried not to flirt with him because if I flirt it’s a wrap and he would fall in love, because Lana is the best, Lana’s number one [laughs]. But I knew he always liked me, and we would go to church together. Spirituality is very important to me. I grew up as a Christian missionary kid, and we connected, honestly, through our faith. Our spirituality was a very big core of our relationship. He’s a very good man and has really great character. So, it was off from there.

On finding work/relationship balance with Rusev:

Well, thank God we’re best friends, and thank God that we really do love each other’s company because we are on the road 300 days a year, and Saturday through Wednesday we are with each other 24/7. We work together, drive together, and we’re very yin and yang. So, there’s a lot of me talking and him listening. When I get tired of having a monologue with myself, it’s quiet time [laughs]. The funny thing is that sometimes he gets mad when I don’t talk because sometimes I get tired of literally hearing my own voice, and I just get quiet because I want quiet time. And he goes, ‘I’m bored. Talk.’ [Laughing] And I’m like, ‘Okay, here we go.’ When we go home, we live in a really big house, and he plays about 10 hours of video games a day when we’re home, and I binge-watch all my Marvel TV shows. When we’re home, that’s when we have our, kind of, individual things. I think sometimes our biggest challenge is on the days off, he doesn’t want to talk about wrestling. He wants to take time off from work, and workout and play video games, but my mind never turns off. I’m always wanting to study wrestling, and I’m always thinking of creative ideas. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be like, ‘Oh my God! I have a promo and a pitch. Wow! It just came to me!’ And it drives him a little bit nuts. He’s genuinely the super athlete, and I think he’s one of the best athletes on all the rosters. He’s agile, strong, and fast, and I’m the brains of the operation. I am full of ravishing ambition. I think that’s why us as a package works so uniquely. He teaches me how to wrestle, and my mind never turns off.

On the significance of Evolution:

I am beyond grateful that we have this opportunity. I’ve seen this business completely change since even 2014. In 2014, I was one of the only girls that was given mic time, besides maybe Stephanie McMahon, of course. The girls were kind of having three-minute matches, and I remember in the beginning of 2015 when The Bellas versus Emma and Paige. They had a minute and a half match, and so they decided to just do it in 30 seconds. It was a choice that these women made, and it was a brilliant choice because then Give Divas a Chance trended for three days straight. And Vince [McMahon] does listen to what the WWE universe has to say, and he’s brilliant. He’s a self-made billionaire for a reason. He was like, ‘Okay, the fans are ready for this.’ And maybe 15 years ago the fans weren’t ready for it, but thank God times are changing, and women deserve opportunities. To see women main-event Royal Rumble with having a Royal Rumble match, and being a part of that, I can’t even tell you how beyond grateful I am because at times, we were told that would never happen. Now, to have out first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view is just a real reflection of how far we’ve come, and how many firsts we’re accomplishing. The exciting thing is that we’re going to accomplish all the firsts. We’re gonna continue breaking glass ceilings and breaking doors down, and we’re going to at one point accomplish all the firsts. I can’t wait for us to main-event WrestleMania, and I can’t wait for us to have a tag team division. That’s my dream, to be here when women get the tag team division, and you know, I plan on being the tag team champion at one point [Laughs]. I’m so thankful to be a part of history because at the beginning of my career, all these things started to change. I was very lucky and grateful to be managing Rusev, but it was kind of like I was watching it from the sidelines. It’s like you’re at prom and watching everyone dance, and no one wants to invite you to the dance. I was so grateful for all the women and happy for them because they’re doing this for all the women, and for the future girls that are going to come up, but I wanted to be a part of it. I would always tell Rusev and I would cry, ‘I want to be in the women’s division. I want to be making history with the women.’ So, to be a part of the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble, the first-ever women’s battle royal at WrestleMania, and now to be a part of Evolution, I am so, so thankful because I can say that I’m making history with the women of WWE, and that means the world to me.

On who her tag team partner would be:

Right now, I would say Naomi. We want to call ourselves The Ravishing Glow [laughs]. You might actually like this fact because I haven’t told anyone this fact, and I just recently told her, all my firsts were with her. She recently popped my cherry in everything. My very first match—period—in front of people, was at WrestleMania in Dallas in front of 101,000 people, and she was my one of my teammates. I was having a panic attack, and she helped me get through that. Then my very first singles match on TV was at ‘Money in the Bank’ for the title against Naomi, which thank God for her because she’s just so amazing. I was also freaking out. Then my first Royal Rumble match was with her, and then my first battle royal at WrestleMania was with her. Then both of our first Money in the Bank matches were with each other, so we shared that moment together. Then both of our first dance battles were with each other. I told her, ‘All my firsts have been with you, so we have to be tag team champions together.’

Those interested in reading Carter Lee’s entire interview with Lana may do so HERE.

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