|Farewell, Ms. Lee|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE announced Friday that AJ Lee was "retiring" from in-ring competition with the company. Lee, whose real name is April Jeanette Brooks, is only 28 years old, but she's far from the first woman who retired/quit/left WWE before her 30th birthday. She joins fellow Chickbuster Kaitlyn, Maryse Ouellet, Kelly Kelly, and Eve Torres in leaving the company at such an early age. No official reason for her sudden retirement has been given. The eternal rumor that she's pregnant continues to persist and has even been egged on by Lee and NXT wrestler Bayley on WrestleMania weekend. She could be legitimately retiring rather than just looking for an out from her WWE contract; she had been suffering from neck problems that put her on the shelf between TLC and her pre-Mania comeback.
Or perhaps the reason for leaving is that WWE currently is acting like a petty spoiled child in its ongoing feud with her husband, Phil "CM Punk" Brooks, and she just couldn't even anymore. She had been the target of some pointed barbs from The Bella Twins in promos ever since Punk's appearance on the Art of Wrestling, ones that seemed a bit more real than other speeches made on RAW. The passive-aggression manifested itself again in the official WWE.com announcement when it referred to her by her maiden name rather than her current last name. While the timing seems shocking, the move feels like it's been a long time coming, and I for one can't blame her.
If you're expecting her to appear on the indies now, then you might be disappointed. Since she "retired," WWE will more than likely lock her out from appearing anywhere else until her contract expires. However, much like her husband, maybe what she really needs is some time away from a business that she at least used to have passion for. Honestly, I hope whatever she does makes her happy, because it seems like the end of her tenure in WWE made her the opposite of that.