When the brand split took place, NXT's roster was depleted to help deepen the talent pools of both Raw and SmackDown, with the women's lineup being the most severely lessened due to the losses of Bayley, Alexa Bliss, Carmella and Nia Jax. This left NXT women's champion Asuka as an incredibly large and talented fish in a small pond and in dire need of new challengers who are capable of competing on her level.
While there's some promising female talent being built through the developmental promotion in hopes of reloading the roster to the previous levels, none of them are quite ready for the spotlight and task of stepping into the ring with one of the best women workers in the word. With another big TakeOver card on the horizon, what's the solution? Reach out to a former member of the company.
WWE announced via Twitter that Mickie James will make her return to challenge for the NXT championship at TakeOver: Toronto on November 19th. This will be Mickie's first appearance with the organization since being released in April of 2010. The six-time WWE women's titlist has remained extremely active during the time following her departure, doing the majority of her wrestling with TNA, while working various independents as well as recording a pair of of country music albums.
James' most recent work with WWE was as a guest trainer at the Performance Center where she lent her experience and knowledge to the ladies there, and obviously has remained on good terms with the company as she's being brought back and immediately put into a prominent position; partly out of a desperate need for opponents for Asuka but also due to her name recognition.
At 37 years of age, Mickie James can still get it done in the ring and should make for a fun match against the current champ. We'll have to wait and see if this is meant to be a one-off or if it will turn into a full-time gig, either as an active wrestler or in a behind the scenes role.
Brad Hamilton is a writer, musician and marketer/social media manager from Atlanta, Georgia. He's an undefeated freestyle rap battle champion, spends too little time being productive and defines himself as the literary version of Brock Lesnar.