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The Women of the Year 2011: Mickie James (#6)

A la TIME’s Person of the Year list, Diva Dirt has compiled a countdown of the women we feel have best embodied the zeitgeist of the year in women’s wrestling. To compile this list, the Diva Dirt team have tracked the headlines here at Diva Dirt over the past 12 months, followed the lively fan debate on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, considered the impact that the women have made within the industry, and taken into account personal achievements as well. More information on the Women of the Year list here.

The Centerpiece

Seasons may change. Titles may switch. Some will come and some will go. Ultimately, one thing tends to stay the same, and that is that, no matter what, or where she goes, Mickie James is always the centerpiece.

In her first full year in TNA after joining the company in 2010, Mickie James quickly got into the thick of things and has stayed consistently in the spotlight for the past 12 months. Competing on nine out of 12 pay per views, James has in many ways been the glue that has held the Knockouts division together in 2011.

As the centerpiece of the Knockouts roster, Mickie has been in several Knockouts Championship storylines. Beginning the year in a months-long feud with Madison Rayne, many expected the former six-time WWE champion to quickly take the gold in the pair’s first encounter at January’s Genesis pay per view, however, Mickie wouldn’t hold the belt until April, giving chase to Rayne over three pay per view matches. Finally winning the title inside a steel cage while also putting her hair on the line, Mickie became the first woman in history to hold the WWE Women’s Championship, WWE Divas Championship and the Knockouts Championship.

After successfully defeating Rayne in a rematch in May, James then feuded with Angelina Love and Winter, dropping the title to Winter in August only to win it two weeks later, and then lose it a further two weeks after that. Though the quick title changes certainly didn’t help the credibility of the belt, when all is said and done, in the history books, James will go down as an eight-time women’s champion.

Despite losing the belt a second time, James managed to stay in contention, competing in a four-way match at October’s Bound for Glory before pinning six other women in a gauntlet match to earn another shot at the Knockouts Championship. This time, she’d face the new champion and fellow former WWE Diva, Gail Kim at December’s Final Resolution. The feud continues as of this writing.

Though Mickie had a fairly tumultuous 2010 due to her WWE release (she herself has admitted she saw herself finishing her career there), the Hardcore Country Knockout has rebounded better than even she could have hoped for as the centerpiece of the Knockouts division, a position that will likely be hers as long as she wants it.

Mickie has proven that there is life after WWE by making history in mainstream female wrestling and continuing to be as popular as ever. It’s a big undertaking to be the face of a division and be relied upon to keep it going for the entire year, but for James, this role seems to be ‘old hat, new surroundings’. TNA obviously sees Mickie as its Knockouts breadwinner hence her continued success and their willingness to rely so much on her. Additionally, Mickie was selected as the only currently contracted female to appear on TNA’s new television project in India, another vote of confidence. James has acclimatized well and has quickly been thrown into everything from being on TV nearly every week and, very importantly, being a big part of the company’s marketing with numerous media interviews, appearances etc.

Mickie James was the MVP of the Knockouts division in 2011.

The Women of the Year 2011: Mercedes Martinez (#7)

Click here for the full Women of the Year countdown

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