Does Mickie James belong in the Hall of Fame?

Every year there is the usual debate amongst wrestling fans as to who deserves to be inducted in to the Hall of Fame and there are some familiar names that get mentioned often but I want to consider a deserving female that doesn’t often get mentioned when people are making their picks for the Hall of Fame, for the simple reason that she in an active competitor. I want to consider somebody that simply deserves to be in the Hall of Fame regardless of who else may or may not be in there. This person deserves to be there purely based on merit.

Mickie James.

Mickie began wrestling on the independent circuit as Alexis Laree in 1999 and eventually made her way to TNA where she became a part of ‘The Gathering’ a group led by Raven and she became the first female to compete in clockwork orange house of fun matches.

Before the end of 2003 Mickie signed with WWE and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling still using the Laree name before eventually changing to her own name. During her time in OVW she competed in a tournament for the OVW Television Championship competing against several male wrestlers. She remained until October 2005 when she made her debut on Monday Night Raw

When Mickie first appeared on WWE, myself and the vast majority of the male population rejoiced as she is simply beautiful. As the weeks passed she showed that she could also act and make a storyline convincing; her chemistry with Trish was electric. Mickie played the role of the ‘psycho, crazed fan’ to perfection and it can be said that AJ’s current highly rated performances in WWE are taking elements of Mickie’s original role. Not only was Mickie believable in the role but her passion for the wrestling business was so apparent that we as fans were engrossed in the whole storyline.

But the most important aspect of Mickie is that she can actually wrestle.

If you ask a wrestling fan to name their favorite Mickie James match many will say the Wrestlemania match with Trish Stratus. It was phenomenal but I think it’s unfair to just talk about that match. Mickie has had memorable matches with everyone that she has been put with: Trish Stratus, Beth Phoenix, Melina, Lita to name but a few in WWE. Mickie also had the honor of being chosen as the last opponent of Lita before her retirement in 2006.

During her time in WWE she was never afraid of controversy, Mickie has stated in several interviews that after the high of winning the Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania, she returned backstage to be greeted by an irate Vince McMahon who was not a happy that Mickie had used a gesture in the match that would have to be edited out of the DVD release of the event. This despite the fact that it had already been approved by the agent for that match. The angle with Michelle McCool & Layla was memorable for being controversial but also for being executed to almost perfection by all competitors; Michelle & Layla were excellent in the role of bullies and Mickie excelled in the role of the victim. Although most likely an uncomfortable angle to be a part of, it was engaging for the storytelling and for the actual wrestling.

Many were shocked and disappointed when she was released by WWE in April 2010, she is arguable one of the most popular divas in history and her in ring ability is at a much higher and more consistent level than many of her peers. Mickie readily admits that her WWE release in 2010 caught her by surprise. This in understandable considering that she had just been on local radio to promote the upcoming edition of Monday Night Raw in her home town of Richmond, Virginia when she received a call wishing her well in her future endeavors. In a testament to her popularity there were several audible chants of “We want Mickie” during the live edition of Monday Night Raw which occurred just days after Mickie’s release.

Many critics speculated that the end of her run in WWE would mean the end of her wrestling career but once again she had proved the doubters wrong and less than 6 months after her WWE run she joined TNA and had a memorable rivalry with Tara which included a falls count anywhere match and a steel cage match which featured as the Impact main event on November 25th 2010. She also had a series of matches with Angelina Love and eventually defeated Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Championship.

Aside from wrestling she is a multi-talented individual, there was some skepticism amongst wrestling fans when she announced that she would be releasing a country music album in 2010. That was until she released her first single “Are you with me?” and people realized that not only could she wrestle but she could sing as well. A successful album followed and a follow up is due for release in 2012 and it has been funded partly through the ‘kickstarter’ project. In a huge testament to Mickie’s popularity her target of $5,000 for this project easily achieved and in the end $16,500 was gained to fund this album.

While reading through all the things that Mickie has achieved in not only her wrestling career but life in general it is clear that failure is not something that Mickie is familiar with. Overall Mickie is an eight-time champion, and is also the only person to hold the WWE Women’s, WWE Divas and TNA Knockout Championships.

I have been watching wrestling since 1991 and without doubt Mickie has been the most consistent female performer that I have watched in all that time, Mickie has always been a performer that delivered to a high standard on a regular basis. There have been many females who have come along and had some good matches but to me that is not what makes a Hall of Famer.

A Hall of Famer should be somebody who has wrestling at a consistently high standard for a long period of time.

A Hall of Famer should be somebody who can consistently tell a story with their wrestling matches.

A Hall of Famer should be somebody that people look up to and respect because they have raised the bar and set the standard for those who will follow in their footsteps.

Mickie has done all that and continues to do so on a regular basis in TNA. I don’t know when Mickie will decide that it’s time to move on from wrestling, as a fan of her work I hope that it is not anytime soon but also as a fan I look forward to the day when she is known as Mickie James, Hall of Famer.

 

Stephen Harland

@stephenharland

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