AJ Lee hasn't appeared on WWE television since March 2015. And according to a recent report, fans should not expect to return anytime soon.
PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported on a recent episode of his radio show that any rumors of Lee potentially coming back, including for the SmackDown Live brand once it makes the jump to the Fox, were false.
"They aren't going to plan that far out in advance," Johnson said. "It's just not how this business works. AJ Lee mentioned in her book that she chose to get out of the ring due to physical issues. It was not an issue with CM Punk and WWE although she probably felt like the child in the middle of a divorce at that point. She was already planning the next stage of her life, beyond professional wrestling. I don't see her ever coming back."
Lee wrote in her 2017 memoir, Crazy Is My Superpower, that her retirement was partially due to discovered permanent damage to her cervical spine. Another contributing factor was the drama between the company and her husband CM Punk, writing she "felt caught in the middle."
Punk famously walked out on the company in early 2014 for what he claimed were a number of reasons. He revealed in a podcast interview with his personal friend and fellow wrestler Colt Cabana that one of the biggest reasons was his health, saying that a potentially fatal MRSA infection in his lower back along with multiple concussions, broken ribs and injured knees were not being properly diagnosed and treated by the WWE medical staff.
That interview spawned a lawsuit between WWE Dr. Chris Amann and Punk and Cabana, with Amann accusing the two of making false comments and suing for $1 million in damages. The trial was reportedly nearing a settlement in recent weeks, but The Wrestling Observer reported on Thursday that the trial was now moving forward.
"The defense (Punk's team) has worked long and hard on building a case for trial. Anything is possible but the defense is ready and prepared for a jury trial," The Observer reported.
Lee wrestled in the WWE from 2009-15, first in the Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory, then as a cast member of NXT (when it was still a competition reality) and finally as a member of the main roster. She finished her career as a three-time Divas Champion and once held the record for longest reign with the title at 295 days.