That’s right…you’re getting a double shot this week. After completing my viewing of Monday Night Raw, I came up with another reason to write another piece. This one, I promise won’t be so long-winded as the last one.
I wanted to talk a little about what happened with the WWE Divas’ Title on Monday…or rather over the last couple of years or so. So if this doesn’t interest you, I can completely understand. Womens’ wrestling isn’t what it used to be with Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Ivory & that great bunch of truly talented women wrestlers that populated WWE in the late 90’s into the early 2000’s. However, what a lot of people are missing right now is that we have an extremely talented Divas Champion in AJ Lee.
Prior to winning the Divas’ Title, AJ played an on-screen character who swapped boyfriends whenever it was convenient to her, she played Raw GM for a little while, has been tied to Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, John Cena & Dolph Ziggler (please forgive me if I left anyone out). During that time, she really got to learn what it was to play a character in WWE. Prior to being this girl looking for Mr. Right, she had already shown that she could go in the ring on NXT, wrestling Kaitlyn and other WWE Divas. So her prowess in the ring was never a question, she just needed to find her character. She debuted as a gamer nerd girl who was thrown together with Daniel Bryan. Bryan wasn’t the guy who was going to be able to teach her how to be a good character who could talk her mind on the mic in front of a live crowd though. That quality would come from the next guy she got paired with, and her future husband….CM Punk.
Punk has a gift for gab and can talk circles around just about anyone in professional wrestling. In fact if you’re reading this column, I’m fairly certain you already know this about him. So I won’t go too far into Punk‘s abilities. But in being tied with Punk (and I’m not sure when they started dating, but knowing Vince McMahon, they probably started dating before they were paired together on TV…since Vince likes to take real life & throw it out there on Raw — see Edge & Lita, John Cena & Mickie James, etc…) you have to believe that she really learned how to do a good promo and how to get a feel for and react to the live crowd. And that’s one place where she really excels moreso than most of the current WWE roster who are all given their lines and don’t know what to do if they don’t receive the reaction they expect. This can be seen this past Monday when Paige started her part in the conversation with AJ and the crowd broke out into a CM Punk chant, she was noticeably unready for that chant and was completely lost with her lines. She did rebound, but it was after a minute that she found her footing again.
So once AJ learned how to talk and play her psychotic character, you tie that together with her already good-to-great wrestling ability and she’s ready to take on the world! And now in 2014, she’s really the best rounded performer in womens’ professional wrestling. On one hand, it’s really kind of sad that the Paige Project failed…though you can also say that she wasn’t exactly given much to work with. Natalya Neidhart is probably the most technically sound performer that she could have gone up against during her 3-month title reign and we never saw it. Instead, they brought back Alicia Fox and also threw her in the ring with the Funkadactyls. Plus, they made her lose every week to set up her title defenses where she would win, instead of building those title contenders by putting them over other divas who are not the champion.
In the end, Paige just played a placeholder for when AJ would return and take her title back. It’s not right by any stretch of the imagination, but in a lot of ways it somehow is. Paige still has a ways to go in her development and maybe shouldn’t have been given the title on her first night on the main roster, but it also made her mean something right out of the gate. Hopefully, we’ll see Paige start to learn the personality and talking side of the business to the point that she could be the Trish Stratus to AJ‘s Lita.
One can only hope.