Mickie James is a ten-time world champion across both WWE and her current employer Impact Wrestling, but at Bound for Glory 2022, it’s not a championship on the line – but her very career. Here’s what Mickie James had to say.
The four-time Knockouts Champion lost her title to Tasha Steelz at Impact Wrestling’s Sacrifice (2022) event and has since gone on to feud with Deonna Purrazzo and Chelsea Green. However, come Bound for Glory (2022) Mickie James will be taking on friend and ally Mia Yim – and putting her career on the line. If James loses what could be her ‘Last Rodeo’ then the Hardcore Country Knockout will need to hang up her boots and retire from in-ring competition forever.
Mickie James was asked about her mindset going into a match that could very well be her retirement match, she responded by saying, “I’m still proving something to myself. I’m a fighter in my heart and I have always needed to have a reason, and a purpose, as to why I’m fighting. It’s never just been about having great matches, it’s about the purpose. And this purpose is about just proving I still belong in that locker room, with some of the greatest female talent in the world.”
James also reflected on the various ‘first matches’ the Knockouts division has had in recent years and speculated that they could headline Bound for Glory (Impact’s biggest annual pay-per-view) one day, just like WWE’s female stars have at recent WrestleMania shows. She said, “It could happen, it’s always on the cards. I think the Knockouts have always been the difference makers, and have been ahead of the curve as far as what the women have been allowed to do. There are no more limitations, you saw the X-Division match and you saw a women’s Monster’s Ball match, and we saw Mia in that Triple Threat Revolver match. So, I think the opportunities are going to keep on coming.”
Mia Yim and ‘The Last Rodeo’
After being reminded that her Bound for Glory opponent, Mia Yim is not the same competitor she was when James last faced her, having been on her own journey as a competitor, the Queen of Hardcore Country responded by saying, “I know the Mia Yim I saw over a decade ago was very young and very green. I have watched her over this last decade and I know how talented she is. I know she respects me, so she won’t try to go easy on me. She knows I want to be challenged, I want everything that she has. We’re going to be kicking each others butts, but out of love and respect.”
James was then asked about her decision to initiate the ‘Last Rodeo’ meaning that she’ll retire once she receives her next in-ring loss. While James could still wrestle for some time, providing she continues to win, this stipulation now means that her career could end at any time. Eventually, however, as all wrestlers do, Mickie James will be pinned and submitted, bringing her game-changing career to an end. James was asked about this decision and explained her reasoning behind it.
Becoming slightly emotional, she said, “I love this business so much, and I love it too much to not be the best that I can be. Over the past two decades I’ve seen this business evolve for the women. I never wanted to fade away, I don’t want to go out a shell of what I used to be. So, if I can’t be that champion, if I can’t fight the way I need to fight, because the truth is my body hurts, it takes me longer to come back and heal. I want to be able to spend time with my son, I want to be able to go to his games and still be able to be my best self for him. But if I’m going to stay in the business, I want to be the best Mickie James that I can be, and if I can’t do that then I don’t belong here anymore.
Mickie’s return at the Royal Rumble
Despite being controversially released from the company in April 2021, WWE invited James to compete in the Woman’s Royal Rumble match in January 2022. At the time, James was the Knockouts World Champion in Impact Wrestling and appeared on a WWE premium live event wearing her Knockouts Championship belt.
This was significant as it was the first time in history that a TNA/Impact belt had ever been seen on a WWE branded show. Impact Wrestling would also help promote the event, talking up James’ appearance and even showed highlights on their own weekly television show. This was was also historic, as it marked the first time Impact Wrestling had ever shown footage from a WWE event on one of their shows.
We asked James how she felt about being such a uniting force between WWE and Impact, and if she gets passed Mia Yim at Bound for Glory, could we see her in another Royal Rumble match? She said, “As an Impact Wrestling fan, as a WWE fan, as a WRESTLING FAN, it was important to me for many reasons to have that closure, you know, because of the circumstances (even though that was not a purposeful thing) when I left. I was blessed to be the Knockouts World Champion and if I was going to back to the Rumble I wanted to represent Impact and represent that championship with class.”
“Because I’ve always said it, the Knockouts are the cream of the crop and I feel like people often forget how awesome they are. I thought it was really special that both companies allowed that moment to happen. It was beautiful and it hadn’t been done before. It’s a very special moment in wrestling history and my own history – and I was really grateful to be the one to do it. [As for the future] who’s to say?”
Impact Wrestling: Bound for Glory (2022) takes place on the October 7, 2022 and can be ordered on the FITE TV app.