Wrestling spotlight: Thank you Mickie James for changing the game

WWE, Mickie James (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV)
WWE, Mickie James (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Spike TV) /

One of the most memorable debuts in mainstream wrestling was the moment Mickie James first appeared in WWE. From there, she embarked on a Hall of Fame-worthy career that included stops in WWE, Impact Wrestling, and the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). No matter where she went, she brought great change.

Everyone knows James’ accolades and what she’s done throughout her career. The most impressive things, however, went beyond the championships, rivalries, and making history. There is an underrated element in how she re-invented herself after introducing herself to fans and used that momentum to impact women’s wrestling forever.

Mickie James through the years in wrestling.

There was a connection between when James made her official debut in WWE and what she was doing prior to her signing with TNA for the first time in 2002. James made history before there was ever a Knockouts Championship, as she was a member of a group known as the Gathering. This would be a lasting theme for the rest of her career, as she made that jump to WWE in 2003.

When Mickie came to WWE, there was already a standard set with Trish Stratus, Victoria, Torrie Wilson, Lita, Molly Holly, and a few others with established names. It was extremely hard to establish a meaningful long career and there have been a few women to come and go with only short-term success or none at all.

The women’s division went through a shift and James had the match of her life against Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 22. It was a strong WrestleMania debut and arguably one of the most memorable moments in James’ whole career.

Even if fans had no idea who James was prior to her stint with TNA or her time on the independent wrestling circuit, it didn’t matter. James stood out in the most spectacular way and it truly set the foundation for future stars of the women’s division to find their own ways to stand out.

When her time in WWE came to an end in 2010, James went back to TNA this time as a completely different star with the Knockouts division. A sharp contrast from before when there was yet a title for women wrestlers in TNA during her initial run.

It’s only fitting that Mickie James, someone who broke the mold in WWE, would carry over that message to TNA by being the one to give Winter (Katie Lea Burchill to WWE fans) that major accolade as she would eventually drop the belt to her. This was the first time fans witnessed Winter as champion on national television.

James reinvented herself and she was no longer obsessed with a single superstar; she had a hunger and desire to make more history. James would show that she is a person full of surprises, as she showed skills beyond the ring with her music career.

It showed us that James is multi-talented and the two skills would crossover, thus introducing us to “Hardcore Country”. It almost looked like James in WWE and what she became post-WWE would have two or more Hall of Fame acknowledgments.

It’s even Hall of Fame-worthy how James knocked down the true “Forbidden Door” and became the first Impact Knockouts champion to participate in the women’s Royal Rumble in 2022. A moment that will forever set the standard for what it means to truly cross the “Forbidden Door” in wrestling.

In another notable moment, James continued this belief in uplifting new talent when she put over Tasha Steelz. Tasha was in a similar situation as Winter where they have been part of major promotions and won major titles from James.

She continued this until the very end when she went against Chelsea Green. While Green has a lot of accomplishments, it felt like a passing of the torch during their final showdown on Impact Wrestling and it’s hard to imagine anyone better than her to get that honor.

If that’s truly the last time fans see James in the ring, it was poetic and defined every part of James’ career in one single match. Very rarely do wrestlers end on the highest note possible, but James did just that.

James has taken on many endeavors beyond being a wrestler and is a true champion for women’s wrestling. She went from a stranger who stood out with a strong first impression to a legend who left a strong lasting legacy.

Next. Now is the time to rebuild the SmackDown women’s roster. dark

All of us should express endless gratitude to Mickie James for her endless work as a competitor. Getting to know who she is as a competitor and a person is a treat above all else on top of everything she has ever accomplished. She has left a lasting mark on fans and the wrestling community as a whole forever.