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Five Questions With: WWE's AJ Lee Returns to Garden State

Lee chats about John Cena, Jersey roots before WWE's hit show RAW came to Newark Monday night.

Newark got RAW Monday night.

WWE's popular weekly show returned to New Jersey Monday at the Prudential Center, delivering fans a dose of good ole-fashioned body slams and elbow drops.

This installment was a homecoming for WWE's feisty tomboy diva AJ Lee, who's coming off an impressive upset last week over veteran Tamina Snuka.

Lee, whose real name is April Jeanette Mendez and hails from Union City, dished to Patch about her elusive relationship with John Cena, stepping down as RAW's general manager in October and being back in the Garden State.

Set the record straight: What is going on between you and John Cena?

You started off with a hardball! You know what, it's one of those things where you're going to have to watch RAW and see it unfold. It's interesting, it's kind of evolved over the last couple of weeks. You're just going to have to tune in and see, I can't really answer that. (laughs)

There's talk that John Cena's downfalls are relationships and his personal life. Do you think your relationship with him will affect him in the ring?

In our business I think it could go either way. I think those relationships with, say, Macho Man (Randy Savage) and Elizabeth, it's beneficial to the person. It's good to see those couples and those women who kind of be the woman behind a man and they (the man) can be successful from that. But it can also go very downhill and be a detriment to them and be a distraction.

I don't know, I hope to be helpful as I can.

Any regrets about stepping down as general manager in October?

Definitely. I think it's funny because we were trying to avoid going into the whole, everything that happened after. That was the whole point of stepping down and it just became 10 times bigger.

I miss it definitely, to be seen in that role, to be a woman in power. At least there's a woman in power, but unfortunately it's Vickie Guerrero.

You're a Jersey Girl - raised in Union City. How does it feel knowing you'll be back Monday in Newark?

It's such a great feeling. The fanbase in the tri-state area is so rad, it's different than anywhere else. Every time I go back there, there'll be people in the crowd that have seen me at independent shows in like high school gyms ...

The crowds are always a lot more vibrant and lot louder and you can't tell who they're cheering for. It's such a great feeling, a different atmosphere when we're in the area. It's a little homecoming and you know it's nice to be anywhere near New Jersey or New York.

The last time we were in Jersey for RAW was when I stepped down (as general manager), so hopefully it'll be a environment next time.

That was a tough time, hopefully there's less crying and less Vickie makeup all over my clothes (laughs) because I literally had her entire face on my clothes.

How did you get into pro-wrestling?

I grew up as such a tomboy. I had an older sister and older brother, and my older sister was the girliest girl of all time and it just revolted me. (laughs) I just didn't understand it, didn't relate to it. So my brother, I just kind of gravitated toward the things he was doing and he got me into comic books and video games and wrestling at a really young age.

I decided, "Ok, I want to do this," and was really serious about it (wrestling). I don't think anyone believed me, but from 12 years old, I took little steps to learn more and more about it and kind of started wrestling at 18-19.

Anything's possible – I worked really hard to get here.

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