With her stint as Raw GM over, WWE Diva A.J. Lee now looks set to take the Divas division by storm.
Indeed, in recent times the company has positioned her as the ultimate plucky underdog babyface in her feud with Tamina Snuka. (Per the storyline, new Raw managing supervisor Vickie Guerrero has recruited the second-generation Diva to help her deal with A.J., a constant thorn in her side.)
The two even came to blows last week on Raw in a lively little television match, which featured some terrific bumping from A.J. While not a classic, it was still a step up from most women’s matches in WWE these days. The crowd seemed into it, as well, popping big for A.J.’s shock roll-up victory.
Done correctly, A.J. versus Tamina could be the feud that turns the company's stagnant women’s division around. Both girls have the talent—Tamina, in particular, has shown she has a tremendous amount of potential as a wrestler despite her limited experience—and the personalities to get over at any potential program.
Her quest to the top of WWE’s Divas division is also aided by her high profile. WWE’s undisputed breakout Diva of the year, A.J. has been the recipient of a massive push this year, with the company looking to be firmly behind her. (She was also the subject of a recent New York Daily Times piece, another indication she can potentially break through into the mainstream.)
Hopefully, A.J. is on her way to emulating some of the success of Amy “Lita” Dumas in 2000 and 2001 as a cute, girl-next-door type to whom the fans can relate and someone they can like.
Of course, it’s very possible WWE could decide she’s better off as a valet and a non-wrestling character. Certainly her current romance angle with John Cena—the two have slowly developed feelings for each other and may be on the verge of dating—feels far more important than anything she’s doing with Tamina.
So, it’s all great for A.J., right?
Well, not necessarily.
She’s still too overexposed—with many of her storylines dominating the show in 2012. Heck, it feels like she's gotten more airtime in the last year than all the other Divas put together.
Another hindrance is that her character often comes off as more annoying than endearing. While WWE often push her on television as sympathetic and emphasize her poverty-stricken upbringing, her erratic and unstable on-screen behavior—for a prime example, see last Monday’s Raw, when she threw a violent tantrum after losing to Vickie and scared John Cena backstage—tends to make her more of a heel.
Come on: Who exactly would want to know and/or date a woman so unhinged in real life?
It’s very possible that fans could quickly grow tired of her and her whiny character and start booing her vociferously. This is something WWE management should be aware of going forward and should take measures to prevent. Maybe they can cut down her airtime on Raw or tone down the crazier aspects of her character in order to make her more likable to the viewers.
In summation, with her looks, in-ring skills and charisma, A.J. looks set for a bright future in WWE as the face of the company’s Divas division. A program with Divas champion Eve Torres at some point in the future is an intriguing possibility, too.
But WWE really will need to correct the gaping flaws in her current character before she ends up being a massively unlikable babyface.