Wrestling: Rusev and Lana
aka: Alexander Rusev
"Русев удря, Русев мачка!"English Miroslav Barnyshev (born December 25, 1985) is a Bulgarian professional wrestler better known by his ring name Alexander Rusev (eventually shortened to just Rusev) working for WWE.Catherine Joy "C.J." Perry (born March 24, 1985), better known by her ring name Lana, is Rusev's valet and fiancée. She is a former model and actress turned professional wrestling figure.Following his WWE debut, Rusev had never been pinned or made to submit (although he has numerous losses by disqualification), and is a former WWE United States Champion, defeating Sheamus in a WWE Network-exclusive match following Monday Night Raw on November 3. His undefeated streak, along with his first championship reign, were ended by John Cena at WrestleMania 31.During the late winter and spring of 2015, Lana became increasingly popular with fans, prompting writers to facilitate a face turn for her. A storyline was conceived wherein dissention began building between Rusev and Lana during a feud with John Cena. Following several weeks where Rusev talked down to Lana and sent her from the ring during his matches, things came to a head at the WWE Payback pay-per-view event, where Cena defeated Rusev in an "I Quit" match. Rusev complained a night later on WWE Raw that he did not quit, but Lana stood her ground and said that he did indeed submit, saying the words in his native Bulgarian tongue and that the referee clearly understood he quit. When Rusev began to threaten Lana, Dolph Ziggler came out to step in, and he and Lana kissed passionately in the ring. An upset Rusev knocked Ziggler down before focusing on Lana, and it seemed like he was going to brutally beat her into a pulp, but moments before his pent-up rage burst, Ziggler knocked him down from behind and left the ring with Lana. Rusev then got together with Summer Rae in a less-than-dignified copycat of his old dynamic with Lana, resulting in a couple vs. couple feud which was supposed to culminate in Lana's first match until she went down to an injury. During her time off, Rusev and Lana got back together off-screen at the point of Miroslav and CJ's real-life engagement becoming a tabloid headline.That Other Wiki has a rundown on his life and career. And hers too.
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Tropes applying only to Rusev
- The Artifact: His footwraps originally came from his NXT days, when he sported the gimmick of a muay thai fighter. Upon his debut in WWE, they actually mislead some people to think Rusev's character was a MMA fighter or something similar, but at the end they were kept as just a particular footwear choice and a subtle homage to his trainer Rikishi. He later started wearing real boots after suffering a broken foot during a match.
- Badass Beard: Has a thick goatee to fit the image of burly Russian men having thick beards.
- Bilingual Bonus: Occasionally slips in a few deadpan lines in Bulgarian even insulting Stephanie McMahon to her face on Raw. This has actually made him quite popular in Bulgaria.
- Boring but Practical: His camel clutch finisher.
- The Brute: He's even explicitly called the "Bulgarian Brute". See Red Baron.
- Chain Pain: He's grown fond of using a large chain to beat people down with before using it to further enhance The Accolade.
- Cool Teacher: Rikishi and Gangrel is as odd a combination as any.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The first person in eleven years to defeat John Cena - John Cena - with a submission hold.
- Does Not Like Shoes: He instead wears Mixed Martial Arts-style footwraps. Averted after returning from an ankle injury in July 2015, which in storyline were given to him by new girlfriend Summer Rae.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Appears in a music video for Kushinator's "The Whole F'n Show" - which was Rob Van Dam's TNA entrance theme.
- Was an entrant in the 2014 Royal Rumble, several weeks before making his Raw debut.
- Early Installment Weirdness: He appeared quite different originally on NXT. Lana was not at his side, he came to the ring wearing a skirt, both he and his ring gear appeared to be covered in dirt, and his theme music resembled that of an islander. Also, he carried a plank with his opponent's name to the ring, which he would break in half before the match.
- Expy: He looks like a mixture of Vladimir Kozlov and Umaga. His wrestling style and footwear reveals obvious Samoan influences, which makes sense, as one of his teachers was Rikishi of the famed Anoa'i clan (and, in fact, Umaga's brother).
- Finishing Move: A version of the camel clutch he calls the Accolade.
- Hulk Speak: Sometimes dipped into this at the beginning of his career, but subverted as his command of the English language (or at least his ability to recite the English language) has obviously improved.
- Husky Russkie: A Bulgarian example, but loyal to Mother Russia nonetheless.
- The Juggernaut: Didn't lose a match by pinfall or submission since his debut until WrestleMania 31, when John Cena finally pinned him.
- Last Name Basis: Some time into the beginning of his run, the "Alexander" was dropped from his name completely, and he simply became known as "Rusev."
- Lightning Bruiser: This man is deceptively fast and agile for someone of his build; he's often, and accurately, described as "explosive".
- Perpetual Frowner: Rusev always looks ready to crush someone. Up until his feud with Lana, he was also literally this, as he never ever smiled. Since then, however, he seems to get a kick out of using Summer Rae to make Lana jealous.
- The Quiet One: Lana does most of his talking for him. Subverted in that this only applies on the microphone and is due to him apparently not knowing/speaking much English (though he got better about this later on), as Rusev can be seen often shouting presumably in Bulgarian away from the mic. Like Roman Reigns in The Shield before him, he turns into a Screaming Warrior in battle.
- Red Baron: "The Super Athlete", "The Bulgarian Brute", "The Hero of the Russian Federation".
- Stealth Insult: Managed to become one of the few to disrespect The Authority incarnation of Stephanie McMahon and get away with it simply by speaking them in his home country's language, which she (along with most viewers outside said country) didn't understand.
- Stout Strength: Has a think figure and is also shown to be very strong.
- Ur-Example: The first Bulgarian to wrestle for WWE.
- Would Not Hit a Girl: For all his sexism, chauvinism, and misogyny, Rusev will not bring himself to harm Lana, even when she strikes him.
- Yandere: Ever since their split, Rusev's feelings for Lana have morphed from (presumably) love to an obsessive hatred. He's hooked up with Summer Rae, but it's implied that he cares less about her than just trying to make Lana jealous - which, of course, isn't working at all as Lana herself hooked up with Dolph Ziggler. In any case, for someone who claims to have gotten over it, he really hasn't gotten over it. No, seriously. After she sort of fell out with Dolph and suddenly went down to a wrist injury, they made back up and got engaged. What's more, the linked article takes care to point out that he was the one who proposed.
- Your Mother: While submitting in Bulgarian during an "I Quit" match against John Cena, one of the lines he said translates to, "Damn your old mother, Cena!"
Tropes applying only to Lana
- Bait and Switch: Got a pretty good one over on the WWE Universe when she asked them if they thought they could handle her topless photos. When the audience convinced her they could, she turns to the screen and reveals... the already-infamous photos of Vladimir Putin riding shirtless on horseback. Ironically, CJ Perry actually has posed nude, though this was long before WWE obviously.
- The Baroness: Lana fits here somewhat, as she definitely seems to get some kind of enjoyment out of watching Rusev hurt people. The only real issue is that, apart from being a very attractive woman in a criminally short skirt who tends to turn her body to show off at times, there's not really anything outwardly sexual about her character.
- Bilingual Bonus: Cuts promos in both Russian and English.
- Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Attractive blonde female that dresses in suits and acts as the supporting lady that gives her leading man his focus and resolve? Yup, heel Lana definitely qualifies as a villainous version of this.
- Distaff Counterpart: Is remarkably like a female Paul Heyman. She speaks rather similarly about Alexander Rusev the way Heyman does about Brock Lesnar - they are both non action managers for big brutish powerhouses.
- Expy: Lana has a little bit of a Russian Vickie Guerrero going on, thanks to always beginning her speeches with a Russian equivalent to Vickie's "Excuse Me!" (or "Attention!", but the same idea, basically).
- Gratuitous Russian: She will often start out speaking this language, and pepper it in her speeches.
- Heel-Face Turn: The result of Lana getting cheered by fans during the spring of 2015.
- Karma Houdini: Rusev has found himself laid out a couple of times, but for all of her bad-mouthing America, Lana always gets away scot-free.
- Kayfabe: For a long time she was known for never breaking Kayfabe, even though it's dead and buried six feet under. Check out her Twitter account some time. When she was an American-bashing heel on TV, she was one on Twitter, when she turned face, her tweets reflected this. And when she was dating Dolph Ziggler on TV, pictures of the two "dating" were being posted as well. Then came the TMZ leak of her and Rusev's engagement...
- Large Ham: Lana has a booming voice perfectly suited for introducing her client. She doesn't introduce Rusev, she introduces "RRRRRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUSEEEEEV!!!!!"
- Letting Her Hair Down: Ever since splitting from Rusev and pairing up with Dolph Ziggler, her rather harsh looking bun has been replaced with a long ponytail.
- Limited Wardrobe: Appears as if she has one outfit that simply changes colors every show.
- Phrase Catcher: "What?" from the audience, as she usually starts off speaking in Russian, which most of the audience of course doesn't understand. Oddly enough, though, they keep shouting it even when she's speaking English, as they have for years.
- Pretty in Mink: During the 2015 WrestleMania event, Lana wore a white fox wrap over one shoulder as part of the duo's particular image of Glorious Mother Russia.
- Red Baron: "The Ravishing Russian".
- She's Got Legs: Her outfits almost always show them in some way. In fact, one of her fan nicknames is "Lana Del Legs".
- Token Good Teammate: In 2015, after their engagement became public (and she took some time off to heal a broken hand), she again started managing Rusev, technically making her a member of Sheamus's Power Stable, the League of Nations, when Rusev himself joined. But she's still popular with fans and doesn't really do anything especially heelish.
- Trrrilling Rrrs: In the Russian style.
- Woman in Black: She occasionally wears other colours but is most often in black business suits.
Tropes applying to both Rusev and Lana
- Expy: The Rusev-Lana duo was specifically modeled after and compared to Ivan and Ludmilla Drago. This was lampshaded by Xavier Woods, who called him an "Ivan Drago-looking piece of garbage."
- Foreign Wrestling Heel: Straightest example of the trope to appear for WWE in several years. He was already earning strong heat when, at the 2014 Battleground pay-per-view, Lana turned things up several notches with an anti-United States promo; even though she did not specifically mention it, the mainstream media and many viewers claimed there was a strong tie-in to the crash of Malaysian Flight MH17, which killed 295 people just three days before the pay-per-view event and something that increased tensions between the United States and Russia. It got to the point where WWE became concerned about its image, having to clarify, as well as cool down on the Rusev and Lana push for a couple of weeks.
- Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Lana believes so, and apparently so did Rusev, who has relocated from Bulgaria to Moscow.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The breakup storyline was suddenly scrapped when their real-life engagement ended up all over TMZ, with a WWE.com article citing that they both realized they'd brought the best out of one another and Rusev, still in love with her all along, proposed to her.