Mickie James is back where he belongs, helping represent the industry as a champion.
James is the current Knockouts World Champion in Impact Wrestling, having claimed the title for the fourth time last month in the Bound for glory pay-per-view by defeating rising star Deonna Purrazzo.
“Deonna is one of the best in the world,” says James. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to fight her again, which we had not done since before WWE. She is one of the best Knockouts champions in Impact history. And there are so many talented women on Impact that I can’t wait to work with them as a champion. “
James is also part of “Tag Me In,” an inclusive initiative that aims to remove stigma around mental health conversations and serve as a reminder that support is available. In less than a month, the campaign has raised more than $ 45,000, with all proceeds donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
“This is something that has been needed for a while,” says James. “We have lost a lot of people in the wrestling family for many reasons, and suicide is one of them. I just lost my friend shannon [“Daffney” Spruill], who was a roommate in Louisville when I first signed with WWE. We lost Ashley [Massaro, in 2019], and that hit me hard.
“My younger sister also passed away from ovarian cancer, which was terrible. We all have those dark moments where we feel like there is no one to talk to or who can help us, but there is always someone. That’s what helps make this initiative so powerful. “
WWE, which just cut 18 artists last week, was James’s employer until he was released in April. Since then, she has enjoyed a professional renaissance, making a full recovery after tearing her ACL in 2019 to become one of the best in Impact. As an industry veteran, she has an experienced touch between the strings, as well as the ring sense for how to work magic in a match.
“I remember being told in WWE that I was five to seven years old on television,” says James. “That’s how long most women are there, but I wanted to build a long career. It has been so special to have this career doing what I love. “
Since his departure from WWE, James has also played a pivotal role behind the scenes, serving as the driving force and executive producer for the women of last summer. EmPowerrr Pay-per-view for the NWA.
“After Evolution [in 2018]I wanted to do an all-female show to help women grow up and prepare them for television, ”says James. But it all fell on deaf ears. Unfortunately, that was not going to happen. I am grateful for my time there in WWE, but I am delighted that I did. EmPowerrr. It was hugely successful and that night it ranked number one worldwide. It was a risk, but [NWA owner] Billy Corgan was willing to accept that, which WWE was not doing. And we still have a lot to achieve. “
James adds a distinguished style to the wrestling industry, with the ability to use his stature to go beyond gender. And enjoy the opportunity to play a role in “Tag Me In” and help raise awareness about the importance of mental health.
“‘Tag Me In’ transcends wrestling,” says James. “We like to think that we can do everything ourselves, but we can’t. There are people who can help. “
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.