WWE is being criticised for using the MH17 tragedy as a part of one of its acts. Two WWE characters 'Alexander Rusev' and 'Lana' spoke about the Malaysian Airlines flight which had allegedly been shot down by pro-Russian rebels. Those characters are meant to be Russians as they started an anti-U.S. outburst during their show.
The Russian characters referred to the crashed flight which eventually killed 298 international passengers and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin because he made "fools" of the United States. Those two Russian characters often incorporate references from the Cold War into their acts. However, it came as a shock to the entire wrestling community when they spoke about the tragedy during the match between Jack Swagger and Rusev on the WWE Battleground on Sunday, July 20. It might have been a well-planned decision to introduce these two characters in January 2014 when the U.S. government was at daggers drawn with Russia.
CJ Perry who plays Lana said with an imposed Russian accent that the match was dedicated to Putin, "the most powerful man in the world." "Tonight we dedicate this match to the most powerful man in the world. Tonight we dedicate this match the to man that makes fools out of all of you Americans. He is my role model. He is my idol. The president of Russia," she said. Putin's image was displayed on the giant screen as WWE fans shouted anti-Russian mottoes. Bulgarian bodybuilder Miroslav Barnyashev plays Rusev.
British journalist Simon Clark used his Twitter account to express his feelings about the incident. He said that it was "not cool" for WWE to manipulate such a tragic event to cause "cheap heat" in the match. Even though there was no direct mention of MH17, there was a clear indication of the disaster. "You blame Russia for the recent current events?" Lana asked. The phrase "current events" was enough for most to understand the reference.
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