WWE: Why A.J. Lee Is the Model for the Next Generation of Divas

Mike ChiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 10, 2017

There was once a time when the WWE's Diva's Division was booming and a huge part of the company's programming, but those days are obviously long gone. As WWE's female wrestlers get less and less time in the ring, it becomes more and more apparent that A.J. Lee is the one who will carry the torch for the divas moving forward.

Long gone are the days of Lita and Trish Stratus main eventing RAW as it's currently rare to even see a divas match that lasts longer than two minutes on WWE programming. That isn't necessarily an indictment of the current crop of divas as the likes of Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Eve and Layla all have their merits, but it seems like a philosophical change more than anything.

There are constant rumors that Triple H wants to revitalize the tag-team division and scale back divas wrestling, and while there is no surefire way of telling if that is true, it seems like the WWE is going in that precise direction. Storylines are practically nonexistent when it comes to the divas, with the exception of A.J.

A.J. has gained a considerable amount of fans over the past several months as she was initially Daniel Bryan's girlfriend and has since become the general manager of RAW. She competes in the ring quite infrequently now, but she is still a huge part of the product and is the only diva who receives a significant amount of television time.

Moving forward, I believe that a woman will either have to be in a position of power or have a managerial role, a la Vickie Guerrero, in order to remain relevant in the WWE. I'm not saying that female wrestling is going to be phased out completely, but it is so far down the pecking order right now that I have hard time believing it's going to rebound.

Say what you will about A.J.'s acting ability or mannerisms, but she is probably in the top five in terms of popularity and visibility across the board in the WWE right now, and that includes male superstars. Layla, on the other hand, is the Divas Champion, but it still isn't uncommon for the writers to go an entire week without incorporating her at all.

That alone should tell you how little the Divas Championship and women's wrestling in general means in the eyes of the creative team. That doesn't mean that women no longer have a place in WWE, but it seems very obvious to me that their roles are reverting back to what we saw in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Women's wrestling still existed during that time period, but the WWE phased it out and focused more on valets such as Miss Elizabeth and Sherri Martel. You didn't really see women as authority figures like A.J. is now, but they played major roles in non-wrestling capacities, and I certainly believe the WWE is angling toward that again.

Although I'm sure most of the divas on the current roster would prefer to wrestle, this paradigm shift isn't necessarily a bad thing for the female wrestlers. They're hardly allowed to wrestle as it is and when they are, they're given only a couple minutes anyway, so if there is a way to better utilize them in a non-wrestling capacity, then I fully support it.

A.J. is the perfect example of a diva who is more valuable to the WWE as general manager of RAW than as a wrestler. She certainly has some solid in-ring skills and can hold her own in the squared circle, but she would simply be one diva on a long list of them that wrestles once every three weeks and has no true purpose within the company.

Whether you like women's wrestling or not, the WWE has several talented women on the roster who need to be utilized in some way. A.J. is one who has certainly been used effectively over the past few months and I believe that she is blazing the trail for female personalities in the WWE down the line.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter and listen to him on Ring Rust Radio.