Sweet merciful everything.
Let's be frank, shall we? A.J. Lee saved the Diva's division. There were great Divas (and Women) before her in the WWE/F, and there were sweeps of time interrupted by cycles of less exciting time that featured well-booked females. Strong, capable females. But even Lita and Trish were having terse, snip-snippety matches on television. WrestleMania moments...what if I told you that neither Diva wrestled a match that lasted any longer than nine minutes on the grandest stage of them all? That was Trish versus Mickie James. Lita only wrestled once at a WrestleMania. It was a triple threat that also involved Trish and Jazz. Six minutes, if we're rounding down.
These patterns began to change when A.J. joined the main roster. Granted, it took awhile. Her NXT was a world away from the NXT that exists at present. But I watched it, and I knew she had what Chris Jericho is always yapping about. It! Man, she had "it" in spades. She demanded your attention, and she demanded your respect in the same way. Diva's matches were (very) slowly being given more time on pay-per-views. Fast-forward! After effacing the whole lot of the chicks at WrestleMania 30, A.J. lost her pink butterfly title to the debuting Paige. Who was this alluring creature calling herself The Anti-Diva?
We know what happened from there. This isn't a fucking recap. As you (should) know by now, Paige is on her way out of the WWE. When she started banging Alberto Del Rio, I was puzzled. I thought to myself, "Why would she start dating someone who probably won't be with the company before year's end?" Then I looked back at her behavior. She had spent the lion tamer's share of 2015 acting like a petulant teenager. "Oh," I exclaimed. Paige didn't care anymore. She renounced her sobriquet of Anti-Diva when she signed on for Total Divas. It was there that fans were licensed access to her true form. Heh, I don't mean to characterize her as a demon witch. My phraseology is a tad on the dramatic side. I know I sound harsh.
Here's the deal. We were sold a goth chick who screams at the night sky and wins physical contests on the potency of her experience, as bequeathed to her by generations of grapplers. We bought it because - for a few years at least - she played her character well. That's what professional wrestling is built upon. Paige's truth is different. She's a bratty punk who likes to party. She's immature. "How do YOU know, Dom?" Well, the latest is that she got Alberto's name tattooed on her ribs. Remember, they have been together for three, maybe four months. She is giving up cushy-as-fuck cash for this cat. Hey, she may have left anyway.
Wrestling-wise, she'll be fine. I have no doubt that she misses the creative autonomy of free agency. Promotions such as Shine and Shimmer will welcome her with open arms. Her and her mother worked as a successful tag team in Shimmer before she made the jump to WWE, so that wouldn't surprise me at all. Of course, AAA and/or Lucha Underground wouldn't surprise me. I might think she's making mistakes, but at the end of the day, I'm still a fan. In my opinion, her matches outside of WWE - now that she's a big girl - will be superior to her matches inside of WWE. I would expect less botches and more intriguing psychology.
PS - I do understand why she's "acting out." She's never really had a chance to go to college, so to speak. Plus, she's still so young. If she's still wrestling in 8-9 years (and I suspect that she's a lifer), she will be the best women's wrestler on the planet. Mark my words. She just needs a minute to grow up.
PS II: The Final Sacrifice - I opened this editorial by praising A.J. Lee for kickstarting the Diva's Revolution. Without her, I firmly believe that we would still be insulting WWE's female athletes by calling them Divas.
PS III: In Da Hood - PLZ COME BACK, A.J.! YOU RETIRED 2 YUNG, GURL!
Lord Mary almighty.