Rusev and Lana have been two of the best things about WWE since they were called up, and were also great back in their NXT days. (And now they’re arguably the best part of Total Divas.) While they may bear more than a passing resemblance to the villains of Rocky IV, Lana herself says the roots of her character are owed to Dusty Rhodes and Vince McMahon being Game of Thrones geeks.
Lana spilled the dorkalicious beans when she was a guest on AfterBuzz TV’s The Tomorrow Show with Keven Undergaro (you can watch the entire show at the end of the post). After both Sean Waltman talked about what a huge Game of Thrones fan Dusty Rhodes was, Lana revealed that both her initial NXT run with Rusev and her split from him and (very poorly-received) storyline with Dolph Ziggler came as a direct result of both Dusty and none other than Vince McMahon being massive Game of Thrones fanatics.
“The whole idea of me controlling the brute was Dusty’s idea, which is an interesting spin, so it becomes not just like Russian, but it was like I was in charge of the brute, and the more conniving character, was Dusty’s idea from Khaleesi — she controls the dragons … Dusty was so brilliant [and] he basically predicted everything that me and Rusev eventually did on TV.
“He was like, ‘You are going to control the brute. Control him, control him, but at one point, if you push him too far, he will turn on you.’ And that’s exactly what we ended up doing. I was always the intense one, and then at one point, I pushed him too far, and he tried to kick me back to Russia. And that’s what brought up Dolph.
“[The Dolph storyline] was so much fun. Vince got that whole idea from [Cersei Lannister]. I remember having that whole conversation with him and saying, ‘What about [Cersei], being conniving?’ He was like, ‘Yes!’ And that whole Dolph Ziggler story came from [Cersei] from Game of Thrones!”
Lana’s big takeaway is that you should open yourself up to as much different media as you can, because you never know where you might draw inspiration from. I bet not a lot of wrestling fans would have guessed that Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister would have been the inspirations between those two storylines, but they also probably wouldn’t have guessed Dusty and Vince would be massive GoT marks. It makes a lot of sense in Vince’s case though.
… Vince thinks the Lannisters are the heroes, doesn’t he?