Recently, Rusev and Lana made their podcast debut, appearing on Chris Jericho's Talk Is Jericho for the first time ever. Among other things, the real life married couple talked about how they got put together, starting off as a comedy act, and Vince McMahon having reservations about keeping the pair together on WWE's main roster.
According to Lana, she did not think she would get a job with WWE when she got an idea of her competition.
"Finally, they were on the final callbacks and there were about 40 of us girls. And, literally, standing in front of me is Lexi and standing behind me is JoJo. And I'm, like, looking at Lexi's, Alexa Bliss, yeah, so she's standing in front of me with her perfect, little bikini body. And JoJo's going in there singing and all these crazy things. And I'm like, 'ahh, there's just no way, there's just no way.'"
Lana recalled that she spoke Russian to get the attention of the WWE decision-makers present at her audition.
"I just started speaking Russian. So it was Triple H right in front of me, Kristin Prouty, Canyon [Ceman], Bill DeMott, and so, I literally just start speaking in Russian. And then, I go, I switch over to speaking perfect English. And I knew I got their attention from their reaction and all of their faces. I was like, 'okay, and I can breakdance.'"
Lana shared that Dusty Rhodes put her and Rusev together as an act.
"Yeah, he put us [together]. Literally, my first promo class, afterwards, I went up to him and he was like, 'I want you to work with Rusenoff.' And then, we played around with several things for a month or two, so many things."
Lana indicated that they started out doing a lot of comedy in their act given her background in comedy and Rusev's sense of humor.
"We did a lot more comedy." Lana said, "and Rusev, Miro, is very funny. And so everything that we were doing was more comedy driven."
Apparently, Triple H is the person who got Lana and Rusev to move away from the comedy act and told 'The Ravishing Russian' that they should try something more serious.
"We did the comedy stuff for a little bit and I remember Hunter saw it. And he pulled me aside and he was like, 'I want you to try something serious. I want you to try something serious and try some different hairstyles and outfits. I want you to try an accent.'" Lana remembered, "after a few weeks of serious promos, I was put on NXT TV with him as his manager."
On the subject of how their romantic relationship started, Rusev stated that they became best friends and once they started working together, they got together soon after.
"She became my best friend right away and we were talking and texting all the time and all of that. And, eventually, little by little, once we started working together-together, and when you spend more time with somebody." Rusev continued, "we kissed at some point. And then, the American thing happened. So we kissed and we're hanging out. We were boyfriend and girlfriend in my book. But then, one day she goes and says… what did you say? 'Are we together?' And I was like, 'what do you think we've been doing for the past four months?' What is that even supposed to me? I've never understood that. In my country when you kiss somebody for four months, everything is straight and you're damn sure you're boyfriend and girlfriend!"
Interestingly, Lana claimed that McMahon was the only one unsure about whether to keep the duo as a package on the main roster.
"Vince loved Rusev. He was like, 'I want the monster' and we had been a gimmick together in NXT and everyone loved us together as a gimmick. And I remember Hunter pulling me aside and he's like, 'Vince is still deciding, does he want Rusev by himself or does he want him with you?' And he was like, 'so I just want to be honest with you and up front. We don't know and we're all fighting for it. We think you guys are special as a unit.' And I remember my heart dropping and being like, 'oh my gosh! Are you kidding me?'"
Drink in the podcast here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to WrestlingINC. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho