A.J. Lee skips her way back to the WWE after a long absence and on night one gets back what she lost on her way out the door, the WWE Divas Championship. Some may cry foul and say this is not fair to all of the other women that were here while she was gone. My answer to that is if they were half as good as A.J is this wouldn’t be the case. Lee is hands down the best female the WWE has in terms of having the total package. She wasn’t put on “Total Divas,” but that is more a choice likely of her own and definitely one that her new husband C.M Punk would endorse. Something tells me Punk being followed around by “Total Divas” cameras would not be a fun experience for him even if he was in the company.
This is about Lee though and why she is the best option for the WWE. It goes back to the two most successful women in the history of this company. One of which was A.J’s childhood idol in Lita and the other “Canada’s greatest export to the world” to steal a Jim Ross line the one and only Trish Stratus. The path these ladies blazed in the WWE is one that is somewhat similar to that of A.J Lee. Both Trish and Lita did not really start out as in ring competitors. They were female valets that would get involved in the action.
Lita was a much more skilled in ring competitor than Trish, who was a fitness model and not a pro wrestler. Trish actually was a wrestling fan and did work on shows like Live Audio Wrestling and TSN’s Off the Record. Rumors began that she had interest in pro wrestling and before you knew it there was a battle on to sign this gorgeous blond bombshell. Stratus would get training at the same place that trained Edge and Christian in Toronto and would be signed by WWE and eventually paired with Test and Albert forming the team of “T&A”, which worked nicely in the attitude era. Lita would be the female valet for Essa Rios before pairing up with the Hardy Boys and making up “Team Extreme”, which was a big hit.
They would eventually move on to being singles competitors, but they would always have ties to storylines involving the male characters on the program. Lita’s role was a much more physical element and Trish having a roles more suited to her stunning beauty. She was never afraid to get her hands dirty though and proved that early on taking the “Bubba Bomb” through a table as part of a feud with the Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley against Trish and T&A. Stratus would then be paired with Vince McMahon and end up in the ring with Stephanie McMahon as well.
The point to all of this is there was a firm and well established foundation for both ladies prior to ever getting involved in female matches. Compare that to young Paige who comes from a wrestling family, but is only 21 years old and was thrown to wolves on Raw after spending some time on NXT. She was given the Divas title and had it through the absence of Lee. She was not ready for such a big role and that was no more obvious than when A.J. returned and she shared a ring with her for a promo this past Monday on WWE Raw. A.J. looked like a pro and Paige looked like a deer in headlights especially when the expected Punk chants came.
Lee much like Lita and Trish for a good portion of the start of her career was involved in angles with some of the top males in the company. A list that started with Daniel Bryan that moved on to Punk, John Cena and Dolph Ziggler. She even had some interactions with the McMahons, like Trish had in the past.
To A.J.’s credit, she learned a great deal in that time she was not in the ring wrestling and it has made her the undisputed best female talker in this company without the last name McMahon. In the ring, she is more than competent as an in ring performer despite her small stature. Are there better people in the ring than her as a straight wrestler?
Yes there is, I would say Natalya is the best in ring performer on the female side of the ledger in WWE. She has the legacy of the Hart family and it shows in her work. She also has the same short comings that her family’s legacy has had. Natayla is not the best talker and there is just something about her that rubs people the wrong way. I am not sure what you can do to fix it either. She seems much more suited to be a heel than being presented as currently.
A.J. Lee is the best package that the WWE has and is able to talk and build stories and make people care about what she is involved in. That is the real issue the entire divas roster has is making people care about them and their matches. Booking has done them no favors in that regard, but they also have not helped in terms of their work.
Perhaps the real challenge to A.J.’s reign as the best Diva in the company is currently the NXT Women’s Champion in Charlotte Flair. It is not the Paige can’t still recover and have a chance too, but Flair seems to have a real chance to be very good. In the last year, she is easily the most improved women the WWE has under contract. Naomi is another woman that has a chance to be very good at some point as she seems to have a lot of athletic ability like Charlotte. Both divas just need a chance to learn how to get “over” beyond what they do in the ring.
For now the queen has comeback to reclaim her throne and she has rightful earned and the women’s division will be better for it. Lee has worked hard and really earned this spot that she has. What she really is lacking is that great rival like Lita and Trish had in each other. Who that will be remains to be seen. For the moment it is Paige with the chance at that opportunity.