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HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW Wrestler of the Week: Mickie James
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, profiles the four-time Women’s champion.

There have been many great Divas in the WWE. One of the most popular has been and continues to be, Mickie James. Mickie is a 4-time Women’s champion that has helped to build the foundation of the current Diva roster. On Raw, Mickie surprised the crowd and the critics with a surprise win over Divas champ, Maryse. Mickie James is this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week.

Pre-Diva Days

Mickie Laree James was born on August 31, 1979 in Montpelier, Virginia. Despite the same name, she is not directly related to the James/Armstrong wrestling family. Mickie started out as a typical farm girl, riding horses and working with her father and sister, Latoya. She also watched a lot of professional wrestling with her father. Virginia was, at the time, one of the biggest hot beds of wrestling action. James also spent some time working as a dancer, before making her career choice of pro wrestling.

A friend suggested she should give wrestling a try. She moved to the suburban Washington, DC area in 1999 to attend a wrestling school. KYDA Pro Wrestling decided to use James as a valet. She chose the name Alexis Laree. The first name came from her dancing days, while Laree was her given middle name. During her managerial days, Laree was paired with Tommy Dreamer. Tommy helped to get Laree into the Dory Funk, Jr. and ECW training facilities. This dramatically improved her wrestling skills. Laree continued to work as both a manager/valet and a wrestler. Soon she would get a brief chance to shine on the national stage.

TNA=Total Non-Stop Alexis

Alexis was contacted by TNA management about working for the fledgling company. She agreed to a short-term contract and began working for the promotion in March of 2003. Since there was no women’s title, at that time, she worked mostly mixed tag matches and a few one-on-one Knockout matches. Laree also served as a member of Raven’s Gathering clique. She was the only woman to ever compete in Raven’s Clockwork Orange House of Fun match. She actually battled in that bizarre match, twice. During this same time, Alexis worked for Ring of Honor. During a Ring of Honor show, Alexis came to the attention of road agents for the WWE. She was given a Dark Match try-out against Dawn Marie. That try-out would eventually lead to a developmental deal for the up-and-coming star.

The OVW days

On September 30, 2003, Ring of Honor threw a huge Going Away Party event to wish Alexis well in her WWE career. In early October, Alexis reported to Ohio Valley Wrestling for character adjustment and training. She made her debut on November 15, 2003. She was in the same Diva class as Jillian Hall, Nikita (Katie Lea Burchill), Beth Phoenix, and Shelley (Salinas) Martinez. .
Alexis had her first feud with Beth Phoenix during her OVW days. The were pretty equally matched. Alexis also competed against men in the TV title tournament (she would be eliminated by Blaster (Bobby) Lashley). During this time, Alexis would show up on RAW for a match under the name Vickie Adams. Alexis has worked for WWE under three different names, so far.

Getting called up

After two years in OVW, Creative decided that it was time to bring Alexis up to the main roster. As is standard with WWE, they forced Alexis to give up her established name and accept a new identity. They decided to go with her real name, Mickie James.

Mickie ran down to the ring on October 10, 2005 to save Trish Stratus from a vicious attack by Victoria. Mickie would introduce herself to Trish and the fans. She claimed to be Trish’s biggest fan. The relationship would degrade over time, as Mickie felt rejected by Trish. Creative pushed the envelope with a borderline Lesbian angle. Major negative feedback brought the angle to a quick end. It ended with Mickie attacking Trish and claiming “You broke my heart and now I’m going to break you”.

Mickie had a nasty feud with Trish over the women’s title. Mickie had dressed as Trish, early on, to honor her idol. Trish turned the tables and began to dress like Mickie to torment Mickie. Trish would also bring Beth Phoenix into the WWE for her first run. Beth was Trish’s Muscle. The feud between Mickie and Beth came to a sudden halt when Beth’s jaw was broken. Mickie would eventually lose the Women’s title to Lita.

Mickie went through a personality adjustment after losing the title. On September 11,2006, Mickie battled Trish in Trish’s final Raw match. After the match, Mickie and Trish hugged and reconciled. Mickie enjoyed a long run as a face. She feuded with Melina, Jillian, Lita and several others over the next two years.

The rise and fall of the Phoenix

Beth Phoenix finally returned to Raw after recovering from her facial injury. Beth ran over everyone, including Mickie, to take the Women’s title. Mickie made it her mission to regain the Women’s title. Mickie lost on several attempts to wrest the gold from Beth. Mickie entered a deep depression where she questioned her own abilities. The other face Divas tried to cheer up Mickie and support her in her quest for the title.

On April 14,2008, Mickie finally took the gold from Beth. The other girls celebrated with Mickie after her win. Over the next few weeks, Mickie would face Beth on several occasions. At Judgment Day, Mickie over-came a two-on-one challenge from old foe, Melina, and Beth to retain her title. Mickie would lose her Women’s title at Summerslam in a Winner-Takes-All intergender tag match. Mickie and Kofi Kingston faced Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix.

The return of Mickie James

Following her loss of the Women’s title, Mickie ended up in various Diva tag matches. She failed to regain the Women’s title from Beth and slipped down in the rankings, behind Melina. Just prior to Wrestlemania 25, Mickie battled Santino in a One Arm Tied Behind his Back match. If Santino had won, he would have competed in the 25 Diva Battle Royal. Mickie defeated Santino, only to fall to his “twin sister” Santina (Santino in drag).

Mickie was set to run a program with Santina but the Draft changed the landscape of Diva wrestling. Melina took the Women’s title with her over to Smackdown. Maryse, the second Divas champion, came to Raw. Mickie has now set her sights on becoming the first woman to win both the Women’s and Diva’s title. She just might do it.

In Conclusion:

Mickie James’ wrestling career may be winding down. After 10 solid years in the industry, Mickie has accomplished just about every goal she’s desired. She has one more goal to go, the Divas title. Mickie is set to battle Maryse for the title in the near future. Mickie has stated that after wrestling, she’s planning on working on her own horse farm. Let’s hope that she doesn’t trade in the Spandex for chaps anytime soon.

–Jay Shannon
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