We’ve got an update on the pipebomb dropped by AJ Lee on Tuesday night regarding the way WWE Divas are paid and portrayed on television. To recap, AJ tweeted the following to Stephanie McMahon:
“Your female wrestlers have record selling merchandise & have starred in the highest rated segment of the show several times, And yet they receive a fraction of the wages & screen time of the majority of the male roster. #UseYourVoice”
Regarding Lee’s merchandise claims, while she was a strong merchandise mover when she was being pushed, the formula WWE uses for merchandise sales with a majority of the roster is the same, outside of a few top WWE Superstars who get higher percentages. None of the Divas in the company sell at the level of the top several Superstars.
As for Divas being involved in the highest-rated segments of WWE shows, their segments were rarely above average when weekly segment breakdowns were available. Despite that fact, AJ was fortunate enough to work various main event segments with stars like CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, segments that usually did pretty strong numbers.
Regarding pay, it’s true that Divas on the main roster are paid considerably less than the men. It’s interesting to note that this is not the case in NXT. Most of the men at NXT came from the indy scene and are willing to accept lower pay just to get a foot in the door with WWE. Most of the NXT women, however, came from modeling agencies or had athletic backgrounds. Additionally, there’s said to be an idea that the women need to earn at a certain level to maintain the type of “look” that WWE desires.
According to a source close to this story, AJ Lee caught the company completely off-guard with her comments. Stephanie McMahon in particular was said to be furious at being made to look bad on a public forum by one of their employees. Vince McMahon, in looking at the big picture, reportedly told Stephanie to reply with the tweet that she sent, which simply thanked AJ for her opinion.
(Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter)