"It has been amazing. It has been a whirlwind for sure," James said. "I guess for me it is different because I am from a different era and all these girls, and they are women obviously, have a genuine respect and love for me and I am so grateful for that. They listen to me and my opinions and advice."
James explained the differences between herself and current female superstars. Having debuted in 2005 with a big storyline with Trish Stratus, James is used to participating in more character-driven matches and storylines. She said current wrestlers are focused more on the in-ring product and she's working to help them combine the entertainment aspect into their performances.
"We sometimes have different opinions because I am very much into the entertainment aspect of wrestling as well, which is the generation I grew up in. I am a serious wrestler, but I also love to throw in a little comedic moments and different things that perhaps they didn't think about because sometimes it is focused on the wrestling part of it," she said. "I kind of help them blend the two in some aspects. Just giving a different opinion and coming from a woman who has been in this industry for almost 20 years and see what works and what doesn't work. Even now, the fact that I came from a very gimmick era to evolving to more serious wrestling, but you learn how to merge both."
Last month, James was one of the 30 women to compete in the first ever women's Royal Rumble match. She said it was an experience she'll cherish for the rest of her life because of how much love and support was shared among the women.
"The Women's Rumble, every single woman that came in had a special moment, and when they came in it meant something. It was a blessing. To see us all backstage in Gorilla, the women were all back there cheering each other on before she goes out there. It was such a feel-good moment. If I wasn't so in the zone I would have been brought to tears at the amount of love given to every woman going out there," she said. "For all the love for the business and each other; respect and admiration. I was blessed to be out there with all 30 women. We made history together and it will be a moment where we all live in those history books together with, so it will be a special moment that we will always share together."
During the match, James shared a feel-good moment with her old rival Trish Stratus. James made her debut in 2005 and was involved in an eight-month angle that culminated in her winning the women's championship from Stratus at WrestleMania 22. The Philadelphia crowd popped when they had their staredown during the Rumble, and James said she was very appreciative of the reception of the moment because she was glad people remembered their rivalry.
"I have goosebumps just thinking about it. If you watch my face, I was hoping and praying that the people will remember and react and give us a little bit of love, and the way that they erupted the way they did, I had this genuine, like I couldn't wipe that stupid smile off of my face; I am from ear to ear with that smile on my face. It was so amazing to be acknowledged. It was so great; I didn't expect them to react the way they did, but hey, they remembered," she said. "The amount of love that I got afterwards, which I hope Trish [Stratus] did too on social media; even coming back, from Fit [Finlay], and even Windham [Bray Wyatt] pulled us aside and said how much of an amazing moment it was and how awesome it was. That makes you feel good, and it was like, hey, they do remember. It was such a special time that we were able to make together and then to come back and go full circle and kind of recreate that moment it was just incredible."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.