Childhood & Early Life
She was born Mickie Laree James, on August 31, 1979, at ‘Richmond Memorial Hospital,’ Richmond, Virginia, US, to Stuart James and Sandra Knuckles. Her father is a retired wastewater-treatment worker, a ‘VAIL League Division 3 Championship’ coach, and a landscaper. Her mother worked as a real-estate agent and a teacher. The couple divorced when Mickie was a child.
She was raised in Montpelier, Virginia. During her childhood, she was a tomboy and loved to ride horses at her grandmother’s horse farm. Eventually she developed a keen interest in equestrian sports.
She attended ‘Patrick Henry High School’ and completed her graduation in 1997. She also played the violin for five years. Her father motivated her interest in professional wrestling.
She has a sister, a half-brother, a half-sister, and three stepbrothers.
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She was trained in professional wrestling in Washington DC. She made her professional wrestling debut using the ring name “Alexis Laree” in 1999, in the independent circuit, as a valet for ‘KYDA Pro Wrestling.’ Her first match was in March that year. The intergender tag-team match saw her teaming up with Jake Damian, against Mike Brown and Candie.
She honed her wrestling skills by attending various training camps such as the ‘Extreme Championship Wrestling’ (ECW) dojo and the ‘Funking Conservatory.’ Her early years saw her competing for ‘Maryland Championship Wrestling’ (MCW). She also began making appearances for ‘Ring of Honor’ in 2002.
Apart from participating in her wrestling endeavors at independent events that fetched her meager income, Mickie also worked as a server at an outlet of the American casual dining restaurant chain ‘Olive Garden.’ In the early 2000s, she posed nude for the adult magazines ‘Naughty Neighbors’ and ‘Leg Show.’
She made her debut with ‘Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’ (TNA) in June 2002. Her first prominent appearance was in a match on March 26, 2003, where she teamed up with ‘Amazing Red.’ She lost her first singles match in ‘TNA’ against Trinity on April 2, 2003.
She garnered national attention with ‘TNA’ and eventually became the first member of the stable led by Raven, called ‘The Gathering.’ She became the first and the only woman to compete in the promotion’s ‘Clockwork Orange House of Fun’ match, on April 16, 2003, after ‘The Gathering’ challenged and defeated Jeff Jarrett.
In 2002, she was acquired by ‘WWE.’ She was sent to their then-developmental territory ‘Ohio Valley Wrestling’ (OVW), in August 2003. Her first TV appearance for ‘OVW’ was on January 29, 2004, following which she took part in many tag-team matches.
She made her ‘WWE’ debut on October 10, 2005, in an episode of ‘Raw,’ with the gimmick of the greatest fan of ‘WWE Women's Champion’ Trish Stratus. The storyline of Mickie’s obsession with Stratus continued as the two divas appeared in matches together. Mickie also faced Stratus in the ‘WWE Women's Championship’ match held at the second annual ‘New Year's Revolution’ pay-per-view (PPV) event on January 8, 2006, but lost to the latter.
The storyline took a different turn, with Mickie becoming the villain after Stratus restrained the former’s advances, leading to a ‘Women's Championship’ match at ‘WrestleMania 22’ on April 2, 2006. Considered one of the best women’s matches in the history of ‘WrestleMania,’ the bout saw Mickie defeating Stratus to earn her first ‘WWE Women's Championship’ title. She lost the title to Lita on August 14, 2006.
Mickie then won the ‘WWE Women's Championship’ title four more times. She defeated Lita in the latter’s retirement match at the ‘Survivor Series’ on November 26, 2006. She also defeated Melina and Victoria in a triple-threat match on April 24, 2007, at a house show in Paris, France, and Beth Phoenix in a ‘Raw’ episode on April 14, 2008. She finally defeated Michelle McCool within 20 seconds at the ‘Royal Rumble’ on January 31, 2010.
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Meanwhile, she started feuding with ‘WWE Divas Champion’ Maryse, which led to a title match between the two at the ‘Night of Champions’ event held on July 26, 2009, resulting in Mickie earning her first ‘Divas Championship.’ She later lost the title to Jillian Hall on ‘Raw.’
She was then traded to the ‘SmackDown’ brand. She made her ‘SmackDown’ debut on October 23, 2009. Her pre-taped last match for ‘WWE’ was broadcast in a ‘SmackDown’ episode on April 23, 2010. She was released from the promotion on April 22, 2010.
In April 2010, she made a comeback to the independent circuit and appeared for several promotions such as the ‘World Wrestling Council’ (WWC) and her early promotion ‘Maryland Championship Wrestling’ (MCW). She became the first ‘Covey Pro Women's Champion’ on April 30, 2011 at ‘All or Nothing 5,’ defeating Hannah Blossom. She later lost the title to debutant Jessie Belle Smothers on November 11 that year.
She won the ‘MCW Women's Championship’ at the ‘Ladies Night’ event of ‘Maryland Championship Wrestling’ on June 19, 2015, defeating Amber Rodriguez. She, however, lost the title to Kimber Lee on November 13 that year.
Meanwhile, it was reported on September 22, 2010, that ‘TNA’ had signed a contract with Mickie. She made her comeback feature on the promotion on October 7 that year, in the ‘Before The Glory’ special episode of ‘Impact!’
She won the ‘TNA Knockouts Championship’ title on April 17, 2011, beating Madison Rayne in a steel-cage match and thus emerged as the first and the only diva in wrestling history to hold the ‘WWE Women's’ title, the ‘WWE Divas’ title, and the ‘TNA Knockouts Championship’ title. She won the ‘TNA Knockouts Championship’ title two more times, on the ‘Impact Wrestling’ episodes of September 1, 2011, and May 23, 2013.
She did not opt for a contract renewal with ‘TNA.’ However, following a year and a half of absence from the promotion, she made a surprise return to the company on January 30, 2015. She also had a stint with ‘Global Force Wrestling’ (GFW), which acquired her on July 7, 2015.
In 2017, she returned to ‘WWE’ on the January 17 episode of ‘SmackDown Live,’ after having a breathtaking match for the ‘NXT Women's Championship’ title, against Asuka at the ‘NXT TakeOver: Toronto’ event on November 19, 2016, where Asuka managed to retain the title. The 2017 ‘Superstar Shake–Up’ saw her being drafted to ‘Raw.’
Music & Other Pursuits
On May 18, 2010, she self-released her first country music album, ‘Strangers & Angels’ on ‘iTunes.’ Her second album, ‘Somebody's Gonna Pay,’ released through ‘Entertainment One (eOne) Music’ on May 7, 2013. It debuted at number 15 on the ‘Billboards Heatseekers’ chart.
She has performed at several small musical concerts across the US while working with ‘TNA.’ She performed at the 2011 ‘CMA Music Festival’ and at the ‘CMA Fest’ in 2013. She has also opened shows for Rascal Flatts, Gretchen Wilson, Randy Houser, and Montgomery Gentry.
She also appeared in an episode of the ‘USA Network’ show ‘Psych’ titled ‘Talk Derby to Me’ on September 5, 2008, playing Rita "Lethal Weapon" Westwood. She also starred in a ‘Dr Pepper’ advertisement in June 2013.
She was inducted into ‘The Native American Music Awards Hall of Fame’ on October 14, 2017.