Who is the top star in WWE today?
You may be inclined to believe it’s C.M. Punk, the current world champion, or maybe John Cena, the man who has carried the company on his shoulders for nearly a decade. Based on the last several weeks worth of television it would appear the biggest star in the promotion is a 100 lb. woman.
AJ Lee, real name April Jeannette, has become a fixture of WWE programming. Her rise to superstardom isn’t so much due to her in-ring ability, but can be attributed to her status as being one of the more compelling characters in wrestling today.
AJ burst onto the scene in 2010 as a contestant on the third season of WWE’s pseudo-reality show NXT. This season was based around a group of women vying for the opportunity to become a WWE Diva. The Union City, New Jersey native emerged as a fan favorite with her spunky girl next door persona. She eventually made it as one of the three finalists before being eliminated. Despite the loss it wasn’t much longer until AJ debuted on the main roster.
For those unfamiliar with the WWE Divas division, let me just say that they’re on the lowest rung of the totem pole. Their role is to serve as little more than eye candy to the male audience. AJ’s fate was sure to be no different than that of any other woman. That is until she became involved in a storyline romance with Daniel Bryan toward the end of 2011.
Bryan was in the process of transitioning from a traditional babyface into a cocky heel. AJ played the role of the lovestruck girlfriend who was so smitten that she didn’t even realize that Bryan was using her to further his own agenda.
Their onscreen chemistry was a major reason why his three month world championship reign was such a success. After his reign ended they did a breakup angle which eventually led into the current AJ, Punk and Bryan love triangle that has dominated WWE television this summer.
The main event at last month’s No Way Out PPV was heavily centered on AJ’s involvement and she will be the guest referee for the Punk vs. Bryan championship match at the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV. AJ was also the only woman featured in the USA Network commercial promoting the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw. It was reported in this week’s issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE plans to continue making her a major focal point going forward.
What is it about AJ that sets her apart from every other woman on the roster?
The answer is her attainability factor.
WWE has traditionally been the land of silicone induced blondes who look like they came straight off the cover of Maxim. AJ wears punk rock attire and is a self professed comic book nerd. In others words, she is 100% relatable to the average male viewer.
Her acting ability is among the best of anyone, male or female, in WWE. At one moment she can flip out like a deranged psycho and then act like a sweet schoolgirl the next. She’s an excellent talker.
There have been some complaints of AJ being overexposed with some feeling her constant presence in the main event picture overshadows the male wrestlers who the company should be focusing on. And there is some truth to that.
However, I don’t mind since there is no one in WWE more entertaining than AJ.