In what can be seen as surprising news, it seems as if the WWE was oh so close to firing the most popular WWE Diva they have had since the retirements of Trish Stratus and Lita. AJ Lee has always been a bit on the spunky side and a perfectionist. She has also never been shy at showing her emotions. It is said that her “crazy chick” gimmick is just an extension of who she really is. Due to this, it seemed like her overprotective ways almost bit her where the sun does not shine.
In late 2013, Michelle Beadle of ESPN joined up with WWE to help out at the Tribute to the Troops show. Many were happy about this as Michelle was said to be a big fan of the company and has expressed her fanship on ESPN. Beadle allegedly said to CM Punk, “hey F***face” and AJ Lee, then girlfriend of Punk and now wife, was not amused and got into an altercation with the ESPN broadcaster.
One side of the story is that Beadle claims she and Punk were friends and she didn’t mean anything by it, not thinking it would be an issue. Punk and Lee’s side of the story is that she said it in a negative tone among other things, so it became an issue of “he said, she said”.
After this altercation occurred, the story made it’s way online and clearly this was bad press for the WWE. This made many wonder if AJ Lee would be fired over the issue despite being the WWE Diva’s Champion and having a big push at the time. She of course was not fired by the WWE or even punished for the altercation. A source noted that there was a reason for that, but AJ was certainly not safe the entire time. The source claims:
“A.J. wasn’t safe at all. There was a reason she wasn’t fired and it had nothing to do with Punk being her boyfriend nor how good a performer she was, although her star power did play into it.
“The decision was made to fire her but Vince overruled it because he saw the big picture. It’s very complicated, but in that issue, Vince was savvy way beyond those underneath him and saw what would happen long-term and made the big picture smart call. If that happened now, the situation would be the same and she wouldn’t be fired for the same reason. Her being fired for that specific incident would have caused a chain of events to happen next that Vince thought would do the company more harm than good. There is no guarantee he was right in how he thought it would play out but it was far more foresight than is usually exhibited in these situations.”
This is surprising, as Vince McMahon usually is not level headed in these types of situations. Years back, Vince fired Ken Anderson, then known as Ken Kennedy in WWE after he had just returned. The RAW episode was known as the Denver Debacle, as the Pepsi Center in Denver kicked WWE out due to an NBA Playoff game for the Nuggets happening on that night. The Los Angeles Lakers let the WWE use the Staples Center for RAW instead but Vince was heated the whole time over this. This led to WWE doing various NBA inspired parodies, including one in the multli-person tag team main event where the faces wore the Laker jerseys and the heels wore Denver jerseys.
Anderson ended up doing a move a bit off to Randy Orton, Orton got very angry over it and did an RKO hard to Anderson later in the match. Anderson landed on his forearms during the move. After the match, hot head Orton went to complain to Vince and McMahon ended up firing Anderson. WWE claimed it was due to Anderson’s injured past and that he was hurt again with his arms, so they cut him. Anderson put a video online disproving it, and pretty much showing Orton for a hothead, which is why today many take what Orton says with a grain of salt.
Vince saw the big picture when it came to AJ and although rare for him, it is good that he did. She could help the WWE and without her, the WWE’s Diva division would miss a lot. Due to that, she had to stay. This is uncharacteristic of McMahon, even though for most things he thinks about the future. Anderson was not the only person fired due to Vince losing his temper on a person. For talent, he has always had a bit of a temper in these situations. However, since Triple H now runs the Talent Relations area, Vince may feel less pressure so he can be nicer in these situations. Who knows? What do you think, should have AJ Lee been fired?
[IMG Credits: Bing, Google, Deviant-Art-TheAwesomeJeo]