The Stomping Ground: Raw is AJ

I hope everyone enjoyed their Fourth of July celebrations, especially since this was the last one ever according to skeptics and/or braindead morons.

For the past few months, the WWE Divas have been getting the shaft, relegated to backstage segments or just plain omitted from the show altogether. Granted, many of them are completely useless, but still…so are some of the male wrestlers and THEY get screen time, right?

The character of AJ has changed all of that, for better or worse. Once a “barely there” tag team wrestler with Kaitlyn in the Chickbusters, she became the perfect patsy for Daniel Bryan’s heel heat until Wrestlemania. Despite going insane, it appeared that AJ would wallow in the back like all the other directionless Divas until someone had the bright idea to put her in the Punk/Bryan title situation. Kudos to whoever brainstormed that idea, because I haven’t been so invested in a Diva since Kharma first arrived on the scene.

Right away the IWC was split on whether AJ’s involvement on Raw was a positive or negative for the business. Some believe her screen presence has led to overexposure or that more time should be focused on the wrestling itself and not the psycho drama. Others claim that this is a GLOWing (see what I did there?) achievement for Divas who haven’t had much to do lately, or simply compelling drama which in turn hooks viewers into buying the upcoming PPV.

I am in the latter camp; sexual opinions about the girl aside, I think what she’s done with the time and material given to her is awesome. Could any other Diva make this character work? Sure, but the ball was given to AJ and she is absolutely running with it. Her involvement in the WWE title picture as the special guest referee adds another level of intrigue to a match we’ve all seen before and clearly want to see again.

And that’s another thing: the focus on AJ has superseded anything John Cena is currently involved in. For the first time in MONTHS, the WWE Championship has taken center-stage and John Cena is in the back seat, and it’s all thanks to a completely mental and emotionally unstable young lady. The best part of the last few episodes of Raw has been (hands down) any and all interactions between Bryan, Punk, and AJ.

My only concern, one that has been raised by others, is whether or not the WWE has an end game strategy for AJ. Is she simply a prop for the Bryan/Punk feud, to be pushed aside when she’s outlived her usefulness? Look at what happened to Eve. She took the status of an afterthought in the Cena/Kane feud and turned into a great heel….and once that happened, she became utterly useless. She didn’t get involved in matches, she didn’t feud with Zack Ryder or even other Divas. She was just sort of “there,” sneering in the background of Johnny Ace’s promos.

I’m hoping that this is not the most that AJ will make of her WWE career; that this achievement will not be the highest rung of the ladder of success. Let her wrestle or work as a valet to top tier talent. Don’t let her fall back into the shadows like those who came before her.

But this IS WWE, after all.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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