Mickie James was released by WWE earlier this month along with several other talented people. After that release, Mickie made headlines when she posted a video/photo of a garbage bag she received in a box from WWE. The garbage bag upset a lot of fans as a sign of disrespect.
On the 50th episode of her GAW (Grown Ass Women) Youtube show with Lisa Marie Varon and So Cal Val, Mickie talked a lot about her release. Mickie started in WWE in the mid-2000s, she debuted on Raw in late 2005 and then was released in May 2010. After a NXT Takeover match with Asuka in November 2016, she signed a full-time deal to return in early 2017 and now her four year return run is over. Here are some highlights from the discussion with thanks to Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert for the transcript.
Mickie shared her thoughts on her last two years in WWE and how disappointing it was for her:
“Over the last two years with getting switched to SmackDown and not getting used. I never debuted on TV, I tore my ACL. I kept feeling these things of ‘we want you to retire. We want you to be an agent.’ It was what they wanted for me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful for those opportunities, but at the same time, I see the agents and what they have to go through. They don’t get any of the praise or thanks that they deserve. They deal with a lot of crap. I don’t know if I could personally handle that. I’m too much of a creative person. Ideas that I had, they fell on deaf ears. If I fight for something, it’s what I genuinely believe. I have tons of ideas, not all of them are great, but if I think it’s great, I’ll promote it.”
Mickie commented about an idea to have more women’s content on WWE Network:
“Two or three years ago, I pitched a show similar to [GAW] with two or three girls on a panel and similar concept. ‘Who are you wearing? what are you drinking? what’s going on in pop culture?’ [I pitched it] for the Network and I might as well have been talking to [my dog]. [I pitched] a game show idea. I wasn’t even the star. If I’m going to be working behind the scenes, this is how my brain operates.”
Mickie also revealed other ideas she pitched that WWE wasn’t interested in:
“Anything I’ve pitched, they weren’t into it. I wanted to find a balance in between. There was this moment where I said, ‘What if we do an all-female brand?’ If I could help lead up that and have an awesome team of women….we have the talent, tools, and facilities. It would really help all the girls who are not getting television time. This one person says to me, ‘They’re never going to do it. Ever. Women’s wrestling doesn’t make money. WWE Evolution was the lowest-rated PPV ever in WWE. I get what you’re trying to do, but I don’t understand why you’re fighting so hard for it. You should play the cards you’re dealt and see if there’s a way to incorporate that within a show rather than fight for it to be its own show.’”
“I just realized that every decision they do, a lot of it is business and how it falls in line with business. I’m just disappointed as a whole with being made to feel old with Depends and a walker and the whole ageism thing. I think we missed out on a lot of moments, whether it was me tying Trish’s record and Charlotte tied that and beat me or the Chelsea Green angle (working on Twitter). I originally pitched (that angle) for Liv (Morgan in 2019) because I love Liv. There have been several moments we could have done and should’ve done that we missed the boat on.”
Two other women released at the same time as Mickie were the former IIconics duo of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, so commented on them as well:
“For [Billie Kay & Peyton Royce], I could feel how they were probably feeling in that moment because I remember the first time when it happened to me, you do think there’s a chance to come back or one more run and you don’t want to burn that bridge and you need to be diplomatic and respectful so you don’t piss anybody off and it takes away that opportunity. For me, if they think that 41 is old, there’s no way I’m coming back for one more run now, and knowing what I know now, would I want to?”
Regarding the trash bag that she received after her release, Mickie talked about how even though it was upsetting, it made her laugh too:
“All I can do is laugh about it. It’s not even about the trash bag. I was astonished at how it took off. I almost deleted the post because I felt like it came off as too nasty or bitter. I was being sarcastic and laugh at myself and the situation. I got my stuff the exact same way ten years ago. The difference is, at that point, I honestly believed it and took it to heart and thought ‘this is what the company thinks about me.’ I know I made bad decisions, but at the same time, it didn’t spark there. Between the Piggy James stuff and even in the last run, it’s just how I felt positioned in the last three years. It’s okay. I’m good now because I’m in a good space and can express myself in a real fashion. I was like ‘Wow, they still do this. This is bullshit.’ It’s also kind of comical because it’s literally how I felt that they thought about me for the last three years whenever I’d pitch anything or talk about anything.”
Lastly, Mickie talked more about the release, how it cost longtime WWE employee Mark Carrano his job, getting a call from Vince McMahon after her tweet, ageism that exists in WWE and more.
“I know it wasn’t a direct thing. I empathize with Mark (Carrano) and feel bad he’s taking the full brunt, it sucks, but I guarantee his pension package is more than what I got paid in my last run. So, I don’t feel that bad. He was not happy in that situation. I’m pissed and don’t want to come across as angry, but it is a direct reflection of everything I’ve experienced in coming back. I was happy to take a backseat and take a trainer role. All I asked for was a curtsy out the door. It was never ‘I want one last run’ or ‘I want to wrestle for the next five years.’ All I wanted was a little respect so it wouldn’t feel like unfinished business. I felt because I was asking for this one thing, it was going to come with a price. I’m not saying that’s from Vince because he’s always been respectful to me. He called me on the phone to apologize for this incident and to let me know that this isn’t what he thought of me. I tagged Vince because he needs to know.”
“There’s a lot of stuff that happens under his nose that he is oblivious to because he’s running a multi-billion dollar company. The small-minded mentality sometimes leads to thoughtless behavior. Especially for me, to constantly be presented as old, when I’m 41 years old and every single male champion has always been my same age or older and has been glorified for those reasons. As they should be, they’re amazing. Why is it different for women or for me? Ageism is a real thing and it’s bullshit. I’m grateful for the strides we’ve made to be seen as equal, but it’s not true for every person and it’s unfortunate. I don’t know why I was made to feel like I didn’t deserve it. I did everything in my power to be a company girl.”
Thanks again to Fightful for the transcript of the comments.
TJR Thoughts: I think most people that read my work know that I have been Mickie’s friend for over a decade now. I have worked on her website, I help manage her Facebook page and was even a big part of the launch of GAW TV last year. I’m happy she spoke up because a lot of these things are stuff we have talked about in private conversations because she talks a lot to me a lot and knows that I’m not going to report it. That’s not what I do. She’s my friend first. I’m not in this to break stories or anything like that.
The one point that I really liked the most was about ageism. She is absolutely right about that and I hope that her words open some eyes in WWE. She was not and is not too old to be a great wrestler at 41 years old, but maybe some people in WWE felt that way and that was why she wasn’t used the right way. I don’t know if age is the reason. I just know when you watch Mickie in the ring or on the microphone, she’s better than a lot of WWE women and they could have done a lot more with her. That’s on the WWE Creative Team to figure out. I just hope they get better about things like that in the future.
Do I know who she is referring to when she mentioned somebody that still works there? Absolutely. I’m not going to reveal it, though. It’s not my story to tell. As a friend, I can say that I know she’s in a good place in her life as a wife, mother, wrestler, musician, philanthropist and everything else going on. She doesn’t stop and I know she has a lot on her plate at all times. I’m sure he’ll kick ass with whatever is next and I’ll be here to support her every step of the way. I hope all of her fans feel the same way.
You can watch the full show here.