She retired from the sport close to three years ago, but AJ Lee remains one of the most impactful women's wrestlers of the past decade.
At peak popularity, Lee was one of the most over performers in the company, and an important pre-Revolution vanguard for WWE's oft neglected women's division. AJ, along with the likes of Paige, helped mount the scene's final push away from its superficial past, and towards a future where performers were pushed primarily on merit, not aesthetics.
Spinal injuries, creative frustrations, and her husband CM Punk's departure one year prior prompted Lee's 2015 release. Many lamented her retirement, but few were surprised. It came just two months after publicly skewering Stephanie McMahon for a hypocritical '#UseYourVoice' tweet, and having suffered close to five years of shoddy storylines and character direction, it was an understandable decision.
Lee was put through the wringer several times throughout her WWE run. From her grim early days as part of the NXT reality series to her god-awful string of romantic storylines, AJ's spell was was full of ups and downs, both onscreen and off, many of which her former employers would love to delete from history...
10. Losing To Eva Marie
Eva Marie was bad. So bad, in fact, that WWE effectively turned her in-ring shortcomings (and the fans' exasperation with them) into her gimmick towards the end of her run, with the hard-trolling 'All Red Everything' playing a tremendous avoiding heel.
Whether WWE acknowledged it or not, it was impossible to take the out-of-her-depth Eva seriously whenever she stepped between the ropes. The company's caste system has been incoherent for years, but Eva was on the bottom rung, and AJ was usually sat near the very top. Thus, the redhead besting the former Raw General Manager was a major shock, and it happened twice.
Eva overcame AJ (who was Divas Champion at the time) in two consecutive singles matches back in August 2014. It didn't result in a title shot, either, which makes the booking even more pointless. Why sacrifice your top champion to a green, inexperienced rookie if there's no bigger plan in play?
Unfortunately, this oddball decision was but a drop in the ocean of bad decisions that ultimately sent Lee's frustration with the company skyward, and likely played a role in her eventual departure.