American former professional wrestler AJ Lee is most known for her 2009–2010 employment with WWE. Although AJ has since left the world of professional wrestling, her natural wrestling abilities and skills continue to make her famous. Interestingly, her brother Robert was the one who gave her a passion for wrestling.
She immediately developed a passion for wrestling that was so intense and profound that she decided to pursue it as a professional career. When she was just 12 years old, she made the decision to pursue a career as a wrestler and finally enrolled in a wrestling school for fundamental training and teaching.
Formerly known as Miss April, AJ joined WWE in 2009 and spent two years in its Florida Championship Wrestling developmental program before getting promoted to the main roster. She held the Divas Championship title for a total of 406 days over her incredibly successful career.
AJ was noted for her romance storylines with wrestlers who engaged in a rivalry for the WWE World Championships, even though it was wrestling that first brought her to the spotlight. AJ ended her professional wrestling career in 2015 when she decided to retire from in-ring action.
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Who is AJ Lee?
On March 19, 1987, April Jeanette Mendez was born in Union City, New Jersey. Her father, Robert Mendez, was an automotive engineer, and her mother, Janet Acevedo, was a housewife who subsequently worked as a home health aide. She is of Puerto Rican heritage and the youngest of three kids.
Mendez spoke of the hardships her family faced growing up, including poverty, mental illness, and drug addiction. They switched apartments regularly, occasionally staying in hotels or their cars when they couldn’t afford to pay rent. She was inspired to pursue a career in professional wrestling by her brother’s enthusiasm for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
She forged her passion at age 12 after taking inspiration from WWE’s female wrestlers, particularly Lita. She earned her diploma from Memorial High School in West New York, New Jersey, in 2005. She studied film and television production while attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, but six months into her studies, familial and financial concerns forced her to leave the school.
She then began working full-time so that she could pay for her wrestling training. She donned camouflage wrestling gear on occasion as a tribute to her brother, who served in the U.S. Army.
Around the age of 20, Mendez’s mother was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which Mendez later developed herself. She had previously abused pills and antidepressants after receiving a false diagnosis of depression. She views this incident as a failed suicide attempt, which prompted her to get the right diagnosis and therapy. She believes that her situation gave her the courage to accomplish her goals.
AJ Lee’s Career
AJ Mendez enrolled in a wrestling academy in 2007. She began her training with Jay Lethal in March. In September of the same year, Mendez made her formal debut in the ring as Miss April while competing on the independent circuit in New Jersey.
In 2008, Miss April join the Women Superstars Uncensored promotion based in New Jersey (WSU). Jana defeated her in their first meeting. She joined a tag team with Brooke Carter after failing to qualify for the first WSU Tag Team Champions. They defeated the Beatdown Betties in 2009 to win the tag championships.
Miss April and Jay Lethal shared the 2009 WSU/NWS King and Queen Ring of the Tournament championship. She departed WSU in May 2009 to sign a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
She debuted in a televised match while going by the ring name April Lee after being contracted to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). She soon changed her ring name to AJ Lee, which stayed with her for a long time.
Serena Mancini was defeated by AJ in February 2010 for the Queen of FCW title. She was unable to hold onto the championship for very long, as Rosa Mendes eventually defeated her in November. She recovered to face Naomi in December and win the FCW Divas Championship. She became the first FCW female wrestler to capture both titles as a result of her triumph.
With Primo as her WWE pro, AJ was one of the six contestants in the third season of NXT in 2010. She made it through the preliminary rounds before being disqualified in November.
In 2012, AJ Lee accepted Vince McMahon’s offer to serve as the Raw general manager. Vickie Guerrero and Paul Heyman disqualified AJ from the role, so her tenure as Raw GM was complicated. Finally, on October 22, AJ gave up her position as general manager.
She triumphed in a battle royal in 2013 to go to the top of the field for Kaitlyn’s Divas Championship. After that, she prevailed over Kaitlyn to win the inaugural Divas Championship. After winning the rematch at Money in the Bank, she took part in the first-ever in-ring Divas Championship contract signing. Despite successfully defending her title, she was defeated by Ziggler and Kaitlyn in the mixed tag team match at SummerSlam.
In January 2014, AJ broke Maryse’s previous record for the longest-reigning Divas Champion. She successfully defended her title in every attempt, including the 14-woman battle at WrestleMania XXX in April, despite attempts to have it stripped from her. The Divas Championship was being fought at the WWE’s signature event for the first time.
However, AJ’s reign came to a devastating end when, after challenging Paige for the title in an unscheduled match, she lost. Her 295-day reign, which set a record, came to an end with the match. In June 2014, AJ Lee made a comeback and defeated Tamina. She even challenged Paige to an on-the-spot rematch, which Paige won to win her second Divas Championship.
She was able to successfully defend the championship at Battleground, but Paige ultimately won it in August 2014 at SummerSlam. After August 2014, there were more matches that followed. AJ won the title back, but Nikki Bella nearly stole it from her.
On March 29, 2015, AJ Lee and Paige formed an alliance to compete at WrestleMania 31 against the Bella Twins. Nikki and Brie Bella were defeated by the team, who ultimately prevailed. Five days later, on April 3, 2015, WWE revealed AJ’s decision to stop competing in the ring matches, hence this was her final match.
The pinnacle of AJ’s professional career was her record-breaking 295-day hold on the Divas Championship title. She defeated several well-known wrestlers in the title matches while holding the belt for a record-breaking 406 days altogether.
In October 2021, Mendez returned to the wrestling business after six years away, working alongside Jeanie Buss as an executive producer for the WOW – Women of Wrestling company. The biggest distribution opportunity in the history of women’s professional wrestling occurred at the same time as WOW signed a multi-year distribution deal with ViacomCBS. For their forthcoming weekly program, starting in late 2022, Mendez will also offer color commentary.
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AJ Lee’s Personal Life
In November 2011, AJ Lee and World Heavyweight Championship champion Daniel Bryan started a love story. After AJ distracted Bryan with a “good luck kiss,” he later blamed her for his loss of the title to Sheamus, causing the relationship to fall apart.
Affected by the separation, AJ shifted her attention from Bryan to CM Punk, Bryan’s foe, and the WWE Champion, and eventually to Kane, another challenger for the championship. Bryan later proposed to AJ and the two were reunited.
At the Raw 1000 wedding ceremony, AJ left Bryan at the altar to accept a position as Raw General Manager. Following this, she took part in love triangles with John Cena and then Dolph Ziggler, both of which came to abrupt ends.
Following several on-and-off relationships, AJ wed CM Punk on June 13, 2014. AJ has a strong commitment to animal welfare. She has been a representative for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals since 2015. (ASPCA).
Awards And Achievements
In 2012 and 2014, AJ Lee won the Slammy for Diva of the Year. From 2012 to 2014, she received an unprecedented three votes from “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” fans for Woman of the Year.
AJ Lee’s Net Worth
In 2022, her projected net worth is expected to be $8 million.