RAW general manager A.J. Lee may not be the most influential or domineering authority figure in WWE history. But she has delivered during her stint thus far, and I believe that it should be considered a success despite many of the negative feelings toward her run as GM.
When Vince McMahon offered A.J. the GM spot on the 1,000th episode of RAW, it seemed a bit forced and out of left field, but it's clear what the WWE was trying to do. Based on her interactions with CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane, A.J. was the most popular diva in the entire company, and the writers wanted to get her airtime by any means necessary.
With John Laurinaitis out of the fold, making her RAW general manager was the best way to do that. I feel like the reason some fans are disappointed with her in the GM role is that strong personalities like Paul Heyman, Ric Flair, Mick Foley and Eric Bischoff have filled that spot in the past. A.J. is meant to be more of a figurehead than anything, though, and she has been fine in that regard.
A.J. seemed to take a big step forward last week, however, as she was much more forceful than she had been.
Not only did she get heated during her segment with Punk and Heyman, resulting in her slapping Heyman across the face, but she also berated official Brad Maddox for his blown call the previous week in Punk's match.
She has been portrayed as being unhinged throughout her tenure as GM, and that is likely what will ultimately lead to her displacement in that role. There is a reason why A.J. is always shown acting crazy, and it's clearly because she is only a transitional general manager rather than someone who will remain in the spot over the long haul.
Booker T has also been made to look incompetent at times over on SmackDown, so it's obvious that either Laurinaitis is going to return, or somebody else is going to take power in the near future.
With that said, I honestly can't complain about the job that A.J. has done considering the circumstances.
Prior to her implementation as GM, A.J. hadn't been in the spotlight very long. She was a forgotten person on the roster prior to becoming Bryan's girlfriend and had never been given the opportunity to speak on the mic before that. When you take into account how inexperienced A.J. is, it's hard to be too critical.
I'm interested to see where things go as far as her relationship with Punk is concerned. Punk played the video of A.J. proposing to him several months ago, so they will certainly have plenty of interaction moving forward. Programming always seems better when the top guy is at odds with an authority figure, and that is the case with A.J. and Punk.
How would you grade A.J.'s performance as GM thus far?
If A.J. were being shoved down our throats, then I might have a different view of her, but she has mostly been in the background as GM. One or two segments per show is more than enough to assert her authority while not going overboard.
In fact, A.J. was utilized much more prior to becoming general manager as she was constantly involved in important moments on both RAW and SmackDown.
Ultimately A.J. isn't the greatest GM ever, but she isn't the worst either, as Mike Adamle has staked permanent claim to that dubious distinction. A.J. has been charged with simply cutting a few promos and putting a face on the general manager position, and she has done both of those things effectively.
There is no doubt that we'll see a more permanent GM solution in due time, but until that happens I have absolutely no problem with the job that A.J. has done.