Mickie Laree James (born August 31, 1979) is an American professional wrestler and singer, best known for her time inTotal Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where she held the TNA Women's Knockout Championship three times. James began her professional wrestling career in 1999 as a valet on the independent circuit, where she was known under the name Alexis Laree. She trained in several camps to improve her wrestling abilities before working for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in June 2002, where she gained national attention. After only a few appearances, she joined a stable called The Gathering and was written into storylines with the group. She is also the only woman to be involved in Clockwork Orange House of Fun matches.James appeared in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in October 2005 and was placed in a storyline with Trish Stratus, in which James' gimmick was that of Stratus' biggest fan turned obsessed stalker, an angle which lasted almost a year. She received a push, and she won her first WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania 22, a title she has held a total of five times. James also won her first Divas Championship at Night of Champions in 2009 to become the second Diva to hold both the Women's and Divas titles. She was released from the company on April 22, 2010, after which she returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Between WWE and TNA, James is a nine-time champion, and is also the only person to hold the WWE Women's, WWE Divas and TNA Knockout Championships in wrestling history.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Independent circuit (1999–2003)Edit
After a suggestion from a friend, James attended a professional wrestling school in the Washington, D.C. area. She made her professional debut on the independent circuit in 1999 as a valet for KYDA Pro Wrestling under the ring name Alexis Laree, a name created as the result of a combination of her stage name from when she was a dancer and her middle name. As Laree, she managed several male wrestlers, including managing Tommy Dreamer to win the KYDA Pro Heavyweight Championship. In March, she wrestled in her first match, an intergender tag team match with Jake Damian against American Mike Brown and Candie. She trained to improve her wrestling abilities by attending training camps such as the Funking Conservatory, a workshop run by Dory Funk, Jr., and an Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) dojo. She also started competing for Maryland Championship Wrestling, where she trained at camps run by Ricky Morton and Bobby Eaton. Due to the low salary of the independent shows, James supplemented her income by working as a waitress at an Olive Garden restaurant, and posing nude for the magazine Leg Show.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003)Edit
While working in Ring of Honor for a year, James also debuted as Alexis Laree in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) on the company's second ever weekly pay-per-view as a participant in a lingerie battle royal. She was not prominently featured until March 26, 2003, when she teamed with Amazing Red as part of his feud against Kid Kash—the X Division Champion—and Trinity. Weeks later, she became the first member of The Gathering, a stable led by Raven in his feud against NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett. On April 16, Laree became the first (and thus far, only) woman to compete in a Clockwork Orange House of Fun match after the Gathering challenged and defeated Jarrett. She continued to wrestle with the stable when they feuded with The Disciples of the New Church, taking part in an angle with Father James Mitchell burning her with a fireball and wrestling in another Clockwork Orange House of Fun match before leaving the company.
World Wrestling EntertainmentEdit
Ohio Valley Wrestling (2003–2005)Edit
After two years of sending tapes and making phone calls, as well as wrestling a tryout match with Dawn Marie, James was signed to a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), who sent her to train at Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), their farm territory, in August. Still using the Alexis Laree name, she began making television appearances for OVW on January 29, 2004 and competed in several tag team matches throughout the year. She also won a Halloween Costume Contest on October 30 and defeated Jillian Hall in a $1,000 match on November 12. On May 17, 2005, Laree was placed into a tournament for the OVW Television Championship. She defeated Mike Mondo in the first round, only to lose to Blaster Lashley in the next one. She began a feud with Beth Phoenix on July 20 after Phoenix interrupted Laree during an interview, setting up a match on July 29 which Laree lost. Their angle continued into September, with Shelly Martinez being added to the storyline to side with Phoenix against Laree. On October 12, she appeared in OVW under her real name and finished the year on the losing end of matches against Martinez and Jillian Hall.
Trish Stratus's fan (2005–2006)Edit
Mickie James debuted in WWE on the October 10, 2005 episode of Raw, continuing to use her real name, under the gimmick of WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus' biggest fan. The angle had the two WWE Divas competing together in tag team matches, with James' character becoming increasingly obsessed with Stratus. The storyline included a Halloween Costume Contest in which James was dressed like Stratus and helped Stratus retain the Women's Championship in a Fulfill Your Fantasy Battle Royal at Taboo Tuesday by eliminating herself and Victoria at the same time. She even began utilizing Stratus' signature finishing moves as her own during matches. James became the number one contender for the Women's Title on December 12 by defeating Victoria in a match to determine who would face Stratus at New Year's Revolution. Subsequently, the storyline between Mickie and Trish developed into a lesbian angle after Mickie had a kiss with Trish under a sprig of mistletoe. In the championship match at the pay-per-view, James lost to Stratus but continued to be enamored of her the next night on Raw, and she confessed her love for Stratus at the Royal Rumble. On March 6, 2006, the storyline had Stratus confronting James, telling her that they needed time apart from each other. The duo teamed together at the March 18, 2006 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event to defeat Candice Michelle and Victoria. After the match, Mickie agreed to honor Trishs' wishes and attempted to kiss her. After Trish pushed her away, Mickie turned into a villainess attacked Trish in the ring and later vowed to destroy her. The two wrestled each other at WrestleMania 22, where James won the match, and became the new Women's Champion. Her angle with Stratus continued into Backlash during a rematch after Stratus legitimately dislocated her shoulder when James threw her out of the ring.
Women's Champion (2006–2008)Edit
Mickie James dropped the Women's Title on August 14 to Lita after Lita hit James with the title belt. After the Women's Championship was vacated due to the retirement of Trish Stratus, James entered a tournament to determine the new champion. She defeated Victoria and Melina in the qualifying rounds before making it to the finals at Cyber Sunday, where she lost to Lita. James turned face after her and Lita wrestled in a series of matches in which Lita chose stipulations to hinder James' wrestling ability. The storyline feud ended at Survivor Series, where James defeated Lita, in a retirement match, to win her second Women's Championship.
An angle was then created between Mickie James and Melina, beginning on January 29, 2007, when Melina became the number one contender for the Women's Title. Following a successful title defense on February 5, James teamed with Super Crazy in a mixed tag team match against Melina and Johnny Nitro. After Melina pinned Mickie for the victory, she challenged her to a rematch for the title. James dropped the Women's Championship to Melina on February 19 and, in continuation of their storyline feud, failed to regain the title during WWE's first women's Falls Count Anywhere match. During the finish of the match James fell from the turnbuckle and landed on her neck, which resulted in a rushed finish. James, however, was not seriously injured.
The scripted feud between Mickie James and Melina restarted on April 2 when James interrupted and attacked Melina during a photo op on Raw. At a house show in Paris, France on April 24, James won her third Women's Championship during a Triple Threat match that also involved Victoria. Since Mickie pinned Victoria, however, and not Melina, Jonathan Coachman announced that a rematch would take place immediately. James dropped the title back to Melina, giving her the shortest Women’s Championship reign in WWE history. James later got rematch for the title at Backlash but was unsuccessful. After Backlash, James would make sporadic appearances on television wrestling occasionally in tag-matches and rarely in singles competition. On the November 26 episode of Raw, James defeated Melina in a number one contenders match for Beth Phoenix's Women's Championship, setting up a title match between the two at Armageddon, a match in which Phoenix successfully defended her Women's title.
On the April 14, 2008 episode of Raw, held in London, Mickie James defeated Beth Phoenix to win her fourth Women's Championship. At Judgment Day, James successfully defended her title against Melina and Beth Phoenix in a triple-threat match. James re-entered into a feud against Phoenix in mid year 2008 where she and Kofi Kingston teamed up against Phoenix and Santino Marella. At SummerSlam in a Winner Take All tag team match for both the Women's and Intercontinental Championships, James and Kingston lost their titles to Phoenix and Marella. After James lost her Women's Championship, she had two rematches for the championship but was unsuccessful in regaining the title. James turned heel on September 5, when she appeared in an episode of Psych as the evil Rita "Lethal Weapon" Westwood.
Divas Champion and SmackDown (2009–2010)Edit
Following an appearance in the 25-Diva battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, James began feuding with WWE Divas Champion Maryse heading into Night of Champions on July 26. At the event, James defeated Maryse to win her first Divas Championship, becoming only the second Diva in history to have held both the Women's and Divas titles. Throughout the summer, James successfully defended the title against Gail Kim and Beth Phoenix on episodes of Raw, and against Alicia Fox at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 4. Two weeks later on Raw, James dropped the belt to Jillian Hall after an approximate three month title reign. After the show, James was moved to the SmackDown brand for the first time in her career due to a Diva trade made by Raw guest host Nancy O'Dell.
James made her SmackDown debut on the October 23 episode of SmackDown by defeating Layla. On the October 30 episode of SmackDown, a controversial angle began that saw WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool and Layla (collectively known as LayCool) bully James. On the November 6 episode of SmackDown, after James defeated Layla, McCool gave James the name "Piggy James", that sent James to tears, resulting in a five-on-five elimination tag team match at the November pay-per-view event Survivor Series, where James' team prevailed over McCool's team with James and Melina as the soul survivors. On the December 3 episode of SmackDown, Mickie became the number one contender for McCool's title by defeating Beth Phoenix and Natalya in a triple threat match. The following week, Mickie challenged McCool for the Women's Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, but was unsuccessful after interference from Layla. The storyline feud continued into the Royal Rumble on January 31, 2010 where Mickie finally defeated McCool to win her fifth Women's Championship. Over the next couple of weeks, SmackDown consultant Vickie Guerrero was introduced into the rivalry, choosing to side with LayCool over James. On the February 26 episode of SmackDown, McCool used her rematch clause to face James for the Women's Championship, with Guerrero acting as special guest referee. After Vickie slapped Mickie in the face, McCool pinned her to regain the title.
On March 9, WWE.com announced that James was diagnosed with a staph infection on her right knee and that she would be out of action for three weeks. She returned on the March 22 episode of Raw, where alongside Kelly Kelly, she accompanied Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix and Gail Kim in their losing effort against McCool, Maryse and Layla, who had Vickie Guerrero and Alicia Fox in their corner. This set up a 10-Diva tag team match at WrestleMania XXVI in which Mickie made an unsuccessful in-ring return after Vickie pinned Kelly following a "hog" splash. James made her last appearance on Raw during a rematch when her team was victorious. James' final match in WWE aired on the April 23 episode of SmackDown where she teamed with former rival Beth Phoenix against LayCool in a losing effort when she was pinned by Layla. She was released from WWE one day earlier on April 22, having pre-taped her SmackDown match. According to James, WWE explained the decision as due to desiring to move in a new direction with their women's division.
Return to the independent circuit (2010–present)Edit
James made her in-ring return in April as part of World Wrestling Council (WWC), teaming with Carlito to defeat the team of ODB and Christopher Daniels. James won the bout, pinning Daniels after a Mickie-DT. On July 11 as part of their Anniversary weekend, she defeated ODB in a singles match. On the last day of that month, James returned to one of her early promotions, Maryland Championship Wrestling, to wrestle Mia Yim in a winning effort. The following month she contested for the Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) Championship against Mercedes Martinez but lost. She also returned to Dory Funk's promotion, recording a tag team match for !Bang! TV.
In early 2011, James began appearing for Covey Promotions. At All or Nothing 5 on April 30, James defeated Hannah Blossom to become their first Women's Champion. On June 18, 2011, James made her debut for the Mexican promotion Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) at Triplemanía XIX, where she teamed with Angelina Love, Sexy Star and Velvet Sky to defeat Cynthia Moreno, Faby Apache, Lolita and Mari Apache in an eight woman tag team match. James returned to AAA on July 9, teaming with Sexy Star to defeat the Apaches in a tag team match, after which she challenged Mari to a match for her AAA Reina de Reinas Championship. On July 31 at Verano de Escándalo, James competed in an eight–way match for the Reina de Reinas Championship, becoming the last person eliminated by the new champion, Pimpinela Escarlata. During her time with TNA, James has also made several appearances for independent wrestling promotions such as Pro Championship Wrestling, Legends of the Ring, Northeast Wrestling Show and National Wrestling Superstars.
James made her debut for Pro Wrestling Elite (PWE) in Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland on September 15, 2012 at History Is Born, where she fought Kay Lee Ray to a no-contest. After the match, James teamed up with Ray in a winning effort against Carmel and Nikki Storm. The following night, James competed against Carmel in a winning effort.
Return to TNAEdit
Feud with Madison Rayne; Knockouts Champion (2010–2011)Edit
On September 22, 2010, it was reported that James had signed a contract with TNA Wrestling and would return to the promotion on the October 7 live episode of Impact!. James returned to TNA on October 7's Before The Glory special episode of Impact!, announcing that she would be the special guest referee for the TNA Women's Knockout Championship match between Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne and Tara at Bound for Glory. At the pay-per-view, James counted the pinfall which made Tara the new Women's Knockout Champion, prompting Rayne to shove James amidst an argument with Tara, and James replying with a punch. On the following episode of Impact!, Tara lost the title to Rayne while James made her intentions for the Women's Knockout title clear, after a confrontation with the new champion. James wrestled her first match the following week, defeating Sarita, before being attacked by Rayne's ally, Tara. James wrestled her first TNA pay-per-view match at Turning Point, where she battled Tara to a double disqualification.
On the November 18 episode of Impact! James defeated Angelina Love to become the number one contender to the championship. At Final Resolution James was defeated by Tara in a Falls Count Anywhere match, following interference from Rayne after she sprayed a fire extinguisher and hit James with the Knockout Title belt. On the following episode of Impact! James defeated Tara in a Steel Cage match. On January 9, 2011 at Genesis, James lost her match against Rayne for the Women's Knockout Championship due to interference by Tara. The following month at Against All Odds James once again failed to win the Women's Knockout Championship, this time losing to Rayne in a Last Knockout Standing match, after another interference by Tara. On the March 17 episode of Impact!, Rayne agreed to give James one last title match at Lockdown with the added stipulation that should James fail to win the title, she would have her hair shaved off. On March 18, James separated her shoulder at a house show in Jacksonville, Florida. James's injury was put into a storyline, where it was caused by Rayne and Tara running over her in a motorcycle.
On April 17 at Lockdown, Mickie James defeated Madison Rayne in a steel cage match, which lasted less than a minute to win the TNA Women's Knockout Championship for the first time. James became the first woman to have held the WWE Women's Championship, the WWE Divas Championship, and the TNA Women's Knockouts Championship. On the May 5 episode of Impact!, James made her first successful title defense against Ms. Tessmacher. On May 15 at Sacrifice, James successfully defended her title against Rayne and in the process helped Tara get a release from her exclusive contract with Rayne. The following month at Slammiversary IX, James successfully defended her title against Angelina Love, however after the match both Love and Winter attacked her. On the June 23 episode of Impact Wrestling, James was defeated by Winter in a non-title Street Fight, following outside interference from Love. This led to a match on August 7 at Hardcore Justice, where James lost the Women's Knockout Championship to Winter, following multiple interference from Love and a red mist from Winter. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Madison Rayne to earn a rematch for the title. On August 25 at the tapings of the September 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Winter to regain the Women's Knockout Championship. On September 11 at No Surrender, James lost the title back to Winter.
On the September 22 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Brooke Tessmacher to earn a shot at the TNA Women's Knockout Championship at Bound for Glory, in a four-way match with champion Winter, Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky, who would eventually leave the pay-per-view as the new champion.
Various Feuds (2011-2013)Edit
On the November 17 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated nine other knockouts in a gauntlet match to earn a match with the new Women's Knockout Champion, Gail Kim. On December 11 at Final Resolution, Gail defeated Mickie to retain the Women's Knockout Championship, following a distraction from Madison Rayne. In the main event of the December 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, James challenged Kim for the Women's Knockout Championship, but was defeated following interference from Madison Rayne. On the January 5, 2012, episode of Impact Wrestling, James and Traci Brooks failed to capture the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship from Kim and Rayne. Three days later at Genesis, James failed in her Women's Knockout Championship challenge against Kim, after being disqualified for using brass knuckles. On the January 19 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Rayne in a steel cage match.
On the January 26 episode of Impact Wrestling, James and Velvet Sky were defeated by Tara in a triple-threat match number one contenders match for the Knockouts Championship. On the February 9 episode of Impact Wrestling in the UK, James portrayed an arrogant villainess in a losing effort to Velvet Sky in singles action. On the April 5 episode of Impact Wrestling, James was defeated by Sky in a six-way number one contenders match, also involving Angelina Love, Madison Rayne, Tara, and Winter.
On the June 7 episode of Impact Wrestling, James once again failed to earn a shot at the Knockouts Championship, losing to Brooke Tessmacher in a #1 Contender's four-way match, which also included Tara and Velvet Sky. James became a hidden villainess due to jealousy towards Sky, who was chosen to appear in Montgomery Gentry's music video. During the match, the evil James snarled at Sky on two occasions over her latest gig. On the June 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, James was chosen over Sky as the next challenger for the Knockouts Championship, and continued portraying a villainess in a losing effort against defending champion Miss Tessmacher. James' storyline with Sky ended abruptly the following month, when Sky was granted her release from TNA. On the August 2 episode of Impact Wrestling, Mickie James unsuccessfully competed in a four-way number one contenders match involving Gail Kim, Tara and the eventual winner Madison Rayne.
After a three month absence, James returned to in-ring action on the November 15 episode of Impact Wrestling, winning a Knockouts battle royal to become the number one contender to the Women's Knockouts Championship. On December 9 at Final Resolution, James was unsuccessful in winning the championship from Tara after a distraction by her boyfriend Jesse. James received another shot at the Women's Knockouts Championship on the December 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, but was again defeated by Tara. On January 13, 2013, at the Genesis pay-per-view, James competed in a five woman gauntlet match to determine the number one contender to the TNA Women's Knockout Championship, but was eliminated by Gail Kim.
Heel Turn and Departure (2013)Edit
On the April 18 edition of Impact Wrestling, Mickie James defeated Miss Tessmacher to become the #1 Contender to the Knockouts Championship. James received her title shot the following week, but was defeated by defending champion Velvet Sky. During the match, James began turning villainous by attacking Sky's injured knee and going for two quick covers, with Sky kicking out both times. In an exclusive interview, James stated that she's better than Sky and she plans to be more heartless when she gets her next title opportunity, continuing her heel turn. On the May 23 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Sky to capture her third Knockouts Championship, doing so by delivering a chopblock to Sky's injured knee, followed by a DDT for the victory. On the following week, James continued displaying her evil persona when she called out Velvet Sky, seemingly acting sarcastic and pompous towards her, and then watched her get attacked by Gail Kim. James defeated Taeler Hendrix on the June 6 edition of Impact Wrestling in a non-title match.
James turned into a villainess for the first time since her WWE days on the June 13 edition of Impact Wrestling. In an in-ring segment, the evil James attacked Sky's injured knee after Sky announced that she was cleared to compete in a rematch. James and Sky finally had their rematch two weeks later, where James retained her Knockouts Championship after forcing Sky to submit to a Cross-legged STF. On the following week, James justified her heel actions by claiming that getting to the top of the Knockouts Division requires clawing and scratching your way to the top; James laughed evilly and claimed that no woman would ever be as great as her and she'll stand atop the division as the greatest Knockouts Champion of all time. On the July 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, James successfully defended the Knockouts Championship against Gail Kim.
James suffered her first loss as an evil Knockout on the August 8 edition of Impact Wrestling, when she and the BroMans (Robbie E and Jessie Godderz) were defeated by ODB, Eric Young, and Joseph Park. The following week, James was defeated again by ODB in a Triple Threat Hardcore Match that also included Gail Kim. On the September 19th episode of Impact, James dropped her Knockouts Championship in a match against ODB. That match in fact would be her last as she failed to come to terms on a new contract with TNA.
Before her release, James took part in a pair of One Night Only PPVs on March 18. At the Knockouts Knockdown event that aired on September 6, James defeated Serena Deeb to qualify for the Gauntlet Battle Royal, despite Serena turning villainous at the midpoint of the match and attempting to destroy James. James reached the final two in the Gauntlet Battle Royal before she was pinned by Gail Kim. At the World Cup of Wrestling event that aired on December 6, James (representing Team USA) was defeated by Ivelisse Velez (who represented Team Aces & Eights). In the 5-on-5 elimination match, James was part of the victorious Team USA side that won the World Cup; eliminating Ivelisse before she was eliminated herself by Wes Brisco.
Second return to TNA (2015) Edit
James made a surprise return to TNA as a fan favorite, after a year and a half absence from the company, on January 30, 2015, during the tapings of Impact Wrestling in Glasgow, Scotland. James would then have several confrontations with Bram over his actions towards her real life fiancé, Magnus. On the April 24 episode of Impact Wrestling, James announced her retirement from wrestling to focus on becoming a full-time mother, only to have James Storm talk her into having one more match. On the June 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, James declined an offer by Storm to join The Revolution, which resulted in him intentionally shoving her onto a train track in the storyline, which sparked controversy. This was done to write off James from television, as she had no more dates set with the company at the time. James made her return on the July 1 episode of Impact Wrestling, confronting Storm and challenging him to a mixed tag team match. On the July 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, James and Magnus defeated Storm and his partner Serena, when James pinned Serena.
Maryland Championship Wrestling (2015) Edit
On June 19, 2015, at Maryland Championship Wrestling's Ladies Night event, James defeated Amber Rodriguez (with Lisa Marie Varon as the special guest referee and Melina as the outside enforcer) to win the MCW Women's Championship, despite hidden villainess Melina attacking James during the match. On November 13, Kimber Lee defeated James to win the MCW Women's Championship after interference from Amber Rodriguez. The following night, James gained a measure of revenge by defeating Rodriguez in a Loser Leaves MCW match, causing Rodriguez to leave the company.
Return to WWE (2016-present) Edit
On October 13, 2016, it was announced that James would return to WWE's developmental brand NXT at the NXT TakeOver: Toronto event on November 19, where she would compete on a match against NXT Women's Champion Asuka for the title. On the October 26 episode of NXT, James cut a promo where she formally re-introduced herself and challenged Asuka for the championship. At the event, James was shown greeting NXT talents Liv Morgan and Aliyah backstage. Later on, James was defeated by Asuka in the title contest, and afterwards, Asuka refused to shake her hand as a respect sign.
Mickie became a villainess on the January 17, 2017 edition of SmackDown Live, when she was revealed as La Luchadora and cost Becky Lynch in her SmackDown Women's Championship steel cage match against Alexa Bliss. During and after the match, the evil Mickie attacked Lynch, who fought off Bliss and unmasked Mickie. After the reveal, Mickie and Bliss continued their assault, cementing their alliance.