One of the most popular topics in the wrestling world, specifically in WWE, is the discussion surrounding misused talent. WWE Raw boasts one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of all time in Mickie James, yet she’s at the very bottom of the division. Is she is the most misused wrestler in the company?
When Mickie James first began her latest stint in WWE, she did so by aiding Alexa Bliss in a steel cage match that was the blow-off to Bliss’s lengthy feud with Becky Lynch. After weeks of toying with Lynch, James, as “La Luchadora”, finally unveiled her mask after costing Lynch her best opportunity to recapture the SmackDown women’s championship.
Not long after losing her feud with Lynch, James turned babyface and demanded a title opportunity against Bliss. She was a part of the WrestleMania 33 match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, which Naomi secured in her hometown of Orlando, but her time on the blue brand was largely uneventful after her face turn. Of course, Mickie has always been better as a babyface, as it is easy for the crowd to get behind one of the company’s best wrestlers and most relatable people.
When it was announced that James would join Raw along with Bliss in the “Superstar Shakeup”, many people naturally concluded that they would continue the fragments of a storyline that had yet to be woven on SmackDown Live. Instead, Bliss stomped all over Bayley en route to another championship, lost it at SummerSlam to Sasha Banks, and then won it back just a week later.
In the meantime, James has done absolutely nothing. She’s been in no matches of consequence, and she hasn’t even received a real moment on Raw. Even Dana Brooke, who has been in segments with “Titus Worldwide”, has received more attention from the creative team. And while Emma was buried in squash matches, she did receive some momentum with her “#GiveEmmaAChance” hashtag and, most importantly, defeated Mickie James handily in a one-on-one match that allowed her to proclaim herself as the beginner of the women’s revolution.
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The Raw Women’s Division is one of the most poorly-booked facets of the entire WWE roster, because it seems like just a means of making Alexa Bliss look strong at the expense of every other performer on the roster. Even in James’s case, Bliss manipulated her to help avoid a potential championship matchup with Nia Jax.
Throughout her career in WWE and TNA, James has been one of best wrestlers in the world, and she is on the shortlist of the best female wrestlers in history. Her accomplishments stack up with any other superstar’s, because she is a six-time women’s champion. But based on her current booking, lack of wins, and frustrating inability to receive screen time, you’d think that she is a jobber. It’s a sad state of affairs when the WWE gave Lana more title opportunities than James during the entire summer.
Fans like to complain about Sami Zayn’s booking, Tye Dillinger’s booking, or Bayely’s booking. And they should. But at least those wrestlers have been consistently on television and come up on the winning side of matches at some point. James has just one win in a singles match since joining Raw, and that was on a meaningless Aug. 14, encounter against Emma, which was quickly avenged two weeks later in an even more anticlimactic match.
The lack of wins isn’t even close to the most disturbing part about James’s booking. No, it’s the WWE’s mind-numbing inability to realize that a popular legend of the business who is capable of putting on strong matches with anybody should be receiving consistent opportunities to entertain the crowd in the ring. They signed her for another stint after her amazing match with Asuka at NXT TakeOver Toronto, so you’d think that they would have the foresight to use her appropriately. She tore the house down for them at a big event, impressed on SmackDown Live, but she somehow can’t get a real storyline on a three-hour program.
Hopefully this back-and-forth storyline with Emma amounts to something, but based on how little time both wrestlers have been given in the ring in these matches, I don’t have high hopes. For as annoying as it is to see Zayn toiling in random matches on SmackDown Live that go nowhere, I can’t think of a single wrestler who is utilized more ineffectively than James, particularly when you stack her usage up with her lengthy list of accomplishments in multiple wrestling promotions.