WrestleMania Diary: AJ Lee, Day 1

Page 2 of 3
April 03, 2013

CITY LIMITS, 1:14 p.m.
Bounding between states of silent awe and giddy restlessness, AJ Lee is awash in emotions of all kinds as she reunites with Union City, a place the enigmatic Diva still calls home despite the muddled meaning of the word during much of her hardscrabble childhood. 

In a span of less than 10 minutes, AJ points out no less than four of her family’s former residences nearby, which included a grand total of than 30 different apartments. Eviction was a fact of life when money wasn’t.

Despite the memories that bubble up to the surface as AJ glides past the boarded-up buildings and vacant lots that pockmark the landscape of her youth, she harbors no resentment for the city — and in turn, the state — that birthed her desire to follow a dream.

“Every bad thing [growing up] I ever went through was in Jersey, but every awesome lesson I learned was in Jersey,” AJ said, a black hooded sweatshirt pulled tightly over her head to brace against the biting wind. “For me, Jersey represents going through what you can go through and still surviving. That’s the cool thing about people from the Tri-State area. We’re fighters. We’re survivors, and we’re edgier than anyone else on Earth. I could be anywhere in the country and people will ask, ‘Are you from Jersey? ’ I’m proud of that. We’re a weird breed.”

WALKING IT OUT, 1:34 p.m.
AJ Lee isn’t a fan of walking … in fact, one might say she has an intense hatred of the act that dates back more than a decade. Without a family car and with bus fare even being unattainable on certain days, a young AJ Lee would find herself trekking miles to school or work.

“I’ve tallied a lot of miles in these Converses,” AJ says with laugh, drawing attention to her signature canvas footwear that’s more associated with anarchic skipping than arduous schlepping these days.

AJ’s distaste for walking didn’t stop her from taking a WrestleMania Week saunter across a Summit Avenue overpass — the very same overpass that AJ traversed to attend her very first wrestling school mere blocks away.

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