The strangest story of the week has been the rumours that WWE performers Lana and Rusev have heat with the company over their recent engagement becoming public knowledge.
Here's the timeline of what happened. Firstly, on October 2nd, Lana published a couple of photographs on her Instagram account which revealed her to be wearing an expensive new ring on her left hand. Some lesser known wrestling websites ran stories the next day speculating that Lana had become engaged to Rusev in real life based on those pictures.
On the October 5th Monday Night Raw, WWE shoots an angle likely inspired by Rusev's real life engagement to Lana, where Summer Rae proposed to the Bulgarian Brute and he accepted on the provision that she had to help put gold around his waist first.
On October 11th, TMZ reports their exclusive story entitled "WWE Stars Lana And Rusev: We're Engaged!!" along with pictures of the loving couple together and a close up of her diamond ring. It should be noted that Dave Meltzer in this week's subscriber only Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that WWE fed TMZ the story:
"Keep in mind that WWE constantly plugged how TMZ broke the story, and WWE only mentions the media source that broke the story if they feed the story to them first and have a good relationship with them. The idea they were blindsided by this wasn’t the case."
On October 12th, WWE.com had Lana turn her real-life engagement into a WWE storyline by having her confirm the legitimate TMZ story with a nonsensical scripted explanation for why she had decided to ditch Dolph Ziggler in favour of the Bulgarian who had treated her badly on television for the last few months. On Raw later that night, WWE made Rusev look like a chump as he was quickly and cleanly defeated by Ryback, then he was publicly dumped by Summer Rae for being engaged to Lana already and got slapped by her for good measure.
On October 14th, Meltzer also reported that:
"What we do know is that WWE was fully aware of it coming out, but Vince McMahon wasn’t happy it got out. It makes sense when you think about it, because it’s not about getting engaged, but about maintaining character and storyline in public. Part of the job of a WWE performer in social media is to play the role, although then again, you can argue, starting at the very top, that the rules don’t always apply."
I might partially agree with Dave that "it makes sense when you think about it" if Lana had published the pictures before the Summer Rae marriage proposal angle had been shot, but she didn't. Can she really be blamed for exposing a storyline before it had even taken place?
But even then, this is a company that can't maintain kayfabe between their different brands (compare and contrast Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's portrayals on WWE and NXT) or even within their own flagship television show (everyone supports Susan G Komen, babyfaces and heels alike). That's not to mention their "reality" programmes like Total Divas and Tough Enough. Or amusing skits where WWE superstars have had to interact with The Muppets as if they were real.
Moreover, no-one believed that Lana was really dating Dolph Ziggler or that Summer Rae had really proposed to Rusev, because TMZ had already exposed that Lana and Rusev were a real-life couple who had bought a swanky house together in March of this year, and because the whole break-up angle was so ridiculously over the top it was impossible to take seriously.
Thus, Vince McMahon's reported reaction to seemingly tear up his plans and start again, whilst burying Rusev, because someone alerted him to kayfabe breaching pics is truly bizarre. It makes him come across as volatile, impulsive, irrational, old-fashioned and vindictive.