Aleah James credits Mickie James as the first person to inspire her to wrestle.
As Aleah James prepares for the next phase of her wrestling career, she takes a moment to reflect on the figures who helped her along the way. Speaking with WrestleZone’s Ella Jay, Aleah James recounted her early influence from six-time WWE Women’s Champion, Mickie James.
“When I started watching wrestling, I feel like the women’s matches were either non-existent or they were like two minutes long, three minutes long. You could just tell with Mickie that she was trying to make a statement in those three minutes,” Aleah said. “The whole match would make sense. She would hit moves and she would have character.”
“That, to me, stood out so much because I feel like a lot of it, and no disrespect to any of the other women, but a lot of it was kind of geared towards men watching and not so much young girls who are trying to be wrestlers and achieve the same dream as them. Every single thing that any of them women did I highly respect, but feel like Mickie was, for me, I could see myself doing that. She made it something that could seem achievable, you know?”
Aleah James was so inspired by Mickie James that she adopted her surname.
“So when I picked [my ring name], I never thought I would be doing anything anytime soon. So I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll have time to change it if it’s too on the nose.’ But then everything just went [so fast] and I was like, okay, I guess I’m a James,” Aleah said.
17 months after making her professional wrestling debut, Aleah James had the opportunity to wrestle for, and eventually sign with, WWE’s NXT UK brand. While James was still in the early stages of her career during this time, she was fortunate to receive some veteran guidance to aid in her transition to NXT UK. For James, her main mentor was Nina Samuels.
“Even though she’s a notorious bad guy, Nina Samuels is the Queen. She is the most helpful lady I’ve ever met. She helps everyone that goes in, she’s amazing. If I ever had any questions or if I was ever nervous or worried about anything, she would be the first person that I could go to and feel like I trusted their judgment and always had the best advice and the truthful advice,” James said. “It’s always good to have that one, that anchor. If you ever feel like you need help and you’re away from home and you just need someone who gets it and who has experience, she’s one of those people that you could ask anyone and they would say the exact same thing.”
James later wrestled (and defeated) Nina Samuels on a November 2021 episode of NXT UK.
Watch our full interview with Aleah James below: