CJ Perry, f.k.a. Lana, was on the latest episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast. Perry was part of a group of releases that came in early June that included Braun Strowman and Aleister Black. Perry revealed her reaction to finding out about her release soon after renting a house in St. Petersburg.
“I rented it for a month. Two weeks in, I got a call from Johnny Ace (John Laurinaitis),” Perry recalled. “Crazy thing is I thought he was calling me about something completely different. I can’t tell you yet what the show is, but I was offered to do another television show, and so they went through the whole process with WWE, and they approved it.
“And so I thought he was calling me about more of those details because that’s what we were all discussing the day before. ‘I’m calling you about your 90 days.’ I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’ I couldn’t even understand, and he’s like, ‘I’m calling you about your 90 days. You’re getting released,’ and I was literally standing right next to a pool. My heart dropped.
“At the same time, I felt really relieved, which was really weird because I did not expect to feel relieved. I felt like a weight lifted off my shoulder, and I could breathe. If someone would have told me that would have happened, I would have been like, no way because I love my job. I love the people that I worked with. Yeah, things are shi**y at times, but that’s why it’s a job.”
She continued as she revealed more of her conversation with John Laurinaitis. She explained why she’s glad Laurinaitis made the call as opposed to former Head of Talent Relations Mark Carrano.
“He’s like, Stay in touch. You’ve worked your ass off,’” Perry revealed. “I go, ‘Is there anything that I did wrong?’ He’s like, ‘No. You worked your ass off. You’ve improved tremendously in the ring. Thank you for working hard. Stay close,’ Johnny Ace’s usual.
“I kind of chuckled to myself because I’m glad it wasn’t Mark Carrano that called me because I just see Johnny as this role. Mark kind of becomes homies a little bit more, and Ace is just so corporate. He was like, ‘No, just budget cuts.’ And I said, ‘Okay. Thank you for everything,’ and that was that.”
Perry admitted that she needed to leave her house to collect herself. She reveals what type of clause she wants in her next wrestling contract.
“I was in the middle of texting Mandy [Rose],” Perry stated. “We were texting about other random things, and I’m just like, ‘I just got released.’ She was the first person I told. She’s like, ‘Wait, what?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, they literally just released me,’ and I called Nattie (Natalya) immediately.
“I couldn’t even talk to Miro yet. Nattie, same reaction, ‘Wait, what?’ It just sucked, but at the same time, I felt really relieved in the sense of I’ve been waiting for this call, and that’s the part I don’t like about the environment. Whatever wrestling contract I have next, if I stay in wrestling, which I hope I do, I want a no-cut clause because that was the worst, living in that state of a fear of you don’t know when your future endeavors is gonna come.”
Perry was in a tag team with Naomi before getting released. She revealed what she and Naomi were promised before her release came.
“I had just made gear, beautiful, neon glow in the dark gear, over $4,000 it cost by the people that sew for all the top singers, and we had all these new outfits,” Perry noted. “We had bought outfits that I wouldn’t even probably wear in real life, but we have glow in the dark.
“Of course, I’m devastated. We were promised to go into a program with Nattie and Tamina. Me and Naomi were to go into a program with them, go after the titles, and we were supposed to be, possibly, champions, which all that stuff I take with a grain of salt. I was very lucky that I was booked till the day I got fired.”
Perry says she did get a text from Vince McMahon after the news of release. She discusses what she would like to see change about the process.
“I did. I got a text,” Perry revealed. “I definitely got emotional about it because it was a slight goodbye for me. He thanked me for my incredible work ethic, and for my unrelentingly desire to be the best that I could be and all the contributions I gave to WWE. So that really meant a lot to me, and I thanked him for everything that he’s taught me because I learned so much.
“I’ve learned so much life lessons and performing. I’m incredibly thankful. The hardest part for me, maybe they’ll change this in the future, especially after Mickie and the garbage bag, is the goodbye part. Now it’s changed a little bit. People at least talk to each other. It used to be cut off. I would have liked to maybe give Vince McMahon one last hug goodbye. I want to say goodbye to the writers.
“I want to say goodbye to Ray Ray, Ryan Ward, who I’ve worked with for eight f**king years. He started with my very first promo, and I want to say goodbye to these people. I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again. I texted Ryan Ward, a week afterwards, he’s like, ‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t reach out to you. You never know if people are gonna lash out at creative,’ and I’m like, is that the reason why we can’t go back and give hugs?”
Perry admitted that she will miss Lana. She talked about how much the character means to her.
“Yeah, oh my god. I love Lana in so many different ways,” Perry expressed. “I think because she’s so much of an alter ego for me in so many different ways. If s**t hit the fan, blame it on the character. I think I really did love her love life. It was fun for me. It was fun that she had four exes, two divorces.
“We all know someone like that. I mean, isn’t Ric Flair like that? I will always see Ric, and I’m like, ‘You’re my inspiration. I want to get married five times on television.’ It’s like well, why not? I think because in life, I am married, and I love to party and drink, but in life, I try very hard to do the right thing, at least now in my life.
“It hasn’t always been that way. The last eight years, I’ve tried to really do it the right way and not cheat the system or cheat people, and I tried to be honest and true. Honestly, I sleep a lot better at night. I feel at peace, but that’s why I think it is hard to give up Lana because she was everything that I can’t be in life.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.