WWE shocked wrestling fans on this week's Friday Night SmackDown by announcing that one of the wrestlers coming back to the company for this year's Women's Royal Rumble would be reigning Knockouts Champion Mickie James from Impact Wrestling. This was a surprise for many reasons — WWE hardly ever acknowledges the existence of other wrestling promotions much less bring a wrestler in from one for a pay-per-view match and James' departure from WWE last year led to the infamous "Trash Bag Gate" incident. But now that James successfully defended her title against Deonna Purrazzo at this weekend's Hard to Kill event, the idea that she'll be Impact's reigning women's champion walking into one of WWE's biggest annual events is a reality.
So how did it happen? Impact executive vice president Scott D'Amore explained it in an interview with Impact's website shortly after the news broke. He explained, "WWE wanted it, Mickie wanted it and IMPACT Wrestling's philosophy is always to work with other major promotions to create buzz for the fans. Everything is signed and agreed with WWE and IMPACT Wrestling -- the only question is whether or not Mickie will enter one of WWE's most historic annual matches as the reigning Knockouts World Champion."
He later added, "There's never been a time like this for wrestling fans. In a 12 month period, IMPACT Wrestling has worked with NWA, AAA, New Japan, AEW and now WWE. IMPACT Wrestling is the nexus of the forbidden door era."
James gave her reaction on Instagram, "Y'all talk about doors like you're doing big things...Bitch I raise the BAR and kick out the ceiling!!! Because that's what legends do! Yes you heard right! After Tomorrow #HardToKill I'm taking myself, my boots, and my @impactwrestling #knockoutsworldchampionship all the way to @wwe #RoyalRumble. Final Destination #Wrestlemania."
There's no word yet on whether or not this WWE/Impact crossover will start and end with James' involvement in the Rumble. Though at least one other champion is trying to tease hopping to WWE to take on Roman Reigns.
I Claim to be the Wrestling God. He claims to be The Head of the Table. With all this Forbidden Door talk….. what if 🤔….,, @WWERomanReigns— MOOSE (@TheMooseNation) January 9, 2022