Mickie James on Possibly Calling It a Career at Impact’s ‘Hard to Kill’

It’s all settling in for Mickie James. The legendary women’s wrestler has battled top talent on Impact Wrestling in a series of matches dubbed the ‘“’Last Rodeo’”’ in recent months. Often these in-ring experiences have been trips down memory lane for “Hardcore Country.” 

Among them was facing Mia Yim at this stage of her career. It got her thinking about working with a fellow veteran early on in Maryland Championship Wrestling and the opportunities given as a young talent. 

After putting all the blood, sweat, and tears into her body of work it comes down to the aptly titled Impact Wrestling pay-per-view Hard to Kill on January 13. There the future Hall of Famer challenges Knockouts champ Jordynne Grace in a title versus career battle.

James tells us it was around the NWA EmPowerrr show that the wheels were put in motion for this current run. One that sees the 43-year-old come full circle returning to Impact Wrestling. A home for her at different points dates back to Alexis Laree in Raven’s The Gathering during those early TNA days. 

“I didn’t anticipate I was going to come back and be a full-time part of the roster in the first place,” James tells us in an interview. “I think after I lost the championship and the conversation with Tommy Dreamer too. I was like, ‘Tommy I don’t know what I can do. I’ve done so much and been really fortunate to do so much. If I go out, I want to go out on top of my game and not overstay my welcome and not stay too long or when I’m on the downward spiral on my career…’”

She wants to put a bow on things by riding out the old-school way. Working her way up on the grind against a mix of talent including Hyan, Gisele Shaw, Taylor Wilde, and Deonna Purrazzo.

“I wanted to prove that not only I’m the best in the locker room but the best ever. And if I can’t do that I don’t belong here anymore. And then I’m okay with that.”

– Mickie James

The challenger is excited to test her mettle against the imposing Grace. James has upped training ahead of the marquee main event and studied tape. Not only of Grace but a fellow powerhouse in Beth Phoenix.  

“I’ve never faced Jordynne before,” James said. “She is probably one of the hardest-hitting women in wrestling. I can probably just say hardest say in wrestling, and it would be accurate.” 

Thoughts on Retirement

If James walks out the gold, her mindset is it would be the start of one last reign at the top. Although the word “retire” in wrestling is admittedly a difficult pill to swallow. 

“Wrestling is s drug for us,” James said. “Once it’s in our blood, it it’s hard to escape it. There is no better feeling you get than when you’re out there performing in front of people. I never wanted to outstay my welcome. I always want to go out on top and to a place in my career where I was still putting on great matches…I didn’t want to just fade off into the sunset but go out in a blaze of glory.” 

With her in-ring career one way or another coming to an end, she is weighing options. The former multi-time champ would enjoy working behind the scenes and as a coach to help performers with their character development. 

Along with other projects, James would also like to focus on keeping the memory of her grandma’s horse farm alive by finding generational horses. Her son Donovan would certainly enjoy seeing mom at home more. For James, Impact is a special place because it gave her the family she has today. It was the place she got together for her now husband Nick Aldis.

“I’m excited for Nick because he is a free agent,” she said. “He has a lot of options…Maybe it’s time for me to step back so he can have those opportunities because I’ve had a pretty incredible career.”  

James is proud of the evolution of Impact’s Knockouts. She just wishes the company had more visibility as it continues to grow back its fanbase. 

“We have some of the best wrestlers in the world. We have definitely the strongest female roster that one can ever imagine,” James said. “They are getting opportunities like the first-ever Ultimate X match or the Last Knockout Standing and all the things…I don’t know if it’s about that as much as I would love for more people to be able to see it and watch it. I think if more people saw it, they will see how great it is.” 

When comes to summing up her career and Impact Wrestling story, it comes down to one hope. For the small-town girl who lived her dream, it comes down to being remembered. 

“I just want the women to keep thriving and to have made a difference. Hopefully, I’ve done that. And to be honored on the way out on a positive note.”

Catch Impact Wrestling’s Hard to Kill on Pay-Per-View and FITE TV at 8 p.m. ET on January 13

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