(CBS Local)- On Sunday, WWE will make history when it rolls out its first ever all women’s pay per view at NYCB Live.
The event will feature stars such as Ronda Rousey, Nikki Bella and Charlotte Flair. One of the other names to watch on Long Island this weekend is Lana (a.k.a. CJ Perry), who is thrilled to be in New York.
“I’m really grateful to be a part of the first-ever women’s pay-per-view. It’s incredible how far we’ve come,” said Lana in an interview with CBS Local. “The women have come so far in the last four years since I debuted. I remember we had three minute matches and now we’re having our own pay-per-view, all women. We’re going to continue breaking down doors and barriers. It’s a great time to be a woman.”
The women’s division has come a long way since Lana first started up with the WWE in 2013. The former professional ballerina credits the rise of the television program “Total Divas” and the 2015 social media campaign #GiveDivasAChance as the reasons why women’s wrestling has become mainstream.
“They started to become more interested in our matches and our stories because they were interested in our lives and invested in our lives. Total Divas started in 2013 and about two years later, in 2015, #GiveDivasAChance trended for three days and it was because it was a thirty-second match. That led into catapulting and really bringing awareness to WWE officials to realize that our fan base is ready, the world is ready to see longer matches and stronger stories and character development.”
The 33-year-old’s journey to WWE has been incredible. Lana was born in Florida and lived in Russia, where her parents were Christian missionaries. After moonlighting as a professional ballerina, Lana spent time as a back-up dancer for Nelly and Akon and an actress in the movie “Pitch Perfect.” Being back in New York is special because of what this city represents to the rising WWE star.
“I moved here when I was 17, chasing a dream to be an entertainer. I was chasing a dream to tell stories and at the time I was a professional ballet dancer,” said Lana. “I moved to New York City because I wanted to dance with the companies here. To be able to have our first woman’s pay-per-view here in New York City where I moved when I was 17, it’s really cool. It’s a really cool full circle. As a little girl I always wanted to make history, and while entertaining and telling stories, I wanted to do something meaningful and impactful. So to be a part of something that will be part of the history books, I’m so grateful. I want to encourage all the little girls and little boys out there that you can do anything you set your mind to.”