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Wrestling / A.J. Lee

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Here comes the crazy chick.

"I'm a monster. I wear a mask. My only source of pleasure is eviscerating people...and even I find you mentally unstable."
Kane to AJ Lee, WWE Raw, June 25, 2012

April Jeanette Mendeznote  (born March 19, 1987) is an American author and screenwriter, former professional wrestler, and current executive producer of the Women of Wrestling (WOW) promotion. She is best known for her time in WWE, where she went by the ring name AJ Leenote .

Mendez enrolled in a wrestling school in March 2007, where she trained for six months before her first official match, learning under people including Mo Sexton, Azrieal and Jay Lethal. In the following years, she performed for several Northeast-based independent promotions including Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) as Miss April. In WSU, she was part of the AC Express alongside Brooke Carter, and the duo held the WSU Tag Team Titles once.

In May 2009, Mendez signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental promotion, using the ring name AJ Lee. In FCW, she was Queen of FCW and FCW Divas Champion, and was the first person to have held both titles. In 2010, she was part of the third season of NXT, having dropped her last name. She became part of WWE's SmackDown brand in May 2011, forming a Tag Team with Kaitlyn known as The ChickBusters.

A self-professed nerd and tomboy, WWE adapted AJ's love of comics and video games to her on-screen character, endorsing her as different from the typical women in the company and promoting her as the "Geek Goddess". She became justly famous among wrestling buffs for defying the usual stereotypes of how WWE's Divas were supposed to behave, and she was named the "Diva of the Year" in the annual Slammy Awards twice (2012 and 2014).

Throughout most of 2012, while still a face, AJ portrayed a mentally unstable female character, the likes of which had not been seen in WWE since Mickie James in 2006. She also served as the Kayfabe General Manager of Monday Night RAW. She later became Divas Champion in June 2013 and lost the title to Paige in April 2014, leaving her as the longest-reigning Divas Champion in history at 295 days. After a three-month break, she returned on June 30, 2014 and recaptured the Divas title by defeating Paige. After that, she lost it to Paige at SummerSlam, regained it at Night of Champions, and lost it to Nikki Bella at Survivor Series, making her a three-time champion.

After spending the end of 2014 and the start of 2015 healing from a neck injury, AJ made news in February of the latter year for openly criticizing WWE's treatment of its female wrestlers, stating that they received significantly less pay and screentime than male wrestlers even with record-selling merch and top-rated segments. This led to the viral hashtag #GiveDivasAChance and direct acknowledgement from both Vince and Stephanie McMahon. AJ then returned in March 2015, eventually allying with Paige against the Bella Twins and defeating them at WrestleMania 31. Shortly after on April 3, the official WWE Twitter account announced AJ's retirement from in-ring performance.

Post-WWE, Mendez dabbled in acting, appearing in a bizarre short film advertisement for Madden NFL 2016 titled Madden: The Movie. She was also portrayed by wrestler/actress Thea Trinidad in the film Fighting with My Family, a Bio Pic of Paige.

Currently, Mendez is most known as an advocate for mental health awareness and animal welfare, as well as an accomplished writer. She released a memoir in 2017 titled Crazy Is My Superpower that went on to become a New York Times bestseller; the book covers her life from her turbulent youth to her time in WWE, shedding light on topics including her specific reasons for leaving WWEnote  and her lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. She also found a writing partner in actress Aimee Garcia, with whom she has written two comic series based on GLOW (2017) and Dungeons & Dragons, started a production company titled Scrappy Heart Productions, and was selected to co-write Blade of the 47 Ronin, the 2022 sequel to 47 Ronin. On her own, she has also written a Wonder Woman comic and made the Black List's inaugural Latinx TV List with one of her scripts.

After six years away from the wrestling industry, Mendez joined the Women of Wrestling (WOW) promotion as an executive producer in October 2021, where she provides color commentary. She further revealed in an interview the same month that she has "physically, mentally [and] emotionally" healed from her time in wrestling, and theoretically could return to the ring. However, she also stated that she is in no rush to do so, as she is comfortable with having the next generation of wrestlers take the reins.

She married CM Punk in real life in June 2014.

Not to be confused with AJ Styles.

"Geek Goddess Tropes":

  • Aborted Arc: After she became Queen of FCW, she was pinned by Penny Cash in a mixed tag match. But nothing came of it because Penny Cash was released before the episode had even aired.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: To CM Punk in-universe - not so much because she's unattractive (she clearly isn't) but because she's... well, a bit off her rocker. At the height of her insanity, she even made Kane uncomfortable. Amusingly though, she would eventually go on to marry CM Punk in real life.
  • Actor Allusion: Her part in Madden: The Movie involves her pulling a Face–Heel Turn, leaving her boyfriend for his evil rival, which hearkens back to 2012.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Oh, boy. Where do we begin...
    • To Dolph Ziggler (when he was a heel) and Primo.
    • Dear Lord, the whole AJ/Punk/Bryan/Kane love... thing. She started out with Daniel Bryan who was a face in the beginning of their relationship, then he turned heel, dumped her right after his WrestleMania loss, and even after that she still wanted him. Somewhere along the line she lost her damn mind and turned her attention to both CM Punk, and Kane. Kane turned her down, cause he thought she was crazier then he was, as well as Punk, who only ended up in the middle of it all when he said he digged crazy chicks. Daniel Bryan asked her to marry him. Twice, first so he could win the WWE Championship, then seemingly for real after he lost the match. AJ left him at the altar after getting a position as the RAW GM, and only went through with the wedding in the first place to get back at Bryan.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: It'd be very, very hard to find a Diva who likes her now... besides Tamina Snuka, whom AJ recruited because of this trope — she went for the only Diva who was shunned and disliked as much as her. And Tamina being ostracized was an Informed Attribute, prior to her pairing with AJ.
  • All Women Love Shoes: As evidenced by this clip. Unlike most ladies of this trope, though, she's a sneaker girl, with a massive collection of Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars in knee high, ankle high, and low-cut oxfords.
  • Amazonian Beauty: She has some pretty impressive abs for a woman. Or for anyone of her size, for that matter.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • One way to interpret this quote;
    AJ: Do you not like aggressive women?! Cause I do!
    AJ: (Tamina) knows where her bread is buttered. And I mean that quite literally, because I make a mean breakfast.
    JBL: You cook her breakfast?
    AJ: We're partners! ... partners in crime, is what I was saying.
    • And of course this tweet.
    @WWEAJLee: When Boss Lady talked about finding love then moved in close to my face, I thought that entry in my dream journal was about to come true.
  • Animal Motifs: The Black Widow spider.
  • Appropriated Appellation: In this video, she said that she named her finishing move the 'Black Widow' because people were calling her that in real life as an insult, so she took the insult and turned it on them.
  • Arch-Enemy:
  • The Artifact: She's was often referred to as 'crazy' by rivals and announcers even though the raving mad Yandere aspect of her character had all but disappeared. To be fair, looking at what she's done in the past, who can blame them?
  • Attention Whore: During a promo about the Kane/CM Punk triangle. "I like it when men look at me." *grabs the interviewer's tie and pulls him closer* "Look at me."
  • Ax-Crazy: If you piss her off, God help you...
  • Badass Adorable: Definitely during the initial years of her career.
  • Badass Boast: "At WrestleMania, it's gonna be me against the world... but that's just how I like it."
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: When she was GM.
  • Berserk Button: She's got a few.
    • AJ does not like being ignored. After Punk had been on the phone with his sister (a sister who is a recovering drug addict and toward whom Punk feels very protective, let's not forget) during AJ's match, she didn't take that well. So when Bryan and Punk didn't pay her any attention during their match when she came skipping, she pulled out a a table and threatened to jump through. That got their attention, and they both tried stopping her. Punk climbed the turnbuckle and tried to reason with her. She then proceeded to kiss him and then pushed him off, sending him and Bryan crashing through the table.
    • Or hearing the word "crazy". No one even has to call her it directly. During her GM days, if she merely happened to hear the word in earshot, she'd put the person who said it through some sort of punishment. This trait stuck over the years.
    • On the June 10, 2013 episode of WWE RAW, Big E Langston was revealed to be Kaitlyn's secret admirer, only to end up being a ruse by AJ when she accused Kaitlyn of taking away the spotlight. Then all hell broke loose.
    • DANIEL BRYAN. Just saying his name is enough to set her off- at one point Kaitlyn was genuinely trying to mend their friendship, and everything was going fine until Kaitlyn said Bryan's name... and AJ slapped her and walked off.
    • "After Dolph Ziggler, you should be used to things lasting only eighteen seconds."
  • Blatant Lies: At one point, she's told Punk, "I am in full control of my mental faculties at all times." Usually, crazy people can't comprehend that they're crazy, but...
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Again: she's had a few.
    • Before their match at No Way Out, AJ made the rounds to CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Kane, wishing each man good luck and giving them a peck on the cheek. Kane held her back, and returned the favor for The Big Damn Kiss she had planted on him on the previous RAW, before leaving without a word. She would then some weeks later on Smackdown, give two big damn kisses to Bryan and Punk. Later gives one to Cena. She would win a Slammy for Best Kiss with the latter…although she also placed second, third and fourth. Yes, we just chronicled every contender for Best Kiss that year.
    • Then came repeatedly getting into it with Dolph Ziggler.
    • Prior to all of them, AJ won the NXT Kissing Contest by planting a huge one on Cody Rhodes (who was in his "Dashing" phase), knocking them both down to the ground.
  • Boisterous Weakling: While she's more than capable of defending herself in the ring - she wouldn't have become Divas' Champion if that were not so - AJ is in fact the smallest by far of all the Divas. Despite this, she can't seem to avoid antagonizing everyone in the Divas' locker room, particularly the herculean Kaitlyn, and as a result often gets her ass handed to her in non-match situations. On at least two occasions she's been knocked unconscious, requiring either Big E. Langston or Tamina Snuka to carry her fireman-style out of the arena. (It's possible that AJ lets herself get beaten up outside the ring as part of an ongoing Wounded Gazelle Gambit, but when you're the Divas' Champion that's obviously a difficult facade to keep up.)
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Occasionally used Daniel Bryan's 'Yes! Yes! Yes!' to celebrate her own victories.
  • Breaking Speech: Gave one hell of one to Kaitlyn after she reveals herself as the mastermind behind the secret admirer hoax.
  • Bridal Carry: Kane did this with AJ twice (once at No Way Out 2012, when Punk accidentally pushed him into her and she fell, and once after she got in a fight with Vickie Guerrero and got hurt, though it didn't end well). Tamina has taken over this role, though usually it means she just hoists AJ over her shoulder and carries her away after a loss.
  • Broken Bird: After Daniel Bryan broke her heart, she snapped and became the crazy psychopath everyone remembers her for being.
  • The Bus Came Back: Disappeared after NXT was over but resurfaced in May of 2011 as Natalya's new protege.
  • Butt-Monkey: She was mostly used to make Beth Phoenix and Natalya look strong before she became popular.
  • Canon Name: AJ was for a long time only referred to by her first name on WWE TV, but fans still called her AJ Lee, which she used in FCW. She was then finally referred to as AJ Lee during her wedding to Daniel Bryan. And it stuck in-universe after she became the RAW GM. (Which was at the wedding.)
  • Catfight: Has had several with Vickie Guerrero and Kaitlyn.
  • Characterization Marches On: The "Geek Goddess"/Girl Next Door parts of her personality have been all but forgotten in favor of her somewhat needy Yandere tendencies. Unless you follow her on Twitter, in which it's more of Geek than Yandere. And when she was with Dolph Ziggler, she seemed a bit more like her 'lovestruck schoolgirl' character that she was wearing at the beginning of her relationship with Daniel Bryan.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Something Bryan, Punk and Cena can attest to.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • AJ is either this or Obfuscating Insanity. When she was tagged in by accident in a match and had to face Kanenote , she proceeded to skip around him, then jumped into his arms and gave him one hell of a kiss. This befuddled Kane so much he tagged Bryan in and left the match entirely! That's right, KANE, a guy who had to join The Corporation to avoid being sent to a mental institution back in late 1998, considered her too crazy even by HIS standards.
      • A week later, during a tag match between Punk and Sheamus vs Kane and Bryan, she skips down to the ring wearing a Kane outfit, complete with a mask, skips a lap around the ring, and skips back up the stage. Kane is so confused by this he gets down off the apron, abandoning Bryan (who was the legal man at the time) to follow her up the ring, the look on his face simply saying "What the hell was that?"
      • He later actually rejected her advances on the grounds that she is too crazy for him!
        Kane: I'm a monster. I wear a mask. My only source of pleasure is eviscerating people. And even I find you... mentally unstable.
      • The look on her face, after being told that she was too much of a nutcase for WWE's resident masked psycho freak, is enough to make one actually feel bad for her.
    • She has yet another aloof moment during a tag team match on an episode of RAW, where everyone else was participating in the match except her. Where exactly was she? At ringside, skipping along.
      • She would eventually insert herself into the match only to be rolled up moments later. After AJ looks dumbfounded, wondering what just happened, she just shrugs it off, takes her Divas Championship and skips all the way back to the locker room.
  • Companion Cube: Became dangerously obsessed with her title, even referring to the belt as 'her' once and talking to it. She compared it to a boyfriend when doing commentary on Paige vs. Brie.
  • Continuity Nod: A couple of her moves are borrowed from former on-screen boyfriends.
    • Does the spinning side kick to the midsection that CM Punk loves to do.
    • Started using a guillotine as an occasional submission move like Daniel Bryan.
    • Sometimes does the Stinger Splash into a Neckbreaker combo that Dolph Ziggler has as one of his signature moves.
  • Contortionist: Her talent for NXT Season 3's contest was to demonstrate her flexibility, which Matt Striker has also commented on during her matches, pointing out which stretches probably would not work on her.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: She may be tiny, but when you're as psychotic as AJ, there is no such thing as being in a fight stacked against you. Kane can attest to that.
  • Cute and Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: AJ lost her mind after Daniel Bryan broke up with her. It's been over a year and she still hasn't regained her sanity, despite having long since moved on from Bryan.
  • Cute Bruiser
  • Dare to Be Badass: Her twitter follow up to her reason you suck speech to the Diva's division?
    AJ: Prove me wrong.
  • Deadpan Snarker: AJ has a very good, if not extremely dry, sense of humor. Pretty much explains why she gets along well with CM Punk both in kayfabe and in real life (they're married as of 2014).
    • On 2014's Halloween episode of Friday Night SmackDown, she showed up to do commentary wearing blue jeans and a white tank top that read "BOO" in generic black letters.
      AJ: ... I'm a ghost.
    • During the match on which she was providing commentary (a Divas Battle Royal), resident jobber Rosa Mendes was eliminated first, in quick fashion:
      AJ: [deadpan] Welp, there goes my pick. I need another one.
  • Dem Bones: She has them on her ring gear.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: While the PG rating has prevented them from being explicit about AJ's relationships, it's more or less implied that she has slept with Daniel Bryan, and that she hasn't slept with CM Punk. He later said through obvious metaphors that she'd slept with him, though how truthful he was being is still up for debate. But with Kane... it was a little more ambiguous. Then there was the question of if she did or didn't with John Cena, but in a promo after she sided with Ziggler, she pretty much stated that nothing aside from kissing happened between the two. As for Ziggler, the answer is probably yes, given said PG rating.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Vickie Guerrero decided that she was offended by some comments AJ made about her, so she decided to make AJ compete in a title match at Wrestlemania... against all the other Divas. At the same time.
    • Paige comes out to congratulate AJ for winning against the other Divas. AJ's response is to flatly say that she doesn't want Paige's congratulations, tells her to go back to NXT, and after Paige tries to gracefully refuse AJ's wanting an impromptu match, AJ slaps her and taunts her and basically forces her into the match. It does backfire in AJ's face when Paige wins the match and the Divas Championship.
  • Distaff Counterpart: To CM Punk (it's become kind of hilarious after they got together in real life, then got engaged and are now married). Commonalities include:
    • Being promoted fans that plied their craft in the indies.
    • Lacking prototypical size for a WWE wrestler. Even AJ in terms of the Womens division is far more petite in both overall size and her bust compared to other female wrestlers.
    • Shot to the top of their respective parts of the company around the time of a blistering Worked Shoot promo that was supposed to be heelish in nature but got them over with the fans.
    • Spending a good amount of time in a gimmick of having mental issues (Punk, too... remember the Straight Edge Society?)
    • Became known for an Animal Motif submission finisher (AJ with the Black Widow, Punk with the Anaconda Vise)
    • Having a finisher of Japanese origin that involved striking an opponent with a knee (AJ initially used a Shining Wizard and Punk had the GTS, having also used the Shining Wizard himself earlier)
    • Being credited with the longest reign with their respective title in the modern era. Punk, of course, with his 434-day WWE Title reign, and AJ, who in January 2014, passed Maryse for the longest reign with the Divas' Championship.
    • They both also have had a shirt designed in the form of ribs. Punk had this one and AJ got this one
    • In her last promo before losing the title to a debuting Paige, the Post-Wrestlemania New Orleans crowd lampshaded this similarity by starting up a chant for Punk.
    • They even use the same snarky and condescending tone while insulting their opponents.
    • Both ended their WWE careers very abruptly, the week after major PPVs, with little to no notice.
    • Both took a 10 week-ish hiatus around a year before their departure. (Ironically, AJ's was to plan their wedding, which happened the day Punk received his termination papers.)
  • The Dog Bites Back: Oh, boy. She does this a lot, but given how crazy she is, her reasoning has ranged from 'you were toying with my heart' (John Cena, who she pushed off a ladder, leading to him losing Money In The Bank), to 'you missed my match for a phone call' (CM Punk, who she pushed off the apron and through a table).
  • Evil All Along: As Trish, the girlfriend in Madden: The Movie.
  • Evil Costume Switch: As a face and psycho Tweener, her ring gear was typically a plaid sports bra and shorts. After her heel turn, her ring gear became denim hot pants and a shredded t-shirt - also favouring her hair in Girlish Pigtails more often.
  • Finishing Move: In the few matches she participated in and won early in her career, it was a variation of the Shining Wizard. From NXT onward it was a Christo, then after the diva's championship it was an Octopus hold set up in a manner akin to a Christo that she calls the "Black Widow."
  • First-Name Basis: WWE fans refer to "Lee" about as often as they say "Marella."
  • For Want of a Nail: HOLY CRAP, her decision to hire Brad Maddox as a referee during her GM tenure seemed so insignificant at the time. Until you think about how things could have gone company-wide if Maddox wasn't hired.
    • With no Maddox nut-punch to Ryback, Ryback becomes the WWE Champion in October 2012, ending CM Punk's title reign three months early and taking a huge bite out of his career bragging rights by cutting him off at 343 consecutive days, not 434. It's also possible that with no title to defend, Paul Heyman never makes the call to a certain trio of black-clad vigilantes, drastically altering their story arc as well. And given Ryback's Badass Decay only happened after his issues with the Shield, who knows how long Ryback would have held the title…which might have done some serious card-scrambling at the Royal Rumble, where we could have had a returning Rock against Ryback or someone else entirely as opposed to Punk.
    • As for Maddox himself, he stays in NXT, doesn't get noticed by the McMahons, and doesn't become A.J. Lee's successor as GM. note 
    • One must wonder what would have happened to the careers of herself and Daniel Bryan if not for the infamous 18-second Wrestlemania XXVIII loss to Sheamus. One could argue that this one sequence was the difference between each of those two being in the strong Ensemble Dark Horse category to gathering the momentum to being the most popular Superstar and Diva in the company respectively.
  • Fragile Speedster: The AC Express were best at avoiding or countering moves. Damage sponging wasn't an ideal strategy for April or Carter.
  • Friendly Enemies: With Paige.
  • Genki Girl: Super hyper. Usually.
  • Genre Blindness: A rather glaring one with her violent attempts to break up the Divas' #1 contender matches for her title. Given the fact that her Real Life status as a Promoted Fangirl is part of her gimmick, you'd think that she would know that eventually she'd get herself into a situation where she had to defend her title against all her rivals at once.
    • She also didn't realise Paige was baiting her into putting her title on the line on the Raw after Wrestlemania and that her spiel about wanting to congratulate her and not being ready was entirely an act.
  • Girl Next Door: How she describes herself. Also how most of the other characters in the WWE describe her since she's a very atypical diva in terms of physique. That said, considering her looks, it's more of a Hollywood Homely sort of vibe.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Wears them occasionally.
  • Glass Cannon: Psycho!AJ will beat. Your. Ass. But she just can't take a hit; Vickie Guerrero, of all people, fended off a rather vicious beating from her by kicking her into the apron, though to be fair, it was a fairly hard bump.
  • Good Bad Girl /Slut-Shaming: Depends if she's a face or a heel.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The commentators repeatedly said that AJ was this to the cast of Total Divas because she wasn't invited to be on the show and thus wasn't getting as much attention, but they were laughably wrong: AJ's reasons for disliking the show have nothing to do with jealousy and more to do with the fact that in her eyes, the entire show is just a ploy by the cast to disguise the fact that they're terrible, talentless wrestlers who are doing nothing for the division while she is doing everything for it (see her "The Reason You Suck" Speech for more). The commentators, however, failed to acknowledge this and kept talking about it as if it's impossible that AJ could dislike the show for a reason other than 'I wasn't invited to be on it, so it sucks and so does its cast'.
  • Hates Being Touched: Due to a bad experience, she does not like for fans to touch her.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: After being dumped by Daniel Bryan, she had a mental breakdown, and it was hard to pinpoint her status, as it would seem she would switch in the same scene depending on her mood. After TLC 2012 she'd settled on heel.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffered one after Daniel Bryan told her that he wished she'd never been born. She then had a match against Natalya, who after a minute began to question if the match should continue, since AJ was just standing there, seemingly blind and deaf to the world. AJ then beat the living hell out of Natalya, and the ref had to stop the match.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Kaitlyn, in real life and in pre-Mad Love storylines. Since AJ's descent into insanity, their characters cannot stand each other. After Kaitlyn returned to action, they might have come back together as friends.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Yeah, as it turned out, maybe challenging the new NXT champion to an impromptu match for her title wasn't the best move on AJ's part. Keep in mind that Paige had only come out to congratulate her and AJ was the one insisting on the match.
  • Hope Spot: After AJ's borderline squash against Kaitlyn, Daniel Bryan came out and appeared to be reconsidering. He then said he was looking forward to moving on... to Kaitlyn. AJ wasn't pleased, to say the least.
    • After "accidentally" costing Dolph his World Title rematch at MITB, AJ was relieved that he seemed to want to move on. Only thing was, he was ready to move on... from her. To say she was devastated would be an understatement.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: When she and Kane were involved. With AJ standing in at 5'3", and one of the shortest divas on the roster, Kane towers over her (and just about everyone else) at a hair under 7'. Of course, given how tiny she is, this basically applies to her and every guy she dates.
    • Less in a relationship sense and more in a Those Two Guys sense, she and Big E. Langston as Dolph's cronies. She is the most petite Diva by a wide margin, he's a powerlifter who's 285 pounds, meaning he's very close to being literally three times her size.
  • Hypocrite: She rose to prominence in WWE by manipulating three men at once. Given that she's the heel, it's probably intentional.
  • Identical Stranger: Had a darker hair color a few years ago, and she said that people sometimes mistook her for Miranda Cosgrove.
    • And now Aimee Garcia from Dexter. Was actually lampshaded by both women on Twitter.
  • Joisey: Born in Union City, New Jersey, and grew up in Hudson County (where Union City's located at).
  • Kick the Dog: She was the dog when she was dating Daniel Bryan, who kicked her mercilessly. Of course, it didn't exactly go well for him.
    • Her match with Bayley was brutal, and she even mocked Bayley for being a Cuddlebug.
  • Kicked Upstairs: AJ becoming the GM of RAW could be seen as this - especially since she was probably one of the better female wrestlers on the roster. That said, though, the entire Divas' division has been Demoted to Extra lately, so it may have been the best way to keep AJ in the limelight. She was then kicked downstairs again after her "affair" with John Cena was "revealed" by Vickie Guerrero and she's competing as a regular Diva again.
  • Large Ham: Can slip into this, especially in her Cute and Psycho phase.
  • Laughing Mad: Descended into this here, after nearly being carried off by Kane and then watching Kane lay out both her ex, Daniel Bryan, and her crush/stalking victim, CM Punk. Also when Kane decided that she was too crazy for him and told her they wouldn't work out.
  • Lonely at the Top: On the one hand, she lost her best friend after a bitter feud, none of the other Divas like her, and every guy she's ever dated thinks she's a complete nutjob and doesn't want to go anywhere near her. On the other hand, she doesn't seem to give a fuck.
  • Lovely Angels: She and Kaitlyn came off as this.
  • Love Confession:
  • Love Hurts: Yeah, that's putting it lightly.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Oh dear God. If she's not the best example in Professional Wrestling, she comes damned close to it. Hell, she's basically the poster child for this trope.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Towards Daniel Bryan. She confessed her love to him, his best response in return was that he appreciated it. He blatantly used her as a means to hold on to his title. When Michael Cole was interviewing her and started verbally attacking her, he only came out to put a stop to it when his name was mentioned.
  • Mad Love: Dear God.
  • Man Bites Man: She once repeatedly bit Natalya in a tag team match.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A generous interpretation of her character at her best.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: This is why AJ turned on Cena and sided with Ziggler, because in her mind, he'd been toying with her.
    • It's also why she pushed Bryan and Punk through a table- because they were ignoring her.
  • Mood-Swinger
  • Named After Somebody Famous: She got her Lee surname from prolific voice actress Wendee Lee.
  • Nice Job Breaking/Fixing It... Anti-Villain?/Gone Horribly Right: Wherever AJ fell on the alignment spectrum right after she ended up GM, she made it her personal mission to torment all of her ex-love interests. The eventual result? A pairing that dominated the airwaves and WWE's Tag Team division for the better part of a year.
    • Another decision AJ made with big-time companywide implications was her call to hire extra referees to RAW to help with the workload when the broadcast went to three hours. One of these refs was Brad Maddox... who eventually became her successor.
    • A straight 'Fixing It Villain' example with her promo on the Total Divas cast. Beforehand, it had been Natalya, the Funkadactyls and Jojo against the Bellas and Eva Marie (the latter three as Heels). Afterwards this turned Eva and the Bellas face and united all seven of them against AJ.
    • Her running roughshod over the entirety of the Divas division in late 2013-early 2014 may have, on a storyline level, prompted WWE to challenge her with an opponent she hadn't seen before, especially when she started bragging that no one on the roster could beat her.. Cue Paige.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ended up on the receiving end of one from Natalya that started with Natalya giving her the sharpshooter and forcing her to tap out, and then became Natalya beating her senseless while she was in pain and barely able to move.
  • No-Sell: A now famous Real Life example happened one night during RAW when she and Dolph Ziggler were following Big E Langston down to the ring for one of his first WWE singles matches. During the entrance, Langston (who, keep in mind, is 285 pounds of muscle and, as such, obscenely strong) stretches out his arms and inadvertently punches AJ directly on her boobs. She noted on Twitter that thanks to her bra, she didn't feel much of it.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: During the earliest parts of her push, the mental issues seemed to be very legitimate. After she became Divas' champion, she's still not quite all there, but also plays her reputation up at times to come off as much less sane than she actually is.
  • Official Couple: Several.
    • With Hornswoggle for a while they were part of WWE NXT.
    • With Daniel Bryan, but after his loss at WrestleMania, they broke up.
    • With Dolph Ziggler, until she cost him his rematch for the World Heavyweight Title, and he broke up with her.
    • Since her Real Life marriage to CM Punk, WWE seems to have dropped the gimmick of her dating so many on the roster and focused on her just being a competitor for the Divas Championship.
  • Old Flame: Notably, out of everyone involved in the complex love dodecahedron that took up most of 2012, Kane of all people is the only ex AJ seems to regard with fondness. To be fair, he broke things off with her before they got out of hand, and in as gentle a way as possible, given the circumstances, which appears to have spared him her wrath.
  • Older Than They Look: AJ's 27, but she tends to look more often than not like a teenager on screen (when she debuted on NXT, her pro Primo first thought she was 16), especially lined up with most of the males. A large part of this is because of her petite frame and the fact that unlike a lot of other female wrestlers, she doesn't have breast implants. Hell, even Daniel Bryan absolutely dwarfs her, and he's on the small side of the wrestler spectrum. One has to believe that WWE was playing off this a bit. It's worth mentioning that Daniel Bryan's Beard of Evil keeps getting longer and wilder, which started during their relationship and continues even now, making his and AJ's relationship resemble a lovestruck schoolgirl that's fallen head over heels for a full-grown lumberjack.
  • One-Steve Limit: It would have happened had AJ stayed on the roster for one more year, with the debut of AJ Styles.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Generally how her partners/managers would help her to the back after a loss.
  • Passive Rescue:
    • During a match where CM Punk faced Daniel Bryan, AJ 'accompanied' Punk to ringside. ('Accompanied' meaning 'stalked' in this case.) As much as it cloyed Punk to have her out there (and her distraction unintentionally cost Punk the match, to boot), he was probably thankful for it when Kane showed up on a rampage. The Context  Kane was carrying a steel chair and quickly broke it in on Daniel Bryan's back before chokeslamming him on top of said chair. He went to turn his attention to Punk, but AJ had already slipped Punk a chair of his own while Kane's back was turned, enabling Punk to beat back Kane and not get chokeslammed.
    • And again at No Way Out, where during the triple threat title match, she runs down to the ring and leaps on the apron just in time for Kane to slam into her after Punk whipped him to the ropes. Kane's concern for her opened a momentary distraction, allowing Punk to hit the Go To Sleep for the win. When Kane cradled her and took her to the back for medical attention, she cast a grin over his shoulder down at Punk, though it's unclear whether or not Punk was even aware of her actions.
  • Petite Pride: Mentioned quite a few times that she isn't the bustiest in the world, but she's proud of being different.
  • Playing Possum: How she became the number one contender for Kaitlyn's title match. During a Battle Royale to determine said number one contender, AJ had been superkicked by Tamina, and spent most of the match lying on the floor, supposedly unconscious. Layla thought she had won, until a ref pointed out that to win, she had to get every other contender out of the ring. Layla then slowly dragged AJ over the ropes, note  but when she nearly had AJ over them, AJ suddenly pulled away and kicked her out of the ring.
  • Poke the Poodle: Rosa Mendes and Tamina mocked AJ by giving her a box of cheese, calling her a "mousy loser".
  • Popularity Power:
    • Was AJ a face or a heel at the moment? To be honest, she probably falls somewhere outside of the classical spectrum. But she does such an excellent job playing her role that the audience seems to love her even more for it.
    • Settled on heel and became the most stable she's been since dating Bryan when she turned on Cena for Dolph Ziggler at TLC'12.
    • And now it appears she's a Face again to coincide with Paige's Face–Heel Turn. She may turn back, but it's pretty clear, given her similar attitude to and Real Life relationship with the now-departed CM Punk, that a large majority of wrestling fans will always side with her no matter what she does.
  • Power Stable:
  • Pride Before a Fall: To the point that it's cringe-worthy, in this video.
  • Proud to Be the Geek Goddess: Oh, is she ever.
  • Psychotic Smirk: AJ has the most innocent, adorable psycho smirk you have ever seen in your life.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Seeing her sad is just absolutely painful. AJ's puppy-dog eyes have even stopped Kane in his tracks. Yes, the same man who assaulted a priest and electrocuted a guy's nuts.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: She became the Divas Champion, but in the process, she lost her best friend and pushed aside pretty much every other Diva. It's subverted in that she honestly doesn't seem to care, even though all the other Divas hate her.
  • Put on a Bus: During 2014 she disappeared from TV twice for months at a time.
  • Rags to Riches: Grew up poor and homeless, living with her family at friends' houses and motels. Look at where she's at now (December 4, 2013).
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses:
    • Really invoked during her pipebombshell promo to the Total Divas cast. Especially the line about no matter how many designer shoes they owned and how many red carpets they strolled up, they weren't "fit to lace up my Chuck Taylors".
    • And again when she teamed up with Paige to face the Bella Twins. She and Paige claimed the Bellas weren't "real women".
  • Really Gets Around: In her short time with WWE, she's been involved in romance arcs or Ship Tease situations with Primo, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kane (these last three all simultaneously at one point), John Cena and Dolph Ziggler.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure/Corrupt Corporate Executive: AJ as the GM of Raw, it all depended on her mood on where she stood.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: On the 8/26/2013 episode of RAW, she delivered an epic one to the entire Diva's roster.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: She was eliminated from NXT, with Kaitlyn winning instead. Kaitlyn's career post-NXT is hardly something to overlook - hell, she was Divas Champion - but AJ is far ahead of her because her reign was much longer and has had three reigns to Kaitlyn's one; plus her numerous high-profile 2012-13 angles with Bryan, Punk, Kane, Cena, and Ziggler and Raw GM stint put her further in the spotlight than any other Diva in years.
  • Sadist: She's shown a few signs of it, usually pertaining to her ex-boyfriends. For example, take Daniel Bryan's match against CM Punk at Money In The Bank 2012- AJ is the referee, but after she gets injured, leaves for a few minutes and returns, she starts actively interfering in the match, and at points she's watching them fight and hurt each other with a huge smile on her face. She also seemed to really like beating the shit out of Eva Marie.
  • Sanity Slippage: AJ's sanity started becoming a more distant memory with each passing week after getting dumped by Daniel Bryan in 2012. By now it's pretty much long gone. To quote Kaitlyn, "The wheel is spinning, but the hamster's dead."
  • Screaming Woman: When things don't go the way she wants them to, she screeches up a storm. In fact, she even climbed to the top of a cage in a steel cage match to scream.
  • Selective Memory: A lot what she says during her "Total Diva feud". Apparently they had been slacking off, getting nothing done for years until AJ Lee came along as a serious wrestler. In actuality, AJ only became known for being a "serious" wrestler not long before this feud. Prior to it her time on the main roster was defined mostly by dates and a stint as GM (as in, off the active roster) and she had been on main programing longer than half the show's cast. It almost looks like Three Month Rule since no one ever corrects anything she says (especially when you consider her and Kaitlyn were the first targets of Natalya's Divas of Doom team, whose primary concerns were the women they perceived not to be serious wrestlers).
  • Sexually Transmitted Superpowers: Referenced during her feud with The Bella Twins when she told them that "talent is not sexually transmitted". For context, Brie's couple is Daniel Bryan, and Nikki's at the time was John Cena.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: AJ might claim to not look like a supermodel but she looks damn fine whenever she puts on a dress.
  • Ship Tease: On NXT, with her pro Primo, then with Cody Rhodes during a kissing contest, then with Hornswoggle during Redemption. Sometimes with Kaitlyn in a bit of Les Yay. She later had this with Daniel Bryan on the main shows; though it did turn into a relationship, it eventually went to hell. Then there's the Punk/Bryan/Kane feud for the WWE Championship, where AJ was teased with all three of them, but most strongly with Punk (who didn't seem particularly interested) and Kane (where it was implied that AJ was manipulating him). Out of the three, only Kane overtly returned her affection, but that ship, while popular, creeped enough of the fan base out (Kane is a clean twenty years older than AJ) that Kane was pulled, more or less dumping AJ after deciding that she was too crazy for him. AJ would later have a ship tease with none other than John Cena. She's now all over Dolph Ziggler. And Big E. Langston's mysterious history with and loyalty to AJ (read: he attacks on her often wordless command) really makes you wonder.
    • Considering the only person AJ hasn't burned her bridges with yet as of summer 2013 is Big E, one could've presumed at that time it was coming soon. Especially when one night he was kissing her on the forehead to calm her down from one of her freakouts, the next he was rolling his eyes when she had an "I know you like me" moment and questioning her when she flipped her shit in the middle of his match. But when they lost at SummerSlam to Dolph and Kaitlyn, their alliance suddenly ended, with Langston turning face before very long.
    • On Twitter, she teased herself with Stephanie McMahon, of all people.
  • Shout-Out: On an episode of SmackDown, AJ wore red and black shorts, pigtails, and called Dolph 'Puddin' during their promo... seems appropriate given her Mad Love tendencies.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Previously, with Dolph Ziggler. For instance, during the Christmas Episode of Raw, their idea of flirting is how they cost John Cena his match in a Money In The Bank match during the TLC PPV.
  • Skip of Innocence: Only without the innocence.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: She has perhaps exerted the greatest direct influence on WWE of any Diva in history:
    • An inadvertent blow to the neck from The Big Show nearly crippled her, turned boyfriend Daniel Bryan into an overprotective and possessive jerk, and ultimately caused Bryan to lash out at Lee for nearly everything she did, including his losing the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds to Sheamus at WrestleMania, thus leading Bryan to virulently dump AJ on the following week's episode of WWE SmackDown. Daniel's cruelty apparently caused AJ's mind to snap, resulting in her behavior becoming ever more erratic and her profile on television to rise, as airtime was steadily eaten up by her bizarre antics. Indeed, AJ was transformed into such an outrageous scene stealer that Vince McMahon appointed her as General Manager of WWE Raw later that summer — much to the chagrin of Daniel Bryan, who had assumed that she had agreed to marry him in the ring when in fact she had accepted the GM position.
    • This cruel prank, in turn, caused Bryan to lose his mind, which in turn led to him having to seek psychological group therapy along with Kane... which culminated in the two of them forming a comedic tag team called Team Hell No that turned both characters face again. This marked the beginning of Daniel Bryan's true rocket to stardom in WWE, making him so popular that not only did he go on to win the WWE Championship three times, but when he was respectively excluded from and (relatively) quickly eliminated in the 2014 and 2015 Royal Rumble matches, fan disillusionment ran so deep that the WWE Universe turned virulently on the men who did win those matches: Batista and Roman Reigns. While Batista turned this situation into heel heat for what eventually led to Bryan's title win at WrestleMania 30, Reigns never regained the adoration he had during his days with The Shield, is still heavily booed despite being a face, and has had to acknowledge that fact within kayfabe.
    • Also affected by AJ-mania? Dolph Ziggler, whose popularity was heavily propelled by AJ becoming his manager in December of 2012, leading him to his first true World Heavyweight Championship reign. Also, The New Day, an enormously popular trio that might have not existed if Big E. Langston was never given the role he got in the Ziggler/Lee faction. Not to mention, the breakup and solo success of the members of The Shield, as without the formation of The Authority and the return of Evolution, which can respectively be attributed to Bryan's rise to popularity and the outcry over Batista winning the Rumble (which as previously mentioned was largely because of Bryan’s absence from the match), their arc would not have played out the same.
  • Spanner in the Works: AJ has a long history of intentionally/unintentionally winning or losing matches for other wrestlers. For example:
    • She won Money In The Bank 2012 for Ziggler by pushing Cena off the ladder, putting him in the perfect place for Ziggler to take him out.
    • She climbed up onto the apron during No Way Out's triple match between Kane, Bryan and Punk in time for Punk to accidentally push Kane into her, knocking her off. AJ wasn't hurt, but faked it well enough that Kane seemed to be worried about her, distracting him long enough for Punk to win.
    • She infamously lost Ziggler his match for the World Heavyweight Title by hitting Del Rio with her own title, which got Ziggler disqualified.
    • She hilariously won a match for Punk and Sheamus against Bryan and Kane by randomly coming out dressed as Kane, skipping around the ring and leaving without so much stopping to say hello. This confused Kane so much that he followed her up the ramp (but not out of the match), leaving Bryan vulnerable to Sheamus and Punk.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Let's Light It Up," a bouncy pop tune, at one point fit perfectly as her entrance theme, but her character development has made it become this. Which still fits perfectly with her character, considering everything about AJ these days has some sort of dissonance to it.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Her involvement in the Punk/Bryan feud was a bigger of a presence than the WWE championship.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Towards CM Punk. It didn't helped that he stated that he sorta digs crazy chicks. And towards Kane of all people, but that didn't last long. She was this to Daniel Bryan for a while.
  • Stepford Smiler
  • Student–Master Team: Before WWE, with her trainer and boyfriend at the time, Jay Lethal.
  • Sweeps Week Lesbian Kiss: At (the free, and heavily promoted) Survivor Series 2014, with Brie Bella.
  • Take That!:
  • Tempting Fate: She once talked up her status as a role model, and challenged the Divas to come out and face her if any of them thought they were as good as, or better than her. For a few seconds, there's no response... and then cue Stephanie McMahon's theme.
    • The video released the day before WrestleMania 30, where she flatly says that none of the other Divas could ever take her title. Yeah... she was kind of wrong about that.
      • The implication was that she didn't believe any of the other Divas on the current roster could take her title.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Thank the lord AJ and Kaitlyn got wins against Maxine and Tamina on NXT to keep them from jobber hell.
  • Token Trio: When she was dating Dolph Ziggler, the trio being Dolph (white), Big E Langston (Afro-Caribbean), and AJ (Puerto Rican).
  • Tomboyish Name: If you heard the name "AJ," you wouldn't expect a cute young woman to come skipping out, would you? AJ fits the trope by being notably different from the standard WWE Diva in that she is seemingly sweet and innocent but enjoys traditionally boy things like comic books and video games (she also proudly wears Chuck Taylor sneakers instead of wrestling boots, and once bragged about it in a promo), in addition to be a damn good wrestler who has been way into wrestling since childhood. AJ, of course, comes from April Jeanette.
  • Tonight in This Very Ring: She naturally started cutting these types of promos when she became General Manager of RAW.
  • Tournament Arc: Won WSU's 2009 Queen and King Of The Ring with Jay Lethal as her partner.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: AJ as the Geek Goddess was considerably sweeter and nicer than AJ after Bryan broke up with her.
  • The Voice of a Generation: Just as CM Punk, the same "pipebomb" formula was used for A.J., mixed with her Cloudcuckoolander personality, who also became popular for this, especially critizicing the Divas division (and specifically the Bella Twins) for being more Male Gaze than wrestlers.
  • Waif-Fu: At 5'2" and weighing 115 pounds with a slender, petite physique, she has made a name for herself, with agility, a spunky spirit, and determination.
  • Wham Line:
    • The 7-9-12 RAW opened with a segment that looked like A.J. being her usual crazy self and CM Punk just taking it all in stride. Then A.J. drops this bombshell:
    A.J.: Punk... will you marry me? (He refused… back then.)
    • On the 1000th episode of RAW, Vince McMahon likely found someone even crazier than he is and appointed her GM. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing mainly depended on whether your name's Daniel Bryan. Or if your name's CM Punk and you just picked a really bad time to turn heel.
  • Wild Card: Dear lord. One had to wonder which side she was on in the Punk/Kane/Bryan saga. Was she on Punk's side? Or Kane's? Or was she trying to make the both of them destroy each other? Then after Kane wisely withdrew himself from the fray, she moved on to destroy both Bryan and Punk for offending her — Bryan by suggesting a shrink for her, Punk by talking to his sister on the phone instead of being aware and watching her match that night.
  • Woman Scorned: To some degree or another, anybody who has ever ended a relationship (or even ended a hinted relationship) with AJ has been put through hell for their trouble. Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Kane (albeit to a lesser degree), John Cena, Dolph Ziggler... Basically, dumping AJ is like trying to leave the mob.
  • Vocal Dissonance: AJ's deep, throaty voice may surprise those who hear her speak for the first time.
  • Yandere: AJ had shades of it after Daniel Bryan dumped her and has now slid into it full-tilt as it being the central aspect of her character.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!:
    • After being forced to step down as GM of RAW, she found herself as an in-ring competitor again, facing off against Beth Phoenix, whom she manages to beat with a roll-up. Just as she starts to celebrate her first in-ring victory in God knows how long, Vickie Guerrero shows up and orders the ref to restart the match - at which point Beth Phoenix hits AJ from behind and plants her with the Glam Slam for the pinfall victory.
    • The name of the trope was spoken by AJ herself, on a different occasion.
    • And here's the trope on one of her twitter statuses.