Mickie James is exploring her options and hopes it involves a female-centric wrestling show.
James was a guest on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette this week and talked about her WWE career, which at one point included her working briefly as a producer and commentator while she recovered from injury.
“That was literally like my first real injury I ever had surgery or anything on. I’ve had other injuries, don’t get me wrong, but nothing that I’d like taken that length to get surgery or anything. So, it was different to be in that space,” James said, “just coming back from the rehab and all of that.”
When asked where she’s at in her recovery, James said she feels great. Paquette asked about Mickie working backstage while she waited for her in-ring return, and James explained how she challenged herself in different areas of production.
“I think I was trying on a bunch of hats to see what I excelled at, what I was good at, and what I liked. I like all of those factors and I really enjoyed the commentary, I felt like I needed to grow more.” James explained. “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? And I think even as a performer, I’ve always taken in wrestling from the wrestler’s perspective, so I can kinda give that sideways view of it, but it’s not really relatable to everyone because they’re not really thinking in ‘wrestler mode’. Having to see it from your perspective and then call it to the fans the way they understand it, it’s just a whole different animal.”
Renee pointed out that Mickie called some WWE Main Event broadcasts during her tenure, and explained how she’s seen Beth Phoenix’s growth on NXT in the past few years as well. James credited Vic Joseph and Byron Saxton for helping her adjust to things and said her run on commentary was “hard, but fun.”
Mickie said she’s not sure if she’d want to step back into the role of a producer, and while she wishes she had a better send-off to her WWE career, she called the backstage work a tough, yet rewarding experience.
“You know, I don’t really know. I do think that obviously, I wanted that closing moment, whatever that was. Something to tie up that string and put a little bow on it so that I could mentally and whole-heartedly step into another role. I think that generally, that was just it, so I was trying it out, but I think that I would have been really great at the producer role. It’s hard to do that behind-the-scenes work,” James said. “Personally, on a soul level, I don’t know how long I could handle it. I can find it very rewarding, but very unrewarding, where you’re in this space of it’s awesome, but it’s very stressful.”
When asked about her future plans, James said she would still like to work on a female-centric show, but outside of pursuing that goal, she’s not sure what’s next for her.
“I don’t really—that’s what I keep trying to think of. What am I really going to do? What do I want to do, what should I do? I don’t know. I don’t know. I think I would really love to do something in that female brand perspective. That if I was going to tie myself to something, if I felt really—that’s what I think I would sink my teeth into, you know? And not just—[I want it to come] from a space of like developing a cool show that’s based around women and kinda empowers and lifts them up. So, that’s what I’m working on and focusing on. If I can do something in that space, and other than that, I don’t know if I even need that button now,” James explained, “or if it’s the same, or it’s like whatever, and just focus on my other projects and do other stuff. I don’t know.”
Paquette asked about James potentially scouting other women’s wrestling divisions, and she praised the Knockouts and AEW rosters, but said there’s a lot of real talent across the board with other brands and hopes to see them get a chance to get TV time and develop the future stars.
“Most of the talent is signed somewhere, and that’s just it. They’re all signed for a reason. That’s kudos to them, because every promotion has a really strong foundation to do something with women in mind, or [has] that perspective,” she said, “and that’s really cool.”