Mickie James commented Thursday on WWE announcing the return of Eva Marie on Monday night's episode of Raw.
James, who was released by WWE along with several other Superstars in April, discussed the topic during an appearance on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette (h/t Joshua Gagnon of WrestlingInc.com).
James was complimentary of Eva Marie and what she brings to the table aside from an in-ring perspective:
"Honestly, I think it's incredible she's been able to step away and still remain relevant, rebrand herself, and almost excel outside. Not everybody does that. I don't think her wrestling ability was ever her strength. I know she has been down at NXT working on stuff. So, I don't know. I don't think the wrestling bit was ever her thing. I feel like there's always been—even going back to old school wrestling—that there's a role for everybody and not everybody has to be a five-star wrestler, or whatever, and have dream matches. That doesn't have to be a thing, if their character is strong and they can sells tickets, get ratings, I guess it works."
There was some outrage among fans when WWE aired a vignette for Eva Marie on Monday after the promotion recently released female wrestlers fans consider better performers such as James, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay and Chelsea Green.
One narrative making the rounds was that WWE signed Eva Marie following those releases, but James said Eva has been working on her trade at the WWE Performance Center, and PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported that she signed with WWE in September.
On Oral Sessions, James added: "It's ironic because to the fans, they go, 'Well, you just had all these budget cuts, you let all these people go, and you debut somebody else.' But they always debut new talent after WrestleMania, as well."
The 36-year-old Eva Marie debuted for WWE in 2013 as an original cast member on Total Divas. She remained with the company until her release 2017. Since then, Eva has been a model and influencer and gained a massive following on social media.
Mickie praised Eva for enjoying so much success outside the wrestling world:
"She's beautiful and stunning, and I do have mad respect in the sense that she has a million followers and been able to rebrand herself and really do a whole other thing outside of wrestling once she left. Me being an entrepreneur—and I'm always looking at stuff—I completely respect that side of her. If she can capitalize on all of this heat and just kind of go, 'Yeah? So?' That's where the real—everybody will hate her and it will be great for her."
Eva may never be a top-notch wrestler, but it stands to reason that she could have improved since her first stint. Also, she could conceivably thrive in other areas because of her look and charisma, and the fact that she can draw heel heat with ease.
The argument that WWE didn't use James, Royce, Kay and Green to their utmost potential is a sound one, but it has little to do with debuting a completely different talent in Eva Marie.
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