Well for this week’s “WWE Highlights” piece, we’re going for something a little different. First of all, the woman here is the first non-blonde I’m writing about. And second of all, she’s still actively wrestling in TNA but it’s safe to say she’s done with WWE for now. Just to clarify, this is just a piece about her WWE career. I’ll do one for her TNA days when/if she retires from the company. So here we have one of the modern stars of the Divas’ division. In an era where the women were interchangeable and handicapped, thus getting silence from the crowd, one woman was able to get standing ovations wherever she went. Whenever that bouncy knockoff of “Hey Mickey” played, the fans got on their feet and cheered for the bubbly brunette from Richmond, Virginia. Here are the top matches and segments from the career of Mickie James.
Superfan To The Rescue – Raw 2005:
As I say any time I have to mention the WWE in 2005, the Divas’ division was in shambles. But the end of the year saw things picking up in a very big way when Trish Stratus returned to in-ring competition and Mickie made her debut. She ran down from the backstage area to save Trish and Ashley Massaro from a beatdown at the hands of Vince’s Devils. Backstage she revealed herself to be Trish’s number 1 fan. Didn’t you just know this storyline was going to be a doozy?
Under The Mistletoe – Raw 2005:
Mickie and Trish’s friendship was progressing in a very unique way to say the least with such gems as Mickie dressing up as Trish for Halloween, interfering in her matches and even eliminating herself from a Women’s title battle royal to ensure Trish retained. But here came the turning point. In the Christmas week, Mickie decided to make the locker room a little more festive by putting up streamers, stockings and a little bit of mistletoe. Just listen to the Earth shattering pop from the fans when they see the mistletoe and then when Mickie locks lips with her idol. It seems Trish had a knack for getting forcibly kissed by her opponents as Lita had done it almost exactly one year before.
Ashley In A Box – Raw 2006:
And the third and final segment from Trish and Mickie’s feud gives us the go-home segment for their WrestleMania match. Mickie has a huge wrapped gift in the middle of the ring which is meant to be a present for Trish. Naturally it’s a person under there and Mickie raises the box to reveal a bound, gagged, enraged Ashley Massaro trussed up in the middle of the ring. In what was probably the most bizarre way to build up a WrestleMania women’s match, the segment ended with Mickie licking the blood off her own nose. Okay…
From One Idol To Another – Raw 2006:
While the feud with Trish Stratus was fun and legendary, it was actually Lita that was Mickie’s real idol. In fact when Mickie was in OVW she pitched the story to Vince with Lita in mind. Unfortunately for her Lita tore her ACL and the storyline went to Trish instead. But Mickie was eventually able to work with her idol following Trish’s retirement in September. The Women’s title was vacant and who better to feud over it than Mickie and Lita? This might be just my imagination but you can almost see the excitement in Mickie’s eyes at being able to have a segment like this with her idol.
Feeding Time – Smackdown 2010:
Skipping ahead quite a few years now but then again after Lita retired, Mickie wasn’t really involved in high profile storylines in her WWE career. Sure she feuded over the title and won it several times but it wasn’t until she was moved to Smackdown in 2009 that she got a storyline of equal notoriety. A program that was hugely controversial saw Michelle McCool and Layla mock Mickie for her weight, acknowledging a real life subject for many fans online and dub her “Piggy James”. While the feud may have started out as tasteless, we ended up getting this amazing promo on Smackdown. Mickie got to defend herself and really put her heart and soul into what she was saying. This promo helped move the feud away from childish antics to a really powerful subject.
10) vs Victoria – New Year’s Revolution 2007:
With Trish and Lita gone by the end of 2006, Mickie found herself at the top of the division and feuded with her only legitimate competition – Victoria. It’s surprising but these two had two rather disappointing PPV matches in TNA and a passable cage match in the main event but here was a match that I could really get behind. This was a really hard hitting bout that saw a real intensity that a lot of Victoria’s later matches lacked. Even with the help of Melina, Mickie prevailed with a really nice tilt-a-whirl DDT at the end.
9) vs Michelle McCool – TLC 2009:
The infamous and controversial Piggy James storyline isn’t exactly remembered fondly but it did produce a noted improvement in Mickie’s ring work. Throughout much of her Divas’ title run in 2009 people noted a recent sloppiness in her wrestling and wondered if she had simply become complacent. However when she was moved to Smackdown it’s as if new life was breathed into her. Being given an emotional storyline must have really helped as well because the first match at TLC was very good. I listed it as one of Michelle McCool’s best matches and of course it’s one of Mickie’s too. As I said before they really used the extra time they weren’t used to getting to sell the animosity and hatred between the two.
8) vs Trish Stratus – New Year’s Revolution 2006:
Before Trish and Mickie locked horns at the grandest stage of them all, they had another match that intensified their feud. Mickie had won a #1 contender’s match to earn the chance to face Trish and what started out as a friendly encounter slowly boiled over into something more. Another wrestling columnist actually said she preferred this match to the WrestleMania one. I would hardly go that far but it’s still a good match in its own right.
7) vs Melina [Falls Count Anywhere] – Raw 2007:
Mickie abruptly lost her second Women’s title to Melina in a match on Raw and the stakes sure got upped for the rematch. It’s almost unheard of for a match like this to take place for the women but this was the first Falls Count Anywhere match the Divas got to do. Not exactly a wrestling clinic but still a brilliant spectacle showing the Divas getting to rough it up backstage and of course the obligatory pit stop in the women’s locker room. Apparently the finish had to be rushed because Mickie landed right on her head too.
6) vs Michelle McCool – Smackdown 2010:
Mickie’s second last match in the WWE was also her return to the ring after having to take a hiatus due to a staph infection in her knee. She made her return facing the Women’s Champion in London and showed she hadn’t lost her touch. Delivering a fun and entertaining match that was quite close to being a MOTY candidate for the girls, Mickie’s subsequent release is only even more puzzling.
5) vs Lita – Survivor Series 2006:
Unluckily, unlike Trish and Mickie, Lita and Mickie didn’t exactly share a mind blowing chemistry. Lita has always been hit and miss in the ring for me and really Mickie was too. They had a dreadful match at Cyber Sunday to crown the new Women’s Champion after Trish’s retirement, but the next match at the Survivor Series had the girls on form. Mickie had gotten put over by one veteran Diva previously in the year and here she was getting it from another. It was Lita’s retirement match and the excitement was high. Mickie got to retire her idol and Lita didn’t wrestle a match until she showed up on Raw a couple of months ago to challenge Heath Slater.
4) vs Beth Phoenix – Raw 2008:
Beth and Mickie’s chemistry was…patchy to be generous. I’ve never really seen two Divas who are so talented in their own right and yet just don’t click in the ring. However much like Lita and Mickie, Beth and Mickie were destined to put on a great match in the special Raw episode in the UK. They pulled out all the stops to give us a proper David vs Goliath battle that the fans were hugely into. Beth had just started to come into her own as a worker and was able to play off Mickie’s persona so well. And Mickie gets to win her fourth Women’s title.
3) vs Melina – Backlash 2007:
Naturally as this was listed as one of Melina’s best matches when I highlighted her career it was going on this list too. The two girls got to do the fun backstage brawling in their Falls Count Anywhere match but here at Backlash they showed that they could go on the mat and put on a clinic. Neither woman is exactly renowned for technical skill and mat wrestling ability but there is really a great showing from both of them of just those abilities in the opening parts of the match. Even Uncle Jerry Lawler was into the action as he really talked up the women’s wrestling abilities, which is something that only happens once in a blue moon.
2) vs Beth Phoenix vs Melina – Judgment Day 2008:
I’ve always felt that when Mickie became Women’s Champion for the fourth time in 2008, we really saw some of her best work. She and Beth had patchy chemistry but almost all their matches from that time were very good, I enjoyed all Mickie’s showings with Katie Lea and Jillian but here was a real doozy. A little annoyingly, Mickie was sort of the spare part in this match as Melina was in the process of turning face and feuding with Beth but she really made her presence known in the ring. To quote Jerry Lawler, “I’m impressed with the offence of Mickie James, she’s everywhere”. It’s too bad the match couldn’t have gone on longer.
1) vs Trish Stratus – WrestleMania 22:
Would it be anything else? Yes the ending was horribly botched. Yes there were a couple of miscommunications. And yes they were capable of better. But at the same time it’s still an excellent match. I’ve always loved it whenever the crowds really get into the Diva matches because it makes them seem so much more important and special. The smarky Chicago crowd turned on Trish and cemented Mickie’s status as a star. Mickie was just fantastic in this psycho role and it’s a shame it had to end so soon. Just look at the way she dances around to soak in the crowds’ reactions and that mad cackling she does after countering the Stratusphere. That’s certainly a golden WrestleMania moment.
So there are the best moments and matches from the WWE run of Mickie James. She sure racked up a list of achievement with five Women’s titles, one Divas’ title, plenty of contest wins, magazine covers and standing ovations wherever she went. And yet she was only in two WrestleMania matches, had only two real storylines in her time, was pushed and yet held back at the same time and given an abrupt release out of nowhere. I’d always thought Mickie would leave WWE on her own terms but it was not to be. I haven’t been crazy about her run in TNA but at least she’s still doing what she loves. Oh, Mickie, you’ll always be so fine.