After an interesting and prosperous career in the WWE, AJ Lee has decided to call it a day.
While specifics are still unknown, WWE announced Lee’s retirement about a week ago on social media, igniting the fans to speculate about her motives. Lee’s departure came abruptly, and by the same token, leaves a void in the Divas division.
The New Jersey-native was a breath of fresh air and really stayed true to presenting herself as a wrestler over an entertainer. In a class full of women that portray themselves as glamorous, Lee didn’t shy away from expressing her true feeling about her counterparts on a number of occasions.
During her stay in WWE, Lee had a successful career, yet she did have a tendency to clash with others, whether it was her boss Stephanie McMahon or ESPN presenter Michelle Beadle.
Nevertheless, she still holds the record for most Divas title wins (three, alongside Eve Torres) and held the title for 295 days after she won it in mid-2013 for the first time, which is another record that hasn’t been broken. Apart from those accolades, she’s always been consistently good, even though she had a light schedule at times.
Here are some of Lee’s greatest career moments:
15 WWE Debut Match On SmackDown
14 Her First Singles Victory Over Tamina
In the summer of 2011, the feud involving those four ladies continued, which led to Lee earning her first singles victory over Tamina two weeks after her debut on SmackDown. Oddly enough, Tamina would be Lee’s bodyguard further down the road.
13 The Kiss Of Death At WrestleMania 28
Sheamus fans must have been extremely proud of Lee when her then-boyfriend Daniel Bryan insisted on a kiss from his significant other during the match. The current WWE Intercontinental Champion didn’t realize the “Celtic Warrior” was behind him and the latter defeated Bryan in under 20 seconds for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan’s fans were outraged and Lee would be blamed for the whole debacle. It maybe wasn’t favorable for her, yet this was one of the biggest moments of her career, and a notorious WrestleMania moment, too.
12 Puts Paige Over After WrestleMania 30
11 Wins Diva Of The Year In 2014 & Avoids Hugging Jerry Lawler
When AJ won the Diva of The Year Award in 2014, she accepted the award and had great things to say about the women of NXT, but found herself in an unfortunate moment beforehand.
10 Divas Title Match Against Natalya On Main Event
The longest Divas title match just so happened to be on a less-popular WWE show, but that didn’t ruin the moment Lee had with Natalya.
9 Unexpected Return To Claim Her Second Divas Title
One night after Money In The Bank 2014, Lee stormed the gate and made an unexpected comeback to challenge Paige for the Divas title, after the champion made a successful title defense the night before against Naomi.
8 Divas Title Match Against Kaitlyn At Payback 2013
Those casting aside women’s wrestling because they think it’s far less entertaining or less action-packed aren’t exactly getting the point and probably have something wrong with them.
In most cases, WWE doesn’t exactly do itself any favors by giving limited minutes to the women to work with or choose to go with supermodel looks over in-ring skill.
7 Headlines Raw With CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan & Eve Torres
Years after Trish Stratus battled Lita on the main event of Raw and made history as the only two women to do so, Lee and Torres got the chance to close out the show in 2012 while competing in a mixed-tag match involving CM Punk and Bryan.
6 Becomes General Manager Of Raw In 2012
5 #GiveDivasAChance Succeeds At WrestleMania 31
Stemming from her tweet and the fan movement in general, the proposed changes to the Divas division relied heavily on the match between Lee and Paige against The Bella Twins at this past year’s WrestleMania. It wasn’t so much on the performers, but the time they would be given to show the women deserved more of a chance to shine.
4 An Unexpected Last Television Match To Be Proud Of
The Divas division kept rolling on night after Raw, as Total Divas stalwarts The Bella Twins and Natalya took on Lee, Paige and Naomi in a six-women tag match. All involved worked the contest almost perfectly and it would be Lee’s last match in WWE before leaving the company a few days later. Unfortunately, the sexually suggestive slurs made from the San Jose crowd aimed at those in relationships with other male wrestlers ruined the moment.
3 Disses Stephanie McMahon On Twitter By Using Her Voice
Stephanie McMahon was quick to tweet out a picture dedicated to Patricia Arquette’s speech at the 2015 Oscars, which called for equal rights and pay for women across the world.
McMahon didn’t realize she wasn’t exactly practicing what she had preached.
2 A Legendary Pipe Bomb Promo For The Ages
Many like to draw similarities between Lee and Punk, considering they’re married and a lot alike.
The strongest instance of this was when Lee cut a pipe bomb promo targeted towards the Divas, specifically those in the Total Divas spotlight during an episode of Raw in 2013.
While standing firm on the top of the entrance ramp with the belt on her shoulder, Lee grilled the Divas who star in the show while The Funkadactyls, The Bella Twins, Natalya, Jojo and Eva Marie remained at ringside, and it was incredible. Not only does she insult the wrestling ability of these women (Natalya was the most established competitor), she lashes out at them for being wannabe actresses.
1 Wins The Divas Championship For The First Time & Holds It The Longest
After her win over Kaitlyn, Lee would go on to hold the Divas Championship for a whopping 295 days, marking the longest title reign in the championship’s history. Maybe Alundra Blaze doesn’t exactly see eye to eye with Lee when it comes to the winningest and most accomplished women’s champion in WWE, not to mention the now-defunct Women’s Championship reigns of The Fabulous Moolah, Rockin’ Robin and Trish Stratus, but Lee’s numbers make her the most accomplished women’s wrestler of the so-called “Universe Era,” and it’s going to take a hell of a lot to match her records.
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