WWE.com exclusive interview: Mickie James
Former Divas Champion Mickie James made waves across the sports-entertainment world when she dropped by the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., sparking rumors of a possible return to WWE. WWE.com caught up with the five-time Women’s Champion to get the story behind her trip to the Sunshine State, what she’s been up to lately and whether the WWE Universe can really expect to see her again anytime soon.
WWE.COM: Can you tell us what you were doing at the WWE Performance Center? How did that visit come about?
MICKIE JAMES: I got a call from Talent Relations, and they asked if I would be interested in coming down, checking it out and working with some of the girls here. Of course, I jumped all over it; I was happy to do it. The place is amazing, it really is mind-blowing. We had all prayed for something like this [when we were] breaking in.
WWE.COM: Where did you train?
MICKIE: Gosh, I started at a small school in Virginia and I learned how to wrestle – at least take falls – in a boxing ring. Crappy rings and garages … kind of old-school, you know what I mean? So to come in and step in somewhere like this, which is a palace compared to the places I trained at, is just amazing.
WWE.COM: Were there any Divas at the WWE Performance Center that stood out to you?
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WWE.COM: So you’re not just teaching them in-ring work?
MICKIE: Mostly being vocal in the ring and being vocal while they’re working instead of just thinking about what their moves are and what they need to do in there. Actually being who they are.
WWE.COM: You’ve been away from WWE for a while. What was it like to see everyone again?
MICKIE: It was great. It’s all family at the end of the day. You may not have contact for a little bit, but you try to keep in touch here and there. Even though you don’t see them on a daily basis, it’s still just picking up where you left off with a lot of people. And there are some fresh faces I’ve never met before, or a couple I’ve met here or there at a show. Just to see them here is awesome.
WWE.COM: Have you kept up with the new Divas?
MICKIE: Yes! I feel like I’ve caught up a lot, or at least I try to keep up with everything because competition is a great thing. I think it tests you, and I’m a very competitive person.
WWE.COM: Are there any Divas you would want to work with, given the chance?
MICKIE: Oh, gosh, yes. I would love to work with Natalya; we only had a couple matches when I was there. I would love to work with AJ Lee, and I think Brie [Bella] has really come a long way since I was in WWE, so I’d love to do some stuff with her.
WWE.COM: Tell us about the Dr. Pepper commercial you recently did.
MICKIE: That kind of came out of nowhere, I was so grateful for the piece they recently did on me. It was not just good for me as a person, but for the business itself. It showed that we are so multi-dimensional. Wrestling is a massive part of our lives, but we all have things going on that are just as important, like family and, for me, my animals and my music, I’m extremely passionate about that and I’m trying to do something special there. But at the end of the day, my first love is wrestling so that was really, really cool. They even made me my own title belt, which is awesome. It’s a specially-made Dr. Pepper championship belt, one of a kind.
WWE.COM: “I’m Gone Song” off your new album is great. Is that for any specific guy, or is it just a song?
MICKIE: We all can relate to it, and I can certainly relate to it in certain aspects of my life, but it was just one of those songs from the songwriters in Nashville.When I first heard it, it was sung by a guy, and I was like, "That is awesome." I actually listened to that song [while making] my first album, but we didn’t want to push any buttons and go too crazy with that album, so we kind of stuck with a traditional, what was on the radio country feel. With my second album, eOne Music really wanted me to rock it up a little bit. They said , ‘People know you on TV as this kick-butt girl that takes no prisoners, takes no crap., but it’s great that you have this softer side. We want to show and embrace that, but the music itself has to correlate with who you are in reality.
[“I'm Gone Song”] was one of those songs where we all heard it, and the musicians went in the studio and put that Black Sabbath-type feel to the front end of it. So, yeah, it’s one of my favorite songs on the album.
WWE.COM: What do you remember most about your time in WWE?
MICKIE: That moment when I knew I made it. I had worked so hard for so long and I really wanted this so badly, that by the time WrestleMania  came, I was standing there with Trish [Stratus] and the crowd was insane. My mom’s in the front row at WrestleMania, I’m winning my first championship, I’m in there with the greatest Diva of our generation, if not one of the greatest of all time … it all really set the bar for me, really set who I was going to be within the company. The feeling that I had, if I could bottle that up and share it with the world … I can’t even explain it. Just that realization of the culmination of everything coming to life, that was the moment where I really knew I made it.
But I had so many wonderful experiences [at WWE]. WrestleMania was one of my greatest matches in my career. Then there was being able to wrestle Trish in her last match on Raw in Madison Square Garden, being able to work with Lita before she retired … those were such huge honors for me because they were the girls that I looked up to. I didn’t want to be Trish Stratus, I didn’t want to be Lita, but I wanted to be on their level and to be seen in people’s eyes at that level.
I also loved my matches with Beth Phoenix. I felt like we had such amazing chemistry to a point where we knew each other so well and could just go out there, enjoy it, relish in the moment and love every second of what we were doing. It’s hard to get that comfortable with somebody.
Another [situation] that has had different opinions from a lot of people was that whole “Piggy James” thing, on [my] way out. I think it was very memorable in a lot of people’s eyes, and it kind of brought bullying to the forefront because it is such a major issue. It was our way of really addressing it front and center. I felt like it was a really magical thing because it took all of us and our mixed feelings and opinions about the whole thing to make it magical, including Vickie [Guerrero]. Michelle [McCool], Layla and myself. I really felt like we did something special there, and whether the fans loved it or hated it, they remembered it.
WWE.COM: Last question: Any chance your trip to the WWE Performance Center means you’re coming back?
MICKIE: Of course, I would absolutely love that, but you never know. I’m just trying to take advantage of this opportunity. If I can pass a little knowledge of what I know, then hopefully that will do something, if not for me, then for the future of WWE and women’s wrestling itself.
For more updates on Mickie James, follow her on Twitter @MickieJames.