Last year, I wrote a post on this blog, Why AJ Lee is WWE’s It Girl, where I gave my opinion on what made AJ such a captivating figure. If 2012 was the year AJ entered into the collective conscience of the WWE Universe then 2013 is the year she solidified her status as the biggest female star in the company.
AJ began 2013 in the midst of a heated feud between Dolph Ziggler and John Cena. Though she was an active wrestler, most of her time was spent ringside managing Ziggler and new charge Big E. Langston.
A few months later AJ locked her sights onto the Divas Championship. She realized her lifelong dream of becoming champion by beating Kaitlyn at the 6/16 Payback PPV in Chicago. The occasion was so momentous that AJ tattooed the date of her win on the back of her neck.
The following night on Raw she officially severed ties with Ziggler. This would lead to a forgettable mixed tag team match at SummerSlam where AJ and Big E. lost to Ziggler and Kaitlyn.
It was around this time that another big development occurred –Total Divas. The reality series starring the Bella Twins was a huge hit for the E! Network, garnering some of its highest ratings. The show drew criticism in some circles for perpetuating the longstanding stereotype that women in WWE are regarded as little more than eye candy.
This did not sit well with AJ. The Bellas represented everything she felt was wrong with the Divas locker room. They were recruited into WWE based on their looks and not for what they could do inside the ring. In contrast, AJ grew up as a wrestling fan and cut her teeth on the independent circuit before being signed by WWE. Her love of comics and video games makes her an antithesis of what we’ve come to expect of women in WWE.
AJ vented her frustrations to the entire Total Divas cast during the infamous “pipebomb” segment on the 8/26 Raw. Although designed to be a heel promo, her words drew a thunderous ovation from the live audience.
Over the last couple of months, AJ has aligned herself with Tamina Snuka. Together, they have run roughshod over the entire Diva’s division. She has held onto championship for six months.
As a pure worker, AJ is probably right behind Natalya as being the best of the current division. But it’s her charisma and promo ability that puts her above the competition. They could’ve just as easily put the championship on one of the Bellas, but WWE recognizes that AJ is the complete package. No other woman on the roster can touch her, which has really been the case since last year.
Last week on Raw, the Bellas won the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year. The live audience (that went nuts for every mention of Brie Bella’s boyfriend Daniel Bryan) booed them out of the building as they made their acceptance speech. While their exposure on E! have made them bigger stars to the general public, there is little question as to who the real Diva of the Year is.