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Diva Dirt’s Woman of the Year 2012: AJ Lee

Diva Dirt presents its annual selection of women who have been most newsworthy and talked about in 2012. The 12 women selected have embodied the zeitgeist of the year by hitting the headlines, breaking boundaries, stopping the show, and becoming trending topics. The Diva Dirt editors and contributors have picked one woman as the Diva Dirt Woman of the Year, as well as 11 runners-up who have helped define 2012. Join us as we count down our runners-up before unveiling the Woman of the Year on December 31st.

The Woman of the Year

aj-leeReally, could there have been any other choice for Woman of the Year than AJ Lee?

From the moment discussions started amongst the Diva Dirt editors and contributors for this year’s Women of the Year list — one Woman of the Year, as well as 11 others who helped define the 2012 news agenda — the first and only name on our lips for the top nod was AJ.

Not since the likes of Trish Stratus and Lita, has a Diva made quite the impact that AJ has in WWE in such a short space of time. (Of course there’s Vickie Guerrero, who we take nothing away from, but technically she never came into WWE as a Diva.) In 12 months, AJ became not only the top Diva on the entire roster — without even winning a title and competing in only a handful of matches — she became one of the top stars in WWE, period.

What is there to say about AJ’s year that hasn’t already been gushed about in other retrospective pieces this past week? Our regular Raw columnist Cryssi summed up the New Jersey-born Diva’s ascension through the ranks, from superfan who cried meeting Lita at an autograph signing, to eerily echoing her icon’s success. Our TNA writer Bobby also nicely recapped AJ’s year when she was voted the Writers’ Choice for Diva of the Year.

aj-lee1While pop culture enthusiasts may look back on 2012 as the year of the Gangnam Style dance or Call Me Maybe, wrestling fans will find it difficult to not think of AJ Lee. And it’s no mystery to see why she was such a phenomena; AJ could be you or I. She’s the girl next door, the girl catching the bus, the girl you see in everyday life. AJ achieved her vision for a WWE Diva that wasn’t a buxom blonde or a Playboy pin-up come to life, but a girl that could appeal to both men and women watching. It’s this ability to relate to the audience that we feel is the secret to her success. After all, she could have been thrown in all the big storylines in the world, but without being able to connect to the audience, AJ’s spotlight, like so many before her, would have probably been taken away a long time ago. In a day and age where we live our lives by social media — tweeting, updating our Facebook status, or uploading a picture to Instagram — is it really any wonder that the self-professed geek has had her day? No female wrestler was more buzzed about on social media or the blogs than AJ Lee this year, and no one elicited the response that she did in the media, either.

In five, 10, or even 20 years, we’ll remember 2012 as the year of AJ Lee. Our hats are tipped.

Congratulations, AJ!

Women of the Year runners-up: Lita | Saraya Knight | Brooke Tessmacher | Jazz | Ronda Rousey | Beth Phoenix | Kim Nielsen | Sara Del Rey | Alpha Female | Eve Torres | Gail Kim

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