CM Punk’s return to professional wrestling sparked fan intrigue on whether AJ Mendez will do the same, but a freak injury has ruled that an impossibility.
AJ Mendez, the former AJ Lee, hasn’t wrestled since the post-WrestleMania Raw in March 2015, as she, Paige, and Naomi defeated Natalya and The Bella Twins. Mendez would announce her retirement at the end of that week, ending her eight-year in-ring career.
Although fans have clamoured for her to make a return to in-ring competition, particularly since her husband CM Punk decided to return to the squared circle last summer, AJ Mendez has ruled this out entirely.
The former Divas Champion joined Renee Paquette on the latest edition of The Sessions, where she claimed a previous neck injury suffered in her last year of in-ring competition prevented her from wrestling again (h/t Wrestling Inc.):
“I’m going to keep it feeling great by not wrestling. I hurt my neck really bad the last year, and when it happened in the ring, I thought I was paralyzed, which was the scariest thing ever.”
AJ Mendez continued, explaining that although she couldn’t remember when, exactly, she picked up the injury, she was “pretty sure” it came during a match with Paige:
“I f*cked up her move. I like, jumped a little early and I landed on the top of my head, couldn’t feel my legs, and they were like, ‘You gotta sell to hard cam,’ and I was like, [whispering] ‘I can’t feel my legs.’ And then I just roll over and sell to harm cam.
And then I got my feeling back and went to the doctor, it turned out three of my discs are so compacted it is shutting off a nerve, so my hands just go numb randomly…I had the option to do surgery to alleviate that pain or do rehab, and I went the rehab route. I was doing rehab and I was still on the road as champion … My hands still go numb, but other than that, I was very lucky!”
AJ Mendez joined the Women Of Wrestling promotion last October as an executive producer and colour commentator for the brand and upcoming television show, which recently recorded a series of episodes set to air via ViacomCBS later in 2022.
A talented in-ring grappler, the former Raw General Manager held the WWE Divas Championship three times and was a two-time WWE Diva of the Year. Since stepping away from in-ring activity, AJ Mendez has taken up careers in both acting and writing; Blade of the 47 Ronin, a sci-film she co-wrote, is currently in post-production for a 2022 release.