NWA’s Mickie James sat down with Wrestling Epicenter to promote the 73rd NWA Anniversary Show and NWA EmPowerrr, both emulating from the Chase Park Plaza this weekend. James, who is the executive producer of EmPowerrr, also talked about the difference between her runs in WWE and Impact wrestling, and was asked which one she preferred.

“I go back and forth on that because I had such an amazing run and experience in WWE, especially in my first run,” James said. “My first run was pretty remarkable. But to be able to go away from there, which is legitimately the largest platform for wrestling and then to be able to come back to Impact, because I had been there before as Alexis Laree. I felt I had to evolve away from that character that resonated with people in WWE, that kind of crazy character and especially coming away from that ‘Piggie James’ thing.

“I just wanted to be myself and stand in my own shoes. I got to do my own entrance music and I was working so hard with my music, I still am. But to be able to produce that song and have that resonate so well. Fans to this day still love that song! It was just great! I got to do so many really, really cool things from hardcore matches, the cage match and main eventing Impact. It was amazing!”

One difference between the two runs it that James never got to use her ‘Hardcore Country’ gimmick that she used in Impact. According to James, it wasn’t for a lack of trying, though she also feels WWE wasn’t ready for the gimmick at the time.

“I said this recently in an interview. They asked ‘if you had to do something different’ and I said ‘I would have come back as ‘Hardcore Country’ Mickie James,” James revealed. “That was on me as much as anyone else. I didn’t really think because they weren’t at a place at that time where they would really allow anything from Impact. The door wasn’t really open for that yet.

“I had pitched it, several times, to transition into the Hardcore Country character and they really just didn’t get it or maybe it was because it was so close to my success at Impact that they really didn’t want to lean into that. But yeah, I did pitch it as a transition or a heel turn and they just never did it. I don’t really know why. I think it could have been presented in a WWE way. But it never happened and that’s OK. I do think it was a missed opportunity because there was a lot of cool stuff that we could have done with ‘Hardcore Country.'”

During her second run with WWE, James tried her best to retain some characteristics from her initial WWE stint, where she played things along the crazy side. She talked about transitioning elements of the character over time and continuing to evolve.

“I worked so hard on that crazy character,” James said. “I wanted to keep elements of her in my character and see what a babyface Mickie James would look like. That was an odd transition. Because that crazy character is what people connected with and was cool and made me. But, you know, everything has to evolve. You have to go through the chapters. So good stuff!”

James, who was released from WWE earlier this year, made headlines in the past week for a joke regarding WWE President Nick Khan’s controversial interview with Ariel Helwani. James explained why she made the joke and why people shouldn’t take it so seriously.

“First off, it was funny!” James said with a laugh. “And if you don’t think that was funny, we probably can’t be friends because it did pop me. He does favor that guy! It was funny!  I need to think sometimes before I tweet because sarcasm and humor doesn’t always translate. Honestly, with mental health issues, some people get moved by things that are said on social media. I honestly, block them all! Well, not all of them.

“But if it is just offensive or shooting from a place where they just don’t know what they’re talking about, that is the beautiful thing about social media. You have the mute button, you have the block button. You can choose what you see. So a lot of times, people ask ‘what do you think about that?’ I say ‘I don’t think I saw it, actually!’ It was an interesting interview to watch. So I light heartedly, or maybe not so light heartedly, poked fun at it. I thought it was funny!”

You can watch the full interview below.