IGN has a new interview with April Mendez Brooks (a/k/a AJ Lee), who is promoting her newly released book, Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules. Here are highlights from the interview.
You were coming into WWE in that post-Attitude, model-esque era and obviously not every woman fell under that description, but it felt like there was an overall type they were going for. Your success showed how popular someone could be that was outside that mold. For you now, outside the industry, is it gratifying to see how things have gone? You made a speech at your final Slammys where you name-dropped Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha – women who have since all risen up, as they transitioned out of the “Divas” era.
“Oh yeah. All you could ever want is to leave a place better than when you found it and to know that there’s good people that have this industry in their heart and that they’re succeeding in it and that they’re happy is all you could ever after. I do love Bayley and have such a special place in my heart for her and Paige. I hope that they’re happy and killing it. It makes you feel like “mission complete,” you know?”
You got to do a lot and show many iterations of what AJ Lee was up to, from being the Divas champ to the Daniel Bryan wedding that wasn’t. Was there a favorite time for you on the storyline level that was super fun or connected with the fans in a particularly strong way?
“I’d probably say when me and Kaitlyn got to have our run together. The decision-makers weren’t really paying attention so we were getting away with so much stuff and our writers were just letting us have free reign and it all got positive reaction and ratings with the fans. And then our superiors took notice and it felt very much like creating your own destiny and working with your best friend in the process. It’s so much fun to be the bad guy. So that feels like the pinnacle of my bad guy reign. I enjoyed being the jerk.”
I think I’ve told you before but I had a big affinity for you, Dolph and Big E’s time together. I feel like that’s an underrated trio. They’d given you a couple different failed romance storylines, but here, you didn’t have to play the love struck or vengeful thing, just be a happy, evil couple with Dolph, and the three of you had a cool chemistry. Was it a funny thing when the three of you were put together, trying to figure out how to make it work?
“Definitely. There were so many iterations that were planned and it ended up being something of our own creation. I always refer to Big E as my child. I don’t know how that started, but I think it started with me saying I brought him into the wrestling world and I could take him out. I think it went into me saying I had birthed him. To this day he calls me mama. That was fun. I think it was supposed to be a Mickey and Mallory thing [with Dolph] and it turned into this ridiculous family. It was fun to not be the little kid with the unrequited love. Like how much of a loser do I have to be all the time? It was fun to be the bad guy for the first time and really embrace that. I never thought that was something I’d be able to pull off legitimately.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Brooks talked about her WWE run and if she feels fulfilled by it, writing her book without a ghostwriter, her struggles with being bipolar and more.
Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules is now on sale at Amazon.com for $13.21.