Mickie James On Insight With Chris Van Vliet: Podcast Recap

Multiple time Women’s Champion Mickie James was a recent guest on Chris Van Vliet’s podcast Insight. They talked about her new role in NWA and what that will entail. They also discuss her recent release from WWE and frustrations while at the company. They also discuss the trash bag incident, the evolution of women’s wrestling and more. The most notable quotes can be found below:

On being an executive producer in NWA:

“It’s a really cool space. Obviously it means I am in charge and a co-promoter or whatever you want to call it with Billy [Corgan]. The fact that Billy believes in me enough to give me the NWA umbrella to kind of build this thing, which was something I kind of wanted to do for a long time. I think we have the potential to do some really cool stuff there and I’m just grateful to be able to shine a light on women’s wrestling. I we do a lot of that but we have so many shows out there that it’s really cool. I know I am not a pioneer there has been a ton of women’s wrestling shows. But for television women’s wrestling it’s a different space. I’m very excited.”

On the role being called executive producer in wrestling:

“It was ironic that Billy chose that title. I said to him you that a lot of people aren’t going to understand what executive producer means. They just hear producer and they go ‘Oh yeah, she’s going to help put the show together.’ But no, the responsibility is completely on my shoulders. I am so grateful that Billy trusts me to put that responsibility on my shoulders to create this brand. This is my little baby thing. I’d like to put a space together of women who have been there, done that, got the t-shirt and knows what it takes to make money in this business. I only had a handful of people to help me with that. Once I had that core group of women, I grew so much so quickly. It’s nice to be able to help to provide that platform for girls.”

On whether Mickie plans to be on the show:

“I’m not a mark, I’m not going to sit there and book myself on top of my own show. Who does that? Everybody does that don’t they? That’s how wrestling works. I don’t have any intention of working on the show. I’ll probably come out and say hello, but I really want to focus on the show. I want this show to be a success, and I’m going to be in Gorilla on the headset running and talking. I can’t perform that job to the best of my abilities and be out there wrestling at the same time. I just feel like it blurs the lines. I’m not saying I won’t wrestle. And I am an independent contractor, I can show up anywhere and do all kinds of things. I can still wrestle and I’m pretty good at it.”

On the biggest changes in women’s wrestling since she started:

“I feel like it has all gone through ebbs and flows. I watched women in the industry and it’s always done this kind of we take it seriously then it’s right back down to bra and panties. Then it’s back about the wrestling and we go back down and it’s Divas. Then we take it back up and now it’s about the wrestling again. There is a ripple but it’s not like the roller coaster it was. I think that everyone at every company has stepped up in developing their women’s division. But honestly they have no choice, because the women are so good now. Before, you might have had only a handful of good female talent. Now, there’s an ocean of female talent out there that can go, that’s the real difference maker. I think that’s a testament to all that groundwork and all that pavement treaded by every single female before us. It has taken us a long time to get to that space where people go ‘No, Women’s wrestling kicks ass.’

On being trained different to the men:

“No because I only trained with men. There wasn’t any females in my training class. It wasn’t until I was about a year and a half in the business except for the girlfriend [of the male talent], but she was a manager. She didn’t really go through the training, she was just coming out with her boyfriend on the shows. There wasn’t a whole lot of women training to be a wrestler. If anything it was training to be a valet or something like that. So I was only training with men. I had to learn to work and train like the guys, because that’s who were teaching me. It took me a minute to go I need to throw in my female-isms. That was what made me different. There is a real art to be able to go like the boys, but remembering you are a female and throwing those aspects in. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a fight but men and women fight different. Men don’t go clawing at the eyes or snatching weaves. Women are nasty when they fight, they get vicious. That’s the unpredictability about us.”

On the biggest shift in women’s wrestling:

“The Women’s Wrestling Matters movement. I think that was the big shift and the awakening moment of that awareness moment. I feel like there had been some ground-breaking stuff before that. Whether it was Lita and Trish main eventing RAW or Trish and I at WrestleMania. That was a cool story. I felt like there was always a swelling. But it was like we give them a little bit, then we take it away. But with the movement I felt like they were trying to take it away and people were like ‘No! This is not cool. This is a new age on how we see women.’ I felt like that was a step up for every company on how they presented women and they started taking them seriously.”

On being surprised at being released:

“I think that surprised is a word that is thrown around. I don’t think I am ever surprised at anything. It’s hard to have expectations, because nothing ever goes according to your plan. But I thought I would wrap my career there [WWE]. I was so grateful to be able to go back and wrap up my story and bow out in a good graces kind of way. I felt like the first time I left was on such weird terms. And I did some amazing stuff when I came back. But it wasn’t shocking, because I was kind of in this space where I felt it kind of coming. I can’t explain why but I just did, and it felt disheartening. It was disappointing more than anything.”

On comparing this release to the first time:

“I have been through a lot more since that time. Also I think that the Mickie James from 2010 was in a very weird space. It’s crazy to think that after the amount of success I had there, but I also had a lot of personal stuff going on and it really started to affect me. I was burning the candle at both ends and all of my eggs were in the wrestling basket. I only valued myself according to how the company valued me. I was young, hungry and I loved it, I would do anything for it. There was that crazy, wrestling obsessed mindset where I was just happy to be there. So when that was taken from me, I was devastated. When IMPACT called me, I said to Dixie Carter I have no desire to do anything right now. But she kept calling me and Kurt Angle called me. Kurt was the one who convinced me. No disrespect to Dixie, I love her she is awesome. But I knew Kurt from WWE, it was an honest reality check for me. To get his perspective was really cool. It opened up my eyes. This time I was more disappointed. Now we know how the business works and wrestling is not my absolute everything.”

Did Mickie’s belongings arrive in a trash bag back in 2010:

“It did. This is the crazy thing, I posted that picture to kind of go yeah this still a thing. We have put up with so much crap in wrestling that we had become desensitized. We live in our own world and I forgot that the trash bag was offensive. There was more to that too. I rewound back to the 2010 Mickie James, where I was mentally then when it happened the first time. It was like a stab in the heart to an open wound. I took it then as they think I am trash. I was with the company for 4 years, and they think I am trash. All these thoughts were running though my head. If you are already broken, they can be devastating. I am thinking about all of that and all the people who also got released beside me. I see my name on the bag and it defines which bag is in which box. I’m thinking about the girls and they wouldn’t say anything, because you don’t want to mess up an opportunity for the future. But this Mickie James don’t give a sh*t. I am super grateful for my career and my ability, I couldn’t do it without WWE.”

On possibly not posting the picture:

“I did think about not doing it. I was getting ready for the photoshoot for my new song. The box then arrived, I got 2 boxes. One arrived after the photoshoot. But I am getting ready and the box arrives, I open it and really? I’m not trying to come off as being bitter. I don’t want to be the trash bag lady. But I am grateful that no one else will get that. This recent set of releases are getting theirs in Gucci [laughs].”

On other frustrations:

“Yeah I don’t think me getting my stuff in a trash bag was the point. I would say it was on par with everything I have tried in the last 2 years of my career. I tried everything in my space to pitch, I felt like I was cut off at every turn. There was a lot of thing that happened in the last 2 years that really made me feel that I was being humbled along the way. No you don’t deserve a retirement match. I wasn’t upset at being a producer, I love to help younger talent. I don’t want to wrestle forever either. This run was going to be my last run. All I wanted was this one moment, I didn’t want to win the championship. I just wanted to bow out gracefully, but I felt like there was zero interest. But then trying different thing like commentary or trainer in NXT. It’s not that people don’t like women’s wrestling, it’s that it is too much for the company. There was an opportunity to capitalize on the movement, but instead it was ehh.”

On being considered too old, despite men the same age being in the top spots:

“It isn’t fair, but I think it has always been a culture when I first came on. It was when you are 35, women are done. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I have been relevant on TV for the last 15 years. I am all about building towards the future, but you can’t sh*t on your former champions and the history that was made. Maybe it’s because I am a wrestler and I look at it like a fan. I am up on what is relevant in 2021. J’LO is one of the sexiest women and she is 50. We don’t look at age like that anymore, but wrestling has been late to the party. I couldn’t wrap my head around and find it funny that I’m given a walker. It’s bullsh*t and it’s not funny. I was offended and I said I was. But I am a professional and as a pro you go fine and lets see what the people say. 9 times out of 10 I was right, but it’s already happened. I had to do it just to prove a point. I feel like you should trust me to know I am not an idiot. I am looking at it through the lens of our audience.”

On thinking about life after wrestling:

“I thought about that before I went back the first time. That’s when I was all in on music. I had walked away from IMPACT and didn’t want to go back. I wasn’t against it but there was some weirdness there. I was sitting there with Nick [Aldis. Mickie’s husband] and I didn’t want to end my career on the indies. I didn’t want it to be my retirement, but maybe just do the appearances. But I didn’t want to slowly fizzle away like Randy the Ram from The Wrestler. But maybe it was time. WWE were not interested and the only other option was Ring of Honor. That felt like a step backwards. I am not a person that goes backwards or sideways, it’s always up. So I am like it’s next chapter time. But that was when I got the call to go back, which is ironic.”

On living in Nashville and wanting to make music:

“Because I have been living at home for a while through this pandemic, music kept me sane. I just need to keep writing. But there is so much music, not just country either. We are also getting a lot of people moving from Los Angeles. There are people from all walks of life here. There’s country music, rock music, rap music. People still say madam and sir too. But I have been doing this for 10 years now, I’m no longer the wrestling girl who is trying to do music.”

On what she is grateful for:

“My health, my family and my spirit.”

Mickie James can be found on Twitter here and Instagram here

Featured image: Cageside seats

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