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lana report card

Andy Marshall has been giving grades to WWE talent via a report card. Here, he looks at Lana’s 2020.

Grade: D-

With the news that Lana’s time on WWE television has come to an end until 2021, I thought it would be a good time to look at the roller coaster of a year for The Ravishing Russian. Who, by the way, is no longer speaking with her exaggerated “Russian” accent like she did while managing her real-life husband, who has since moved on to greener pastures. No, her character is much more complicated than that, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a complex character. Does that make any sense? Allow me to explain. 

Lana began 2020 as the kayfabe wife of Bobby Lashley, with whom she aligned following a betrayal of kayfabe ex-husband Rusev prior to his release from WWE. The story was that Lashley and Lana were smitten with each other…until she began to cost him matches. This attracted the attention of the returning Montell Vontavious Porter, who tried to convince Lashley that he should drop Lana as a manager and team up with him. 

This all crescendoed at Backlash 2020, where during Lashley’s WWE Championship match, a ringside skirmish between Lana and MVP led to Lashley being distracted long enough for Drew McIntyre to hit a Claymore Kick and pick up the win. The next night on RAW, Lashley would demand a divorce and go on to form The Hurt Business stable with MVP. This would be the high water mark of the year for Lana, because it was all downhill from there. 

She would then form a partnership with Natalya, who is probably the least relevant character on WWE television at any given time. Not to turn this into a referendum on Nattie, who is a perfectly serviceable worker, but creatively she has never evolved beyond: likes cats, is a Hart, and is married to Tyson Kidd. If I’m missing something, please let me know. Anyways, their partnership extended to TikTok, who as a man in my early 30s, I cannot begin to tell you what they were actually doing on it. They would have a short program with Liv Morgan, then Mickie James, before it was eventually forgotten about when Lana started her new gimmick: being Samoan Dropped through tables by Nia Jax. 

Yes, for the fall of 2020, Lana was put through an announce table by Nia Jax for nine straight weeks in an effort to…I’m not actually sure? Rumors at the time suggested WWE had decided to get behind Lana for a big babyface push. They even went so far as to create a WWE 24 documentary on Lana which detailed some of the online harassment and bullying she’s endured over the years in order to dredge up some sympathy. Whether that was true or not does not change the fact the other way they decided to do this was have a much larger woman perform her finish on Lana, through a table, for close to three straight months. Sounds like an exciting new babyface to me!

Lana would eventually luck her way into winning a Number One Contender’s battle royal to face Asuka, which gave me a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that Lana would somehow then luck into defeating Asuka. Fortunately for literally everyone, Asuka retained her championship. As a consolation prize, following the match Nia Jax put her through a table, again. Thanks for coming out! 

Then, we get to Survivor Series. 

One of the most confusing and poorly booked matches of 2020 was the women’s traditional 5-on-5 elimination tag team match. The story goes that Lana had lucked into qualifying for the team, much to the chagrin of the other four women who qualified. After tagging herself into the match to try and prove she belonged, she was immediately tagged out, where Nia Jax shouted at her to stand on the ring steps for the remainder of the match. Lana, who is supposed to be a babyface, would then meekly comply while crying for the remainder of the match. 

As the match unfolded, Lana being removed from the match would be a blessing in disguise(?) as the remaining women in the match would be eliminated via count out or disqualification, meaning Lana lucked into being the sole survivor. She proceeded to celebrate as if this was not a default victory. 

This leads us to the rest of the year, where Lana would form a partnership with RAW women’s champion Asuka to take on the very bullies that made her cry at Survivor Series, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. As of writing this, Lana and Asuka were set to challenge for those titles at the upcoming TLC show, but Lana has since been written out with an injury. WWE announced we would not see her again until 2021. Before she was written out, she picked up fluke pinfall victories over both Jax and Baszler to put a nice bow on the feud. 

Are you still with me? If you made it this far, I really appreciate you sticking with it. Lana is a pretty blonde woman who can act, and seems to be willing to go with whatever idea a certain 75 year old billionaire comes up with. That being said, I’m not sure there has been anyone featured on WWE television as much as she was who accomplished so little. Here’s to a better 2021. 

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