Review – AJ Mendez Brooks – Crazy Is My Superpower
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
With the Mae Young Classic Tournament here, it’s evidently the effect that women’s wrestling has now had on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in recent years.
At one point endlessly endeavored as the “Bathroom Break Segment” where fans would evacuate their seats in drones for the concession stands, female talent (branded “Divas”) in the billion dollar company were more accentuated for their looks than wrestling abilities. That known, matches would last about four minutes to the most.
Even though some female pioneers like Trish Stratus and Lita served as an athletic alternative to the rampant eye candy, WWE still treated the majority of women as an undercard attraction, if at all. Valets in bras and panties. Nothing more.
Just before the “Women’s Revolution” graced us with its presence on NXT with the likes of Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley, we had Paige, Kaitlyn and AJ Lee. Somewhere between the “PG Era” (shorter matches and irrelevant hosting gigs) and the “Revolution,” Paige/Kaitlyn/Lee also came up through developmental and scratched and clawed to steal the show.
Lee (real name AJ Mendez Brooks) particularly was synonymous with the main roster talent at her peak. She used her unstable, irrational “Crazy Chick” persona to cause an onscreen romantic rift with various top talent in notable storylines. One of those talent would ironically become her real-life husband, CM Punk. Yet through it all, she retained an eagerness to stand out from the rest and undo the stigma that women couldn’t be as important as the guys between the ropes.
Published earlier this year by Crown Archetype, Brooks penned her memoir in a true tell-it-all where nothing’s held back about her childhood poverty struggles, hostile home environment with teenage parents and horrendous experiences with mental illnesses like bipolar disorders (herself and her mother) that hit close to home.
Any AJ fan will smile at the book cover. A true nod to comic books and the “geek” lifestyle that’s now trendy, the cover is indicative of everything AJ – the speech bubbles and ring attire familiar to her WWE stint, black tank top, Chuck Taylors and jean shorts.
In terms of wrestling books, this might be the most honest one you’ll ever come across. Her details are so intricately detailed, you feel like you’re right there along with her and her family when they had to move out of numerous apartments, live in a motel for almost two years and spend chilly nights huddled together in their car to sleep.
Even if you’re not into wrestling, her rhetoric is enough to cast an inspiration to anybody feeling down about their situation, professionally and personally. Simultaneously, it speaks to the wrestling fans and rewards them for all those horrid episodes of NXT Season two where she first made an impact to the end where she emerged a winner at WrestleMania 31.
Her voice is conversational from the get-go and pulls you right in. It’s almost hilarious at times. She’s not afraid to crack jokes, but also steps up to her flaws, which really shows a versatility to the reader in how vulnerable she is at points. It’s endearing to say the least. Along with each chapter comes a creative comic-esque caricature of the topic that also helps everything flow easily.
Another big thing the book does is that it opens up your perspective to just how mental illnesses affect families. She watched her overprotective mother become unrecognizable over the years and almost somebody different. By the book’s conclusion, she explains her motivation to use crazy as a good thing. Her weaknesses are essentially her biggest strengths, true to her character.
Some may argue that her tone can be “preachy feminist,” but that’s the exact thing she’s trying to stop. She might’ve been the first “Diva” to noticeably challenge the status quo and found discreet ways to insert her true personality into her on-screen character, to the point they were almost the same. Her bosses weren’t initially thrilled but that was irrelevant by 2012-2013, when she sold t-shirts (a trendsetter there) and graced a Pay-Per-View event poster.
She’s not afraid of who she is and if you didn’t know that before you picked the book up, you won’t forget it by the end. Embrace your inner “crazy” and give it a read. You’ll never know what you’re fully capable of.
Posted on September 7, 2017, in Misc, WWE and tagged AJ Lee, Autobiographies, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Book Review, Charlotte, CM Punk, Crazy Chicks, Daniel Bryan, Florida Championship Wrestling, Kaitlyn, Kane, Mae Young Classic, NXT, Paige, Pro Wrestling, Sasha Banks, Women's Wrestling, Women's Wrestling Revolution, WWE. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.