Mickie James gears up for the most pivotal match of her career this weekend, and emotions are at an all-time high.
On January 13th, the “Hardcore Country” legend will lay her career on the line in hopes of reclaiming the Knockouts Championship. Defending champion Jordynne Grace will defend the title against James at IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard To Kill in a war of title versus career. This won’t be James’ first rodeo at the respective pay-per-view though. In 2022, James battled “The Virtousa” Deonna Purrazzo in a grueling Texas Deathmatch for the Knockouts Championship, with James emerging victorious. A year later, Mickie James heads into Hard To Kill with an entirely different dynamic, and career-implicating stakes.
In a recent interview with Women’s Wrestling Talk, the former champion discussed her preparation heading into the second go-around, in comparison to the first against Purrazzo. “I always say about mental health because I think it’s very important, I think that your mind and your heart and your soul, they all must be connected, and you must take care of them individually,” James said.
“I also think that mental strength is so much more important than just physical strength. You can train your body in the gym all day long, but if you don’t believe yourself to be a winner, if you don’t believe yourself to be a star, if you don’t believe that you can do something, then you’ve answered your own question. If you don’t believe it, that you can do it, then you won’t be able to do it. You have to say to yourself, ‘I can do this, I can be this, I am this.’”
“Those conversations you have with yourself are the most important conversations that anyone can have that that conversation in the mirror every morning, while you’re brushing your teeth, when you’re telling yourself who you are and what you’re about. The dreams that you have. Those are very important, and you must keep them positive.”
Heading into her Texas Deathmatch with Purrazzo, James admitted she had to open herself up to a new mindset. “I had to mentally get into this place of willing to do anything, because I knew that Deonna was willing to do anything,” she said. “It was a hardcore match. I’ve had hardcore matches before, but it’s not my specialty, I don’t want it to be my specialty. I don’t even like blood. For that match [with Purrazzo], I had to really put myself in a in a real dark place of like willing to do anything kind of space.”
Looking towards her match with Grace this weekend, James realizes the challenge set before her. “This is a real competitive match of two athletes, two champions, the current champion, a former champion, championing women’s wrestling, and to show what that’s like,” she described. “I know how important this match to Jordynne, I know how important this matches to me. I’ve watched Jordynne and I see what she’s capable of. I know that I’ll never match her strength, I won’t, I can’t. I’m not designed that way.”
“She’s younger than me, she’s a representation of everything [that is] women’s wrestling is today. She’s an awesome representation of that, I think that she’s carried that championship with prestige and honor since she’s had it. I intend to take it away from her the same way, and so that’s my intention. I must put it out there because like I said, if you go in thinking you’re going to lose, you’ve already lost. So, I must go in thinking I’m going to win, so I can win.”
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