I guess it’s good, it’s something that’s always changing. At the end of the day, it always comes back to the wrestling, in my opinion. When I fell in love with wrestling, I fell in love with the characters, and the over-the-top kind of personalities, and the wrestling aspect of it. I was more of a Sensational Sherri fan than an Elizabeth fan. I thought Elizabeth was awesome, but I thought she was a bit of a wimp. I want to see people kick [butt], that’s why I tune in.
You were down at the Performance Center, which means you got to see a lot of the WWE NXT wrestlers. I know a lot of fans of women’s wrestling are raving about some of the divas down there, what did you see from them?
I thought there were a handful of them with legit, real potential. Obviously, I thought Paige was amazing. I had met Paige before, back in England actually. I really like her. That was the first time I had worked with Emma, and I thought she was really good. Sasha Banks, I really like her a lot. She had a good personality and was really sharp, and had a great look and a great character. Yeah, there are definitely girls with potential there. You never know who’s going to be the next superstar. Some of them are just kind of getting their feet wet, and have a ways to go, but they could be the next superstars.
Since we are in the Road to WrestleMania, I have to say, one of my favorite WrestleMania builds in recent memory was the feud between you and Trish Stratus [from 2006]. What are your memories of that feud?
Oh my gosh. It was amazing. It was the first time, in my recollection, that a women’s storyline really captivated the audience and had so much time built into the story. By the time we got to WrestleMania, people couldn’t wait to see this match. I couldn’t wait to be a part of it, obviously; it was my first WrestleMania. It was something that I dreamed of for the past seven years of my road, and since I was a little girl being a fan of it. I can’t explain the emotion I was feeling at that moment, except that it was absolutely incredible. I remember points of that match, and a lot of aspects of it, but I just remember being so lost in the moment, with all the people, and my character, and just how incredible it all was. It was definitely surreal. I don’t think there’s been a female storyline since then that’s really had that same momentum behind it. The closest thing to it might have been the development of AJ’s character. Though that’s not really a storyline. Because of her personality, it’s done really well. Let’s face it, with the crazy girl, people love to love us, or hate us, at the same time. But I’m very honored to have had that. It really set the stage of who I’ve strived to maintain to be, and who I was, moving forward out of that storyline. To be able to move forward and face Lita on her way out, and then Trish’s last match at Madison Square Garden. It really set the pace for me, and set my bar. It was up to me to keep raising that bar. I couldn’t have asked for a better intro, that’s for sure.
I also have to ask about one other WWE storyline. What was your take on the still-controversial, and still fairly hated “Piggy James” storyline?
I get asked about that in pretty much every interview. It’s one of those things where I felt that bullying, in today’s society, is so easy with texting and everything. It’s really easy to insult someone without having to see what you do to them. You can just text someone and forget about it. I think it was one of those things to show how ugly bullying really was. And it was our way to attack the whole bullying issue. When I grew up, I got picked on, and I got bullied. And we would fight about it. It’s become such a mainstream issue that it was our way to shed light on it. That’s what I took from it.
On Saturday, you’re wrestling for Maryland Championship Wrestling. You’ve wrestled quite a bit for them. What’s so special about that company to you?
For me, I love [MCW owner] Danny McDevitt. I was wrestling for about a year and a half when I transferred [wrestling] schools to Maryland. I still lived outside of Richmond, and it was a three-hour trek for me to go up and practice and everything else. He opened the doors for me. The school helped me get my start and learn the basics, but the MCW shows at the time were so much bigger, and brought in such big stars, and that’s where I did a lot a camps. Danny was super cool, and that’s where I started to branch out and gain some notoriety out of that as an independent performer. Eventually, that led to my signing at WWE. Hell, it led to me finally branching out and doing indies all over the place to the very first TNA pay-per-view, to becoming one of the main characters at that point in Ring of Honor, to going back to working with TNA, to signing with WWE. If I hadn’t transferred schools and taken that opportunity, I may not have ever left the state of Virginia as a wrestler. It definitely opened a lot of doors for me, so for that, I’m always grateful for a chance to go back and hang out with some of those people, and wrestle in front of those crowds. It’s awesome to me.
What’s it like for someone who has wrestled in front of thousands and thousands of people, to then go to wrestle for independent companies?
It is a bit humbling in that aspect. It’s coming full circle in a sense. Obviously, it’s why I don’t wrestle for just anybody, or every weekend. But, to be able to go back to where I started, and see some of those same fans is amazing. Some of these fans saw me when I was a nobody, and can say they knew me when I was Alexis Laree. And that’s really cool, and I’m sure I’ll run into some of those same fans that were there before. And you have to love that aspect of it. And it’s cool to see some of the people that you broke in with, and see where their lives have taken them.
For the fans who maybe never have ventured out and seen an independent show, what do you think the best part is, for the fans?
You can become more involved in the show. It’s more up close and personal, and you can meet a lot of the wrestlers, during intermissions and everything. The guys and girls will come out and sign autographs and take pictures, and it’s just more of a hands-on experience where you get to meet and hang out and talk with some of the wrestlers. It’s something you could never do with the WWE. And you never know who you could see at those independent shows. You never know who could be the next stars of tomorrow. You can go and see them, and maybe you won’t realize that they’re going to be huge stars at the time, but then later, maybe you get an autograph of them back when they were wrestling in front of 300 fans, before they wrestle in front of 80,000 at WrestleMania.
On Saturday, you’re wrestling Angelina Love. Is it interesting to you that both of you spent so much time in TNA together, and are wrestling on this stage?
It’s weird because Angelina and I have never wrestled that much before, even in TNA. I think for the next couple months, we’ll be in the ring together more than we ever were before, even though we were in the same company. I find that ironic. She’s mega-talented. I’m really excited about the match. We’re going to have fun, and have a great match. With her ability, and whatever I have to bring to the table, it should be great for the fans.
So, finally, what’s next for Mickie James?
I don’t really know. I’m just going to keep plugging away on the music. I do have other opportunities on the horizon. I don’t want to talk about them right now because I don’t want to jinx them. Hopefully the music will continue, and we’re planning on going in later this year and working on another album, and keep wrestling, of course. We’ll see what kind of doors open, but I just have to work on me, and do what I do.
You can see Mickie James, as well as Angelina Love, Jerry Lawler and the rest of the MCW wrestlers as they wrestle at MCW Anniversary 2014. Bell time is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Joppa Marketplace, and you can buy tickets or find out more on their website, marylandwrestling.com.