By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
The world’s biggest wrestling superstars will take the ring for a night of total non-stop action at 7 p.m. today at the BancorpSouth Arena. The performance will be broadcast live as an episode of “Total Nonstop Action’s Impact Wrestling” on the Spike TV network.
TNA wrestler Mickie James caught her big break in 2005, when she signed with World Wrestling Entertainment, and continued when she came to TNA in 2009.
“We wrote my story line in about eight weeks and it turned out to be magical. There hadn’t been much development in female story lines, but I had a lot of support and energy behind mine,” she said in a recent phone interview with the Daily Journal.
Her character? A devoted fan turned fervent stalker of fellow wrestler Trisha Stratus.
“The best characters come from a massive extension of yourself,” she said. “The fans loved it, and we took it from there.”
James said her character extends from her love of performing. The Virginia native grew up playing music, and released her second country music album Tuesday, titled “Somebody’s Gonna Pay.” When she’s not in the ring, she’s usually on stage, performing with artists like Gretchen Wilson, Randy Houser and Montgomery Gentry.
But a live-broadcast wrestling show, she said, is hard to beat.
“I love shooting live shows,” she said. “The energy is through the roof and it’s really rewarding to genuinely make the crowd feel something.”
If James represents the face of a new generation of wrestlers, the TNA package is made complete with one of the most established personalities in wrestling history – Sting.
Sometimes known as “The Icon,” Sting came on the wrestling scene in the mid-1980s with a wrestling company based out of Memphis.
“Coming to perform in this area is a lot like coming home,” he said. “TNA is bringing some of the most talented athletes and performers on the face of the earth. And I mean what I say.”
Sting rose to prominence in the World Championship Wrestling promotion company, battling opponents like “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. When WCW was acquired by rival promotion company World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001, Sting declined a contract offer and wrestled sporadically until his 2006 return appearance at TNA’s Final Resolution pay-per-view event.
“I signed with TNA because I had been part of a growing company already, and I was ready to try it again,” he said. “TNA was performing mainly out of Orlando, and Orlando was good to us, but I really pushed to take this thing on the road so the younger guys could get a taste of how wide-spread wrestling is. It’s huge everywhere.”
Sting agreed with James about the dynamism and energy inherent in the wrestling fan base.
“It blows me away how respectful fans are of wrestlers like me and those that came before me. There is a huge nostalgia there, and they don’t want to let it go,” he said. “I think lots of times people live vicariously through wrestlers because they are a mix of everything under the sun.”
Sting and James will be joined by Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, A.J. Styles, and more.
TIME: 7 p.m. today.
COST: Starts at $15. For $125 attendees can sit in the “Knockout Zone,”
a floor section hosted by the TNA Knockout girls and provides food,
beverages, and access to TNA superstars. To purchase tickets, visit bcsarena.com, ticketmaster.com or Wrestling icon Sting will join order by phone at 800-745-3000.