Dating back to the night after WrestleMania 30, AJ Lee and Paige have engaged in one of the most compelling and entertaining WWE divas storylines in recent memory. The rivalry appeared to culminate at SummerSlam, but following more interaction between the two on Raw, it seems likely to continue for at least another month. The WWE Universe should be thankful and appreciate this as one of the best divas angles in years.
Unlike any divas feud dating back to the early 2000s, the program between AJ and Paige has contained solid in-ring action, impressive character development and a long-term approach to the storytelling.
The rivalry began in April when Paige debuted to a raucous ovation, as she interrupted a celebratory promo by AJ, who had successfully defended her championship the night prior. Paige, who already had established herself as one of the best divas in the company during her stint on NXT, scored the upset victory, capturing the Divas Championship and in the process, ended the nearly 300-day reign of AJ.
Following her defeat, AJ took a sabbatical which allowed the newly-crowned champ to move into the spotlight. Paige proved her in-ring prowess in her title defenses during this stretch, but the storylines failed to really capture the audience. That is, until AJ returned.
On June 30, amidst rumors that she may step away from the company permanently, AJ Lee returned on Raw to an incredible reaction from the WWE Universe. In an exchange that paralleled what Paige did months earlier, AJ goaded Paige to put her title on the line, and the longest-reigning Divas champion of all time managed to recapture the title.
This led to the “frienemies” angle, in which the women appeared to be cordial with each other, showing good sportsmanship, as both played the babyface role. That would quickly change, though, as Paige viciously attacked her opponent after AJ scored a victory at Battleground.
Now playing the full-fledged heel, Paige displayed her ability on the microphone and her charisma as she repeatedly mocked the champion, replicating her trademark skipping around the ring. This culminated with an encounter on Sunday at SummerSlam during which both divas displayed their athletic ability. Unfortunately, the ladies did not have much time afforded to them, but they made the most of it, putting on an entertaining contest that led to Paige capturing the title. In the process, the England native added a sexual element to the feud, kissing an unconscious AJ after the pinfall.
On Raw, AJ interrupted Paige’s match, likely setting up the two for a final match at the next pay-per-view, Night of Champions.
Regardless of what happens going forward, this has already been possibly the best divas angle since Trish Stratus and Mickie James had a feud that resulted in an unforgettable bout at WrestleMania 22.
In the current landscape of WWE, many of the divas have modeling backgrounds or appear on television as part of the reality show Total Divas. These two are different, though, as they combine their physical beauty with their unparalleled work in the ring and on the mic. Most divas storylines cannot engage the audience for a month, but this rivalry is now into its fifth month and is still fresh and entertaining.
The WWE Universe should appreciate this program and enjoy the chemistry Lee and Paige have together. It may be a very long time until two divas surpass this rivalry.