Source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter
As reported on Tuesday night, WWE Diva AJ Lee tweeted the following message to WWE executive 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 far as Divas being involved in the highest-rated segments on television, their segments were rarely above average when weekly segment breakdowns were available. Despite that fact, AJ was working main event segments with top WWE Superstars in the past, such as Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, and in those cases, those segments always did pretty strong numbers.
On the subject of pay, while there are some exceptions, it’s said to be a general rule within WWE that the Divas on the main roster are paid a considerable amount less than the guys. Apparently that is not the case in NXT, as there’s a rule there that many of the Divas actually make more than some of the men because so many of the men came from independent backgrounds and were willing to take lower pay just to be part of the WWE system.
Most of the women, however, came from modeling agencies or from 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.