WWE: Mickie James highlights troubling double-standard

WWE, Mickie James (photo courtesy of WWE)
WWE, Mickie James (photo courtesy of WWE) /

This week in the space known as wrestling Twitter, there was a conversation that popped up that did not garner as much traction as it should. Mickie James took a moment to respond to a post from Taya Valkyrie about the perception of age, but James took the conversation a step further – she highlighted the double-standards for women when it comes to their age in professional wrestling. It is a conversation that does not come up too often, but it is one worth digging into especially as other issues boil around the booking of women in the WWE.

At 41-years of age, James is a guaranteed Hall-of-Famer. In two decades of performance, she is grabbed nearly every title available to her with reigns in both TNA and the WWE. She is transcended from what was called the “Diva’s Era,” into the “Women’s Evolution” era of wrestling and has not missed a beat in the process. Unfortunately, James’s fan following and abilities have not translated into her utilization in the ring. Her only in-ring appearance in 2021 was the Women’s Royal Rumble in January. In 2020 she only had five matches total according to Cagematch. Not quite the run for someone of her stature.

Bringing it back to her comments on social media, her words express an issue that not too many have spoken about.

“In this industry, once you hit 35 it’s perceived you should start wrapping it up and retire as a woman. Even though you are hitting your stride,” James wrote. “At 40 ‘retire already’ even though the men are champs well into their 50s and glorified for it. Sad but true.”

One of the most pressing narratives about the WWE is the challenges they have around building new stars. Instead of shows frequently built around “new” talent, WWE consistently leans upon performers from previous generations to provide the big moments needed to draw in viewers. Take “Legend’s Night” or Edge’s Royal Rumble victories as examples. The Men’s Elimination Chamber and Royal Rumble participant pool go even further into the issue that the ever-increasing age of those elevated to positions on television is not getting any younger.

But James’s comments highlight the double-standard and is yet another growing issue with the booking of women in the WWE. The days of the Women’s Evolution are long gone. WWE has an amazingly deep roster of women on each of its three brands, but the booking presentation of those performers does not match said talent.

They “get time” on television, but the time certainly is not of a quality that matches nearly anything provided to their male peers. The divisions do not have any true direction to give these performers something to sink their teeth into and the fans who support them a true reason to care. Even the Four Horsewomen are not immune as the booking around Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte is puzzling at best. James’s comments bring light to another hurdle that must be a concern for a group of women with already more than enough to tackle each time they step into the ring. News of John Laurinaitis’s return as Head of Talent Relations has already caused more concerns for his long-documented hiring and promotion practices when it came to the women. Still, the women on the WWE roster have continued to persevere.

“With age comes a strength and wisdom that you can’t teach,” James posted. “I feel more powerful and sexy than I ever have. Yet it is only this way because this is the narrative, we have accepted to be OK. We have pushed this mindset and it’s damn time we change it. Times have changed. And so, have we!”

Next. WWE Fastlane: Five things that need to happen at the PPV. dark

Here is to seeing the needed change for booking within the WWE, both for the women and throughout the entire promotion.

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