Mickie James joined Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette to discuss her final few years in WWE. James first talked about suffering a torn ACL in June of 2019 and how different it was from past injuries.
“That was literally my first real injury that I had surgery or anything on,” James said. “I’ve had other injuries, don’t get me wrong, but nothing that I’ve, like, taken the length to have surgery or anything. So it was different to be in that space, you know, just from coming back from that, and rehab and all that.”
The injury led to James joining WWE’s Main Event commentary team and trying her hand at other positions. Coming off the injury, the former WWE Divas Champion felt this was a chance to see what she was strong at behind the scenes, and felt most at home behind the booth.
“I think I was just trying on a bunch of hats to see what I excelled at,” James said. “What I was good at, what I really liked. I loved all of those factors. I really enjoyed the commentary, I felt like I needed to grow more. I wish I was better. It’s not easy. I commend anyone in those shoes.
“It’s not until you sit in that role that you can see it from that lens, right? Even as a performer, I’ve always taken in wrestling from the wrestler’s perspective. So I can kind of give that sideways view of it, but it’s not really relatable to everyone because they’re not thinking in wrestler mode. To have to see it from your perspective and call it to the fans the way they understand it, it’s just a whole different animal.”
According to James, at first she just did her best to follow along with her partners. She ultimately described the experience as a good one, albeit with some difficulties.
“I worked with Vic (Joseph) a lot,” James said. “Vic is who helped me. And obviously Byron (Saxton), he really, really helped me. Like, just lead the conversation so I just tried to follow them. I can say that, because I’m not as well versed, it kind of comes, like, where you come in.
“So I wasn’t as familiar with the Kevin Dunn side or even Michael Cole. I love Cole, but that’s not where I came through. So I didn’t really know who exactly to talk to or how to get, you know? So I just tried to hone it in or study, and do what I could. But it’s a whole different way to look at wrestling from that space. It’s hard, it’s fun though.”
In regards to producing/agenting, James wasn’t as sure how she’d do with that. A big reason why is because she was still focusing on having one final moment in the ring.
“You know, I don’t really know,” James said. “I do think that, obviously, I wanted that closing moment, whatever that was. Like, something to kind of tie up that string or put a little bow on it so I could mentally and wholeheartedly just step into another role. I think that’s genuinely like, that was just it.
“I think I would’ve done really great at the producer role. I do think it’s hard, it’s hard to do that behind the scenes work, that agenting of the matches. It’s a really difficult job. I don’t know if me, personally, on a soul level, I could handle it. Or how long I could handle it. I just think I would find it very rewarding yet unrewarding. And like kind of where you’re in this space of ‘it’s awesome’ but it’s also very stressful.”
Another issue for James was the potential of being stuck in the middle between talent and Vince McMahon. James also felt her perfectionist nature would’ve clashed with that role, though not so much with a creative one.
“You’re constantly playing that middle man,” James said. “It’s a hard space to be in. I don’t know, it could’ve been cool. I don’t know, because my patience. Even in a trainer role, I feel I’m such a perfectionist that I don’t even know if I’d be too hard on the students.
“But then I go, my head thinks in a more creative space. So like character development and that kind of stuff. Promos and gear and like that, the whole package kind of stuff. So I’d love to do something with that, like help the younger kids come up with what they’re going to do, that character and what it is.”
Finally James touched upon what was supposed to be an angle between her and Chelsea Green. According to James, everything was all set to go before being scrapped, forcing her and Green to try and salvage the story on social media.
“That would’ve been fun,” James stated. “We started actually doing that on Twitter after the fact. I really didn’t think it was going to happen at that point because they had already pulled it. Because we shot the stuff and everything for it and for whatever reason it just never got approved prior to us even going out there and having the match.
“I don’t really know what happened. Never have I ever had something like that happen, except for the one time where I debuted with CM Punk on Sunday Night Heat and that match got pulled from the episode. That was the only other time. I was like ‘this is wild. I can’t believe we just went out there and wrestled and did all this stuff, and now we’re not doing it? I don’t understand.’
James continued, “That was supposed to be my comeback or whatever. That was part of my comeback from my injury and stuff. I was like ‘oh this will actually be really cool. And it’s a cool way to flip the script, do it differently but then hopefully build Chelsea up and do something. And maybe she even retires me or whatever.’
“It be a cool thing to do and a full circle like little moment. I don’t know. It could’ve been awesome. It could’ve been really awesome I guess.”