Author– A.J Mendez-Brooks
As a huge wrestling fan I try to read as many books written by the performers as possible. I’ve always enjoyed learning stories from my childhood heroes and the behind the scenes glimpses of what takes place outside of the squared the circle. Aj Mendez- Brooks most notably known to audiences as AJ Lee was a former professional wrestler and three time womens champion in the WWE. Aj is partially responsible for spearheading what we now know as the women’s revolution a shift in focus on more in-ring work and personality, less about looks. She fought to help women get more television time, merchandise and respect from the industry. As an AJ fan I definitely miss her charismatic presence on television and I always wondered why she decided to leave the business so young and while she was still at the top of her game. If Aj’s storytelling on paper is anywhere as dynamic as it is in the ring then I am positive this will be awesome.
Apirl Mendez is the youngest of three children born to Janet and Robert in New Jersey. Her siblings Erica and Robbie were very close and at a young age fell in love with pro wrestling. Nicknamed “AJ” by her family she was always a star student but was prone to violence because she always witnessed her parents arguing. Since her folks were very young they worked hard but were irresponsible and moved around a lot, constantly getting evicted living in hotels and even their car.
AJ continued to excel in academics through her adolescence which helped her to get accepted into the prestigious NYU school of the Arts. Having to continuously take care of her parents throughout college especially her mother who was dealing with bipolar depression eventually AJ had to drop out. She then worked various odd jobs and eventually her mother’s condition began to wear off on her. Looking for ways to cope she one day ended up abusing and overdosing on pills.
Aj knew it was finally time to stop enabling herself and decided that it was time for her to pursue her lifelong passion of becoming a professional wrestler. Spending almost every check she had on training she worked her way up the independent circuit until finally she obtained a WWE tryout in which she ended up receiving a contract. After all of the years of struggling it finally seemed as though AJ had made it but as she soon realized her looks and beliefs would not mix well with the WWE protocol. Aj was forced to be rebellious and resilient in order to change the mindset of the WWE officials in order to make it on the roster.
“I would rather control the crowd then play among it”
“We were rough around the edges, but that didn’t make us worthless. Being a little aged does not make someone broken. It just means they have better stories and cooler scars.”
“If you provide kids with creative ammunition, they will blast holes into oppressive reality and conceive limitless worlds.”
“You can tell a lot about individuals by how they treat people they believe are beneath him.”
” I am as comfortable with my appearance the same way a dog is as comfortable licking his crotch in public. If you’re uncomfortable looking at me that is your own damn problem.”
“When you finally live out your biggest dreams the next step must always be: Dream bigger.”
“Bipolar disorder is the villain of this story. It has a source of pain, but it has also been the fountain of strength. So save the pity. I am not a victim of mental illness. I am the hero of this story and do not need to be saved”
- Dope illustrations courtesy of Rob Guillory
- Photographs from Aj’s childhood
- The descriptions of having bipolar disorder cycle
- Diary of an unfit mind and the lists
- Collage of Aj’s favorite moments in life
- The three bands AJ wears to this day and what they symbolize
- Letter to her unborn daughter
- Meeting and first kiss between CM Punk
- Girl on Girl, AJ’s friendship with Celeste and how females should work together.
Aj’s father ended up working overtime to save money to afford tickets to Wrestlemania in New York City for her birthday. The seats ended up being way in the nosebleed and not as close as he anticipated. Aj’s dad apologized for the seating but she was very fortunate just to be there and told him one day she would be performing at Wrestlemania one day. Ten years later Aj competed in and retained the women’s championship at Wrestlemania in the same arena. She actually found and took a photograph in the same seats she sat 10 years prior completing her goal and coming full circle.
Aj and I are about the same age so this book related to me with all of the nineties references and about the same time falling in love with pro wrestling. I was also an outcast and made up lies as to why I could not do things the same as other children. I am also the youngest of three, grew up poor, always ate and wore the same things and moved around a lot. This was a very smart and humorous read. I hope she starts blogging more or delivering written works in some fashion as I really enjoyed this book. Aj comes off very authentic here like a chill person you can kick it with and talk comic books and video games. AJ talks about wrestling with such a passion I still would like to see her back in professional wrestling in some capacity as she is a very talented performer. She also exhibits great courage openly speaking about the effects of mental illness and bipolar depression. Just because you have a mental illness that does not mean you are crazy. Also there is nothing wrong with being crazy as it can actually be an advantage. Small in stature but still able to obtain gigantic goals, AJ Mendez-Brook’s Crazy is my Superpower is a powerful display of persevering.