Friday, June 18, 2021

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Guest Blog: ‘Mickie James Deserved Better’ by John Canton

In light of the shock release of five-time WWE Women’s Champion, Mickie James last night, we hand the floor over to our good friend John Canton of our partner site, TheJohnReport.net for this special guest blog. John, an avid fan of the now ex-Diva, has come to know Mickie over the past several months and now considers her a friend. So, who better to pay homage to her career?The news of Mickie James being released by World Wrestling Entertainment has rocked a lot of people with good reason. She’s the kind of person that women wrestling fans looked up to as a role model because of the amazing work ethic that she has. She’s the kind of person that male wrestling fans wanted to watch because she’s a gorgeous woman that put on entertaining matches. The best thing about watching her is that you can see in her face that wrestling is all she ever wanted to do. Whether heel or face, whether in a good storyline or bad, she always did her best. Look at her eyes. Look at her smile. It was there for us to see. She grew up a fan of the business and it showed in her work. Week in, week out, she proved herself. Even though she’s one of the smaller girls standing at 5’2″ she showed she belonged more than any of them. Why? The combination of work ethic, passion, knowledge and desire. Not only that, but she was successful as both a heel and babyface. Her heel run in late 2005/early 2006 is still as good as any Diva in WWE history. For four years she’s been in the babyface role taking beatings, coming back and making everybody else look good. That was her job. She did it better than anybody. Now she doesn’t have that job anymore? Excuse my language here, but what the fuck?

What about Piggy James? Dear God, what a stupid idea for an angle. Mickie’s not fat. Never was. Never has been. A woman that’s 5’2″ and weighs 125 pounds is not fat. Just because Vince McMahon is a senile, old man that thinks that ogles bikini models doesn’t mean he is a judge of character. It shows that he’s vain, unrealistic and he should probably get outside of the bubble that he appears to live in. The amazing thing is it worked because the performers were good. Michelle and Layla worked well in their roles… aside from having to hear Michelle sing! You think one of the less talented Divas could pull off what MJ did? I don’t. Mickie carried it with the way she makes her comebacks, her strong promos and the way she showed her emotions when the time was right for it. How many wrestlers do you think are good enough actors to cry when they have to? Not many, I bet. It made you feel sympathy for her character. You know what else? Despite the bullshit idea of calling a woman with Mickie’s figure “fat,” she didn’t complain during the angle. She’s a wrestler. She knows the business. She knew that there’d be the payoff in the end. Then she won the Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble and everybody smiled. It was probably the best Divas angle since Trish vs. Mickie in 2006. Coincidence that Mickie was involved in both? No. It also shows how talented she was by being able to be great in both feuds while being in different roles. From crazy, psycho bitch to sympathetic woman, she can do it all.

I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I say that WWE doesn’t care about the Divas division. I’m not sure if it’s still in practice, but at one point their main source for “scouting talent” was a site called bikini.com. I’m not making that up. They actually employed people to go on that site, search model profiles, see who looks fit and who might make a good “wrestler” although of course you can’t say that foreign word in WWE anymore. The idea that you can take any bikini model, train her to wrestle and expect her to be good is idiotic. It would be like finding some random 6’9″ guy, giving him a basketball and telling him to play. No. You can’t do that. Like everything else in life, skill is required. For all I know, that site is still one of their main sources for finding talent. Will they ever learn? Probably not. Talent doesn’t seem to matter. It’s all about the looks. It’s a damn shame that being a good worker (or in-ring performer if you want to use that term) isn’t a pre-requisite in WWE. Not only am I upset that they have now released arguably the best worker they had in Mickie James, but they don’t even use Natalya in the ring. She’s as good as anybody they have too. What about Serena? She has far more credentials than others on the roster. I know their time will come, but why isn’t it their time now? Is it more important to promote women that can’t even hit a dropkick correctly? It’s like the bookers in WWE think that coming up through the ranks of the Diva Search is paying your dues more than coming up through the indies.

The recent episodes of Raw and SmackDown from the UK are shining examples of what’s wrong with WWE in terms of how they use their Divas. Remember that Baywatch Bikini Blowout “match” they had? A complete failure. The sad thing is Vince McMahon probably came up with the idea himself and nobody has the guts to tell him how brutal it was. It was embarrassing to watch. And I love women in tight clothes, believe me! It was brutal. Then on SmackDown we got a five minute match between Mickie and Michelle that was fantastic. It was the match that made a lot of us say: “That’s what women’s wrestling should be.” They worked crisp, they had great timing on their moves and they delivered a satisfying ending with the heel cheating to win. After the match, Beth came out to save her long time rival Mickie to continue that storyline. It was good television. The kind of thing that makes you ask: “I wonder what happens next week?” With the Raw Divas, you tend to dread next week because you wonder if it’s going to be as bad as the week before. Somehow, it usually is. Think about it for a second, though. A woman got fired one week after having one of the best TV matches in WWE in the last year. She is the best worker amongst the females when she’s given the opportunity. She’s been that way for five years. Once Trish left, Mickie picked up that torch and ran with it. What other line of work sees somebody get fired one week after they did their job in such a good way? It doesn’t happen. Only in a place like WWE where apparently on screen performance isn’t as important as sucking up to the right people. Lame. It’s fucking lame.

I feel like a lucky man to call Mickie James my friend. I’ve been writing online about wrestling on and off for a decade. For whatever reason last May I started writing about Raw weekly and eventually SmackDown as well. I found that writing spark again. Along the way, I decided to have some fun by referring to Mickie, by far my favorite woman in WWE, as Mickie James-Canton. I didn’t know her. Never thought I would. By November I figured I might as well try getting my own blog. From there I jumped onto Twitter. Smart way to network yourself. A month after I signed up there was Mickie James. Wow, I was so excited. I was almost as excited as Vince McMahon would be if he got to oil up men at a bodybuilding contest. My readers are pretty loyal, so I might have suggested once or twice that they mention me to her. They did. She followed me on there, I introduced myself and she was impressed enough to not block me. Great success! Over the course of the next four or five months a friendship has formed. It’s funny how life works. You meet people in mysterious ways sometimes. As it turns out we’re only a year apart in age (she’s a year older), we have the same degree in university (Business Administration), we have a similar sense of humor that really helped us bond and we learned that we have a lot of other values in common. Didn’t matter that I was a city boy near Toronto or that she was a country girl in Virginia.When you meet good people you hold on tight. We’ve helped each other too. That’s what friends do. I’m not going to toot my own horn about what I’ve done. She knows. And that’s what matters. I believe in her. This whole ordeal can only make that friendship stronger.

There are a lot of stories I can tell that show the amazing character this woman has. I’ll share one that’s pretty recent. A couple of weeks ago my uncle died. If you followed me on Twitter you probably saw the posts. He was a healthy man that was suffering from leukemia. He was confined to a hospital bed for three weeks when he passed away. I visited him every day. When he died I made a post about it. I wasn’t asking or begging for responses. What can you say, right? All I wanted was to make sure everybody valued their loved ones as much as I did my uncle. He was like a second dad to me. A lot of people messaged me. I was grateful for all of it. You know who the first one to message me was? Mickie James. She didn’t have to. She was in Europe on tour with WWE. What she wrote to me will remain private, but I will never forget it. It meant the world to me. It also showed me that as beautiful as she is on the outside (and let me tell ya I think she’s gorgeous) the person inside her is even more special. And for that I will be eternally grateful. That’s Mickie in a nutshell. She does that for a lot of people. The woman has a gift to make people smile. Let’s be grateful that she shares it with us.

Okay, one more example. A buddy of mine, David K., made a trek out to the New York area for an autograph signing that Mickie was at. I suggested that maybe he take a sign with my name on it for her to pose with. This was in late January right before that Royal Rumble title win. I didn’t know how receptive she’d be to it. Decided not to tell her about it beforehand. He showed up, showed her the sign, she smiled and took this picture with it:

It says “Hi John James-Canton” on it and I’d like to think that look on her face is saying, “You sneaky bastard!” See, I expanded MJC into JJC or JCJ at times as proof that I would indeed change my last name for her. That’s just how I am. She told me later she thought it was funny. I remember people doubting me about he validity of it. Pissed me off. I asked her to mention it on Twitter publicly to shut the haters up and she did it. “Real. @my newburg (NY) signing. Lol.” See that? Another example of her kindness. I could go on and on, really.

In closing, I know Mickie will be fine. She’s one of the most positive people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I’m not really sure if she’ll ever come back to WWE, end up in TNA or never wrestle again. I don’t think even she knows right now. Personally, I hope she continues to wrestle somewhere just because she’s damn good at it. She loves it too. I know she does. She’s told me. She’s 30 years old and considering how she keeps herself in great shape she should have no problem getting back on the saddle, so to speak. For now her focus is on her country music career, which is where it should be. It’s not easy to get an album produced. She has one. She needs to put every ounce of energy into make that work.

Don’t be sad for Mickie. Listen to her when she says everything will be okay. I believe her. I have faith in her. The losers in this relationship are WWE. They made the mistake. I wish them better judgment in their future endeavors. And if they don’t like that do what they do would do. Call somebody fat! Yeah, that’ll show them! That’s what “creative” is all about apparently.

To Mickie, if you’re reading, should they ask you to come back only say yes if they double your pay. Nothing less. Get what you deserve, girl.

Mickie’s first single asks, “Are You With Me?” Yes we are, Mickie. Now more than ever.

John Canton
[email protected]
twitter.com/johnreport

Thanks to Melanie for letting me write this. She knows how much Mickie means to me and I’m glad she gave me the opportunity to write about her for this fantastic site that promotes the best in women’s wrestling. If anybody wants to write to me about her please do so. I don’t mind one bit.

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