WrestleMania Diary: AJ Lee, Day 2

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April 04, 2013

MIRROR, MIRROR,  8:55 a.m.

With just four nights remaining until AJ Lee graces The Grandest Stage of Them All, perhaps altering the course of a second championship reign at WrestleMania in as many years, Lee rolls out of bed in her Jersey City hotel room feeling the full enormity of the weekend ahead. From Axxess appearances to WrestleMania Reading Challenge finals and then the illustrious event itself on April 7, the unorthodox Diva approaches The Showcase of the Immortals with grace, or at least her own version of it.

Draping a skull-emblazoned sweater over a custom-torn Marvel Comics T-shirt, AJ slinks over to the mirror and ties her hair back in a simple ponytail — the closest she ever really gets to a traditionally “girly” primping ritual.

For a moment, AJ’s gaze meets that of her reflection, seeming to reach a mutual understanding with herself that whatever WrestleMania moment awaits her this year, she will own it.

“When I was really little, I wanted to be a wrestler so I could be like the girls I looked up to,” AJ says, reflecting on her decision to pursue a career in the squared circle at age 12. “My brother then told me that ‘you don’t want to be like your idols, you want to grow up and be better than them.’ To this day, that’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. You shouldn’t want to replicate somebody just because you like them. You can respect what they’ve done, but you should also want to surpass them.”

CHUCK WILD, 9:22 a.m.

As a sophomore in high school, AJ Lee stepped into her first pair of Chuck Taylors, igniting a lifelong love affair with Converse’s vintage basketball sneakers that would later entwine with her in-ring devotion. After all, who needs kickpads or wrestling boots when knee-high Chucks will do?

“I have probably more than 40 or 50 pairs of Chucks, which is probably unhealthy … I should see a doctor,” AJ says, displaying her candy-colored assortment of the classic lace-ups, including a pair themed after Batman villainess Poison Ivy and a “Wizard of Oz” ruby slipper–esque tandem. “There’s no place like home” indeed.

WATCH: AJ SORTS THROUGH HER COLLECTION OF CHUCKS

In addition to her Converse collection, which she keeps pristine and plastic-bagged until they’re worn in the ring, AJ always ensures that she has “casual” Chucks on hand, which she gleefully scuffs.

“Chucks are cooler when they’re dirty,” AJ affirms.  “I actually stepped on somebody’s the other day because they were too clean.”

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