Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Champion Mickie James made history at the WWE Royal Rumble on Saturday night as the first Impact-contracted wrestler to compete in a WWE ring.

After being announced for the match a few weeks back and acknowledged on WWE TV as being an Impact champion, James entered the 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match at #20. She was the 18th elimination, and was tossed out by WWE Hall of Famer Lita. James also picked up an elimination during the bout, and that was Michelle McCool.

There had been a lot of speculation on if WWE would allow James to come out with her Knockouts Title belt, and they did. She was billed on the screen as the Impact Women’s Champion. This was even more significant because SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair was the only WWE champion who came out with her title. WWE 24/7 Champion Dana Brooke and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Carmella and Queen Zelina Vega all left their gold in the back.

As seen below, James spoke with Megan Morant about the return and James commented on breaking down one of the biggest ceilings in pro wrestling.

“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” James said when asked how it felt. “If you would’ve said to me that this moment would be happening right now, I would’ve said you’re insane. And here we are. We went out there and made history. I mean, obviously I wanted to win, I had my sights set high because obviously the winner goes on to WrestleMania, and I wanted that moment, but just to go out there as WWE family, as Mickie James – the legend, but also as Mickie James… ‘Hardcore Country’ Mickie James, something that the WWE Universe never saw, and to represent Impact as the Knockouts World Champion… I thought I did a great job, I had a heck of a showing and I’m sorry guys, I didn’t win, but in my heart the world won because we just broke down one of the biggest ceilings you’ve ever seen, and we did it for the ladies! You know what I mean?”

James also talked about working with people she had a history with, such as Lita, and others she’d never wrestled before. She mentioned how she wished Melina would’ve lasted longer, and gave her a special shout-out. Melina entered the match at #2 but was the first elimination, tossed out by Sasha Banks, who she started the match with.

“There’s one person that I was very excited to see and I wish she had stayed in there long enough for us to tangle up because ‘Little M&M’… the people would’ve loved it is Miss Melina, and what an ovation she got. So I just want to put that over, I love you girl,” James said of Melina.

James wrapped her interview up and gave thanks to WWE and Impact.

“But yeah, it’s been an incredible night and I’m just grateful to be here, and for an opportunity to make history. So thank you, WWE. Thank you, Impact. Thank you, ladies. This was awesome, this was so awesome,” she said before getting emotional. “I’m trying not to cry today, I’ve promised. I’ve cried, Beth [Phoenix] made me cry last night with her Instagram post, I’ve cried back there in Gorilla [Position], I’ve cried all day, but I’m tough, so I don’t cry, but thanks. I am ‘Hardcore Country’, I promise [laughs].”

Impact Wrestling made several tweets to mark Mickie’s history-making Rumble appearance. As seen below, Impact Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore said he was proud to have Mickie in the match, and said he wants to continue kicking open doors.

“So proud to have our very own #HardcoreCountry @MickieJames represent @IMPACTWRESTLING as our #KNOCKOUTS World Champion in the @WWE #RoyalRumble Let’s keep kicking open doors!,” D’Amore wrote.

WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley added, “HOW FREAKING COOL is it to have @MickieJames in the #Rumble WITH her @IMPACTWRESTLING title?”

James will now defend her Knockouts Title against Tasha Steelz at No Surrender on Saturday, February 19.

Stay tuned for more on Mickie and The Rumble. You can see related tweets and clips below:

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