Recently, new WWE Raw General Manager AJ Lee was interviewed by ESPN.com about the new WWE ’13 video game but spoke more about her career and being a fan growing up. Here are some highlights:
When did you first decide that you wanted to be a wrestler? Were you a big fan as a kid?
Oh my gosh, I’ve been a fan my whole life. Miss Elizabeth was my first idol growing up, and I was just obsessed with it. I was a huge fan of Molly and Lita and Stephanie. I was just watching for so long, and at 12 years old, I just decided this was something that I wanted to do. I started at 18, and it’s been a really long journey, but it just all feels like a dream to be here now.
What’s it like hearing those comparisons people make between you and Miss Elizabeth, considering that she was your idol growing up?
I think I have a long way to go. She is out of my league, but I appreciate the comparison. I think it’s the innocence people see in the two of us, and having something that’s more of an understatement. A woman who appears to be more of a gentle creature on TV. It’s amazing to me to be compared at all to her, or anyone in the past. I hope I can be someone people look at in the future and compare other people to me. It’s a big deal, and I appreciate it.
In terms of your television character, why do you think you’ve been able to connect with fans almost instantly, while so many other performers just seem to come and go and never stick?
I think the important thing is that I’ve never tried to be someone I’m not. People can read right through that. There’s a place for people who are unattainable where you want to have their poster on your wall because they’re larger than life, and that’s fine, but that’s not me. I’m not the coolest person in the world. I’m not the sexiest Diva or the strongest Diva. I know who I am. I’m not the most popular person and I’m kind of dorky and I’m someone you can see at your school or as your neighbor, and I think people like that. I think I’m a girl that represents someone you might know or would like to hang out with, and I think people just relate to me. I also look like I’m about 14, [laughs] so maybe I look like I do go to high school with everyone. I just think it’s cool that people have taken to me. Before I was on the show, I was a fan, and I think people can see that.
What’s the sudden rise to fame been like for you this past year? You’ve basically gone from someone a hardcore fan might recognize to one of the biggest stars on the show. Can you even walk through the mall anymore?
It’s strange. The other day I was in Walgreens just trying to buy a toothbrush, and I’m not aware — I don’t read the Internet, I just watch the shows back to see how I did — so I’m not really aware how many fans are out there watching this. So here I am at Walgreens buying a toothbrush, and this guy who works there is helping me for like 10 minutes, then all of a sudden he blurts out: “You shouldn’t let Daniel Bryan talk to you like that!” and runs away. I was like, “What?” I was so confused. [laughs] It’s so weird because people know you even if you don’t know them, and I’m still wrapping my head around that. It’s really cool, but it’s a little overwhelming for me because I’m a shy person. I had someone come up to me at the airport and grab my engagement ring after Daniel Bryan proposed to me, and she was like, “Oh my god, this is amazing. You and Daniel are going to be so happy.” It’s weird. Everyone feels like they know you. It’s an adjustment.