A lot of the time, I’m not sure why things happen in wrestling, especially in WWE. For some reason, there are times where they seem to fly off the handle and do something that makes no sense on paper and leaves me shaking my head. Whether it be the push or de-push of someone or a very confusing storyline, there are things that I can’t explain no matter how hard I try to get my head around it. That’s the case again at the moment and today we’re going to try to figure out WWE’s mindset on how they’re using a current character. Today we’re looking at Lana (torture I know).

So as you probably remember, Lana went to “Smackdown Live” as a singles act for the first time during April’s Superstar Shakeup. This meant she was splitting away from Rusev and it was time for her to break out on her own. It’s not like there was no push for it as Lana had gotten a very strong amount of cheering while she and Rusev were together, even turning face for a time back in 2015. She made her in-ring debut as part of a ten woman tag on the “Wrestlemania XXXII” pre-show and seemed to be well on her way to being a breakout star. That doesn’t seem to be the case though and that’s where things get confusing.

Team Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. & Blonde: WrestleMania 32 Kickoff

Let’s take a step back for a second and look at what we’re dealing with here. I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I say Lana is a rather impressive talent. She’s drop dead gorgeous, fairly tall at 5’7, college educated with a degree from Florida State University, a trained dancer, fluent in Russian, incredibly athletic and has a perfect smile to go with nearly four years experience ranging from NXT to WWE to “Total Divas”. In other words, there’s definitely potential there and that’s often worth more than anything concrete.

However, that brings us to the big problem: Lana has barely ever wrestled. She’s trained in NXT and seems capable of having a watchable match (boring but watchable). The problem is with the Women’s Revolution having taken place, Lana is basically a fish out of water (or a Diva out of….uh….time I guess). She’s much more of a character than a wrestler and while she’s great at what she’s done for years, there’s no reason to believe that she’s going to be able to take to the ring instantly.

In other words, WWE is taking a gamble on her. While she certainly could get better with time, she’s a rookie as far as in-ring time goes. That’s not quite going to cut it with the way things are going now and without a full on schedule in NXT, there’s only so much she can get. While Lana has had a few months of active competition, that’s far from the years and years that most of the current women’s divisions have in comparison. Therefore, WWE had a decision to make and it certainly seems that they made one.

As mentioned, back in April, vignettes started to air, showing Lana dancing on chairs in rather nice dresses. This was an instant red flag. Lana wasn’t known for her in-ring skills and doesn’t have much of a background outside of managing. The vignettes did nothing to make it seem that anything had changed, and now the hype videos were showcasing her as a much more sexualized character.

Lana joins the blue brand: SmackDown LIVE, April 11, 2017

That’s not what we’ve been seeing as of late in WWE and this really did feel like something out of the past. While the WWE women wrestle in the same gear they always have, their looks haven’t been emphasized in anything resembling the way they used to be. The closest thing would be Alexa Bliss and even her looks are only talked about in a broad way instead of actually emphasizing them. But now Lana was looking like someone giving a lap dance while having very limited in-ring experience, thereby going against the idea of the Women’s Revolution. So what happened?

Lana made her singles in-ring debut, in a title match no less, at “Money in the Bank 2017” and lost via submission in seven in a half minutes. For some reason she was granted a rematch nine days later where she was pinned in 41 seconds. Due to having her shoulder (pulled) up during the pinfall, she was granted a third shot the following week where she lost in 11 seconds. That would be three matches combining for less than eight minutes for Lana’s first three singles matches, all in losses.

So what the heck happened? While it’s not clear why Lana was basically treated like garbage so soon after her in-ring debut, the key thing is that nothing good has happened to her since she got back into the ring. There’s no word on if she got in some kind of trouble or if the company isn’t happy with her performances but it’s clear that something hasn’t gone the way things had been planned and Lana is being heavily downgraded from what her potential suggested she could be.

While the reasoning behind the de-push isn’t clear, one thing is certainly clear: if WWE was planning on treating Lana like this, they shouldn’t have brought her into the ring in the first place. Instead, just pull the plug on her performing and put her back in a managerial role until she had proven she was ready to go in the ring. I didn’t think the “Money in the Bank 2017” match was so bad but the following two matches made Brooklyn Brawler squashes look competitive.

Naomi vs. Lana - SmackDown Women's Championship Match: SmackDown LIVE, July 4, 2017

Unless WWE was VERY unimpressed by what they saw in Lana in her one match to break a minute, this comes off as WWE blaming her for something and treating her like a loser as a result. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that WWE pulled the plug on someone for what was perceived as a mistake on their part. Consider earlier this year when Emmalina FINALLY debuted after several months of waiting and buildup, only to say that was it for the character and revert back to the standard Emma character.

This feels like the same thing all over again. For some reason, WWE has decided to pull the plug on Lana in the span of three matches and less than ten minutes of action. If that’s the case, why in the world didn’t they just do something else with her and not set her up for this horrible string of losses? I know WWE doesn’t tend to think that losses matter, even though they tend to remind us about such moments almost every chance they have to bring them up.

The only shimmer of hope is the post-match moment with Tamina, who came out to help Lana. Maybe this is the start of a new story, but I have no idea how starting the character with three straight losses, especially with two of them in such dramatic one sided fashion, is the best way to get Lana out of the gates in a hurry. If they don’t have anything better for her than to lose three times in a row in less than ten minutes combined, don’t put her in the ring and start her off behind the eight ball as a result.

Emmalina finally premieres: Raw, Feb. 13, 2017

I really don’t get what WWE is thinking with this style of booking new characters and gimmicks but if that’s what we’re seeing happen again, Lana’s in-ring career is in big trouble. Have you seen Emma doing anything of note since she made her big return? You know, in the tag match where she lost via submission despite having partners who could have taken the loss instead? It’s like WWE brings these people in to tear them down and then build them back up, which seems to make their lives much more complicated. Go with something that makes sense for a change and maybe you might have a bit less work.


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