Former five-time WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James has alleged that ageism “is a real thing” in WWE and was a contributing factor in her recent WWE release.

While speaking on GAW TV, Mickie, 41, said she was “constantly presented as old” even though a lot of male Superstars of her age or older have “been glorified” for those exact reasons.

“I think the small-minded mentality sometimes leads to thoughtless behavior,” Mickie said. “Especially for me, to constantly be presented as old, when I’m 41 and every single male champion has always been my same age or older and has been glorified for those reasons. As they should be, they’re f***king amazing. But, why is it different for women? Or why is it different for me? Ageism is a real thing and it’s bulls***.

“I’m truly grateful for the strides that we [as women] have made, and to be seen as more equal. But it’s simply not true for every single person. Sometimes, that’s unfortunate. I don’t know why I was made to feel like I didn’t deserve [the same treatment] because I did everything in my power to be a company girl, and for some reason I was made to feel like I didn’t deserve it.”

Mickie delved into the various ways she was presented “as old” by WWE.

“I feel like I have pretty thick skin and I’ve put up with a lot of crap,” Mickie admitted. “Even through returning to WWE this last time and always being booked in this lackey position, or never getting that moment for myself – or if I did, it came at a cost of diapers or a walker or the whole finish to the Asuka fiasco, or just these weird things.

“I felt that, at times, just because I was asking for some things [pitching ideas], it would come at a certain price. I’m not saying it was directed from Vince [McMahon], because he’s always been respectful to me.”

Mickie went onto reveal that McMahon called her to apologize for the infamous trash bag incident.

“He called me on the phone to apologize and to let me know that this isn’t what he thought of me. I tagged Vince in that [tweet] because he needs to know. Because, there’s a lot of stuff that happens under his nose that he is completely oblivious to – because he’s running a multi-billion dollar company.”

Mickie also detailed her “eye-opening experience” at WrestleMania 37 weekend earlier this month.

“Over the weekend, I was trying to figure out where I’m going to fit in. Anything I’ve pitched, they weren’t into it. There was this moment where I said, ‘What if we do an all-female brand?’ There’s different shows we could do within it, and if I could head up that and we have an awesome team of women that we could lean on…we have the talent, tools, and facilities. It could have really helped a lot of girls who are not getting TV time.

“And as this one person says to me, ‘They’re never going to do it. Ever. Women’s wrestling doesn’t really make money. WWE Evolution was the lowest-rated PPV ever in WWE history. This person said, ‘I get what you’re trying to do, but I don’t understand why you’re fighting so hard for it.’ I was told to play the cards I’ve been dealt and see if there’s a way to incorporate that within a different show rather than fight for it to be its own show.

“That’s when I realized that… even though they do some amazing things, every decision they make is based on business and how it falls in line with business. I’m just disappointed as a whole with being made to feel old with Depends and a Walker and the whole ageism thing. I think we missed out on a lot of moments.”

Mickie revealed she pitched an idea similar to GAW TV – for an all women’s WWE show – a few years back.

“It was a very similar concept like this [GAW TV] with all women. Like who you wear, what you drinking, what’s going on in the fashion world? What’s going on in pop culture? And I may as been talking to my dog [Dixie]. I legit had three heads going like, ‘Uh” and it was even for ideas I pitched where I wasn’t the star. I just wanted to do good stuff behind-the-scenes and this is how my brain operates.”

You can watch the full episode of GAW TV below. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit GAW TV with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.