It has been more than four years since Big E inadvertently smacked AJ Lee in the sternum during an entrance [with Dolph Ziggler] on live WWE television but it hasn't stopped fans from trolling him on Twitter about it. Earlier this week, Big E addressed a tweet over the botch and AJ Lee herself responded.
More than 4 years ago...Y'all so petty. https://t.co/iNPI4BN4qG— ShinigamE (@WWEBigE) May 31, 2017
My shattered sternum feels like it was just yesterday…— AJ Mendez Brooks (@TheAJMendez) May 31, 2017
Big E and AJ Lee go back with a behind-the-scenes friendship as WWE showed a commitment to them both in the earlier days of their careers. Following some failed [and sometimes vengeful] romance angles, WWE aligned Lee, Big E and Dolph Ziggler in a fun trio. When asked by IGN this past April about what is often considered an underrated stable, she explained how she views Big E as her child.
"There were so many iterations that were planned [with Big E and Dolph Ziggler] and it ended up being something of our own creation," Lee said. "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."
Big E explained in January 2014 that bonding with AJ Lee and Dolph Ziggler came due to the three sharing a similar sense of humor:
"I knew AJ from developmental a year before she was on NXT. I didn't know Dolph at all. But when we started working together and traveling to different shows we realized that we shared a similar sense of humor. It didn't take us long to realize that it was kind of an odd pairing but it worked. We had a lot of fun and it is something that I'll always remember. I learned a lot from Dolph when I was ringside for all of the Cena matches at house shows. It was a positive way for me to start my career."
Following the release of her April 2017 memoir, Lee shared a moment of her friendship with Big E when he surprised her at a book signing:
#CrazyIsMySuperpower Tour Week 3. You just never know what's gonna happen at these book signings. Last night as I signed my brain baby birthed from my brain womb, I was delighted by the sight of my ACTUAL BABY BOY birthed from my wrestling womb! I was sure he was just going to break my sternum again while demanding the months in child support I owe, but he actually just came to surprise and support me! Like the goddamn marshmallow he is. Thanks @wwebige, I'm the proudest Momma. - AJ