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Mickie James returned on Raw, but you might have missed it

A Mickie James wrestling match was televised on the Aug. 17 episode of Raw. The last time that happened was 16 months ago, on the WrestleMania 35 Kickoff when she was one of the competitors in the Women’s Battle Royal.

You’d think the return of six-time Women’s champ and future Hall of Famer would be a big deal. WWE gave us that impression a week ago, when they promoted her return for a brief backstage interview that set-up last night’s in-ring clash with Natalya.

Their clash last night was shaping up to be a solid showing, the kind of thing you’d expect from a pair of veterans with resumes like James & Nattie. But when both women hit the mat mid-match, Seth Rollins & Murphy stormed into the Performance Center to confront Samoa Joe at the announce table.

From there we can only assume the match continued to be a quality affair, because as home viewers we mostly saw Rollins & Joe have an off-microphone argument about Rey Mysterio. At least WWE production was nice enough to show us the finish of the match - Lana distracting Mickie so Natalya could knock her to the floor for a countout win - over Seth’s shoulder.

It’s extra-maddening, because this not only undercut James’ return, but they’ve already made it clear this program is supposed to establish Lana & Nat’s new act as social media obsessed heels. Commentary did a decent job putting over everyone involved before The Monday Night Messiah arrived, but the last message isn’t about Mickie the mentor or Natalya the #BOAT. It’s that their stories are less important than a side conversation about other plotlines.

Fans raised the issue on social media, and James seemed to acknowledge that with some tweets of her own, like this one:

She also did an in-character fallout interview where she expressed frustration, but that focused on the kayfabe loss, not the booking decision.

Anyway... welcome back, Mickie! It’s great to see you, and you looked as good as ever. Hopefully you don’t disappear for months at a time like you did before your injury. And that the cameras stay focused on your next televised match from start to finish.

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