Interview: Mickie James and 20 Years of Knockouts Wrestling

Mickie James Interview

In 2022 there are a few things that are guaranteed; death, taxes, and the IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts division. That isn’t a slight towards IMPACT; it’s high praise in a division of wrestling as a whole that has found itself floundering inside the sport. IMPACT has consistently shown that over the last 20 years they’ve not only stayed at the forefront of the sport of women’s wrestling but continue to push it forward. This past week, Botched Spots and Chair Shots and their host Will Gray got to sit down with a legend in the sport of wrestling, both with IMPACT and beyond in Mickie James for an exclusive interview.

Mickie James Interview: Knockouts Wrestling and More

“Probably, one of the most important runs in my career honestly, at a time when I thought I was done or made to feel like I was on the tail end of my career,” said Mickie James during the interview. “I was more there to kind of help elevate talent in a sense. Now to be able to come back and do. I can’t tell you what this past year has meant to me.”

Mickie James is a multi-time champion and a legend in the sport of professional wrestling. Speaking to the host about this most recent run, she says that she wasn’t sure what to expect. The twilight of her career had begun but she wasn’t sure what was going to be happening when she stepped foot back into an IMPACT ring. Her return started last summer and has stretched a year plus now that has included a Knockouts title reign, an absolute banger of a match in a “Texas Death Match” with Deonna Purazzo, and kicking down the forbidden door at one of the biggest events of the year in WWE’s Royal Rumble this past January in St. Louis.

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“The original goal was to win a championship, but the ultimate goal is to leave the business better than you found it. We weren’t taken seriously,” James would tell Gray about the early days of the Diva’s division during her time with WWE. This was during a time when women were still fighting for equal rights and pay in a male-dominated industry. However, in 2022, women’s wrestling is thriving in IMPACT. James was very emotional when discussing what the Knockouts division meant to the sport.

When asked about what made this locker room so special, James would glowing say, “We are the same, we are equal, if not better” with a slight smirk.

James was adamant about IMPACT’s role in advancing the sport. “IMPACT was giving main events and cage matches to women before everyone else… I can see the growth in the locker room.” James would also discuss how the likes of Purrazzo, Jordyn Grace, and Tasha Steelz just to name a few, give young women who are interested in the sport real role models and examples of who they can look up to.

“Women are getting into wrestling to become wrestlers again,” James would say, as she expanded on how IMPACT has continued to show equality in both their women’s and men’s locker rooms. IMPACT has always been groundbreaking in including women and the Knockouts division in the spotlight of its weekly TV show. Even as early as 2003, James was involved in a hardcore affair in Raven’s “A Clockwork Orange, House of Fun Match.” This was a match between James and fellow legend and WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett.

“Jeff treated me like a man out there, he respected me, and he protected me.” Mickie James would continue to discuss the match in detail, even saying, “I don’t fancy myself a hardcore wrestler, but I will go hardcore. I thought in my head I’d go through it, but I just ricocheted off of it. A chain-link fence is a pretty sturdy thing.”

Regarding Jarrett tossing James around during the match, she said, “I’m a lot smaller than the boys.” The host and Mickie would chuckle as they both understand the magnitude of the fact that she was experiencing something few people have experienced let alone women in the sport. James would go on to praise both Raven and Jarrett for being geniuses of the business.

IMPACT would continue to break grounds and a decade later, Daphne, another IMPACT Knockouts competitor, would call James up and tell her, “I’m doing the Clockwork House of Fun match, and no one has done it since you, sis.” Even with the consistency of praise the Knockouts division would continue to get, IMPACT upped the ante even more in 2021 with the first-ever Knockout’s Division Ultimate X match: a match and division reserved for the high spots and risk-taking athletes requiring the competitors to climb pillars attached to the ring posts and then maneuver themselves out to the center of the ring suspended above it to retrieve the X, claiming a future shot at the Knockouts title.

The women of the Knockouts division jumped at the opportunity and showed the world that women can put on five-star matches like their male counterparts. When asked about her favorite moments to commemorate 20 years of IMPACT Wrestling and their homecoming of sorts to Nashville, Mickie James was flustered finding the words. “Coming in and being able to recreate myself as hardcore country… The cage match with Tara, I really wanted a chance there to re-establish myself.”

She continued to talk about how she wasn’t sure if she could still hang. She brought up Deonna Purrazzo, “I put Deonna up there as one of the top talents in the world,” the Texas Death Match being one of her top IMPACT moments alongside being able to work with her husband, Nick Aldis.

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James would give B.S.C.S. the exclusive at the time in saying that she has inserted herself as the special enforcer for the first-ever Queen of the Mountain Match this Sunday at Slammiversary, another first for IMPACT Wrestling. “What is next for me and what is the next big thing for Impact wrestling,” Mickie James closed the interview with those words when asked what is next for Hardcore Country. It seems like
Mickie James and IMPACT Knockouts wrestling are synonymous with one another and they will continue to push each other into the spotlight of the sport of women’s wrestling.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. IMPACT Wrestling Slammiversary will air live on pay-per-view and via FITE.tv.