Welcome to my first of many articles in a series that will document and analyze some of the most underappreciated women's wrestling feuds of all time. From the matches, to the promos, to the mini-moments even! This series will help find some hidden gems just for you! Today we begin with Melina vs Mickie James in the could-be epic of 2007.
It all began with a win and a backstage brawl. After beating Maria of all people in a number one contenders match, Melina went backstage to rub it in Mickie's face. This can be seen here:
Haha, gotta love that Melina! So the segment starts out with Mickie James and Super Crazy who explains to her that he is just that, Super Crazy! Melina comes from behind saying that what's really crazy is the fact Mickie thinks she's going to keep that belt.
Then she says there's nothing "este cabron" (That's a curse in Spanish, it was even bleeped on Mun2!),or her can do about it.
Super Crazy grabs Mickie's hand to slap Melina and a catfight ensues. Towards the end you can hear Melina say, “I’m a true champion you whore! You know it! That belt is MINE!".
I liked the way it was made to look like a shoot, as opposed to kayfabe. Melina's last comment at the end was utterly hilarious, and it made the whole thing seem a bit more 'real'.
The next week Melina and Mickie face off for the title in a good little bout'.
Mickie runs right at Melina, tackling her with a Louz Thesz Press. They brawl like hell for a bit before separating and trading a few blows. Both women latch onto each other's hair trying to gain control.
Melina wrenches Mickie's arm behind her own back to receive a slew of "Mickie" chants. The Virginian then reverses doing the same to her opposition. Great selling by Melina here as she screeches and squirms.
While in the same position Melina knees Mickie in the face sends her backwards. Melina tries to hook Mickie’s leg, but instead is launched off to the ropes. Then both women meet up in fighting position in the middle of the ring.
Melina kicks Mickie in the gut and twists her arm, giving her another kick to the stomach for good measure. Mickie does a one-handed cartwheel followed by a monkey flip to reverse.
Melina tries finding refuge with her beau, but is almost dragged in by her hair. Melina hangs Mickie on the rope by her throat. She follows this up with a kick to the head and a hairsmash on the mat.
Melina goes for an awkward looking victory roll, but only gets a two count. She hits Mickie with a strong clothesline for a two count yet again. Frustration begins to build and Melina yells at the referee.
Mickie's legs are trapped as Melina brings her up by her hair only to send her face dead onto the mat with a kick. Next the Virginian's arms are trapped around her throat in a submission maneuver.
Mickie buttheads Melina, then an elbow, and then flips her over. The women grab each other's hair yet again, spinning and sending each other flying. Both trade blows until Mickie takes control, sending Melina to the mat multiple times.
Mickie is sent to the corner, and several reversals later ends up there. There's an interesting spot here. As Mickie goes for her Mickanrana, Johnny Nitro (Now known as John Morrison) goes up to distract her. Super Crazy trips him up in a cringe-worthy splat on the outside.
Mickie then hits a semi-botched huricanranna for a two count (That'll boost your confidence). The A-lister rakes Mickie's eyes, only to be overtaken moments later. As Mickie comes in for the kill Melina yanks her outside of the ring by her top.
After gathering herself up, Mickie goes for a sunset flip off the top rope, but Melina piles on top of her. Melina holds the ropes blatantly in front of the referee, who then takes notice and scolds Melina for it. Mickie brings Melina into a full sunset flip pin for the win.
This was a great match put on by two of today's top Divas. I believe that this was a tryout match by WWE. They were testing this feud out, and I believe that both women delivered. I think this is also when everyone began to realize what a good feud Melina-Mickie could actually be, which would then be proven fact mere weeks later.
The point at which both women's abilities as competitors was tested was the botch towards the end. The match could have easily deteriorated, but both women took it in stride and went on to finish a fabulous match.
Did anyone else notice how over this match was? I first realized this as the Mickie chants began to poor in, and I think Vince took notice as well, because later on this feud was invested into full-steam.
The following week Mickie teamed up with Super Crazy to take on the power couple we all know and love, Melina and John Morrison.
The women get into it right at the start of the match. They get in one another's face a tiny bit before yanking their hair. They had to be physically separated by Crazy and Nitro. Melina spazzes out in the corner a bit more before continuing.
Somewhere in between the match Melina pulled Mickie off the apron and Mickie was knocked off the apron once more, inadvertently by her tag team partner.
Fast forward through the men's action a bit and in comes Melina. She tries to nail Super Crazy in the face with a kick, but he traps her leg. Super Mickie comes in and sends Melina to the mat by her Super-long hair (Ok, way too much 'Super', I get it)!
She whips Melina around the ring by her hair a few more times until she hits a Louz Thesz Press.
Mickie sets the A-lister up for the Mickie-DT before being interrupted by the men. Melina is sent to the outside, and both her and her tag partners, Nitro are double-baseball slided.
We’re back in the ring now as Mickie lifts Melina Samoan drop style. Melina rakes MJ's eyes, pulls her by her hair into a backbreaker, and pins her holding the tights.
Again, a great match that was extremely over with the crowd. The first bit where Mickie and Melina got into it was a nice touch, especially since it created some build-up and anticipation for their encounter later on.
I loved the way the men were used to propel the end of the match and the exchange between Mickie and Melina.
Next up was Mickie vs. Melina for the WWE Women's Championship, except this time Melina came out on top.
Melina comes down to the ring looking mighty fierce as she's prepared to take Mickie's championship. Then Mickie comes down to the ring peppy as per usual.
The women lock up, sort of ending up with handfuls of their hair. They flinging each other around for a few before Mickie wrenches in a headlock on the enemy.
Melina counters this by twisting her opponents arm behind her back, only to be elbowed and flipped over on her own butt. The Divas trade blows until Mickie hits her patented snapmare into a low dropkick.
MJ follows this up with another dropkick that sends Melina face first to the outside. MJ, thinking third time's the charm, goes for one last low dropkick only to end up on the concrete floor.
The Paparazzi Princess stalks her prey, whipping her around the ring like a piece of trash. Melina ends up grapevining Mickie's legs, pulling her upward by her hair, and sending her face first to the mat with a kick.
Melina talks some trash, using Mickie as her punching bag all the while, until finally Miss James mounts a comeback by tripping Mel up. They scramble around the ring until Mickie wins the short exchange.
Mickie goes to work on Melina's face, kneeing her and smashing it around all around the ring. James is whipped across the ropes, ducks a clothesline, and attacks with a Louz Thesz Press.
The two women take the fight into the corner as Mickie sets up her patented Mickanrana. As she goes for the kill Melina holds on to the top rope, making Mickie land on the back of her head in a cringy spot. Melina flips over into a pin with Mickie's legs trapped and wins her first Women's Championship.
Later on Mickie is interviewed at a seemingly bad time, as she slapped the interviewer clear across the face! Then Melina was interviewed in quite a fun and intimidating promo.
WWE should be commemorated for going all out with this on WWE.com. They covered the whole thing immensely, posting 30 or more photos of the match and really putting over how deep this feud was.
I honestly didn't like this match as much as I thought I would. There were some good moments here and there, but overall it was more of a brawl than a match. I would've really liked to have seen more of a mat-based match than the brawling on display here, especially with the allotted time.
The ending was a bit lackluster, and I wish Melina would have introduced her Primal Scream finisher by then, because it would've capped off the match in an nice way. The interviews were great, and both women showed off their great acting abilities by playing off of what had just recently gone down, and by playing off of none other than their own interviewers! I loved it.
Mickie and Melina went on to have the first ever Divas Falls count Anywhere match which can be viewed here:
And after dealing with the whole Ashley-Melina Playboy scenario (Yawn!) they had another series of matches after Mickie attacked Melina during her "photo op" after Wrestlemania:
Melina cut her fabulous promo, as per usual, and finally Mickie attacked her in an illustrious way, tackling Melina and hitting her Mickie-DT. It was a great way to re-launch this feud, and after a couple more matches it all culminated at Backlash in one of the greatest matches in WWE Diva history:
Melina comes down to the ring looking dapper as ever. Next comes Mickie James who looks like she's hiding her hatred of Melina behind that peppy exterior and maybe even those huge bellbottoms (Haha)!
They start up with the typical tie-up into an arm wrench which Melina is in control of. Mickie counters this seamlessly by spinning and flipping Melina over using her shoulders. Now Mickie takes control of Melina's arm.
Melina with a forearm and reverses the arm wrench into her own yet again. Both women are selling these moves with every fiber of their being and the crowd is eating it up.
Mickie reverses with a one handed cartwheel followed by a monkey flip and a one count. MJ quickly succeeds this with a headlock, and then a headlock takeover. This prompts Melina to counter into a headscizzors submission move, talking trash all the while.
Mickie flips over Melina and the two feisty women stare each other down, a low Mickie chant beginning. This was exquisitely well done, because you could literally feel the tension in the air. This made you realize just how important this match is to both ladies.
Melina cuts the love-fest short by nailing Mickie in her stomach with a kick. The process of headlock takedown into a headscizzors submission move is repeated, except this time both women are on the other side of the proceedings.
Melina forces herself out of this move and brings Mickie into another side headlock. What happens next is the quite interesting. Melina pretends to have something in her eye and as soon as Mickie turns her head, Melina sucker punches her to the mat.
MJ is mounted on with forearms, until she drives Melina into the corner, hitting a second monkey flip and going for the pin. No dice. They take the fight to the corner where Melina is hit with two feet to the face.
As Mickie goes up to the top turnbuckle Melina shoves her off, and Mickie lands precariously on the outside. Mel tosses Mickie to the other side of the ring by her hair for a two count. She follows this up with a submission move.
Melina brings Mickie's head and upper body area through the middle rope, then wrapping her legs and arms around her in a headlock. Mel goes for a pin and receives a two count.
The A-list Diva goes for a second submission move, which is just as innovative as the one before it. Mickie has Melina's legs wrapped in front of and around her, trapping her arms and having pressure put on the back of her head and neck by Melina's legs.
Melina locks this in for a few moments before turning it into a pin of some sort or another. Still she gets a two count. Melina then begins using the ropes for leverage, the referee takes note, and the spider-like move is broken up.
Perez goes for a suplex, which James then counters into a small package. Still no win for either side. M&M then take this match to the corner where Melina chokes Mickie from the rope repeatedly.
Mickie pounds Melina with a few hits before having her head driven into the mat, courtesy of Melina's butt. Mickie sells this flawlessly, and she really looks hurt, but the viper-like Melina doesn't care whatsoever.
Melina puts MJ in a few submissions until Mickie elbows out. She tries for her ever-present spin kick, but Melina catches her and pulls her into a split. Mickie follows suit and now both ladies are found trading blows in the splits position!
Mickie ends the fun little spot by hitting Melina with two boots to the face, accompanied by the "Oohs" and "Ahhhs" of the crowd. Mickie follows up with another low dropkick and a two.
The Paparazzi Queen is hit in the face with a couple forearms, followed by two clotheslines and two hair takedowns. At this point the crowd is fully invested into the match, and both women are giving it their all.
Melina goes for a clothesline, but instead Mickie traps her arm and hits a nicely sold neckbreaker accompanied by a two count. The girls trade blows and Mickie's whipped into the corner.
Miss James sets up her Mickanrana, but instead is thrown over the top rope onto the apron. Mickie forearms Melina and follows up with quite a momentous high crossbody. Again Mickie only gets a two count.
Frustration is building on her side and the fight is taken to the corner one last time. Melina goes to the top rope, and with the leverage she has over Mickie kicks her on the top of the head.
A rake of the eye and reversed ddt later, Melina is still your WWE Women's Champion.
This match was amazing! Mickie and Melina pulled out all the stops, not holding anything back. It would've been nice if the crowd was more into it ala Trish vs. Lita, but towards the end you could see that both women made the crowd get into it.
They both contested a wrestling clinic, and they should be proud. In my opinion, this was both ladies greatest match of their televised careers. For Melina, it marked her coming into her own in the ring and as a top Diva. For Mickie, it marked the peak of her career and popularity. Their heads came together, and in the end they produced a wrestling classic, male or female.
Although many great things came of it, so did some bad. This was when their feud was dropped, and I'm still puzzled as to why it was dropped so abruptly. If anything, they should have kept this feud going for the better part of the year, adding new layers to it with Beth and Candice.
I think this match would've been better served on the grandest spectacle of them all, Wrestlemania. It still is my dream Wrestlemania match, with Melina being the bitchy face and Mickie the psycho heel.
I'm still holding out.
Thanks for reading, and please remember to comment. Tell me your favorite moments of this feud, and do you really think this was as underappreciated as I say? Be on the lookout for the next underappreciated feud!