For weeks now, rumors have been swirling within the WWE Universe of a Lana and Rusev split, one that could be both intriguing and troubling depending on how it all places out. On the May 14 edition of Smackdown, Rusev had Lana read a prepared statement where she apologized for betraying her country by dancing (there was a previous clip of Lana “Fandangoing). This was the latest in a number of incidents where Rusev has publicly expressed anger toward Lana. The two have been paired together since Rusev came onto the scene, and both work extremely well together and largely are the ultimate villains in the WWE right now. Their consistent anti-American banter and pro-Russian propaganda generates a tremendous reaction among the audience week in and out. So what would happen to the two if WWE Creative decides to split them?
According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE Creative is pushing for a split and then reveal that Lana is, in fact, American and not Russian, and turn her baby face. However, while Rusev is a talented wrestler and Lana is phenomenal on the microphone, a split could go horribly bad for both parties for numerous reasons. Given that English is not Rusev’s first language, he is much weaker on the microphone and his character could quickly turn one dimensional and boring. Vince McMahon is allegedly impressed with Lana’s skills and there has been talk of having her become the face of the Divas Division, but at the moment, Lana lacks wrestling experience and likely currently possesses limited skills in that area. Lana would probably have to be out of the spotlight for a considerable period of time if the decision is made to have her fight in the Divas Division. Lana and Rusev rose to the top together and need each other at the present time. Now I am not saying that the two need to stay together forever in the WWE, but now is not the time to split the two.
So the real question emerges that if WWE is not planning to split the two up, then why are we seeing cracks in their relationship? A lot of it likely has to do with the upcoming Payback match with John Cena. One possible scenario is that during the John Cena and Rusev match at Payback, there will be some sort of conflict between Rusev and Lana, and the all-American hero John Cena will come in and save her, effectively turning Lana baby-face. However, I would assume this scenario will not be welcomed by the WWE Universe, as it would reflect another cliché Cena triumph. Another possible scenario, one that I think would be more believable and fit the duo well, is that the whole Lana-Rusev conflict was a ruse and Lana uses it in some way to trick Cena and force him to say “I quit.” Following the Cena loss, Lana would reveal everything was planned and she and Rusev walk away from the ring victorious and unified. Rusev and Lana are ideal villains, play on each other’s strengths, and a split now with certainly hurt both characters.