Mickie James will be appearing at the Maryland Championship Wrestling show on Saturday night against Angelina Love and opened up about her TNA departure, a WWE return and much more.
You last appeared in TNA in September, what have you been doing since then?
I’ve been doing a lot with the music. We’ve had a lot more music shows lined up. I’m still working independents, and signings, and working conventions. It’s the same dance always there. But yeah, I’ve been really focusing on getting the music stuff going. We’re talking about working on the third album and trying to get the schematics on that. So we’ll see.
When your contract in TNA ran out in September, you were the first of several big names, including guys like AJ Styles and Sting, to leave the company in a relatively short time. What were your last few months like in TNA?
It was weird, because before the last couple of months, for about the year before that, I really wasn’t doing much on TV. I wasn’t really involved in the storylines at all. Hell, I actually probably only wrestled in that year or year and a half, only about 50 or 75 shows. It wasn’t something that I was accustomed to, because I’ve always been used to, wherever I was, that I was doing something on the show, in some aspect. Not necessarily wrestling on every show, but doing something. So that was when those wheels started to turn of, “Well, I didn’t know if I was supposed to stick with TNA anyways.”
And then in those last few months, I was doing a lot. I just turned heel, I was really doing some cool stuff on TV. So when my departure came at that time, it was pretty, not shocking, because I knew my contract was coming up, and nobody even opened the door to talk about it until there was about a month before my contract ran out. But I didn’t expect that day was going to be my last day on TV until that day came. I was pretty happy towards the end because I was doing something fun and exciting and new to me. I begged them to turn heel for so long, and finally they did it, and we were just scratching the surface of it, and getting steam behind it. But then we just had to cut it because I had to walk away. But it is what it is. It was exciting to do something different and play that heel character and tap into that nasty side a bit.
You mentioned earlier that if you signed with the WWE, you’d go out and give it your all, and I know you visited the WWE Performance Center a couple of months ago. What sparked that and is there anything more going on between you and WWE?
I don’t really know … I mean, I know what sparked that interest in it was, me reaching out and seeing what opportunities were available, or any interest in me at all. And that’s when they talked about if I was interested in going down and working with the girls there, and feeling that whole trainer position out, and seeing if it was something that I was even good at. I’ve never trained anyone in my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to really work with amazing people and have incredible people lead me along the way. Any chance I had to work with Ricky Steamboat or Bobby Eaton, that’s what I did when I was trying to make it, was soak up knowledge from all those people before I went to developmental. I felt like developmental really was that fine-tuning experience with me. I can’t say that I’ve done all this stuff in wrestling, but at the same time, there is a bit of that humbleness that I feel like if I can give someone that knowledge, or pass something on that’s going to help them so perhaps they don’t make the same mistakes that you made, or it’s going to better them as a performer then you always want to give back. Someone told me a long time ago that you always want to leave the business better than you walked into it. This would be an opportunity to do that. Whether I’m in that right position right now, as far as being a trainer, I’m not sure. I have so much stuff going on right now between the music, and still wrestling, and other side projects I’m working on right now. And with that kind of job, I’d have to give up everything else, and I’m not sure if I’m in a place to do that right now. And obviously that could change tomorrow, but, who’s to say.
You were down at the Performance Center, which means you got to see a lot of the WWE NXT wrestlers. I know a lot of fans of women’s wrestling are raving about some of the divas down there, what did you see from them?
I thought there were a handful of them with legit, real potential. Obviously, I thought Paige was amazing. I had met Paige before, back in England actually. I really like her. That was the first time I had worked with Emma, and I thought she was really good. Sasha Banks, I really like her a lot. She had a good personality and was really sharp, and had a great look and a great character. Yeah, there are definitely girls with potential there. You never know who’s going to be the next superstar. Some of them are just kind of getting their feet wet, and have a ways to go, but they could be the next superstars.
Since we are in the Road to WrestleMania, I have to say, one of my favorite WrestleMania builds in recent memory was the feud between you and Trish Stratus [from 2006]. What are your memories of that feud?
Oh my gosh. It was amazing. It was the first time, in my recollection, that a women’s storyline really captivated the audience and had so much time built into the story. By the time we got to WrestleMania, people couldn’t wait to see this match. I couldn’t wait to be a part of it, obviously; it was my first WrestleMania. It was something that I dreamed of for the past seven years of my road, and since I was a little girl being a fan of it. I can’t explain the emotion I was feeling at that moment, except that it was absolutely incredible. I remember points of that match, and a lot of aspects of it, but I just remember being so lost in the moment, with all the people, and my character, and just how incredible it all was. It was definitely surreal. I don’t think there’s been a female storyline since then that’s really had that same momentum behind it. The closest thing to it might have been the development of AJ’s character. Though that’s not really a storyline. Because of her personality, it’s done really well. Let’s face it, with the crazy girl, people love to love us, or hate us, at the same time. But I’m very honored to have had that. It really set the stage of who I’ve strived to maintain to be, and who I was, moving forward out of that storyline. To be able to move forward and face Lita on her way out, and then Trish’s last match at Madison Square Garden. It really set the pace for me, and set my bar. It was up to me to keep raising that bar. I couldn’t have asked for a better intro, that’s for sure.