PHOENIX — World Wrestling Entertainment is in hot water after possibly referring to Malaysian Air flight 17, which was shot out of the sky over Ukraine, during a show.
According to the New York Post, the plane was possibly brought up by character Lana during a Sunday appearance in Tampa.
Then moments before WWE’s “Battleground” bout between Rusev and Jack Swagger, Lana — played by Florida-based actress Catherine Joe Perry — took the mic and told fans in her faux, over-the-top Russian accent: “You blame Russia for these recent current events?”
It didn’t take long for WWE fans to jump on social media to comment.
Can't believe WWE used Flight MH17 – 'current events' – as cheap heat in the Rusev v Swagger match. That's not cool. #WWEBattleground
— Simon Clark (@SimonClark8) July 21, 2014
Oh did the WWE just do a Malaysia Airline Tragedy reference? Someone needs to be fired for that
— Mohamed Mohamed (@MoeSquare) July 21, 2014
— No Labels Unleashed (@simplynolabels) July 21, 2014
/Watches WWE stock drop 98% tomorrow as a character who was once a FSU Cowgirl blames the US for Malaysia Flight 17 being shot down.
— Alfred Sumrall (@TheRebelAS) July 21, 2014
In a statement, WWE said the schtick was not meant to reference the tragedy.
Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than 3 months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended.