Mickie James has revealed how almost all of her ideas for angles and pitches to further promote women's wrestling were turned down by WWE, being told by one individual that 'women's wrestling doesn't make money'.
James was released by WWE on April 15, 2021, having returned to the promotion in 2016. Despite being moved to Smackdown in 2020 on the back of a serious ACL injury, James was hardly utilised, making her last in-ring showing at the 2021 Royal Rumble.
The former Women's champion continued to pitch ideas for use on television or the WWE Network, but James said the indication she got from officials was that they wanted her to retire and become an agent.
Speaking on her Grown Ass Women podcast, James said:
"Over the last two years with getting switched to SmackDown and not getting used. I never debuted on TV, I tore my ACL. I kept feeling these things of 'we want you to retire. We want you to be an agent.' It was what they wanted for me.
"It wasn't that I wasn't grateful for those opportunities, but at the same time, I see the agents and what they have to go through. They don't get any of the praise or thanks that they deserve. They deal with a lot of crap. I don't know if I could personally handle that. I'm too much of a creative person. Ideas that I had, they fell on deaf ears. If I fight for something, it's what I genuinely believe. I have tons of ideas, not all of them are great, but if I think it's great, I'll promote it.
"Two or three years ago, I pitched a show similar to [GAW] with two or three girls on a panel and similar concept. 'Who are you wearing? what are you drinking? what's going on in pop culture?' [I pitched it] for the Network and I might as well have been talking to [my dog]. [I pitched] a game show idea. I wasn't even the star. If I'm going to be working behind the scenes, this is how my brain operates.
"Anything I've pitched, they weren't into it. I wanted to find a balance in between. There was this moment where I said, 'What if we do an all-female brand?' If I could help lead up that and have an awesome team of women....we have the talent, tools, and facilities. It would really help all the girls who are not getting television time. This one person says to me, 'They're never going to do it. Ever. Women's wrestling doesn't make money. WWE Evolution was the lowest-rated PPV ever in WWE. I get what you're trying to do, but I don't understand why you're fighting so hard for it. You should play the cards you're dealt and see if there's a way to incorporate that within a show rather than fight for it to be its own show.'
"I just realized that every decision they do, a lot of it is business and how it falls in line with business. I'm just disappointed as a whole with being made to feel old and the whole ageism thing. I think we missed out on a lot of moments, whether it was me tying Trish's record and Charlotte tied that and beat me or the Chelsea Green angle (working on Twitter). I originally pitched (that angle) for Liv (Morgan in 2019) because I love Liv. There have been several moments we could have done and should've done that we missed the boat on."