Following a forgettable Divas match on Raw, AJ Lee walked out and cut one of those scripted promos designed to make fans think some aspects of wrestling are real. And, boy, did it work.
Wrestling is at its best when the viewer is able to suspend his or her disbelief. AJ's diatribe exploited legitimate resentment toward the Divas featured on E!'s hit show Total Divas. The tour de force included accusations of nepotism, entitlement and advantageous promiscuity. Not to mention the $4,000 heels.
All were critiques one could access in the comment section of a dirtsheet.
Forget suspending disbelief, the reigning Divas champion obliterated it. Thousands filed back into the building from their bathroom break to cheer on the Diva.
To wrestling fans, AJ brilliantly portrays the cute, nerdy girl whose winning personality makes her attainable to anyone. Even wrestling fans. She's the type of girl who would go to prom with Napoleon Dynamite. Intentionally.
She has no idea how pretty she is, yet she flaunts her slim figure so innocently—by skipping around in booty shorts—that her seduction is natural, and therefore more potent.
The Chuck Taylors, punk bracelets and noted video game prowess make her both the anti-diva and the every-diva.
She had to be the one to cut this promo.
It was another one of those self-aware moments by the WWE. AJ's accusations were basically an echo of cynical criticism often found on social media from fans and disgruntled former contractors alike. Naturally, the cynics banded together in a moment of solidarity and pride. All shared sentiments the WWE now stands to profit from.
The Bellas tweeted an in-character response to the monologue now known as the pipe bombshell:
AJ remember you would be nothing if WWE didn't partner you up with every top guy. Try being a diva that makes it on your own. #RAW— The Bella Twins (@nicoleandbri) August 27, 2013
In response to the in-character tweets, WWE Diva-turned-malcontent Maria Kanellis became one of many fans to be sucked in:
@nicoleandbri really on your own? You 2 are the "fluffers" of the locker room. And you held back 3 other girls from getting contracts.— Maria Kanellis (@MariaLKanellis) August 27, 2013
IWC Twitter followed suit in support of AJ:
AJ LEE SHOOT PROMO!!!!! #raw— Smallz (@sma11z99) August 27, 2013
I avoided everything RAW this morning BUT I did watch the AJ Lee promo, she said just about everything I've been saying about the Diva's....— FullmetalNinja25 (@FullmetalNinja_) August 27, 2013
I know many people look at Bri and Nikki and see two beautiful women who have been given their spot in the company due to their beauty and choice in boyfriends.
That's not what I see when I look at Bri and Nikki. I see two strong, proud women who walked away from WWE in April 2012 following a legitimate business disagreement with the company. Bri and Nikki wanted to have more say in what they could and could not do outside of WWE. The company disagreed. I know that feeling. I've been there.
The profound impact AJ's promo had on otherwise jaded wrestling fans and pundits was summarized when Foley said:
Yes, that was an amazing promo by AJ – primarily because she believed every word of it to be true..or at least it seemed that way to this 28 year wrestling veteran.
This was the elusive "I know wrestling is fake, but..." moment promoters strive for. These angles play off of real-life emotions and situations, effectively hooking an audience that is supposed to know better.
Mick Foley is an admitted 28-year wrestling veteran. Wrestling never became more real than when his tooth was forced out of his mouth during an infamous Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker. He should know better, but he too has been suckered in to this compelling Divas angle.
That's how good AJ was on Monday. That's how good this angle is.