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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PREVIOUSLY: Candice LeRae