(Alternate Title: "AJ Lee GIFs and Pics--Now with Meaning!")
I know, I know. It's yet another "IWC-like" article singing the praises of the five-foot-something cutie with a skip and a tiny ass that just...doesn't...quit. But, unlike most of those articles, I'm not going to just focus on how much AJ surpasses, say, a Cameron or something. That's been done. Plus, that's easy. Nor will this be a "ZOMG! Paige is better than AJ derpderp," because Paige is not on the main roster. They've had limited interaction, plus most casual fans could give two craps about who Paige is at the moment. Especially since the "anti-Diva" gimmick was done by another highly-touted signee, Kia "Kharma" Stevens, with a lot more vitriol behind her short tenure. Let's go another route.
I'll pose this question: aside from Kharma's
ill-fated debut, has there been this much hullabaloo about a main-roster female wrestler (that could, from the jump, actually wrestle) in WWE in recent memory?
Yes, on at least three occasions. This buzz was present in the forms of Mickie James (who was also given a "crazy chick" gimmick that got a little finger-lickingly wild--kind of like Wild Things meets a Crossface), Beth Phoenix (except with that whole "Glamarella" gimmick) and, to a degree, Michelle McCool. Hell, you could also potentially include Melina and Eve Torres in this list. Eve, because of her outside-the-ring prowess (I mean, she's marrying a Gracie and apparently kicks ass in real life) and Melina because, well, come on! It's Melina. Minus the drug abuse, alcohol abuse, IWC bashing, and potentially beating the crap out her boyfriend, she's like this generation's Sunny.
nothing like just sorta kinda like Sunny, but I digress. If there have been "Divas" (I hate the terminology, but it's the best we've got...I think) that have had the same hype--and similar successes--is AJ the best main-roster Diva in recent memory? Yes. Or better yet...YES! YES! YES!
She's got the "mainstream" appeal (she's ESPN-friendly,
kind of geeky, not exactly a Barbie type, can potentially cause many a wet dream among fanboys, a decent public/non-WWE TV speaker, she's just the right amount of "non-white" that makes people say "yay diversity" but not cower in fear of dealing with too many colored people on TV, she's got that kind of "ethnic" thing going for her, etc.), she is pretty great in-ring, her crazy-chick gimmick has given way to a bit of a "Pipe Bombshell" gimmick, and, to me, she's damned passionate about "the biz." Oh, and there's always this...
Now, that whole "AJ as GM" angle, I think we can all agree that it kind of sucked. But, the fact that she was given the chance to be placed into the forefront speaks on how highly The E holds the diminutive Diva. Plus, if you think about it, without AJ Lee, there may not be any Daniel Bryan vying for the WWE Championship all Stone Cold-style. No, no, no--hear me out. Daniel Bryan was/is popular in his own right (the "Yes!" chants were deafening, and still are). But, some of the things that allowed Bryan to become such a fan favorite, mainly Team Hell No, were voiced from the lips of AJ.
Casual fans and/or the "It's Still Real to Me, Dammit" fans saw AJ going after Daniel as a payback for him screwing her over/treating her like crap. So, seeing Kane pummel him was sweet revenge. As Kane and Bryan eventually started to hash out their animosities, they realized that they could work well--and Bryan could be less of an a-hole. Team Hell No forms, wins the Tag Titles, and allows Daniel Bryan to be put over even more. Without this surge in popularity, partly due to the role Big Bad AJ played (mostly due to creative), Daniel Bryan getting over to the point he is now may have been slightly improbable. What I mean by that is that while it was creative's doing (and the fact that Bryan's improved a lot on the mic, etc.), they needed a face to make the story pop/make it seem more believable. Given their history, AJ was that person. I'm not saying that AJ made Daniel Bryan. I'm not that crazy.
So, let's see. She can wrestle. She's hot. She's helped in getting Daniel Bryan over as a Face and as a Heel. She has ESPN-quality appeal. She (potentially) also digs black dudes. Oh, and if you're keeping score with the dirt sheets (and/or Konnan), she's dating CM Punk.
So, all you Punk marks/superfans/shippers can go all ballistic with joy while us Joe Normals go back to hating ourselves for not being able to hit it first, or second, or...well, you know.
This, along with his potential (kayfabe-influenced) fight with The Green Ranger, makes him one of my favorite people of this past week. And, Punk or not, like Konnan said, they're (potentially) both single adults, if it's true. Unless you're some 10-year-old who still thinks that eating your vegetables will make you a Hulkster and/or allows you to rise above hate, who give a flying shit? Doesn't change what she's been allowed to do in the ring. Doesn't change that she's probably still a kickass humanitarian. And it doesn't change that I'd still hit that until the fucking brakes fell off.