Mickie James post-WWE release tell-all arrived today (April 28), on the Grown Ass Women YouTube show she regularly does with Lisa Marie Varon (aka Victoria, aka Tara) and SoCal Val.
We’ll most likely have more of James’s comments later. She covers a lot of ground, including her tweeting a picture of the trash bag WWE sent her ring gear to her in after her release, and everything that followed last week.
One thing that jumped out on first listen was Mickie’s rundown of the things she’s pitched WWE over the years, both for her character and the company in general. She proposed one WrestleMania weekend that she says left her questioning her position at the company (accurately, as it turns out):
“There was this moment in all of this where I go, ‘What if we do an all-female branded product? What if we just do an all-female branded show, there’s different shows and stuff that we could do within it or whatver. And if I could help lead up and head up that, and we have an awesome team of women that we could really lean on - we have the talent, we have all these people, we have the tools, we have the facilities. We have everything that we need. It could literally be - all these little things that would really really help a lot of these girls who aren’t getting the television time.’
“And I shit you not, this one person said literally - cause I kept getting, I felt like I’ve talked about this several times to different people in different roles... just to kind of feel it out. Finally over the weekend while I’m sitting back there just evaluating where I’m gonna fit in, he says to me, ‘They’re never going to do it. Ever. Women’s wrestling doesn’t really make money. The Women’s Evolution PPV - the lowest-rated PPV ever in the history of WWE PPVs. I get what you’re trying to do, but I don’t understand why you’re fighting so hard for it. You should just kind of like play the cards you’re kind of dealt, and then see if there’s a way to incorporate that within a different show rather than fight for it to be its own show.’
“I just realized that every decision and everything that they do, there is some genuine stuff behind, and they do some really really amazing work, but at the end of the day a lot of it is business, and just how it falls in line with business. So it’s hard to think like that, but then you go like, okay, every decision here on out that I make - no hard feelings, totally get it, grateful for the opportunities, I’ve had a long career, like longer than a lot of women, as you know. We all busted our butts for a long time, and it’s awesome to see all these strides, but - I’m just disappointed.”
It’s a bit surprising to hear James come to the realization that WWE is a bottom line operation this late in the game, but she’s not the first person to get swept away by the company’s “we’re a family” pitch to their employees (Paul “Big Show” Wight just talked recently about having a similar epiphany before signing with AEW).
The answer she got from what one would assume was a high-ranking person about her women’s wrestling pitch is also a little surprising. WWE’s pushed their women’s divisions a lot the last couple years, despite this person’s stance that it’s a money loser. It does explain why the make big gestures like Evolution or ‘Mania main events and then follow-up by only giving the same three or four female performers ten minutes on Raw. That way they can tout their progressiveness to partners and sponsors, but still not risk long-term losses while attempting to grow the audience.
It also lines up with some of what we’ve heard about why AEW only recently started featuring their women wrestlers more prominently on Dynamite.
Let us know what you think about James’s pitch, and WWE’s response, in the comments below. And stay tuned for more from the new episode of GAW, or head here if you can’t wait and want to hear everything Mickie had to say right away.