WWE has gone through quite a transformation in the past few years. Female wrestlers are no longer called “Divas” and now those Superstars have even main evented huge pay-per-view events like the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
However, AJ Lee remembers a much different time in the business which she spoke about quite openly on a recent episode of Fair Game with Kristine Leahy. WWE is an entertainment program and it’s understandable that they would want their Superstars to look their best, but there was a time when micromanaging of the women was a big issue.
AJ Lee was also told to her face that nobody would want to have sex with her. That was a damaging shot that stuck with her in a big way. She continued discussing how strict WWE was about the women’s hair and makeup which could include punishments if it wasn’t properly maintained.
“In my time in the business, there was so much pressure on the girls to conform to a mold and a formula that worked. Not only was it pressure, you would sort of be punished if you didn’t.”
“There was a time when they would check to make sure our manicures were perfect. If our hair wasn’t long enough, they’d tell us we had to get extensions, and your weight would be commented on. That made for a lot of pressure where girls didn’t feel like they could just show who their genuine self was. That’s understandable, but I’ve always been willing to fail if the only option is it’s either doing it my way and what’s true and genuine to me, or failure. I will choose just to do it my way. I never want to compromise.”
AJ Lee and her fellow Divas competed in whatever amount of time WWE would give them. She might have put her foot down in her final year with the company backstage and refuse certain angles, but it’s hard to argue that anyone would have gotten tired of the emotional journey WWE put their Divas through.