Mickie James will always be part of the wrestling business, whether it’s on camera or not.
WrestleZone recently spoke with Mickie James ahead of IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view about putting her in-ring career on the long and what losing her next match could mean. James said she doesn’t want to think about being forced to retire, but she has always had a desire to eventually move to a behind-the-scenes role.
“I’ve always had a desire to move behind the scenes and to work with — especially because when I was coming up, there weren’t any females in leadership positions like that. There weren’t any women. I had all male trainers, I had all the guys that I trained with. They were all guys. There were like one or two girls,” she explained, “but they were mostly the girlfriends that just happened to be in a manager role. There weren’t women training for wrestling, and now so many women have come off the other side who’ve been massively successful, who are now helping behind the scenes. You can talk about Gail Kim, leader of the Knockouts, but even Beth [Phoenix] when she was commentating within NXT, but helping the girls and stuff down there.
“That’s why I was doing even when I was at WWE, I was doing those commentator positions and going down to NXT and kind of training in that and learning different things like trucks and camera positions. I feel like my strengths have always been character development and storyline stuff. I have great matches and I love wrestling, but I would never say like, I’m like the female Dean Malenko of wrestling, woman of 1,000 holds or anything like that,” James stated. “I’m an entertainer. I love to entertain because that’s the wrestling that I fell in love with, and that’s who I kind of emulated my career out of. I’ve tried to mimic my favorites and they were all entertainers.”
Mickie James went on to say she hopes to help others find what makes them special when her in-ring career is over. She knows it’ll be hard to say goodbye to that aspect but she’ll always have a connection to the business.
“That’s what I love, too, because that’s what draws it to me. If I can help other people find that thing that sets them apart and makes them different, I think that there’s an immense amount of joy that I will find out of that. And obviously, it’s going to be hard to go like, ‘okay, but now I’m not in the limelight anymore. I’m not Mickie James Hardcore Country, I’m not a champion,’ but I’ve been a champion a lot and I’ve championed a lot of things from Empowerrr and just the rise of women’s wrestling and it’s pretty awesome. There’s not anything where I go like, ‘Oh, I need to do this one last thing or I need have to do this one last thing,’ James said.
“All I wanted was one last rodeo, one last bow to put on my career, to put a bookend on it to go like ‘this was worthy of my career.’ Now, like, that’s something that I can hang my hat on and say goodbye to,” she added. “I do feel like every step along the way, in this whole Last Rodeo, I mean, if it ends in Atlanta, so be it. I’ll still be happy and I’ll be fulfilled with my career and I’ll be sad. I’ll be very sad. But, I’ll always have a place in wrestling, whether it’s on camera or not. Who’s to say, I don’t know.”
Check out our full interview with Mickie James at the top of this post. IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view takes place on Friday, January 13. Fans can order the event on FITE.