by DJ Huk
Short piece hailing April Jeannette Mendez, who wrestles under the name AJ LEE.
|For Wrestle Enigma
It's days like today when I ask myself: why am I such an AJ Lee mark (besides the fact that she's hot)? Why does her winning the DIVA championship seem like a triumph that transcends even "sports entertainment" and is unfathomably massive, not to mention serrated and sharp? Why does AJ Lee rank right up there with my favorite pro wrestlers of all time: I mean, we are talking Dick the Bruiser, Baron Von Rashke, The Crusher (who was so great, they did a punk garage song about him), early Goldust, the Macho Man/King, Sgt Slaughter (but only as an Iraqi sympathizer), the Road Warriors ... yes, all uber legends, but notice, not one woman? Why do I see the YouTube videos of excerpts of her moves like some kind of primeval ballet, like Rite of Spring or something (hell, Stravinsky could have written a ballet titled The Shining Wizard)? Is it the way she hits a Neckbreaker from off the turnbuckle and then flings her hands up like a toreador who just stuck the sword into half-crazed bull ... where did THAT come from (well, she's a fan of anime, so that says something)? Why didn't I pay $250 to sit in a floor row at the United Center yesterday here in Chicago to watch her slam into the Spanish announcers booth during this apocalyptic match with Kaitlyn ... what could I have been thinking (well, paying the mortgage ...)? Was it all started with that photo of her in WWE Magazine: creating dynamic space while being held in the air as she delivered a drop kick on ... oh, whoever, musta been Layla? Before, she was entertaining enough--you know, like getting run over by Big Show and having to wear a neck brace, all that Daniel Bryan shtick--but who knew she could, uh, wrestle? Is it those mic skills, like when she calls Kaitlyn "trash" and its like condemning her to an eternity living in a trailer with Honey Boo Boo? Or maybe it's the facial expressions that really sell her to me: check out that first-page photo you guys ran today on the Payback review: AJ looks possessed by the ultimate realization of her FULL and COMPLETE AJ-ness: those eyes have sheer darkling beauty in their well-heeled wickedness--and boy, is she on a roll with this character. Why do I envision a day when I see AJ headlining Wrestlemania as the day I know she has gone beyond even DIVAHOOD, to a place we pro wrestling fans never knew existed before, where an inspired female character zaps and pounds down a male character like in supernatural anime, then gives Jerry "The Royal Ass" Lawler an electric spanking? What IS all this about AJ Lee? Well, maybe French philosopher (whoever thought a French philosopher would end up in Wrestle Enigma) Roland Barthes can answer it: “In the ring, and even in the depths of their voluntary ignominy, wrestlers remain gods because they are, for a few moments, the key which opens Nature, the pure gesture which separates Good from Evil, and unveils the form of a Justice which is at last intelligible.” Substitute "goddess" for "god" and you got April Jeanette Lee. Now, where did I put that action figure …
I think I’ve heard of this woman before. Uh, let me check my files. Oh yeah, April Jeanette Mendez. And here’s the video of one of her first matches, in a VFW post somewhere in New Jersey, I think. Trained by Jay Lethal, it says here in this folder, otherwise known as “Black Machismo.” He did a nice job there. During her stint in Florida with FCW, she obviously gained rather impressive mic skills … I surmise that because she was an honor student in high school (according to my documented research) and has indeed cited Shakespeare in her Twitter feeds, there is a more pointed and cerebral approach to her acting abilities. Here is a YouTube video I just tried to post, but unfortunately, the sheer magnetism of AJ Lee must have thwarted my efforts. Oh well, here’s the link.
Note AJ’s reaction after the slap. It’s not anger or hatred, it’s one of the most, uh, being a normal man I’d have to say, wantonly goofy … I mean, check out the way she’s licking her lips. What’s with that?
As for her roles in the Daniel Bryan CM Punk Wedding saga, well, she put her acting skills, mental and physical, to good use. But that wasn’t what attracted (there’s that word again) me to her. It was first of all, a picture of her in WWE magazine … what did I do with it, it was here a minute ago, it must be in the security vault downstairs … caught in midair, about to hit a dive bomb of a drop kick on some Diva or other: and, I don’t know what it was, I mean, I’ve seen my share of aerobatic wrestling moves in my time (although all I can think of is Baron Von Rashke’s claw hold at the moment, must be the medication), but this was documented evidence of suspended animation at its purest. Then, my research took me further into YouTube, where we find montages lovingly compiled of such splendid movements as the shining wizard and the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony, oops, no wrong clip.
I like the way she sort of finishes the move with a dramatic finesse, flinging her arms up, or bringing her AJ self up to her knees in one smooth sharply fluid twist … it’s all like some weird pagan ballet done on the Russian steppes or something (hey, that’s not a bad idea, maybe I’ll trademark it).
So, I was never much on her GM role or her John Cena romance bit–though who couldn’t love the way she pulled the ladder out from under him. I wanted her back in the ring, and boy, is she ever back in the ring now. That drop kick she delivered on the lip of the ring on Katlyn during the championship bout here in sweet home Chicago (how fitting she won the championship here, near the AJ Lee Research Centre) was something else to behold: where in the wrestling God’s name did she land? there was hardly any mat left beneath her. Other day, she hit one of the Funkatrogalytes (whatever) with a spin kick that was so sudden, sharp and serrated that it tore the roof off the sucka, as Booker T. might phrase it. Need I go on?
But I’m wary of this Night of Champions scenario approaching. With three other Divas in the ring, her championship advantage is diminished, even if they are vapid and ultimately dreary examples of wrestling womanhood. (That speech the other night, by the way, was the best performance she’s done on the mic, and that’s saying alot. She kept slipping in and out of her current Black Widow heel character so nimbly, that you kept thinking, she sounds sincere with her obvious distaste for what’s going on with Total Divas, but maybe this is just another nefarious angle to the heel … oh, sly AJ.) WWE may want a Total Diva nonentity to win so they can parade around the belt on the show and record how the Diva keeps it by her side even when she’s putting on her face in the bathroom … hey this is reality television here, remember. That would be ridiculous. How could you take away the belt from someone who has tattooed the number of days she’s been champion on the back of her neck, as AJ tweeted the other day? I’d like to see Bully Ray do that!
Okay, that’s enough AJ for now. She was only on momentarily on Smackdown tonight, before they brought on the Osama Brothers or whatever they are called. I’ve said it all along: this woman will be headlining Wrestlemania some day, or, at the very least, become the John Cena of the Divas division, without the hambone shtick.
Thanks, WrestleEnigma, for letting me disclose my research on this subject. If this doesn’t get her to follow me on Twitter, nothing will. Wish me luck, wrestling gods …