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TNA Women's Knockout Champion Mickie James talks to The American's Josh Modaberi
Mickie James is one of the best female wrestlers to step foot inside the squared circle during an era of great women's wrestling in both WWE and TNA. The grappler from Montpelier, Virginia had her first mainstream push in the WWE in 2005, working with the likes of WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus, Lita, and many other top female stars of that era.
"It was great because it was so hot and wrestling was so important at that moment," she said. "I think at that time we had the best women in the world as part of that division. I was honoured to be a part of it, I grew up as a wrestling fan and even when I was getting into the business these were the girls that I looked up to, that I admired, and that I wanted to work with and be at the same level as.
"I didn't want to be like them, I wanted to be me and that's the difference - I think the people that truly like this business, they don't just want to be like somebody, they want to be themselves, but they want to be on that level, to be able to stand toe-to-toe and be respected."
When Mickie made her television debut it was in an angle with Stratus who, during her Hall of Fame speech from Madison Square Garden gave Mickie and the other female wrestlers of that era a name check.
"It was amazing, Trish is one of the best people I've worked with in this industry," the 33-year-old added. "she has obviously made a name for herself. For me I had worked and been at it a very long time and I was supposed to debut five times before I actually did that night. At the end of the day I think it was a blessing in disguise because I couldn't have asked for a better storyline and a better introduction and I don't think anyone has had one comparably close or as awesome as that for a very long time.
"I was in New York and I really wanted to go to the WWE Hall of Fame and be a part of that. It was said that I couldn't be there but it's one of those things. I was truly honoured because it was supposed to be her special moment, her shining moment, and that just goes to show the type of person she is, because she took time out of that to give credit to all the girls that were involved in that era. It was pretty amazing."
James has won numerous championships during her career including five WWE Women's titles, one WWE Divas title and three TNA Knockouts titles, with her first championship win coming on the grandest stage of them all: WrestleMania.
"It was incredible, it was the culmination of all these years of hard work, and my mum was sitting in the front row," she reminisces. "It was in one of the biggest angles for a women's match in a very long time.
"I was fortunate enough to be a part of that and even more so winning my first championship at the biggest show of the entire year and the biggest show of my life at that point, it was overwhelming. I can't even explain how I felt at that moment and if I could just bottle up that emotion and give it to people so they could have a moment of that feeling - it's just incredible."
Away from the ring, James also is enjoying a successful music career as a country singer and has just released her second album Somebody's Gonna Pay.
"I went to the studio and did the first six songs and had a Kickstarter because I was originally going to self release the album. I was fortunate to get $16,000," she continues. "Then as we were about to release the EP I got signed by E1 Music Nashville, and we went back in the studio and completed the album.
"Technically this is my second album, but it's my first legitimate release and we have the music video to back it up and these amazing lyric videos."
For more information about Mickie follow her on Twitter @MickieJames and visit her website www.mickiejames.com Mickie James and the stars of TNA are coming to Dublin, Glasgow, Manchester, London and Birmingham in January/February 2014. Get your tickets from psievents.eventbrite.co.uk