Continuity is defined as "a consistency of the characteristics of persons, plot, objects and places seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time," according to Wikipedia (which is always right).
To uphold the laws of continuity, the writers have to acknowledge the events of prior storylines and then integrate them into new storylines.
CM Punk said he was a "Paul Heyman guy" over a year ago. So this heel turn is not a surprise for his die-hard fans.
That is good continuity.
Unfortunately, storylines don't always work that way. A new writer or editor could show up and put an entirely new take on the character. In the process, he might ignore any previously developed angles in favor of new ones that might alter several characters at once, leading to confusion.
For example, Edge and Christian came into the WWE as two brothers from Canada. And now they are simply childhood friends.
Kofi Kingston was a Jamaican when he came to WWE, complete with a heavy accent. Now his accent is gone, and he is billed as a West African.
These are examples of retroactive continuities, or retcons. While some of them are annoying, many others are forgivable.
But what happened last night on RAW was freaking stupid!
To quote The Miz: "Really? Really?"
We already know that AJ was on probation and perhaps didn't want any additional dirt on her name. That's fine.
But here is the problem.
Ever since the Attitude Era, there have been several instances of authority figures openly fraternizing with Superstars!
Triple H married the chairman's daughter, Stephanie McMahon. It was initially believed that this was done against her will. When it was revealed that it was a mutual arraignment, neither of them were punished.
Vince McMahon himself has hooked up with several Divas, including Trish Stratus, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler and Sable; all while being married to Linda McMahon. At one point, he thought he was the father of Hornswoggle, but this was revealed to be Finlay. Nevertheless, hookups and adultery had no bearing on McMahon's control of WWE.
Theodore Long was the SmackDown GM in 2007, when he became engaged to the Diva known as Kristal. He had a heart attack during the wedding, and Kristal was never seen again. Years later, he had another public relationship with Aksana, until she left him for Antonio Cesaro. Two public relationships, and again no one cared.
Like Teddy Long, Vickie Guerrero had two separate runs as the SmackDown GM. During the first run, she became engaged to Edge, and she later booked him in a World Title match.
During her second run, she dated Dolph Ziggler, and she later booked him in a World Title match (cut and paste is a great tool). Again, Vickie was not punished in either of these situations.
Now that AJ is gone, her stand-in is the "Managing Supervisor" of RAW... Vickie Guerrero. Why would the board of directors replace AJ with a woman that blatantly committed the same actions that AJ had only been rumored to commit?
The answer is simple: WWE does not care about continuity. But they should be the last ones to serve up any plot-holes or errors in the storylines.
In an art form such as comic books, inconsistencies happen all of the time. Sometimes, they get so bad that they have to reboot the entire franchise. Such was the case with the DC Comics miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths, a story designed to fix continuity errors on a grand scale.
WWE cannot simply do a reboot to fix their problems, mainly because it is presented as both a live show and a sport. So it cannot afford to make errors like these.
If it is a retcon, then the audience needs to be told that it is indeed a retcon.
Either all of those former managers should have resigned for their actions, or AJ Lee should have been allowed to have dinner with anyone that she chooses, even if it is the recently divorced John Cena.
Or maybe they should acknowledge a new rule that went into effect before AJ became the GM.
The only good thing about this story is that AJ Lee was, and still is, a great wrestler. Hopefully she returns to the ring, seeing that she can out-wrestle Eve Torres, Layla El and Kaitlyn. Only Natalya and Beth Phoenix are more polished.
There is money to be made from AJ Lee as the next Divas Champion.
But in the meantime, WWE needs to stop pretending that their fans were born yesterday. We have great memories, and we love it when stories make sense.
Now remember your word of the day: continuity.