For Mickie James, a return to WWE following an absence of more than 6 1/2 years started with a single phone call.
"I was sitting in the airport in Orlando, Florida, on my way to the UK, where I’ve been for almost a month now. I got the call from WWE and they asked me if I was interested," James recalled. "I know who Asuka is, I’ve seen her work in Japan and NXT. She is incredibly talented. It’s cool to see someone come up and make an impact. I think for her, it’s even harder, because there’s the language barrier. But she’s this mystical kind of person. For them to even consider me to come back and face her and, hopefully, tear the house down, is pretty awesome. It made me feel like a million bucks. I want to go in there and take it to the next level and give the people everything that they want and more."
A six-time title holder in WWE, James described the recent rise of women's wrestling in WWE as "incredible." The increased prominence of the division culminated this past Sunday, when Sasha Banks faced Charlotte in both the first-ever women's Hell in a Cell match and the first-ever women's match to main event a WWE pay-per-view card.
"It’s something that I’ve always hoped for, for the women of the industry. I started as a wrestler, as a fan of wrestling and wanting to be a wrestler, I strived really hard to have a really great match, not just for women, just trying to kill it and have the best match on the card. "But now, to see that come to fruition and see what women’s wrestling is, is a great thing. To come back to that and be a part of something that I hoped for, for so long, for the wrestling business, is amazing. I’m grateful." said James.
James, who is still active on the independent circuit, discussed juggling her current wrestling commitments along with motherhood. She and her husband, former TNA champion Magnus, have a 2-year-old son.
"It’s crazy how life works. He is half my workout, chasing him around on a daily basis. It’s absolutely amazing, but in a way, it’s cut into my workouts," she said.
James faces Asuka, who is undefeated in televised NXT matches since making her debut last year, at NXT Takeover on Saturday, November 19, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.