Former WWE champion AJ Lee has announced a shock return to the wrestling business.
Lee, now working under her real name AJ Mendez, has joined the relaunched WOW – Women of Wrestling, which has signed a deal with Viacom CBS.
Mendez will be the colour commentator on the show, and will also act as an executive producer alongside owner Jeanie Buss.
Speaking at a press conference announcing the relaunch, Mendez said: “My goal after wrestling was to create those characters for the next generation.
“So every little girl could see themselves on TV and know that nothing was impossible.”
AJ had announced her retirement from WWE in April 2015.
She was a three-time WWE Divas Champion, and held the record for longest title reign at 295 days.
Also announced as joining WOW was former Impact World Champion and Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard, who most recently has been wrestling with Lucha Libre AAA in Mexico.
Blanchard was accused of using racial slurs against another wrestler before her contract was terminated at Impact, but she has strenuously denied the allegations.
New episodes of WOW will launch in weekend syndication, starting in the autumn of 2022.
WOW owner Jeanie Buss said: “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.
“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.”