September 9, 2013
AJ Lee

AJ Lee in November 2012. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

AJ Lee, unlike many of her fellow female wrestlers in the WWE nowadays, made her way into the business through the independent circuit, working for several companies in the Jersey area as Miss April.

New York Daily News in 2012. She watched wrestling with her brother, and when she had enough money, she went to wrestling school instead of university, though she did major in film and TV production at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts for a time.

Her training in 2007 was under Jay Lethal, with whom she later had a romantic relationship.

The big break came in 2009, when she went to a Florida Championship Wrestling tryout camp, and was hired, debuting in FCW under the name April Lee on August 14, 2009. Her name was quickly changed to AJ Lee and after feuding with fellow future diva Naomi, became an important part of the third installment on NXT wherein she finished third and was mentored by Primo Colón.

Lee made her on-screen WWE debut alongside fellow NXT contestant and third-season winner Kaitlyn and mentored by Natalya as part of the Chickbusters on May 27, 2011 edition of Smackdown. The team was involved in a short-lived feud with Alicia Fox and Tamina Snuka before ultimately being betrayed by their aforementioned manager after a singles match between AJ and Natalya. The team would go on to feud with their former mentor as well as Beth Phoenix, more often than not in a losing effort which subsequently concluded in their inevitable split-up.

The diva went on to be involved in several storylines as love interests, switching roles between being the driving or receiving factor in relationships with Kane, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan resulting in a feud between the three and a wedding ceremony with the latter which ended with her becoming Raw's general manager on the 1000th episode of the show. Her reign came to an end after she stepped down due to allegations concerning affairs with wrestler under contract as well as unprofessional behavior in her role and instead started to work a short-lived program with John Cena before turning on him in favor of Dolph Ziggler.


Over the following months, AJ would become a part of Ziggler's possy alongside Big E Langston, feuding with her former love interests Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Kane as well as her former tag team partner in Kaitlyn, resulting in her winning the WWE Divas Championship at the PPV Payback. She ultimately turned on Dolph after a dispute due to her interference in a match that subsequently cost him a rematch on the World Heavyweight title. She was assisted by fellow former valet Langston who continued to team with her in the following weeks before losing to their former companions Ziggler and Kaitlyn in a mixed tag team match at Summerslam.

AJ went on to concentrate on her title, interfering in contenders matches and specifically targeting the cast of the new WWE television show Total Divas, even concluding in a "pipe-bomb-promo" comparable to those of her former partner CM Punk.

-- Frederik Heinen

AJ LEE STORIES AND PHOTO GALLERY

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