The Five to Watch 2013: Lana

Welcome to Diva Dirt’s Five to Watch 2013! This annual list compiles five rising talents in the world of women’s wrestling that we think have what it takes to be the next big thing.

RELATED: Diva Dirt’s Five to Watch Class of 2012

From their in-ring abilities to their unique personalities, we aim to spotlight some of the upcoming female talent that you may not yet know about. Over the next five days, we will unveil the names that the Diva Dirt staff have handpicked.
 

ONE TO WATCH: LANA

Who is she?: Lana, real name CJ Perry, first shot to headlines as one of ten females selected for a WWE tryout camp in California earlier this year. Despite not being signed immediately like fellow Divas Eva Marie and JoJo, Perry was hired shortly thereafter and began her journey through developmental program, NXT. CJ was given the ring name of Lana, and after a few months of sporadic live event appearances, paired up with Bulgarian Heavyweight, Alexander Rusev. Together, the two have already debuted on the NXT television program, where she can frequently be seen introducing him to the ring and either watching or aiding him to many a victory if needed to get her hands a little dirty in order to get the job done.

Photo: Lana/Instagram

Photo: Lana/Instagram

Her story so far: Born in Florida, yet raised in Latvia for most of her life, CJ Perry started off at a young age doing ballet back in Russia. However, as she got a bit older, CJ decided to pack up and return to her roots in order to attend Florida State University. She quickly gained notoriety by partaking in a modeling career, which featured highlights such as appearances in Maxim as well as being named both the official Miller Lite NASCAR Poster Girl and Red Bull’s motocross spokes model. Despite the success, Perry found the profession to be rather boring and uninspiring as she wanted something a bit more active. From there, she took up acting and continued her training in dance, appearing in films such as Pitch Perfect, television shows like The Real Housewives of Atlanta and Millionaire Matchmaker, and even dancing alongside stars like Usher, Keri Hilson and Pink. That brings us to the current year, where it was revealed CJ was a part of the aforementioned Los Angeles Diva tryout camp back in March to find a newbie pair of future WWE females to star in upcoming reality show, Total Divas. As stated, although she didn’t emerge victorious in that race, CJ was swooped up by the company and placed in NXT where she currently manages Alexander Rusev under the ring name of Lana. Referring to herself as NXT’s “Ice Queen”, Lana continues to up her profile each and every time she’s featured, and it only seems to be a matter of time before she, herself, is in the ring alongside Alexander instead of standing on the outside.

Photo: Lana/Instagram

Photo: Lana/Instagram

Why we chose her: Going forward, we plan on dedicating one spot each year to the Divas of NXT. If you haven’t noticed as of late, WWE has been hiring quite a lot of Divas that have reported to NXT. However, Lana remains to be one of the very few that has already skyrocketed onto making TV appearances and actually having a role set in stone alongside Alexander Rusev. Sure, she’s not hit the ring just yet given how new she is, but her charisma and stage presence speaks for itself. In fact, it has already helped her to cement quite the first impression in a division that certainly doesn’t lack in Divas that make large impacts on the fans. Given that it takes most female signees who don’t join already having a background on the independent scene quite a long time to make their televised debut, we feel that Lana has already received quite the unique jump on her competition in the year 2013. Given how much her star is rising thus far, we can only assume 2014 will be an even bigger milestone in her career, and thus we have named her one of five women to watch out for in the coming twelve months. All hail the Ice Queen indeed!

Follow Lana on Twitter: @LanaWWE.

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  • Raekon

    In the meantime she appears almost every week in segments.
    She even set a challenge between rusev and Kofi Kingston in this weeks nxt so the two will fight next week while she will be at ring side. :)
    She Plays her character greatly, has a great Look and Charisma that compliments the character additionaly.
    Her flexibility and dancing Background will benefit her in ring work too so I can’t wait to see her in Action.

    • BorisG

      Yes and maybe she can team up with Aksana on the main roster.

  • OJ Von Erich

    I am loving Lana so far, she has proven that she has the mic skills & charisma, I just look forward to the day she shows that she can also back it up in the ring!!! XD

  • WweRules32

    lana is awesome and i cant wait for her to wrestle

  • HoneyCaramelDiva?

    Not sure what she would have in wrestling ability, but I much prefer her be a long term manager. Not that I don’t want her to wrestle. Just WWE lacks female managers and female roles. Lana so far is the 2nd best female manager I’ve seen recently. Vickie being the first of course. I could see her popularity skyrocketing as a manager rather than your typical wrestler for a division that most WWE fans hardly care for.

    • Angelica Marie MoNae

      Lana is good but she isn’t as good as summer yet…. at least not imo but i Def agree there is a lack of female presence on wwe television and Lana would Def be a nice addition as a manager on the main roster. She will more than likely have a main roster debut like summers paired with one of wwe high profile debuting superstar.

    • Brandon

      Exactly. I would love to see more female managers

  • I dig CrayJ (#Emmalution)

    I think she is a tad overhyped. Alexa Bliss, Veronica Lane and Becky Lynch are way more interesting…

    • Raekon

      She is not overhyped, she just has a character already while Alexa and Becky are still not set in Stone characterwise and Veronica didn’t debütet hers on Television yet(only live Shows).

  • BorisG

    Like her in manager role so far, we’ll see how she will transit to wrestler.

  • Sass.

    Love her. There’s something about her. Great pick, I really believe she’ll be somebody in a few years.

  • Monkey Tennis

    When she starts wrestling (and if she turns out to be any good at it), then she’ll be “one to watch”.

    For now, she’s not doing anything hat’s worth watching.

    • shameronstar

      Simon Cowell strikes again with the shade! lol

  • http://twitter.com/lostmikeys Kaledrina

    judging by her background she seems to be one of those i-just-want-to-be-famous types. hopefully she falls in love with wrestling along the way.

  • Glitched

    how much does she look like Dianna Aggron in that banner pic though. Damn this chick is HOT!

  • redsandman99

    I’m not sure of my feelings towards Lana. I don’t get mega hyped when she comes on but I don’t dislike her…she interests me more than Rusev does anyway.

  • SOxROYAL

    LANA <33333333333333333333

    • MrFoxana

      Can’t wait too see her in ring! And to hear her theme song and to see her attire! I wanna see her bad mouthing the divas in her language :’)

  • MrFoxana

    Am I the only one who thinks Veronica Lane looks like Brie and Nikki Bella??

  • https://twitter.com/_EricHolt_ She’sGotLegs!

    Even though she made her debut just a few months ago, Lana has already been making an impact as a valet. She has been doing such a great job as a valet thus far. When I look at Lana, she kind of reminds me of Trish in her early days when she first began valeting. I know for a fact that Lana is going to have a great year in 2014. She’s a great heel, she has personality and charisma, she’s beautiful, and she has a great character.

  • Wrestling.fan.from.France

    I REAAAALLY HOPE that she never wrestle and just be a manager. I think she could have a great career but not as a wrestler, I just can’t see HER at it but she is a talented manager.