TNA Impact Wrestling’s Mickie James continues to cement her legacy as one of the most accomplished female competitors in history.
Holding gold in every major company she has been involved in the consummate performer has her sights set on winning back the knockout’s championship. The title is currently held by Velvet Sky, who has been a tag team partner and opponent of hers.
“I love Velvet,” James said. “She is a sweetheart. She is fun, and the company is really behind her now. They have really started to make her the face of the knockouts. I always try to do my best when I work with anyone and make sure the match as a whole is as wonderful and spectacular and tells that story as much as it can. She is awesome.”
After seven years, James re-signed with TNA coming off a memorable run in WWE because the Nashville-based company had become a hotspot for ladies wrestling. Compared to her former employer, it’s no secret TNA gives its female talent significantly more time to develop storylines and show their skills in matches. Frequently Knockouts action is prominently featured on the card, which rarely is seen in WWE.
“For me, and granted I don’t watch as much WWE programming as I used to when I was part of the company, but I think that has a lot to do with how much trust they have with those people in those matches and telling those stories,” James said. “Trish [Stratus] said it in her [WWE Hall of Fame] speech that this golden era of women who were some of the best women’s wrestlers in the world, and they aren’t there anymore. This is all over. This isn’t just within that organization.
“With the exception of Nattie [Neidhart] and Alicia Fox and ones like that, they haven’t been maybe wrestling long enough, but I’m not going to bury anybody. I don’t like doing it…But I learned so much valuable, little things, on the independent circuit coming up the hard way that you can’t learn in just starting to learn how to wrestle in developmental.
“You can’t. It’s impossible, but there were tons of stuff I learned in developmental. Granted, it was different when I was coming up just because when the business changes everything kind of changes. There were lessons that I learned and all things that made me a superstar. This is what molded me and made me kind of form that I was in the ring.”
The veteran doesn’t take anything for granted. She has learned from every stop on her journey through pro wrestling, whether it was performing in front of five people in a used car lot in 104-degree weather or before 70,000 people at WrestleMania. For James, everything she has encountered prepared her for the opportunities that have come her way.
“It was those experiences who made me who I was and kept me humble because I came up getting my ass kicked and driving hundreds of miles for $25 and a handshake and living on a can of tuna fish and peanuts,” James said.
“All that stuff kept me humble and motivated to go after my career and passion. You have to really want it because not everyone at the end of the day is willing to go, ‘Okay, I may not be able to put food on my table this week, but I love what I do.’ It’s all about sacrifices. I can’t say it’s true for the male side, but this is where your character is truly born and polished because it gives you that edge. You know how badly you fought for it and how badly you wanted it.”
Among one of the most experienced entertainers on the roster, James is willing to share her wealth of knowledge to those who genuinely want it.
“Even after the match with Velvet she asked me for advice,” James said. “I’m always honored and humbled when they ask me. I’ve learned that often time people will ask you for advice, but they don’t really want it. They just want to hear that they’re great. They want to hear the good stuff. They don’t want to hear that this sucks or this sucks....I just learned that unless this person needs to know or they ask me, I don’t bother. Or if it’s something, because I can’t stand bad wrestling, that is really eating me up inside, I will say something. I’ve made a mistake where someone pulled me aside and told me, ‘Please don’t ever do that again. This is how you do it.’
“I owe it to this business to do that and to hopefully help them along the way. I’m sure there were people who said, ‘I’m sure this girl will never make it. She is awful,’ when I was coming up. Unless it was something major or if they ask me, I will give them advice. You can also read them and if they’re really listening and wanted the advice or if they were trying to hear how great they were.”
Despite her impressive resume the wrestler and budding country singer found herself absent from TNA television for multiple months. Now shown more frequently on Impact, the “James Gang” may tell she has developed a noticeable edge to her character.
“I think this is a conscious decision I’ve made within myself,” James said. “I wanted to be more real with myself and my fans because I feel like I have been sitting at home a lot lately and more than I should. Especially, while knowing who I am in the ring and what I’ve done and accolades I have and the level of wrestler that I am when it comes to females in this industry. I feel like often times that gets overlooked, which is bull because if I was a male in this industry that would not happen. But because I’m a woman in this ever-changing cycle of sex sells, this sells or that sells.
“At the end of the day there are very few and far between of those who can stand toe-to-toe at the same level…That is what frustrates me. I can’t stand sitting on the sidelines and watching. I don’t think anybody as a professional or as an entertainer or as an athlete can stand. If I was injured, then that’s one thing, but to be completely 100 percent healthy and be doing absolutely nothing. To me, it built up my frustration up to the point of being just pussyfooting around as the girl-next-door with a big smile on my face and happy about every little thing when in reality I’m frustrated.”
James is looking to fuel these emotions into motivation on her return climb to the top of the Knockouts mountain.
• Mickie James second album “Somebody’s Gonna Pay” is now available on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/somebodys-gonna-pay/id633499730?ls=1 and other music retailers. Visit www.mickiejames.com for more information and to check out the music video.
• Follow Mickie James on Twitter @MickieJames.
• TNA will return to Central Florida when Impact Wrestling broadcasts live on Thursday, May 23 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa. Bell time is 7 p.m. EST with television at 8 p.m. EST.
Tickets, starting at $15, are available via TicketMaster online www.ticketmaster.com, TicketMaster outlets or by phone 800-745-3000. To avoid some service fees, you can purchase tickets directly at the arena, but check with the arena for availability and hours of operation.
• Two dozen of the biggest names in wrestling count on a whole lot of fight and a little bit of luck as they compete for a $100,000 grand prize as TNA Wrestling presents One Night Only: Joker’s Wild, a pay-per-view event hosted by Jeremy Borash and Christy Hemme that is available throughout May for $14.95.
The Joker’s Wild lineup features a who’s who of TNA Wrestling’s past, present and future. Former TNA champs such as The Cowboy James Storm, The It Factor Bobby Roode, The Samoan Submission Machine Samoa Joe, Mr. Anderson of Aces & Eights and Rob Van Dam jump into the fray alongside ring veterans Christopher Daniels, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Devon of Aces & Eights, Al Snow and Doug Williams, as well as talented newcomers like Gunner, Crimson, Joey Ryan and more.
The Joker’s Wild format pairs TNA superstars in randomly drawn tag teams, facing off with another team in a series of six matches. The winning teams from those six matches will then be entered in a 12-man Gauntlet Match, with the last man standing taking home $100,000.
The complete roster for Joker’s Wild includes James Storm, Christian York, Gunner, Crimson, Jessie Godderz, Mr. Anderson, Doug Williams, Kid Kash, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Rob Van Dam, Robbie E, Zema Ion, Joseph Park, Hernandez, Alex Silva, Devon, D.O.C., Rob Terry, Matt Morgan, Joey Ryan, Al Snow and Bobby Roode.
Contact your cable or satellite television provider for complete details.
• TNA Impact Wrestling is 8 p.m. EST Thursdays on Spike TV. Visit http://www.impactwrestling.com/.
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