CJ Perry (Lana) Recalls Life Lessons Learned From Vince McMahon, Having Empathy For Alleged Victims

On July 22, Vince McMahon retired as CEO of WWE amid a WWE board investigation into alleged sexual harassment and hush money.

Though CJ Perry (Lana in WWE) was released by the company in 2021, she was prominently featured on WWE television during her time in the company, which began in 2013. Perry was involved in the more soap opera storylines including marrying Bobby Lashley as part of a love triangle with Miro and dating Dolph Ziggler.

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Perry has said that she considered herself a "company girl" and previously revealed that she received a text from Vince who thanked her for her work following her release.

Speaking to Liam Stewart of Inside The Ropes, Perry was asked about the allegations against Vince and what she learned from him.

She began by speaking about the allegations, saying, "I feel like it's such a controversial issue right now. It's really unfortunate everything, to be honest. I am a big believer that we should bring things into the light and even though I had an amazing relationship with Vince and he was very kind to me and taught me so many things that I am going to take with me for the rest of my life doesn't mean that other people had very different experiences. In general, not with people in WWE, but in general, being a victim of sexual harassment and being a victim of people trying to pull favors from you that I really don't talk about and maybe one day will be more comfortable talking on a bigger level. I have compassion and empathy for those women and I think it needs to be handled properly, however it is."

Perry then opened up on the life lessons she learned from McMahon during her time in the company.

"With that said, I've learned a lot of lessons that I take with me in life, I've kind of learned from him. One of the stories he would always say to me is, 'It's okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from it.' To really understand that, it's liberating and freeing. We're all going to make mistakes in life. If we allow ourselves to be motivated by fear, 'if I do this, I'm going to fail. I'm going to make a mistake,' then we're never going to do anything. My time in WWE was a lot like that. My first match was at WrestleMania in front of 101,000 people. My first singles match was against Naomi at a pay-per-view for the title. That's really scary and I had to accept the fact that I was going to fail and I was going to fail in front of all the fans and people and on national television and people are going to be angry that I'm getting that opportunity over a girl who has been wrestling in the Indies, in barns, in grocery stores, in front of five people for ten years who probably 1000% deserves it more than me. I understood that," she said.

Perry continued, "Coming from Hollywood where, I might not have slept in my car to become a professional wrestler, but I slept in my car to become a professional storyteller and entertainer. My road was different, but my hustle was the same. I had so much compassion and empathy to these people that wanted to be in WWE and that was their childhood dream and I was kind of living their childhood dream. That's why I work my ass off. The least I can do is give respect to this business that I got this incredible opportunity that so many others want. I see it in Hollywood all the time. There are so many things I audition for since I've been 18 that I want and know I'm better than the person that books it and they book it. That's just life. Things are not fair. I'm sure actors look at Sasha Banks and go, 'Why did she get Mandalorian? Why didn't I get Mandalorian?' That's life and show business. It's not fair. The least I can do is work hard to give respect to this business that so many people out there are hustling and struggling to get to this spot."

She closed by circling back to McMahon and his life lessons.

"I'm thankful Vince taught me that. To not be scared to make mistakes, as long as you learn from it. I've been doing that. Another big lesson he taught me was the importance of forgiving. Ironically. 'Hey, take responsibility for when you're wrong, apologize. If people ask for forgiveness, I'll forgive them, and I'll never think about it again. It's done.' That's a hard thing to do and it's why he's been in business with people for so long after a fallout," she said.

Perry closed by once again expressing sympathy for the alleged victims.

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the women who feel they've been mistreated. With anything that is going on, unless you go through it, you don't really fully understand," she said.

Perry hasn't wrestled since being released by WWE in June 2021.

She is currently focusing on content for CJPerry.com and other ventures.

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