Late yesterday, WWE announced that AJ Lee was retiring from in ring competition. And while it came as a shock to some , it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. In an article I wrote about a month ago when AJ returned from a sabbatical to WWE television I stated that Mrs. Phil Brooks was bulletproof. I said this due to the fact that WWE was supporting a lawsuit against her husband and they didn’t want to do any wrongdoing causing them to look vindictive. But there was a double-edged sword to that. And it’s evident with this announcement.

WWE made sure that she had a return storyline to show they were open to working with her, even though the relationship with CM Punk was pretty much burned to the ground. AJ played second fiddle to Paige in the Bella Twins feud as evident in their Wrestlemania match. Paige got most of the offense with AJ getting the victory in the end almost as a parting gift for the exiting diva. But after that was done, one had to wonder what was next?

AJ as a character had done everything a woman in the modern era can do. She was the geek goddess on NXT endearing yourself to the hardest of the hard-core with her love of comic books, video games and more. She was in main event storylines with Daniel Bryan, John Cena, CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and many others. She was the General Manager of Raw having the whole show focused around her for a few months. And Lee most notably was the longest reigning Divas Champion of the modern era holding the title for almost one year. There’s no doubt that the master of the Black Widow was one of the most over characters. I don’t just mean for women but in the WWE as a whole. She made crazy cool and skipped into the hearts of old and new fans alike always lighting up and arena wherever she went. In just five years, she transformed how fans see women in WWE much like the woman that came before her.

I honestly think the “Give Divas A Chance” had its roots with AJ two years ago. Ironically much like her husband CM Punk, more change will come from her leaving then her actually being within the company. It looks like WWE is going with Naomi in a program with Nikki Bella. And this leaves an opening most likely for Charlotte on the main roster. But Bailey, Sasha and Becky Lynch cannot be far behind.

Much like her idol Lita, AJ is retiring on top even though she was not the champion she was always seem to the main draw of the Divas division. Whether she’s just going to support her husband in his MMA pursuits, having a family or if there’s something more down the line for her individually I wish her nothing but the best. I watched her from her days on the independent scene, FCW, NXT and the WWE main roster. She will be missed on television but time marches on.

About The Author

Dan is host of Shooting from the Hip which you can hear every Sunday at 8pm EST, 7pm CST right here on PWpop.com.