After being shockingly released from WWE on April 22, 2010, Mickie James has spent much of the past seven years wrestling in venues ranging from high school gyms to studio sound stages. Now that she’s back, James walks around the backstage area at WWE shows with the smile of someone reliving a dream she thought had died long ago.
“It’s pretty incredible to be back, it’s not what I expected at all. It’s funny how things happen in life,” James said in an interview with ESPN.com. “I had pretty much accepted the fact I was going to be a stay-at-home mom and do my other adventures in life. I thought coming back to the WWE was out of the cards for me. It’s weird how things work out, but it has been amazing. The fans have been great, and so receptive.
After making a one-off appearance in November at NXT TakeOver: Toronto against Asuka, James made her return to the WWE main roster on SmackDown last month. As she prepared for her first WWE pay-per-view match in almost seven years last Sunday at Elimination Chamber, she smiled and shook her head when thinking about performing in front of a sold-out arena and a worldwide audience again.
“It’s very humbling when you leave here and you’ve wrestled in front of sold-out crowds of as many as 90,000 people, to go back to square one,” James said. “I came from the independent scene and I’ve wrestled in front of a crowd of four people in a car lot in 104 degrees in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It’s very humbling when you have to go backwards and after doing it for a bit, I was sitting there and debating with myself about what I should do. I don’t want to retire on the independent scene. I don’t want my legacy to be remembered as that. I wasn’t sure whether it was time to walk away, but I didn’t want to be remembered in that way.”