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TNA Superstar Mickie James talks wrestling, music careers

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TNA Superstar Mickie James (airborne) comes to Appalachian Power Park on Friday for a "Basebrawl." The versatile wrestling champ released her debut country album in May.
WANT TO GO? TNA Impact Wrestling's "Basebrawl"WHERE: Appalachian Power ParkWHEN: 7:30 p.m. FridayTICKETS: $15 and $30 with $65 VIP (includes meet-and-greet at 5:30 p.m.)INFO: 304-344-2287 or CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Friday night, TNA Impact Wrestling comes to Appalachian Power Park with a barrage of body slams and high-flying action. Among the TNA Superstars coming for the "Basebrawl" is TNA Knockouts champion Mickie James, who also has branched out into country music.James talked to the gazz about wrestling, country music and trying to find the balance between the two.Q: How'd you get started in wrestling? A: "I grew up an avid wrestling fan. I watched it with my Dad. It was our thing. "I got out of high school and had little to no direction. I wanted to go to college, but I needed an academic scholarship. I was going to sign up for the Army Reserve, and I chickened out."So, here I am working at a bar, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life. The bar has wrestling on every Monday and Thursday night. It was the 'Attitude' era, with Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, and you couldn't pull me away from the TV."A co-worker said, 'One of my buddies has a wrestling school. You should check it out. I think you'd be great at it.'"The school was probably two hours from my house. I drove up every Tuesday and Thursday for practice. I trained and went to events six hours away that only paid $25 and a handshake. I'd pull any veterans I found aside and ask them to watch my match and tell me what they thought."I got better and built myself up on the indie circuit, signed with TNA, did the first TNA Wrestling pay-per-view and got picked up by the WWE. I came back to TNA in 2010."
 Q: Male wrestlers seem to have a little more leeway with appearance than female wrestlers. Do you have to work harder to keep in shape?A: "I think there's a fine balance. We have to be ready to do a photo shoot at a moment's notice. We have to be bikini ready, as well as ready for the ring."I find those are two different things. You want to be in shape, but you want to have enough meat on your bones to protect yourself. You want to be lean and look good on TV, but you want to stay healthy."You want to look and feel like a woman but, obviously, wrestling is not a feminine sport. It's something you have to balance." 
Q: How is your music career?A: "We just had CMA Fest last week and went to the CMA Awards and to the Spike TV Guy's Choice Awards. I got home, like, at 4 a.m. Monday."The album ['Somebody's Gonna Pay'] came out May 7. There's the single and a music video. I was really fortunate. My friend [Trish] Stratus co-starred, as well as fellow TNA Superstar Magnus. He plays the guy I smash over the head with the guitar."It was awesome. All my friends came out." Q: Which is harder: music or wrestling?A: "With wrestling, I started very grassroots. I built my way up. With music, I'm doing the same thing. I'm starting all over with the music business."Granted, I'm fortunate because I've built such a name in wrestling, but that's a catch-22. People are willing to hear you out, but they think, 'Oh, it's that wrestling chick.'"Of course, at the end of the day, you need to be able to sing."Reach Bill Lynch at or 304-348-5195.
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