Mickie James Blasts Ageism, Sexism in Wrestling; She's Right

Wrestling legend (and current active performer) Mickie James took her employer, WWE, to task for ageism and sexism without mentioning them by name. James was replying to a tweet about ageism by recent NXT signee Taya Valkyrie, but James's message both went further and is demonstrated in the treatment fans have witnessed of James on WWE television over the last five years.

Mickie James appears with WWE legends Sgt. Slaughter and Tatanka in a segment with Angel Garza on Raw Legends night.
Mickie James appears with WWE legends Sgt. Slaughter and Tatanka in a segment with Angel Garza on Raw Legends night, despite being 18 years younger than Tatanka and 31 years younger than Slaughter, plus a current member of WWE's active roster.

"Why do people talk about age like it's a negative???" asked Valkyrie. "Just think, you woke up today, you are blessed to see another morning…..never forget that. Age brings, wisdom, experience, confidence. It's a blessing."

Valkyrie's tweet drew the support of fellow wrestling stars like AEW's Rebel and Impact's Alisha Edwards and ODB. Wrestling legend Alundra Blayze also commented, "I have been preaching this when you kids were learning to walk. Keep preaching. AMEN SISTER!" Even WWE NXT producer Scott Armstrong agreed with Valkyrie, tweeting. "FINALLY, someone on here speaking #Truth @TheTayaValkyrie."

But it was WWE star Mickie James who really turned up the heat.

"I agree 1000 percent," James replied." But in this industry once you hit 35 it's perceived you should start wrapping it up and retire as a women. Even though your just hitting you stride. At 40 "retire already" Even though the men are champs well into there 50s and glorified for it. Sad but true."

"With age comes a strength and wisdom that you can't teach," James continued. "I feel more powerful & sexy than I ever have. Yet it is only this way because this is the narrative we've accepted to be ok. We've pushed this mindset & it's damn time we changed it. Times have changed. And so have we! 💋"

James's comments are particularly potent because she has directly experienced ageism from the company she currently works for. The 41-year-old six-time women's champion returned to WWE in 2017 after appearing at an NXT Takeover the year prior. James's return was well-received, but despite her past accolades, James wasn't pushed like a former champion of her caliber would be if she was a male. Take 54-year-old Bill Goldberg, a five-time world champion in WCW and WWE, though two of those championship runs occurred in the last five years. Despite the fact that Goldberg can't last more than a few minutes in the ring (and had a very limited moveset even in his prime), Goldberg is booked like a main event level threat any time he steps into the ring.

But James was booked as a midcarder upon her return, and by 2019, James wasn't even drafted in the lastest WWE Draft. More insultingly, James appeared in early 2021 during the Legends Night episode of Raw, where she was billed as a legend rather than a member of the active roster. James is three years younger than current WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and just one year older than previous WWE Champion The Miz. She's one year older than Daniel Bryan and six years younger than Edge, both of whom are currently involved in the men's world title scene on Smackdown.

So why is James treated so differently? The answer is obvious and laid out in her tweets, even if she doesn't directly accuse her employer. For all of WWE's self-aggrandizing about the "Women's Evolution," it seems jarring that the company would treat a female legend who can still go in the ring and is currently a member of the active roster so differently than it treats men in the same position, quite literally pushing her into an early retirement. Then again, all of the problems supposedly "solved" by the Women's Evolution were problems of WWE's own making in the first place.

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About Jude Terror

A prophecy claims that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Unfortunately, nobody can tell when the comics industry has reached its "darkest days" because it somehow keeps finding new lows to sink to. No matter! Jude Terror stands vigilant, bringing the snarkiest of comic book and pro wrestling clickbait to the undeserving readers of Bleeding Cool.
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