Actress, author, and former WWE star April “AJ Lee” Mendez is coming back to professional wrestling thanks to WOW – Women of Wrestling. This week, it was announced that ViacomCBS had signed a multi-year distribution agreement with the WOW – Women of Wrestling. The women’s professional wrestling organization was originally founded in 2000 by David McLane, who was also the founder of the famous Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) promotion that inspired a popular Netflix series. L.A. Lakers controlling owner and president Jeanie Buss now owns the league.
“Wrestling’s presentation of women has long been very important to me, and we now are presenting the epitome in sports entertainment that will highlight the athleticism of these superstars as we reintroduce WOW,” Buss said in a statement. “Our partnership with the entire ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group family allows us to continue our mission of providing wrestling fans and WOW Superheroes what they have all deserved: a global platform for a dedicated women’s wrestling league.”
Dan Cohen, president of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group, added: We are thrilled to partner with Jeanie Buss and David McLane to create a significant global footprint for WOW and expand our diverse, world-class content portfolio,” said Dan Cohen, president of ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group. “This series offers audiences unique, compelling and creative entertainment that features female ‘superheroes’ in the ring, behind the cameras and in all aspects of the business. Both in the U.S and abroad, we believe this is an event program that will make some noise in the marketplace.”
The new deal includes exclusive media rights to WOW with distribution opportunities for the U.S. and abroad. Previous seasons of WOW shows will be made available for streaming on CW Seed and Pluto TV in December 2021 with new episodes set to launch in weekend syndication in Fall 2022. Along with this big announcement came the reveal that Tessa Blanchard, who won the World Championship in Impact Wrestling last year, would be returning to WOW competition.
It was also announced during a WOW – Women of Wrestling press conference that the former AJ Lee is officially a part of the relaunch. Going by the name AJ Mendez, she will provide commentary on each show and will also serve as an executive producer with Jeanie Buss. Pro wrestling fans will certainly best know Mendez from her time spent in WWE performing under the ring name AJ Lee, where she won the company’s Divas Championship three times.
Mendez retired as an in-ring performer in 2015 in part due to a spinal cord injury and never returned to WWE programming. Her real-life husband CM Punk had controversially parted ways with the company the prior year as well, essentially putting Mendez caught in the middle. CM Punk recently made his own return to pro wrestling after a 7-year hiatus, debuting as an in-ring performer for WWE’s competitor All Elite Wrestling. Some fans had wondered if Mendez would soon follow with her own pro wrestling return.
AJ Mendez, aka AJ Lee, has been very missed in the world of pro wrestling since departing WWE. Her presence on WOW – Women of Wrestling will undoubtedly have many of her fans tuning in. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.