Mickie James Looks Back at Early Days of Impact Wrestling Ahead of 20th Anniversary (Exclusive)

Mickie James has put together a legendary career. And while most professional wrestling fans know James from her time in WWE, her career began to take off at Impact Wrestling, which was called TNA Wrestling when it launched in 2002. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, James talked about getting her TV debut with Impact ahead of the promotion's 20th-anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 19. 

"I think it's so special," James exclusively told PopCulture when asked about Impact's pay-per-view event Slammiversary taking place in Nashville, the place where Impact began. "I think about little Alexis Laree, who showed up to the Nashville fairgrounds and ate at the White Trash Cafe and was the birth of, really, my career on television. At that point, I'd only been, prior to going to TNA, at the time Impact Wrestling, here at the fairgrounds, I had been on Ring of Honor, and I'd done local stuff, MCW Back Home, and worked myself up the scene. 

"It was the first time people saw me on television in a prominent role, and I got to sit there and learn because I was immediately put with Raven and his learning tree. He's a crazy mad man and a genius. Also, Jeff [Jarrett], who gave me the opportunity to be the first woman in the ever in the Clockwork Orange House of Fun match. The only woman for a decade that ever did that match, and to be able to learn from him and put in that position."

Following her first stint in Impact, James moved on to WWE and went on to win the Divas Championship five times. But throughout her career, the 42-year-old would come back to Impact Wrestling, and is currently with the company now. In her Impact career, James has won the Knockouts World Championship four times. Her last title reign came recently when she defeated Deonna Purrazzo in Oct. 2021. James lost the title to Tasha Steelz in March and is ready to get the title back. She is not scheduled to compete in a match at Slammiversarry, but she will be in the middle of a championship battle. 

"I've been a little naked, without the championship now," James said. "For a couple months, been in this reset mode of like, 'What's next for Mickie James, what am I going to do?" and I was like, 'there's no way Slammiversary is coming to my backyard and I'm not going to be a part of it.' You are looking at the special enforcer for the Queen of the Mountain." 

James continued: "I wouldn't miss it for the world. I wouldn't miss it for the world. I would've been there regardless, but I'm like, "I got this. Plus I got to get a firsthand look, I got to get a bird's eye view, if you will, of who I'm going to take this championship from next."