WWE Lana and Bobby Lashley Rusev defends
affair storyline and admits ‘not many’ would be willing to do it
“How can I not be happy? It’s the hottest storyline in the whole WWE.”
WWE Superstar Rusev is currently embroiled in the company’s most divisive storyline with his on-screen (and real-life) wife Lana having an affair with rival Bobby Lashley.
Things got even more complicated on Monday’s edition of Raw (November 11) when Lana announced she was pregnant and her estranged husband was the father, before revealing it was all a hoax to antagonise Rusev.
While the latest developments in the story have generated a mostly negative reaction online, Rusev says he’s happy to be involved in such a high-profile angle.
“How can I not be happy?” he told Digital Spy exclusively. “It’s the hottest storyline in the whole WWE, it’s been the hottest storyline for years. So of course, I’m happy with it.”
The storyline has also caused some to wonder what harm it could be doing to Rusev and Lana’s real-life relationship. But Rusev sees it just like any Hollywood actor playing a role would.
WWE Lana and Bobby Lashley
“Not many people are willing to do something like this, but we’re professionals so, of course, we’re used to it,” he said.
“[Being professional] is what any other actor does, you know, when you’re going to step on stage or whatever. This is no different than that.”
But it’s not just fans who have reacted negatively online. WWE commentator Corey Graves recently called the storyline “ridiculous” on his After the Bell podcast and called on WWE to “let it end”.
“Just because Corey Graves doesn’t like it or somebody else it doesn’t mean anything. Obviously, the numbers speak for itself, we’re the highest-viewed YouTube video in a long, long time. I’m stoked about it.”
Rusev added that when he meets fans, the reaction to the storyline has been positive and the naysayers are just “internet warriors” who like to complain about WWE.
“We have fans that are not even fans of WWE that tune in because they like the drama,” he continued. “That’s what I don’t understand, when you watch Game of Thrones or any of your favourite shows there’s always a scandal, there’s always things like that. That’s why I don’t understand why some people are trying to reject that.
“It’s just those super ultra fans in their basement that are trying to reject it, which it is what it is, you know, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to watch it.”
The soap-opera nature of the storyline has caused many to view it as a throwback to the more salacious ‘Attitude Era’ storylines of the late ’90s and early 2000s, a comparison Rusev is happy to accept.
“Now we have the appropriate people to actually perform (these storylines) the right way and obviously I believe we’re doing a great job,” he added.
Just over a week ago, Rusev was one of the many WWE Superstars who found themselves stranded in Saudi Arabia after the Crown Jewel pay-per-view.
The incident has led to many internet rumours about whether there was just a mechanical problem with the plane or if there was something else going on between the Saudi government and WWE.
When he was stranded in Riyadh, Rusev even tweeted asking fans for “prayers”. But while he acknowledges he was frustrated at the time, Rusev says the incident was due to nothing more than a mechanical failure with the plane.
“It was a long day just in general the whole day of the pay-per-view because we’ve got to be in the stadium all day so everybody was tired,” he explained.
“Once we got to the aeroplane, it was oh we’re going to go, we’re not gonna go, we’re gonna go but now this is broken, that is broken and with each hour the frustration grew.
“Finally we couldn’t take off because the stewardess couldn’t stay any longer on the plane, they had to get off because they need a certain amount of break time. So everybody got detained and we went to a hotel and we flew the next day at the same time.”
The Crown Jewel show featured Tyson Fury taking on Braun Strowman in what was a big-money match for the boxer. But as a full-time member of the WWE roster, Rusev doesn’t have any problem with big names like Fury coming in and getting high-profile matches.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I think (Fury) puts more eyes on the product. I think if I’m a boxing fan and I see, ‘Oh Tyson Fury’s going to fight for WWE, oh let me check this out’. Now we have more people watching the product.
“It also gives me hope that 20-30 years from now when I retire they’ll call me and say, ‘You want to come work at WrestleMania for $10 million?’ Yeah, I’ll come, I’ll stop by.”
Rusev’s highest-profile match to date was arguably his WrestleMania 31 encounter with John Cena for the United States Championship. It was a match that many argued Rusev should have won, given that he was on an undefeated streak and a win against Cena would have hugely elevated him. But Rusev disagrees.
“It’s the normal thing in any movie, the bad guys introduced to the good guy and what better opportunity than on the grandest stage of them all for the United States Championship, Russia against the USA,” he explained.
“I think there’s only one outcome there and I think we did the right thing. It was great for business and it worked out at the end of the day.”
Rusev also had one of the most memorable entrances in WrestleMania history that year, entering in a tank alongside Lana. It was an entrance that Rusev says he and Lana dreamed of making and somehow WWE were thinking the same.
“Me and Lana kind of like joked or dreamed about it if you wish and we just talked amongst ourselves,” he said. “It kind of became like the Law of Attraction. So we just thought about it.
One day, the week before Mania, Vince told us what we’re going to do and we were blown away because we never shared that with him, but all of a sudden it became real, so it’s just amazing to see how everything unfolded.”
On Saturday (November 9), Rusev spent the day at the Argos store in Leeds, meeting fans and posing in his own life-sized toy box. Being an action figure himself is something that is very special to Rusev and he’s careful not to take it for granted.
“It just always warms my heart that I know kids get to play with my action figure. I was a kid playing with all kinds of action figures and now that I have one it definitely blows my mind for sure,” he said.
“I kind of get used to it which is not a good thing. Every time I can you’ve got to take a step back and realise, ‘Wow this is me and kids are playing with my toy’, and, it’s just, I’m blessed beyond belief.”
WWE Lana and Bobby Lashley 1′