It’s not unusual for wrestlers to hook up with one another while on the road. You can’t blame them either, as traveling 300 days in close proximity with someone is bound to create tight relationships. While some couples are very public and are even featured on WWE programs like Total Divas and Total Bellas, some are very reserved about their relationships. It’s understandable that some wrestlers want to keep their relationships private, considering that they already expose enough of their lives on television every week. Arguably no couple kept their relationship closer to the chest than former WWE employees AJ Lee and CM Punk.
Punk and Lee had a ton of information leak out regarding their relationship, but in relation to how famous the duo actually was, the information wasn’t that revealing. Sure we’ve seen some photos here, and heard some comments there, but what do you really know about the Brooks’? The answer you should be saying to yourself is not much, which is why today we will be looking at 15 things you didn’t know about their relationship. You may know some of the things listed here, but chances are some of this info has slipped past you over the last few years. Let us know if we missed something in the comments section.
15. Jay Lethal Took Shots At Them
It’s no secret that current ROH World Champion Jay Lethal both trained and fell in love with AJ Lee during the early stages of his career. The two ended on pretty good terms in 2011, with Lethal only saying positive things about Lee and her life choices. It seems that Lethal wasn’t entirely positive however when he took a shot at both Lee and CM Punk in 2015 at a Ring of Honor pay per view. During an in-ring promo, Lethal exclaimed that he wasn’t going to take “hand-me-downs” from Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe or CM Punk. He was of course, referring to the legacy of these men in the promotion, but he continued on to say that Punk would take his “hand-me-downs”. Now this could be a case of wrestlers working a crowd, but even so, it seems a bit harsh to take such a hard shot for no reason.
14. Starring in a movie together
You read that right, the dynamic married duo of Punk and Lee are going to be starring in a film together. The movie titled Hellstorm is a post-apocalyptic horror flick which was originally slated to come out in 2016. As 2016 winds down, it seems that the date may be pushed back to 2017, but a film with the married couple does exist. CM Punk revealed that he actually took time off of his MMA training to shoot the movie after they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. It’s hard to believe that besides a few documentaries, this will be Punk’s first movie. Lee on the other hand, was featured as a main character in the video game spoof Madden NFL 16 The Movie.
13. He wouldn’t let her watch his UFC fight at ringside
One thing that we learned from the UFC Miniseries Evolution of Punk, was that AJ Lee was hesitant to watch Punk spar, let alone watch him actually fight. Knowing this, Punk insisted that Lee pull an Adrian to his Rocky, and watch from backstage. Though her support for him was shown to be over the top, she was not visible to any of the millions watching UFC 203. Lee instead met up with Punk backstage to help him get over his loss to the hands of Mickey Gall.
After hearing that Lee didn’t want to see Punk with bruises all over his head, it makes us wonder what she thought when she saw his swollen face as he walked back to locker room. We’ll see if Punk gets in the octagon again.
12. Heat with Michelle Beadle
So this is a bit odd, but apparently back in 2013 there was a real life confrontation between AJ Lee and then NBC sports host Michelle Beadle backstage at WWE’s Tribute to the Troops event. Beadle, who had been friends with CM Punk prior to this incident, jokingly made a comment to the former World Champion. After hearing about the comments, Lee tracked down Beadle and let her have it in front of everyone in the backstage area.
The story originally showed up on dirt sheets, but was later confirmed by Beadle via interview. Punk later corroborated the incident via Twitter. The WWE wasn’t pleased about Lee being so rude to a non-WWE celebrity and immediately went into full damage control trying to minimize the backlash.
11. They Are Spiritual Successors to Macho Man and Elizabeth
As seen by Punk’s attire during the latter part of his WWE career, the former WWE Champion was inspired by the Macho Man Randy Savage. Punk even went as far as to incorporate the elbow drop into his move set following the death of Macho Man in 2011. On the flip side, AJ has been quoted as calling Miss Elizabeth one of her idols in wrestling. Comparisons between Lee and Elizabeth were made while the former WWE Divas Champion was working as a valet for Daniel Bryan, citing her innocence as a driving reason.
Ironically two wrestlers who separately idolized the most famous wrestling couple of all-time, would end up taking their place as the most famous couple of this era. Wrestling’s fun like that.
10. Their Relationship Was Exposed at a Cubs game
While the exact date that their relationship began remains hidden, we know for a fact that Punk and Lee were outed on a date in May of 2013. Much to their dismay, the pair of WWE stars were shown on television together during the seventh inning of a Chicago Cubs game. Funny enough the announcers didn’t actually acknowledge Lee, but rather highlighted their hometown hero Punk on screen.
When wrestling fans got a hold of the photo of the two together, dirt sheets exploded with speculation on the status of the couple. Making the situation more complicated was the fact that many believed Punk to be in a relationship with Lita during this time frame. If only AJ was at the concession stand getting some hot dogs when the camera panned over to her seat, maybe this could have all been avoided.
9. They Love Comic Books
Usually, a couple has to have some things in common to make a long term relationship work; Punk and Lee are no different. One of the things the duo loves as a tandem is comic books. Punk was featured multiple times as a guest on Talking Dead, as a Walking Dead comic expert during his run in the WWE. After departing the WWE in 2014, Punk announced that he would be writing a stand-alone comic series for Marvel Comics. The former WWE Champion has penned both Thor Annual #1, as well as the ongoing Drax series. AJ Lee is just as much of a nerd as Punk, having been profiled multiple times on Marvel’s website in its “Fighting Fangirl” section. Lee also has been featured cosplaying Wonder Woman as well as a gender swapped version of Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
8. She Took His Last Name
This may not seem like that big of a deal, but AJ Lee’s full name is April Jeanette Mendez Brooks. What that means is that she took the last name of her husband Phil “CM Punk” Brooks. The irony behind her taking Punk’s last name is that Lee is a role model for girls to be independent women. Lee’s own words tell girls to “Break the rules. Be A fighter. Any dream is possible if you are brave enough to do it your way” which sounds like a feminist call to action, yet she took her husband’s last name. Maybe I am reading into this too much and she just wanted to be traditional in holy matrimony, but nothing about these two is exactly traditional.
7. They Are Both Persona Non Grata on WWE TV
Until the WWE and CM Punk make up you will NEVER hear them mention him on camera again. By proxy that means you will never hear them mention AJ Lee either, it seems to be a package deal. Because of the messy nature in which both left the company, the WWE has put the two former champions into the category “persona non grata”. What that means is that the only time you are going to hear CM Punk, is before the WWE mutes out the crowds in Chicago chanting his name. Even internally it seems that current Superstars can’t refer to the duo on social media, as Big E referred to AJ Lee as “the woman whose name it not to be uttered” on Twitter earlier this year.
6. Punk Was Fired On Their Wedding Day
So CM Punk being fired on his wedding day is probably the most well known fact in the Punk/WWE saga. After leaving the company following 2014’s Royal Rumble, Punk made it known that he would not be returning to the WWE. Although Vince McMahon tearfully hugged Punk goodbye, he didn’t acknowledge Punk’s absence to shareholders, instead calling his departure a “sabbatical”. After McMahon realized that Punk was not returning, the former WWE Champion claims that the company intentionally sent him his termination papers on June 13, 2014; Punk and Lee’s wedding day.
Coincidentally both Punk and McMahon were doing podcasts around a similar time that this news came out (The Art of Wrestling and The Stone Cold Podcast respectively), creating an instant ‘he said she said’. McMahon denied having any knowledge of the wedding date, and “apologized” for the timing. Punk argued that wrestlers took off to attend his wedding, so there was no way McMahon couldn’t have known. Who you choose to believe is on you.
5. Their Wedding Photos Leaked
Speaking of CM Punk and AJ Lee’s wedding day, boy were they upset when pictures of their private event leaked to the public. An irate Punk took to Twitter after learning of the leaked picture and said “Tweet that pic and I block you. Simple.” along with “And I block you because I can’t punch you in your disrespectful f—ing face. Pigs”.
Making the situation more awkward is that during the time of the wedding, AJ Lee was still employed by the WWE. Lee had to face WWE management’s reaction to Punk’s threats to the fans. Keep in mind that during September of 2014 the wounds were still fresh for both the WWE and Punk, and the WWE could have easily punished Lee to hurt Punk.
4. They are both Published
As mentioned before CM Punk is technically a published author. Sure he only wrote comic books, but that does not take away from the fact that the former WWE Champion has crafted stories for other people’s enjoyment. Currently on his run as the author of Drax, Punk is ten issues in with no signs of slowing down. On the flipside, AJ Lee is currently in the process of promoting her upcoming biography Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules. The book is a memoir detailing how Lee overcame the demons in her personal life to gain control and eventually become a WWE Champion. If you take a look at Lee’s Twitter, you can actually chronicle her work on the book since last year.
3. They Both Loved Lita (in different ways)
One thing both CM Punk and AJ Lee have in common is that they loved Lita. Okay, so maybe they don’t love her the same way, but both have their own history with the former WWE Women’s Champion. AJ Lee famously met Lita in 2001, with the encounter being recorded for the world to see. Lee seemed poised to follow directly in her favorite wrestler’s footsteps and pretty much has…including getting into a relationship with CM Punk. In fact Punk actually broke up with Lita to get with Lee in 2013, causing heat between Lee and her former idol.
After news broke of the Punk and Lee’s relationship, a cartoon began to circulate around the WWE locker room of Lee pretending to be Lita in bed with Punk. Needless to say, this didn’t help things in an already tense environment.
2. WWE Has Taken Shots At Both
The WWE writing team isn’t exactly…mature. Whenever someone leaves the company on bad terms, the WWE can and will take shots on the air at the former employees. Both AJ Lee and CM Punk are no exception to the WWE’s on-air insults. AJ Lee was openly mocked by Alex Riley on Twitter when he posted “I just got 4-3-15 tattooed on my neck”. The date mentioned by Riley is the day of Lee’s retirement, and the tattoo remark is referring to the ink on her neck that features the date of her first Diva’s Title reign. Fans bombarded Riley’s social media accounts demanding an apology on behalf of Lee.
Punk on the other hand, had his UFC 203 loss mocked by the WWE during the Backlash pay per view. During a match between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, Miz ran at Ziggler only to be taken down immediately and put into a rear naked choke. If that series of events sounds familiar, it’s because that is exactly what happened to Punk when he took on Mickey Gall just a week prior.
1. She Retired For Him
While it may come as no surprise to anyone who was following the drama between the WWE and CM Punk, AJ Lee actually retired because of CM Punk. At the time of her retirement, Lee was super over with the crowd and in the prime of her career. In order to escape the hostile environment created by WWE officials, Lee retired as opposed to quitting and used a loophole to get out of her contract. Part of that loophole is that Lee can’t wrestle anywhere else for years to come, effectively giving up her career.
Keep in mind that AJ Lee is a lifetime fan of wrestling, and willingly gave up her spot in the biggest wrestling promotion in the world for her husband. If that isn’t true love, then I don’t know what is.