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A.J. Lee    

Former WWE Diva's Champion

April Mendez was born in Union City, New Jersey, and is of Puerto Rican descent. She has two older siblings; a sister, Erica, and brother, Robert. She describes her family's experience while growing up as having to live in motels, other people's houses, and their car. Her brother's childhood interest in WWE influenced her decision to break into the male-dominated world of wrestling and she cemented her ambition to pursue a professional wrestling career when she was 12 years old. She was inspired by the female WWE stars that came before her, especially Lita, whom she met as a child at an autograph signing. A video of the encounter, which shows the young Mendez being brought to tears by the meeting, has surfaced on YouTube. As an homage to her brother, who was in the U.S. Army, Mendez once wore camouflage wrestling attire.

After graduating from Memorial High School, Mendez worked several part-time jobs in order to save up the money she needed to both support her family and enroll in wrestling school. She attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, where she majored in film and television production and writing, until family and financial issues led to her dropping out six months into her studies.

Shortly after leaving university, Mendez enrolled in a wrestling school one mile away from her house. She worked full-time to pay the tuition and started training in March 2007 under Jay Lethal. She debuted on September 29, 2007, under the ring name Miss April, wrestling on the New Jersey independent circuit.

Miss April joined the New Jersey-based promotion Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) in October 2008, losing her debut match against Jana. After unsuccessfully competing alongside Malia Hosaka in a tournament to determine the inaugural WSU Tag Team Champions, she formed a tag team with Brooke Carter and on February 7, 2009, they captured the tag titles by defeating the Beatdown Betties (Roxie Cotton and Annie Social). On April 11, Miss April and Jay Lethal won the 2009 WSU/NWS King and Queen of the Ring tournament, defeating Jana and Danny Demanto in the final. In May, she left WSU upon signing with WWE and vacated her half of the WSU Tag Team Championships.

In 2012, Mendez became the first female winner of WWE's annual "Superstar Challenge", in what was a 16-person WWE '12 tournament at WrestleMania XXVIII Axxess. This received recognition in the 2015 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition. She made her video game debut as a downloadable character in WWE '13 and has since appeared in WWE 2K14 and WWE 2K15. Mendez voiced an animated version of her WWE character in the 2014 film Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery. In 2012, she rose to prominence through several storylines, such as relationships with wrestlers feuding over WWE's world championships, along with a three month stint as the General Manager of Raw. In subsequent years, she won the WWE Divas Championship three times, her first reign being the longest in the title's history at 295 days. She also won the Diva of the Year Slammy Award in 2012 and 2014 and was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Woman of the Year for an unprecedented three consecutive years before retiring in 2015 In 2015, Mendez was featured in an ASPCA campaign to end dog fighting


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