MINNEAPOLIS — Mickie James did everything she was supposed to do at WWE TLC. She came ready to fight, brought a chip on her shoulder, and even embarrassed Alexa Bliss by chasing her away and slapping her, erm, biscuit butt, when she tried to flee. And it still wasn’t enough to make her the Raw Women’s Champion.
Alexa still holds that distinction despite the all-world efforts of James, who (in a stroke of irony) was originally brought back into the fold as Alexa's ally during Little Miss Bliss’ days as SmackDown Women’s Champion. That gave the challenger some familiarity with the champion’s move set, and her veteran abilities quickly showed that Alexa might have bitten off more than she could chew when she tried to frame James’ veteran status as an old lady trying to relive her glory days. James’ three consecutive kip-ups each time Alexa slammed her onto the mat were certainly a far cry from geriatric, to say nothing of the savage elbows and pinpoint kicks that James thought would carry her to Title No. 7.
What Mickie perhaps didn’t count on was that Alexa would resort to dirty tactics, but the champ did just that, nearly yanking James’ arm out of its socket before focusing exclusively on a torturous array of shoulder submissions. Despite being clearly hampered by the injury, James transitioned seamlessly to using both her educated feet and her good arm, pausing only occasionally for a high-risk maneuver like a top-rope dropkick.
The bout got so intense that the WWE Universe thought for a moment that tables were going to get involved. But inches from the brink, it took only one quick sequence by Bliss — yanking Mickie face-first into the turnbuckle and striking with a DDT — to put the match away. And even though an emotional James could barely hold back her tears in a post-match interview, she promised the WWE Universe this wouldn’t be the last time she contended for a Women’s Title. It’s tough not to believe her; As the chant goes, she’s still got it.