Mickie Laree James (August 31, 1979), better known simply as Mickie James, is an American professional wrestler and singer of mixed Native American-Caucasian descent, current signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and Global Force Wrestling. She is a former 3-time TNA Women's Knockout Champion. She is best known for her time in World Wrestling Entertainment and in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). 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 angles with the group. She is also the only woman to be involved in Clockwork Orange House of Fun matches.
James appeared in 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, making her a six-time champion overall. She, however, was released from the company on April 22, 2010, after which she returned to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. In 2011, she won the Knockout's title making her the first diva to hold the WWE Women's, WWE Divas, and TNA Knockout Championships. She later won the Knockouts Championship later that year and once again in 2013, making her a record nine-time champion overall.
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 in May 2000 she posed nude for an issue of Leg Show magazine.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
While working in Ring of Honor for a year, James also debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) on the company's second ever weekly pay-per-view under her Alexis Laree gimmick 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 kayfabe burning her with a fireball and wrestling in another Clockwork Orange House of Fun match before leaving the company.
Ohio Valley Wrestling
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, 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 was booked to go over 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.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2005–2010)
Trish Stratus' fan (2005-2006)
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 James and Stratus developed into a lesbian angle after James initiated an intimate kiss with Stratus under a sprig of mistletoe and complimented Stratus on her breasts. In the championship match at the pay-per-view, James jobbed 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 confront James, telling her that they needed time apart from each other. The duo teamed together at the March 18, 2006 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event to defeat Candice Michelle and Victoria. After the match, James agreed to honor Stratus' wishes and attempted to kiss her. After Stratus pushed her away, James turned heel by attacking Stratus in the ring and later vowing to destroy her. The two women wrestled each other at WrestleMania 22, where James was booked to win the match to claim her first reign as Women's Champion. During the match, despite the fact that James was playing the heel character, the fans frequently cheered James and booed Stratus whenever Stratus hit an offensive maneuver. The angle ended at Backlash during a rematch after Stratus legitimately dislocated her shoulder when James threw her out of the ring.
Women's Champion (2006-2008)
James dropped the Women's Title on August 14 to Lita after Lita hit James with the title belt while Lita's on-screen boyfriend Edge distracted the referee, resulting in a face turn for James' on-screen persona. After the Women's Championship was vacated due to the legitimate 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. The two Divas wrestled in a series of matches where Lita kayfabe chose the stipulations, all of which involved hindering James' wrestling ability. The storyline feud ended at Survivor Series, where James defeated Lita to win her second Women's Championship.
An angle was created between James and Melina 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 James 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 the first ever Women's Falls Count Anywhere match in WWE history. Near the end of the match, James fell from the turnbuckle and landed on her neck but was not seriously injured.
The scripted feud between James and Melina continued 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 James 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.
On the November 26 edition 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 edition of Raw, held in London, James defeated Phoenix to win her fourth Women's Championship. Phoenix got a rematch on the May 5 edition of Raw, but James retained her title. At SummerSlam in a Winners Take All tag team match she lost the Women's Championship to Phoenix, with Kofi Kingston's WWE Intercontinental Championship being on the line as well, losing it to Santino Marella. After James lost her Women's Championship, she had two rematches for the championship but was unsuccessful in regaining the title.
Divas Champion and SmackDown, Release (2009–2010)
Following an appearance in the 25-Diva battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, James began feuding with WWE Divas Champion Maryse going into Night of Champions on July 26, 2009. 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 editions of Raw, and against Alicia Fox at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 4. The following week 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 October 23 by defeating Layla. The next week, a controversial angle began that saw WWE Women's Champion Michelle McCool and Layla bully James, 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. On the December 3 edition of SmackDown, James became the number one contender for McCool's title by defeating Beth Phoenix and Natalya in a triple threat match. The following week, James 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 James 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 Team Lay-Cool after James accidentally doused her with cottage cheese. On the February 26 edition of SmackDown, McCool used her rematch clause to face James for the Women's Championship, with Guerrero acting as special guest referee. After Guerrero slapped James 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. She returned on the March 22 edition of Raw, where alongside Kelly Kelly, she accompanied Eve Torres, Beth Phoenix and Gail Kim in their losing effort against Michelle 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 James made an unsuccessful in-ring return after Guerrero pinned Kelly following a "hog" splash. James' final match in WWE aired on the April 23 edition of SmackDown where she teamed with former rival Beth Phoenix against Lay-Cool in a losing effort. She was released from WWE one day earlier on April 22.
Independent circuit (2010-present)
James made her in-ring return in April as part of WWC, teaming with Carlitos 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 upstart 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. At MCW's Ladies Night event on June 19, 2015, James defeated Amber Rodriguez to win the MCW Women's Championship in a match officiated by Lisa Marie Varon, despite James being attacked during the match by heel enforcer Melina.
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 TNA Wrestling (2010–2013)
Knockouts Championship reigns (2010-2011)
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 Knockouts 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 Knockouts Champion, prompting Rayne to shove James amidst an argument with Tara, and James replying with a punch. On the following edition of Impact!, Tara lost the title to Rayne while James made her intentions for the Knockouts Championship 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 Knockouts Championship due to interference by Tara. The following month at Against All Odds James once again failed to win the Knockouts Championship, this time losing to Rayne in a Last Knockout Standing match, after another interference by Tara. On the March 17 edition 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, James defeated Rayne in a steel cage match, which lasted less than a minute to win the TNA Knockouts Championship for the first time. James became the first woman to have held the WWE Women's Championship, Divas Championship, and the TNA Knockouts Championship. On the May 5 edition of Impact!, James made her first successful title defence against Miss 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. This led to a match on August 7 at Hardcore Justice, where James lost the Knockouts Championship to Winter, following a distraction from Love. On the September 1st episode of TNA Impact, Mickie won the Knockouts Championship back from Winter, after a kick to the head. Two weeks later at No Surrender, Winter defeated James again for the Knockouts Championship. James defeated Tessmacher to qualify for a 4-way match at Bound for Glory. At Bound for Glory, Sky won the Knockouts Championship match which also involved Winter and Rayne.
Various Feuds (2011-2013)
On the November 17 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated nine other knockouts in a gauntlet match to earn a match with the new Knockouts Champion, Gail Kim. On December 11 at Final Resolution, Gail defeated Mickie to retain the Knockouts Championship, following a distraction from Madison Rayne. In the main event of the December 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, James challenged Kim for the Knockouts 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 Knockouts 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 #1 Contender's three-way match for the Knockouts Championship. Two days later at the tapings of the February 9 episode of Impact Wrestling in London, James competed as a heel in a losing effort to Velvet Sky. 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 again failed to earn a shot at the Knockouts Championship in a four-way match. During the match, James began slowly turning villainous due to jealousy towards Sky. On the June 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, James was chosen over Sky as the next challenger for the Knockouts Championship, but failed to recapture the title from 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 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 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 Knockouts Championship, but was eliminated by Gail Kim.
Heel Turn and Departure (2013)
On the April 18 episode 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. despite beginning a heel turn by attacking Sky's injured knee. On the May 23 episode of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Sky to win the Knockouts Championship for the third time in her career; doing so by delivering a chopblock to Sky's injured knee followed by a DDT. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, James continued displaying her villainous persona by calling out Velvet Sky, seemingly acting sarcastic and pompous towards her, and then watched her get attacked by Gail Kim. On the June 6 edition of Impact Wrestling, James defeated Taeler Hendrix in a non-title match.
On the June 13 episode of Impact Wrestling, James turned heel and attacked Sky's injured knee after Sky demanded a rematch. James and Sky finally had their rematch on the June 27 episode of Impact Wrestling, where James retained her championship after forcing Sky to submit to a Cross-legged STF. On the following week, the evil James justified her actions by claiming that getting to the top of the Knockouts Division requires clawing and scratching your way to the top; James also 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 a villainess 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 in the event's last singles match, despite Serena turning villainous at the midpoint. She advanced to the Gauntlet Battle Royal to crown the Queen of the Knockouts and reached the final two 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.
Queens of Combat (2014)
On November 30, 2014, James competed for the Queens of Combat promotion at QOC 3 against Tessa Blanchard; her first match since giving birth to her child. James turned villainous during the match and went on to defeat Blanchard.
Second return to TNA (2015–present)
James made a surprise return to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, after a year and a half absence from the company, on January 30, 2015 during the tapings of Impact Wrestling in Glasgow, Scotland. James spent several weeks supporting her real-life fiancee, Magnus, during his feud with Bram. On the April 24 episode of Impact Wrestling, James originally announced her retirement to focus on being a full-time mother, only to have James Storm talk her into having one more run. On the June 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, James turned down Storm's offer to join The Revolution during a trip to Nashville, and was knocked down on to the train tracks by Storm.
Global Force Wrestling (2015–present)
On July 7, 2015, it was announced that James is headed to Global Force Wrestling to compete for the GFW Women's Championship.
In 2000, James appeared on an episode of The Jenny Jones Show titled "From Nerd To Knockout".
On April 13, 2008, James, along with Layla, Melina and Kelly Kelly, appeared in an episode of Celebrity Fit Club Boot Camp. On September 5 of that same year, James appeared on the USA Network show Psych, playing a roller derby girl called Rita "Lethal Weapon" Westwood. James made a special appearance on Redemption Song which is hosted by Chris Jericho along with Candice Michelle, Maryse, and Eve Torres. It was originally aired on November 12, 2008.
James has two country music albums. She released her first single, "Are You With Me?", on February 16, 2010. Her first album, Strangers & Angels, was then released on May 18, 2010 the album is also on iTunes. Her second album "Somebody's Gonna Pay" was released on May 7, 2013 on the Entertainment One label.
James owns three Morgan horses named Rhapsody, Bunny and Casanova. After she has finished her wrestling career, James plans to own a farm and be an equine trainer. Outside of wrestling, James has received her Associate of Arts degree in business administration and is studying for her Bachelor of Arts degree in operations management.
She was previously engaged to wrestler Kenny Dykstra. She was previously in a relationship with Joey Mercury. James has two tattoos: an Asian symbol meaning 'love' on her ankle and a dragon that wraps around it.
She is currently in a relationship with fellow professional wrestler Nick Aldis. The two welcomed their first child, a son named Donovan Patrick born on September 25, 2014.
High-energy, sexy, swift, in-your-face and ready to roll. Just remember that I'm going to kick your ass! I am cocky and confident in my abilities, but I'm one who never lets my aggression in the ring get the best of me.
OVW was awesome for me. In the two years I was there, I pretty much re-learned everything that I learned in the previous five years over again, and polished everything. It changed me.
On Trish Stratus:
When asked what kept her in the independent circuit for years:
- Finishing and signature moves
- Tag teams and stables
- Wrestlers managed
- Wrestlers trained
Championships and Accomplishments
- MCW Women's Championship (1 time, current)
- CSWF Women's Champion (1 time) (First)
- ICW Junior Heavyweight Champion (1 time)
- PWF Women's Champion (1 time) (First)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked her #4 in the 2008 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #1 in the 2009 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #8 in the 2010 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #3 in the 2011 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #16 in the 2012 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #2 in the 2013 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI Woman of the Year (2009, 2011)