On Friday night's SmackDown, it was announced that Mickie James will be returning to WWE to take part in this year's women's Royal Rumble match.
The announcement came with the acknowledgment that James is the current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion. It was mentioned by Pat McAfee on commentary, and WWE also referred to James as the Impact Knockouts Champion on social media.
Impact Wrestling's website posted an article about the announcement after it was made. The article included a quote from Impact Wrestling executive vice president Scott D'Amore.
"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, " D'Amore said. "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.”
James will defend her Knockouts title against Deonna Purrazzo in a Texas death match at tonight's Impact Wrestling Hard to Kill pay-per-view.
James, who was released by WWE during the company's April 2021 roster cuts, also made an Instagram post commenting on the upcoming Royal Rumble appearance:
The Royal Rumble is taking place at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis on Saturday, January 29. Nineteen of the 30 entrants for the women's Rumble match were announced last night. They are:
- Rhea Ripley
- Nikki A.S.H.
- Nikki Bella
- Brie Bella
- Michelle McCool
- Dana Brooke
- Zelina Vega
- Mickie James
- Kelly Kelly
- Summer Rae
- Shayna Baszler
- SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair