Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Night Mickie James Won Chicago's Heart

Courtesy: Slam! Sports
This is a guest post from my wrestling buddy, Travis.

A strange thing happened at Wrestlemania 22 in Chicago. The event was packed with memorable moments, from Edge spearing Mick Foley though a burning table to Rey Mysterio winnnig his first World Heavyweight Championship. But on the grand stage of Wrestlemania, those things are to be expected. In this case, the strangest thing to happen that night was a Divas match stealing the show thanks to the most unlikely person in the card.

Relative newcomer Mickie James, appearing in her first Wrestlemania and booked against immensely popular WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus, won the city of Chicago over in one of the best women's title matches in recent history. The match was given a fantastic buildup, with newcomer James "stalking" WWE Women's Champion Trish Stratus for weeks, then turning on her when Trish had enough and told Mickie to hit the road, spurning both friendship offers and sexual advances.

Even with the buildup, you could tell Chicago just wasn't excited about the match. Pitted in a two-match filler between the highly anticipated Edge vs. Mick Foley and Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. McMahon contests, the crowd saw the divas match as just that - filler. Even after a slickly produced pre-match video package which documented the history between James and Stratus aired on the TitanTron, when Mickie's silly cheerleader-style music hit, fans started heading for the bathrooms.

But then...Mickie James started to wrestle. In fact, James wrestled the best match of her young WWE career that night, and she and Stratus put on an amazing show. You could even sense (and still can by watching the DVD) when the tough Chi-town crowd first started to respect, then began to actually cheer for Mickie. Filled with high spots and big moves, the ladies were wrestling like...men. And wrestling better, in fact, than the previous boys in the ring (Booker T and the Boogeyman).

When the match ended and James raised her hand in victory, Jim Ross capped off the moment with the perfect call..."the nutjob has won the title! I think some fans got a hall pass from the home, they're actually cheering this psychotic woman!"

The nutjob also won the Chicago fans over, as muffles of "best match of the night" were heard from fans filing out of the arena at the end of the evening. Nowadays, Divas matches don't offer much in the ring besides eye candy. This match should be required viewing for today's ladies. It was the most memorable Divas match in recent years - and quite possibly of the entire night at Wrestlemania 22.

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