Knockout Country 

Female wrestling champion Mickie James is ready to pile drive the country music world with a little help from Richmond.

  • Entertainment One Music

Mickie James is less a "Stand by Your Man" country singer than the "Hit Him over the Head with a Folding Chair" type.

Or, you know, whatever's handy. In the video for "Somebody's Gonna Pay," the title track for her new country album, the former five-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion female wrestler smashes a guitar over the head of fellow Total Nonstop Action wrestler Magnus, who's playing a jerky pickup artist who'd just done a woman wrong. Former WWE star Trish Stratus cameos in the video as a bartender.

"I had never swung a guitar before," says James, a Hanover County native who still lives in the area. "I had to get Jeff Jarrett to show me how to do it," she says, referring to the TNA wrestler known for bonking people over the noggin with guitars a la Quick Draw McGraw's masked alter ego, El Kabong. The video for "Somebody's Gonna Pay" was produced by the same team that filmed Bucky Covington's and Shooter Jennings' 2012 video "Drinking Side of Country," in which James cameos.

A fan favorite good girl wrestler who regularly appears on TNA's "Impact Wrestling" on Spike TV, James held a release party for the new Southern rock-tinged album, her first major-label release, May 7 at Sharky's Bar and Billiards in Innsbrook.

Released by E1 Music, "Somebody's Gonna Pay" includes songs written by John Paul White from the Civil Wars; Rivers Rutherford, who penned No. 1 hits for Brooks and Dunn, Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney; and Bridgette Tatum, who co-wrote Jason Aldean's No. 1 hit, "She's Country." Performers on the album include guitarist Rob McNelley, a touring and studio musician for Lady Antebellum.

James herself co-wrote some of the songs, including "80 Proof," which she wrote with Richmond-area guitarist Buck Reuss of 4PA. "That was pretty awesome to see something that we created here get molded and put on the album," says James, who also co-wrote the tracks "Best Damn Night" and the album's bonus track, her TNA theme song, "Hardcore Country."

Wrestling fans shouldn't fret, though: James has no plans to quit and says her boss, TNA President Dixie Carter, is supportive of her musical moonlighting.

"I'm having fun," James says. "It's been cool because I've been able to focus on my music. Dixie also managed Tanya Tucker so she knows the music industry and how that whole thing works. ... I'm really excited. It's amazing." S


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