Monday, June 14, 2021

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AJ Lee Talks Changing the Divas Division, Shooting on Jerry Lawler, ‘Total Divas’ & More

Ahead of her Divas Title defense tonight at Battleground, AJ Lee sat down with Bleacher Report to talk about changing the Divas division, respecting Total Divas, her tattoo and her spats on commentary.

Jabbing Jerry Lawler on commentary: “When you do commentary you don’t really plan anything. I watch my matches back and Jerry Lawler rubs me the wrong way. The way he talks about the girls and me in particular. As a character I feel like she wouldn’t like him. So, I went out there thinking “I’m ready to fight any of you.”

You can’t really plan what you are going to say, but I’m kind of a smart a**. I like to jab. That’s who I am. I went out there and they were all sort of attacking me and I was not prepared for that. So I kind of went into smart a** mode. And it happened. We never talked about it, but I think it was fine. It was just a fun little jab I think.”

Her respect for the Total Divas stars: “With me personally, I’m backstage and I see these poor girls with cameras everywhere and absolutely no time at home. They go to sleep and then the camera is there recording them waking up. I feel for them and I give them all the credit in the world. Because I can’t do that. I could never do that.

I give them credit. Of course on screen I’m not going to say any of that. (Laughs). I’m going to take jabs and stuff as part of the story. But I’m not a hundred percent against it. As a person, I couldn’t do it. The whole story is, they asked me to be on it and I told them no. And it was kind of received the wrong way. I was upset about it and there was a lot of friction between myself and the people who kind of wanted me to jump on board with this show.

It’s not who I am. I don’t think it helps with what I’ve done so far either. It may be great for the girls who are kind of spokeswoman kind of women. That’s not my world. But me not jumping on board was kind of perceived the wrong way. I think Vince likes people who are really brave and quirky and like to take risks and stir the pot sometimes. And he was like “OK. She doesn’t want to be on it? Let her tell us all why. No one really knew what I was going to say. So, that’s how that happened.”

Her faith in her fellow Divas: “I do 100 percent think we could close the show. We’re good enough to do that. Could all of us do it? Probably not. But there’s a lot of us who could do that. I think of our match at Payback, which was the closest I came to a dream match, and maybe the closest I ever will. For there to be this really long, involved story that people cared about and watched on Raw— and then to have the 20-minute pay-per-view match was about as cool as it can get.

The chance to see a Divas match go 20 minutes is so rare, but we proved that we could do it. And, if you take me and Kaitlyn out of the picture, there are other girls who can also do that. Right now we’re putting that faith in Brie to do it too. And after that? I don’t know? Is it Naomi?

There are girls who are so capable. It just takes a long time. It took me a year-and-a-half. We just slowly kind of build people, to make you care. Hopefully soon you will care about every single girl in our division. To know their personalities. That’s when we could close a show and people would be invested in it and care.”

Developing distinct wrestling styles: “I think trying to be flashy and doing things that are out of your realm of comfort is the problem with the Divas. You have amazing acrobats like Naomi who should be doing that. She’s like a little Rey Mysterio to me. But that’s not for everyone.

The trick is for Divas to find what works for them. I’ve done some ridiculous stuff in my career, but there’s still nothing that’s gotten a reaction as big as me skipping around the ring. You have to kind of learn from that. Oh, there is this element that people are reacting to? How do we incorporate that into a match? Instead of trying to be something you’re not or trying to compare to the guys.

The key is to be a personality outside of the ring and then bring that personality with you inside the ring. Like, Randy Orton is Randy Orton in the ring. He knows how to do that. Some of the guys are really good at that and we’re slowly jumping on board and understanding that. That’s what we need. Not to see flips and tricks and stuff like that. Unless they can really do it. But we all have our strengths and something really interesting about us. That’s what we need to figure out—how to show that during matches.”

Her “anti-Total Divas” character: “I think it’s OK if people want things outside of this. But I know I don’t. I don’t want to walk any red carpets. I don’t want to be anywhere but here. I don’t want anyone outside of our little world to know my name. I just want to be in the ring, in our company. I don’t need anything else. Nothing else can capture my heart that way.

Our fans are like that too. They live in this world and they love this world. So they can get on board with my argument against people using it as a stepping stone. They can relate to that. But I like to convey that message in as douchey a way as possible.”

What her tattoo really means: “To me it wasn’t just about winning the title. I lived in a car. I lived on the street, I lived in a motel. My whole life I always believed I wouldn’t be in this situation any more. I’m going to be in WWE and I’m going to be the champion.

That was the light at the end of the tunnel. That made me not lose my mind and not give up. To achieve those goals was all kind of dream sequence. To have the opportunity Kaitlyn and I did, a 20-minute match and everything so absolutely perfect. I had imagined it as a kid and it all came true in real life.

I kind of made the tattoo look like a prison tattoo. I was like a prisoner serving time. To me it was like I finally accomplished something and it was time served. Fourteen years of trying to get here. I made it out of a dark past. That’s what it means to me. It just happens to be the date I won the title. That was the ultimate goal. I think that’s the only tattoo I’ll ever get. I probably won’t get a matching one the day I lose it.”

It’s a very interesting interview, and AJ makes a ton of great points about where the Divas division can and should go. You can read the whole interview on Bleacher Report.

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