Earlier in the year, Mickie James was released from her WWE contract, following weeks/months of being buried every Friday Night on Smackdown. The infamous 'Piggy James' storyline was the last thing we saw of her. In case you're not too familiar with it, 'Piggy James' was the name given to Mickie by resident Smackdown bullies LayCool (Layla El and Michelle McCool). For weeks, the duo tormented poor James by making jabs at her weight gain. I'm sorry, but there is nothing entertaining about watching a grown woman be reduced to tears. Behind the scenes, this angle was created to give Mickie a simple hint- Lose weight or lose your job.
Unfortunately, the end result was the latter.
Mickie's unceremonious release infuriated the IWC and most fans in general, as she just so happened to be one of the few decent female wrestlers left on the roster.
Not surprisingly, everyone was shocked with the news. Mickie gave the WWE five years of her time, put on great matches, took part in many good storylines and was just a joy to watch week in, week out. Backstage, however, things were rumoured to not be as rosy. James had several backstage disputes with fellow Superstars and the most notable one was her run in with Batista which took place not too long before her release. This dispute was said to be one of the reasons behind her release.
Others include the company not being happy with her general backstage behaviour, which involved holding a tour bus up during a Europe tour.
The most infuriating reasons just so happens to be the same one that left former Diva Maria Kanellis removed from the company around the same time. What did the two have in common? They happened to be interested in pursuing music careers, and refused McMahon the rights to these careers. Seeing as Vinny O Mac seems to be afraid of his Superstars gaining recognition outside of the WWE, the two women were released.
So some could say Mickie James deserved her release for her backstage behaviour, but I believe the real reasons were the music career she wanted to pursue, and unfortunately, as I mentioned above, her weight gain.
I'm sure we're all aware of the extra weight James had picked up earlier this year, I don't need to delve further into the issue. What I do want to stress is this awful attitude the WWE has when it comes to their Diva's, often favouring gorgeous young models over the more talented women wrestlers. Let's just look at some of the other ladies who've been released recently, like Serena Deeb and Katie Lea. Do you know who still have jobs? The Bella Twins. Need I say more?
After her release from the WWE, Mickie got right to work on the Indie circuit, maintaining her music career at the same time. At least during this time, she got to wrestle other women wrestlers of her calibre, like ODB and Mia Yim. The whole time, rumours swirled around of Mickie's resigning with TNA. James was one of the original Knockouts, named Alexis Laree at the time, her first run taking place throughout 2003.
Mickie denied the rumours to begin with, then word got out that all the papers had been signed and James was now a Knockout once again. This was confirmed on the October 7th live edition of TNA Impact, where James returned to the TNA screen in a segment involving Tara (former WWE Diva Victoria), Madison Rayne, Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. The pop she received from the crowd was amazing and she appeared to be in great shape. So much for Piggy James.
Now, I don't even watch TNA, nor do I have an interest in it, but this really did spark some interest in me. There are several women on the roster for James to have decent matches with, like Tara, Hamada, Angelina Love, Lacey Von Erich (ahah, just kidding.) and Daffney, just to name a few. Probably more than there were on the WWE roster.
There is also the opportunity for TNA to gain some massive exposure by making Mickie the first woman ever to hold all three major women's titles (Women's Championship, Diva's Championship and Knockouts Championship). This, may I add, is history even Michelle McCool cannot make. Doing this would give TNA's Knockout Division some major credibility, and could possibly take the shred of credibility the WWE's Diva Division has left because as well all know, this Division is as good as dead.
The WWE could fight back by quickly putting the Diva's Championship on Gail Kim, who has held the Knockouts Championship and the Women's Championship and steal this spotlight from TNA. However, this is very unlikely, seeing as it looks as if they have no plan of taking the championship off of Mrs Undertaker any time soon.
Mickie joining the TNA roster propels the company further, as she was one of the biggest stars in the WWE. Before long (this is quite unlikely though), TNA could become real competition for the bigger wrestling company.
And this would be no one's fault but the WWE's own, as by releasing Mickie, they pushed her back to TNA. And let's face it, if the Knockout Division becomes bigger and better than the Diva Division, this would be another thing TNA has over the WWE, along with TNA having a better Tag Team Division. People who are primarily into these two divisions will undoubtedly tune into TNA more often.
How to avoid this?
Well, Mr McMahon. Give us back a Tag Team and Diva's division, that would be a start.
And I'm saying this as a WWE fan, with no general interest in TNA. But in all honesty, if I had to choose between watching Mickie James vs Tara inside a Steel Cage and three minutes of The Bella Twins vs LayCool, I would undoubtedly pick the former, and I'm sure we would all agree on that.