The WWE has faced some criticism on using Vladimir Putin as a way to push a storyline angle. In the angle, the “Ravishing Russian” Lana praises how great of a ruler Putin is before she brings out her wrestler Rusev to fight. Some fans have claimed that the WWE is praising Putin, despite the praise coming from a villain. PWS reported on Thursday that the WWE answered the Vladimir Putin criticism with a statement.
The WWE made it very clear in their statement that they are a television show and the stories told on the show are written stories. They mentioned the comparison to Hollywood movies and other television shows where characters battle in good vs. evil stories inspired by current events. According to the WWE, Vladimir Putin gives them perfect material to work into storylines.
Even before mentioning the Russian president, Lana often introduced her wrestler by slamming America and praising Russia. The entire gimmick was that they are Russian villains who want to bring America to its knees. With Vladimir Putin making many comments against the United States lately, it makes sense in their storyline that they would be on his side in the war of words.
In the 90s, Sgt. Slaughter, a one-time American hero, became an Iraqi sympathizer and began to come to the ring with an Iraqi manager. He became the most despised wrestler in the WWE, but just as this, it was all a storyline. Before Slaughter, Iranian wrestler The Iron Sheik used to start all his matches by saying that Iran was number one and then spitting at the USA, followed by Russian wrestler Nikolai Volkoff singing the Russian National Anthem.
The Lana and Rusev storyline is not new. As the WWE said, they hope to create strong characters in Lana and Rusev that the people of America hate, and also show them as characters that people in some other countries they visit might love. At the end of the day, the WWE is creating villains and the Vladimir Putin criticism is from people who can’t seem to separate fact from fiction.