World Wrestling Entertainment has today announced that WWE Diva AJ Lee has retired from WWE.
In the last few minutes the corporation tweeted:
“BREAKING: AJ Lee (April Mendez) has decided to retire from in-ring competition with WWE. We wish AJ the very best.”
AJ Lee began her career performing on the New Jersey independent circuit as Miss April, mostly in Women Superstars Uncensored.
After joining WWE in 2009, she was assigned to its developmental system, Florida Championship Wrestling, where she spent the following two years before getting called up to the main roster. Meanwhile, she took part in season three of NXT in 2010, placing third in the competition.
In 2012, she rose to prominence through several storylines, such as relationships with wrestlers feuding over WWE’s world championships, along with a three month stint as the General Manager of Raw.
In subsequent years, she won the WWE Divas Championship three times, her first reign being the longest in the title’s history at 295 days. She also won the Diva of the Year Slammy Award in 2012 and 2014 and was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Woman of the Year for an unprecedented three consecutive years.
In February 2015, she criticised WWE executive Stephanie McMahon, who praised actress Patricia Arquette for advocating equal wages for both genders. Lee said that WWE’s female wrestlers receive a fraction of the wages and screen time of the company’s male roster, despite having generated record-selling merchandise and several top-rated segments on WWE shows. McMahon and her father, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, acknowledged and thanked AJ for her public statement.
She married former WWE World Champion CM Punk in June 2014.