WWE made big waves when they announced Mickie James would be in the 2022 Women’s Royal Rumble match. The announcement came as a shock to many, given that James went through a shaky release from the company last year after they sent her gear home in a trash bag before she landed in her current home of IMPACT Wrestling. This has even led many to the giddy idea of WWE forming a partnership with IMPACT or even other companies. While a fun idea, expecting WWE to work with other companies will only leave you disappointed. Here’s why you shouldn’t read too much into Mickie James coming back for the Rumble.
Mickie James in the Royal Rumble
One and Done
It might seem obvious to most, but WWE has absolutely no intention of keeping Mickie James around following this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble. Of this, I can assure you. If WWE had any interest in her as a performer on their show, they wouldn’t have released her in the first place. What you’re more than likely, almost definitely, going to see is Mickie James make a one-time appearance. It’ll get a decent pop before being promptly forgotten about in the next couple of weeks. She won’t be on Monday Night Raw in the buildup to WrestleMania. She won’t even have a WrestleMania match because she’s not going to be there. Her Rumble appearance is nothing more than a nostalgia pop and won’t be building to anything meaningful, which is fine, but ultimately makes it meaningless in the long run.
An Acquiescence and Nothing More
Some also think that WWE namedropping an IMPACT championship title is the biggest indicator that they’re open to a partnership. This is also untrue, and this is why.
Given the fact that they’ve released a sizable portion of their roster, many of which were women, WWE has a huge problem with the upcoming Rumble; they don’t have enough bodies. The Royal Rumble is a match that requires 30 participants, which means it is comprised mostly of mid-card level talent to fill the gaps. This is a problem when you don’t have 30 recognizable enough participants to make up the match.
WWE is in a situation where they had two options; they could either reach down from NXT to help fill the match or find outside talent. Using NXT talent would ultimately bog down the match given no one in NXT feels like a star. Most of the names in NXT aren’t even recognizable to the main roster crowd anymore. Going for outside names was ultimately the easier choice. They’re more experienced, and most of them have worked for WWE in the past so their names are recognizable to the audience. Mickie James was just with the company last year. You don’t get much fresher in people’s memories than that.
So as far as namedropping the belt goes? A mere compromise in order to get Mickie James for a night. Given the way relations ended between her and WWE last year, it’s to be expected they’d have to work a bit harder to convince her to come back. This brings us to the next reason.
Payday vs Principle
It was surprising to some that Mickie James would even be willing to work with the company again after how things ended. This has also led some to believe that the only way WWE could have gotten her to agree is if there was a consistent partnership. Again, herein lies the road to disappointment.
At the end of the day, WWE offered her a very large payday and a good bit of buzz for her home promotion the night before they held a big pay-per-view. In exchange, she would do the Rumble appearance. That’s it. No agreement, no further partnership. The reason she took the payday is this; she is a pro wrestler. She is simply doing what every other pro wrestler since the dawn of the industry had done, and that’s making money. Love it or hate it, don’t mistake it for something other than what it is.
Be Careful What You Wish For
The last reason you shouldn’t read too much into the idea of WWE working with other companies is simple; it’d never turn out the way you think it would. Looking at things objectively, simply analyzing the history of the company, shows not only a feeling of superiority to other companies but an utter abhorrence of their talent. The company has a hard enough time handling its own talent and TV time, adding more talent and more product is certainly not the solution. They couldn’t even handle Sting, an established and well-known star, easily one of the most recognizable wrestlers of the 80’s and the 90’s, simply because they couldn’t get over the idea that he wasn’t their own homemade product.
WWE forming a partnership with any company, least of all one with as fragile a constitution as IMPACT, would ultimately not pan out anywhere near as well as some think it would. They simply aren’t engineered that way, the very mindset of the company wouldn’t allow for it. So the next time you get your hopes up for a potential WWE partnership, temper those thoughts a bit, or you’ll find yourself wanting something you’ll never get, and most likely won’t enjoy.
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