Mickie James participated in an interview with Female First while she was in the UK promoting TNA Wrestling’s upcoming Maximum Impact Tour and recalled her reaction to being released from her WWE contract last year. She admitted it was as big a shock for her, and did upset her.
“I think it angered a lot of people,” she says, continuing: “It would be one thing if I was doing a poor job, and I didn’t capture the fans every time I went out there, or if I wasn’t so good at what I did.”
As it was, it drained her of her passion for wrestling, until one show in a high school gym.
“I looked around the locker room, looking in these peoples’ eyes. There were people who had never been anywhere, never wrestled anywhere except here. You could see that fire in their eyes, that desire and that wanting to make it. I thought…s***, what happened to that?”
She adds: “It was one of those wonderful eye-opening things. I do this because I love it, I love entertaining the fans. I love what I do out there, and I’m amazing at it.”
This led her to TNA, with the organization acquiring another wrestler who gained notoriety in WWE. Whilst TNA sometimes comes under fire for pushing homegrown talent aside in favour of former WWE talent, she thinks it’s important to keep it fresh.
“You can’t do the same things over and over again. We have so much talent, there are ways to keep it fresh,” she explains, before pointing out that AJ Styles and Samoa Joe are still featured regularly on television.
She then adds that if people wanted to watch the same thing over and over again, they would tune into WWE.
“TNA really started to make a name for themselves with the X Division, stuff like that, because it was different, nobody else was doing it,” she says.
According to the article, the industry has it’s detractors, both in the wrestling press and with sceptics. James has a less-than-favorable opinion on the subject of “the poor end of the wrestling press” (referred to as “dirt sheets”):
She points out that “nobody reads those things”, adding: “I feel like, nine times out of ten, it’s somebody who thinks they know, but really they don’t.”
The industry also faces criticism from those who disregard what the wrestlers do as fake. James says, “We’ll never try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes and say there’s not a certain artwork to it. I guarantee you, 9 out of 10 people in the world wouldn’t step in the ring and do what I do, nor could they. I think we have one of the hardest jobs in the world.”