WOW (Women of Wrestling) Executive Producer AJ Mendez, better known as former WWE star AJ Lee, sat down with WOW Wrestling’s own Izzy to talk about her new role with the company. When asked why she took the position, Lee stated she was drawn to a show where the women weren’t just the exciting part of the show, but it’s main draw.
“WOW is about the women,” Lee said. “I think what’s beautiful about women’s wrestling is a) they’re such special creatures. We’re a rare breed. And my favorite wrestling has always been women’s wrestling. I’ll skip over the guy’s match to watch the girls, like my whole life. And so to see over the years how women have gone from being the most exciting part of the show, to then you have WOW where we are the show. We are the whole show.
“That’s what inspired me, but also, I’ve gotten to be on TV. I’ve gotten to make all my dreams come true. I’m in a new phase of my life where I’m creating. I have a production company, I’m a writer and a producer. And so to be able to connect those two worlds, my love of wrestling and my love of film and TV, and work behind the scenes as an executive producer? I could not pass that up.”
Another ting that drew Lee to WOW was that it was another challenge. Having already fulfilled her dreams of being a wrestler, author, and now TV/film writer and producer, Lee wants to help give women’s wrestling a boost as they move towards their next chapter.
“I really enjoy challenges,” Lee admitted. “I like to aim really, really high and to say ‘I can figure it out.’ I live with bipolar disorder and I always say living with a mental health disorder is a gift, because you see the world in a vibrant way of colors and you don’t believe in the impossible. You really just believe in yourself, maybe to a delusional point, and that’s always been my M.O. If I can dream it, I can go be it.
“So to be able to succeed in wrestling was a dream, to become a New York Times Best Seller was a lifelong dream, and to write TV and film has been a huge dream, and I’m doing that now. But to be an executive producer before I’m 35, thanks to the great Jeanie Buss for letting me stand alongside her, that’s what it’s all about. It’s women giving women a hands up and supporting them for the next chapter. That’s kind of a dream to me.”
Lee also delved into her journey, and how as a wrestling fan she grew up not seeing many women who looked like her. She was thus forced to create a space for herself, and in her new role wants to give girls a home a chance to see themselves represented onscreen.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t see a lot of women that looked like me on TV,” Lee said. “I’m Puerto Rican, I’m tiny, I have asthma and bad skin, and I didn’t look like all these super models. And I just never thought wrestling was a role I could succeed in. I never thought I was the type of person that belonged on television. And so I had to create that space for myself, and I had to become that character for myself to see myself on TV.
“That’s a hard journey and it shouldn’t be that hard, and not everyone should have to do that. And so my goal now is to create those characters for the next generation, so little girls at home can see themselves represented on TV, and know that there’s nothing that’s impossible. If you can see it, you can be it.”
Joining WOW has obviously led to speculation that Lee will return to the ring for the first time since 2015, when she retired from WWE. While she didn’t dismiss the idea and said she would be able to wrestle, she wants the next generation to have the spotlight instead.
“I say the same thing in every interview, and it’s ‘never say never, but don’t hold your breath,'” Lee stated. “And what I mean by that is that I never say never to anything. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m healed from everything I’ve gone through in wrestling. I could technically do it, but I am so enjoying letting the next generation have their spotlight. I got to do everything I want to do, so it would have to be ‘is that challenge there?’ I don’t think the girls need me there, I think they’re going to take over the world all by themselves.”
You can watch the full interview below.