Prior to Rusev’s match with Jack Swagger at WWE “Battleground,” Lana addressed the WWE Universe with a controversial promo that made note of recent ongoing events involving Russia, Ukraine and the United States.
Lines such as “You blame Russia for current events?” and “You Americans should be insulted and afraid” sparked a lot of negative press from several publications, including The Daily Mail in the UK:
In a show last night, the characters ‘Lana’ and ‘Alexander Rusev’ launched into an anti-American rant in which they made reference to the flight MH17 being shot down and hailed Russian president Vladimir Putin for ‘making fools’ out of the U.S..
The Rusev and Lana roles often use Cold War-style rhetoric as part of their act, but their mention of last week’s MH17 disaster, in which 298 people died, has shocked the wrestling community.
WWE recently issued a statement on the aforementioned promo:
Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than 3 months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended
Rusev defeated Swagger at the special event by count-out.
It’s a tragedy what happened with the MH17 plane being shot down in the sky, but can you really blame WWE for trying to gain heat from it? Lana and Rusev are Russian characters. It was bound to happen. Even though they didn’t make any direct connections, you got a sense that they were shining light on it.