THE STORY AND CAREER OF AJ LEE
Article written by Dylan Devine (7/26/20)
In today’s article I will be discussing the story and career of AJ Lee.
AJ Lee was signed to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in 2009. FCW was WWE’s developmental brand at that time. Lee had a few years of wrestling under her belt and was trained by Jay Lethal. She won the FCW Divas Championship once.
After her time in FCW, Lee was called up to be apart of WWE’s then competition/game show NXT. She ended up being eliminated in season three and finished in third place of the divas. After Lee was eliminated we did not see her for a few months in the company.
Main Roster debut
On the May 27th, 2011 edition of Friday Night SmackDown Lee made her main roster debut alongside Kaitlyn and formed a tag team with her known as “The Chickbusters”. She didn’t do anything very notable until she was placed in an on screen romance with Daniel Bryan.
On screen romances and becoming Raw General Manager
Daniel Bryan at the time was one of the hottest heels in the WWE, so Lee also became a heel and developed heel traits as she was placed alongside Bryan. Their relationship ultimately ended after WrestleMania 28 after Lee gave Bryan a “good luck kiss” at the beginning of his title defense match against Sheamus. Bryan lost that match in 18 second and lost his World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan blamed Lee for his loss which is why they broke up. After the breakup Lee began a new character where she basically was mentally unstable. She went on to insert herself into Bryan’s feuds and attempt to have romance with the likes of CM Punk and Kane. Her and Bryan eventually ended up back together and he proposed to her. They were set to have a wedding on the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw. At the wedding Lee announced she accepted a job as the Raw General Manager and left Bryan at the altar. She would give Bryan and Punk trouble and booked them in matches against their wishes. Lee eventually stepped down as the GM and began a romantic storyline with John Cena. She was with Cena up until Money in the Bank 2012 where she turned heel helping Dolph Ziggler win the briefcase. This meant she was in yet another romantic storyline and was now with Ziggler. Lee and Ziggler were together for most of 2012 and ended up ending their relationship when Lee captured the Divas Championship.
Lee defeated Kaitlyn to capture her first Divas Championship at Payback 2013 in a fantastic match. This is where her career really kicked off and she became the most popular women’s superstar on the roster. Fans realized how good she really was in her match against Kaitlyn, but were really given a show at how good she was when she cut the infamous promo on the Bella Twins. She insulted the Bella’s and everyone on the Total Divas cast. She claimed none of them could lace up her Chuck Taylor’s which was very true. Lee went on to become the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time and was one of the most popular superstars in the company. She was a heel but the fans loved her. She lost her championship to Paige the night after WrestleMania 30 and was given time off.
After taking some time off Lee made her return to Monday Night Raw on June 30th. She returned as a face and was put in a storyline with then Divas Champion, Paige. The storyline was basically that Lee wanted a shot at the title but was “best friends” with Paige and didn’t want to take it from her. She challenged Paige for the Divas Championship at Battleground 2014 and won back the the title. Paige and her had great chemistry on the mic and in the ring and always put on great matches. Lee lost her Divas Championship to Nikki Bella at Survivor Series 2014 then took time off again due to a neck injury.
Criticism and 2015 return
In the beginning of 2015 while Lee was stuck at home recovering from her neck injury she took to twitter to criticize Stephanie McMahon and the WWE. She claimed that the women recieved only a fraction of the pay that the men superstars did and never got as much screen time as the men. This was very true and it was about time one of the women spoke out about it. Lee made her on screen return in March and ended up teaming with Paige at WrestleMania 31 against the Bella Twins. The following night on Monday Night Raw would be Lee’s last match as she would announce her retirement on April 3rd. She was struggling with injuries and was struggling to stay in the company due to the issues her real life husband, CM Punk was having with them after he controversially left the company in 2014.
AJ Lee went down as one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of all time. She made her childhood dreams come true. She won the Divas Championship on three different occasions and was the companies most popular women’s wrestler for quite awhile. She changed how women’s wrestling was viewed and is a key reason the women have been given all of the opportunities they have gotten over the last few years. The fans miss her dearly. Lee is now happily married to her husband, CM Punk. She also wrote a book called “Crazy Is My Superpower” discussing her wrestling career, life in general, mental health, and many more topics. The book debuted at number ten on the New York Times Best Seller list. Along with her book she also co-wrote the comic book series GLOW based on the Netflix show.