In the midst of the controversial ending to the “historic” Money in the Bank ladder match, one woman’s achievement was overlooked: Lana.
Although she had competed once before in an eight-woman’s tag team match on the WrestleMania 32 pre-show, the Ravishing Russian didn’t have enough time to demonstrate what she’s made of. So her singles debut at WWE Money in the Bank, challenging Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, was her first opportunity to be seen as a credible wrestler. She was unsuccessful in her quest for the gold, but she held her own against the champion and proved she was more than just a trophy wife to Rusev.
Having your first one-on-one match on pay-per-view is a nerve-wracking situation, as fans' expectations are much higher. Even in the age of $9.99 WWE Network specials, the audience demands a higher-level performance than on Raw or SmackDown.
Debuting on PPV shows that WWE officials believe in one’s potential, and are willing to invest in the rookie’s first match by promoting his or her in-ring arrival through a series of vignettes.
Although most wrestlers have their first match on free TV, there have been a select few to receive the star-making treatment.