WrestleMania 28: How AJ Lee Can Impact the World Heavyweight Title Match

Derek McKinleyCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2012

While there has been very little build between the Superstars themselves for the match between World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan and Royal Rumble winner Sheamus, there is one storyline that has been building since November and must culminate at WrestleMania for a number of reasons.

As I've written in the past, Daniel Bryan's mistreatment of his girlfriend AJ has gone a long way toward establishing him as a heel. Certainly it has done more for him than his "Vegan Role Model" gimmick.

On the most recent episode of SmackDown, Bryan's verbally abusive behavior was on display, as he quickly told AJ to "shut up" when she attempted to address his WrestleMania opponent, and accused her of "getting in the way."

AJ has played the innocent victim for months now, and has continued to subject herself to poor treatment at the hands of the World Heavyweight title holder.

She's shown in the past, however, that she is capable of standing up for herself, upbraiding Michael Cole as he attempted to belittle her during an interview.

At WrestleMania, as Daniel Bryan attempts to pull another sneaky victory out of his bag of tricks, his mistreatment of AJ must come back to haunt him. He must be brought to justice for his actions as her boyfriend and in the ring as a WWE Superstar.

AJ must re-establish herself as a strong, independent woman and make an impact during the match. Perhaps a well-placed groin kick or a thunderous slap across Bryan's thoughtless, insensitive face as comeuppance for his behavior.

If WWE wants to please the male viewers, they'll allow Sheamus and Daniel Bryan to put on a stellar in-ring showcase.

If they want to please the female viewers, they'll allow AJ to stand up for herself and break free from the shackles of an obviously unhealthy relationship.

If they want to please everybody, they'll let AJ's declaration of independence seal Bryan's fate. Perhaps a slap that turns Bryan around right into a devastating Brogue Kick.

By doing so, they bring a satisfying conclusion to a dramatic storyline four months in the making, and add fuel to the fire for the continuation of the in-ring rivalry between Sheamus and Bryan.

The heel Bryan will claim that he was cheated, and he'll be right. Sheamus, ever the fighting champion, will assuredly grant him a rematch at Extreme Rules.

Regardless of the outcome, something's got to give between Daniel Bryan and AJ.

WWE has already caught a bit of flak for John Cena's verbal abuse of Eve. The last thing they need is a storyline that features the meek, subservient AJ crushed under the dismissive, controlling thumb of her boyfriend, who she loves. It reeks of all sorts of potential for some sort of Chris Brown/Rihanna situation.

Just theoretically, maybe AJ gets drafted to RAW, away from the dysfunction that pervaded her relationship with Daniel Bryan, and feuds with Eve, in and out of the ring, over the affections of fellow goofball Zack Ryder (she is from Jersey after all. She knows Bros).

Maybe she decides she doesn't need a boyfriend and rededicates herself to competition in the ring. Whatever. The Divas division could use some variety, I suppose, and AJ is a fairly competent wrestler.

The point is, everyone involved can benefit from the conclusion of this angle if WWE plays it right.

It starts, and ends, at WrestleMania.