After Chyna's departure in 2001, the Divas division went through its strongest period of time. Many women such as Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Victoria and Jazz rose up to become prime viewing on WWE's main TV programming. December 6th, 2004 would be the highest point as a Women's Championship bout between Stratus and Lita was booked as the main event of that episode of Raw.
Mickie James would join the division only 20 months after this major milestone. Very quickly she managed to establish herself as a serious contender against the women who had been there for over five years. Her talent was confirmed when she managed to defeat Stratus for the Women's Championship at WrestleMania 22.
It was not long after however that an exodus of female talent began. Due to various reasons, many of the names that made WWE's female division the best began to disappear. Despite this setback, James became the face of the Divas division and managed to barely hold everything together.
Problems for James began in 2009. After she won her first Divas Championship from Maryse at Night of Champions, rumours began to come out that WWE was criticising James for gaining weight. She would later be called out for unprofessional behaviour in a title defense against Gail Kim. During the match Kim would become concussed yet James would still try and make her go through her regular moves. Unfortunately, Kim was unable to react to anything in the correct manner and the match ended terribly.
It was not long after James lost the championship to Jillian Hall in an unannounced match and was traded to SmackDown. Many perceived this as a punishment for her recent action and indiscretions. James would still remain in the title picture despite the trade and feuded with Michelle McCool in a rivalry that heavily made fun of Mickie's figure, with the infamous Piggy James skit.
Although she managed to win one more Women's Championship before being released, the true reason for her poor treatment became apparent in a series of interviews after her move to SmackDown.
James made it common knowledge that she was actively pursuing a career in country music and that she fully intended to leave WWE to achieve success. It is known that Vince McMahon doesn't take kindly to those who openly plan careers outside the ring.
WWE also own a music label. It is likely McMahon believes anyone who plans to expand their talents into other mediums should still do it under his brand. He fails to recognize that WWE outside of wrestling is viewed as B Class entertainment.