“Hardcore Country” Mickie James often finds herself in contention for the greatest women’s wrestler of all time, but for James herself, there is only one true G.O.A.T.
As she grew up in the 1980s and 90s, a young Mickie James became entranced by one particular wrestling figure on her television screen — Sensational Sherri. And in the early 2000s, James would finally have the opportunity to meet Sherri Martel, who she regarded as an “inspiration.” Speaking with Denise Salcedo, James dove deeper into how Martel impacted her life and fandom in the sport.
“Sensational Sherri, Scary Sherri, Queen Sherri, whatever you want to call her, was so different to me as a wrestling fan … I loved her because she didn’t wrestle like the women,” James said. “I felt like even a young me could tell that she was very respected in the locker room by the women and by the men. You could tell that she feared nothing and that she would take no sh*t and that she wanted to go out there and be better than the boys.”
“I knew that same mentality because I’m like, ‘Oh, you got to prove yourself.’ We got to prove that we belong and, that whole female empowerment thing. But she was so different in the way she looked and she was just fearless in her delivery of everything. It was never like she was a meek sheep, lifting up her guy [she was managing], she owned the presence, regardless of who she was standing beside.
“She was as big of a star as the person that she was standing beside, and she knew exactly how to highlight them and then highlight herself and make her moments mean something and magical and her promos and her owning of that character. It was just magic, it was magic to me.”
James continued on to note that Martel’s fearlessness empowered her to adopt a similar mentality.
“I would find myself as little Mickie James going like, ‘Oh my God. She’s so cool and she’s so strong and she’s so powerful and she doesn’t. She’s not afraid, she’s not afraid of these men, not afraid of these circumstances.’ She just owns it, everything. She is my inspiration, she’s my idol. There is no one that can touch Sherri Martel, in my opinion. Everything she touched, she turned to gold, everything.”
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