There is a report circulating about the retirement of AJ Lee being because of the defamation lawsuit filed against her husband CM Punk and Colt Cabana by WWE ringside physician Chris Amann over the infamous “tell-all” Art of Wrestling podcast that was released last November. While I’m sure that only added to the awkwardness between AJ Lee and WWE, I have my doubts regarding that being the reason why AJ decided to retire.
AJ had been dropping hints for months that she was finishing up with WWE, with rumors surfacing she would end her run at Survivor Series 2014 (a pay-per-view that took place BEFORE Punk’s podcast with Colt Cabana was released). While we debunked that rumor at the time, the talk was very much there [regarding AJ leaving WWE] before Punk told his story about the circumstances that resulted in him abruptly quitting the company in January 2014.
AJ Lee fueled rumors of her impending WWE departure during her acceptance speech for the Diva of the Year at the 2014 WWE Slammy Awards episode of Monday Night Raw in December 2014.
You can watch the speech at this link or embedded in the video below:
We transcribed it in the text below:
“Ok so, three years ago I promised all of you I would redefine the term Diva and I am very proud to say I have done that. You can be a nerd, you can be a tomboy and you can still be the longest reigning Divas Champion of all-time. So I hope that means that next year this award is won by Bayley or Sasha or Charlotte or Emma or Paige. Any of those girls can be next in line for the throne but I’m not done being queen and Sunday, I will take back what is mine and I will become the four-time Divas Champion.”
All and all, it was officially announced by WWE on April 3, 2015 that AJ Lee has retired from in-ring competition. While much has already been written, please understand AJ departing WWE has been talked about as far back as November 2014 BEFORE CM Punk’s “tell-all” podcast with Colt Cabana was even released.
In my personal opinion, AJ's future with WWE was highly in question the moment CM Punk was released from his Performer's Contract last summer.