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Mickie James: Why one of the all-time great female talents deserves one more run

The evergreen 38-year-old Mickie James is one of the most decorated yet widely under-appreciated female talents of all-time. Mickie in her time in pro wrestling has successfully won the WWE Women’s Title five times, the WWE Divas Title and won the TNA Knockouts Title three times.

Mickie has always resonated with me. Her iconic and legendary feud with Trish Status in 2006, brought joy to my childhood as I legitimately found Mickie to be the most entertaining talent on either of the two established brands. She was simply a fun, goofy, over the top character who had a ‘weird’ obsession with Trish; but the execution of the storyline was so damn near perfect that many still label it as one of, if not the greatest female feud of all time.

You don’t have to look much further for paramount evidence of this than when both the Mickie and Trish had a stare down at the inaugural female Royal Rumble this January; the smartly executed storyline received one of the biggest reactions of the evening which was a joy to see that so many of the core audience remembered the cherished feud.

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Mickie would become face of the women’s division following the retirement of Lita and Trish in 2006; Lita, out of sheer endorsement, chose Mickie to beat her in her retirement match at the 2006 Survivor Series PPV in Philadelphia which led to Mickie capturing her second Women’s Title. The departures of both Lita and Trish affected WWE’s mentality towards women on their roster; once their top two female stars were out of the picture, the female roster getting time in both matches and segments was extremely difficult; meaning Mickie and the other women had to work extremely hard to captivate the audience in a limited allocated slot.

In the time that followed, Mickie would have fun but nevertheless limited feuds with Melina and the recently debuting Beth Phoenix. By the time 2009 came around, Mickie would find herself in a distasteful angle with Lay-Cool which unfortunately revolved around her weight. Mickie would leave WWE on April 22 (2010), citing it was WWE’s decision to “move in a new direction with their women’s division”. Whatever that direction was following Mickie’s departure is still a mater of debate.

Mickie would have a second (extended) stint in TNA in 2010. TNA have always since their inception of their women’s division put an extended focus on female in-ring work; so naturally Mickie thrived in that kind of circumstantial environment. Mickie would have fantastic feuds with the likes of Madison Rayne, Tara and Gail Kim. This all before seemingly being ‘killed off’ by James Storm pushing her onto a train track in a rather unintentionally comedic angle.

On October 13 2016, it was announced by NXT General Manager William Regal that Asuka would be facing the returning Mickie at the next NXT Takeover event in Toronto. Asuka was already into her acclaimed reign as NXT Women’s Champion; so naturally there was indeed some scepticism as to whether Mickie would be a good opponent for Asuka come their bout in Toronto. The match was utterly tremendous. The match showed fans and WWE alike that Mickie could still hang with the elite women of modern-day wrestling.

Following Mickie’s acclaimed performance, it was announced in early December that Mickie had signed a multi-year deal with WWE. Since her main roster return in January of 2017; Mickie has very much been used as an established enhancement talent for the current crop of female talent. This is something Mickie no doubt would have no issue with. But nevertheless, the common sentiment should be that she surely deserves more.

It’s time for one more run. The form this run could take could work in a number of ways. One simple idea is that they use logic in their storytelling; Mickie wants one more shot at the Women’s Title; a simple story, but one that fans would easily connect and latch onto. Another idea that is riskier and, dare I say controversial, is for Mickie to revert back to her initial character (obviously toned down to exclude the sexual characteristics). The reverting back to the established character could involve Mickie getting extremely jealous of a young female talent such as Bayley, Alexa Bliss or even Ronda Rousey.

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Mickie becomes very friendly with the chosen talent, in the form of siding with them in their angles, but the friendship suddenly oversteps a barrier when the friendship turns into an obsession. Once the chosen female talent addresses to Mickie that the friendship has gone too far, Mickie snaps (creating parallels to the Trish feud) and away we go.

Obviously, problems exist with this angle. It’s a long time booking idea; something that WWE rarely do for anyone other than their top two male stars, so therefore asking WWE to something of this matter is a tough ask.

The run doesn’t have to take the form of anything momentous or game-changing. A simple run (however short) to say thank you. A thank you run that rewards Mickie for her original tenure and a thank you run that rewards he in-ring work and commitment levels that have been so blatantly ignored since her main roster return almost 18 months ago.

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