Impact Knockouts Champion Mickie James' upcoming appearance in the women's WWE Royal Rumble match was originally planned to be a surprise.
James went into detail with Ariel Helwani Friday about how the appearance came out and about the infamous delivery of her old gear in a trash bag.
James said the ball got rolling a few weeks ago as WWE's John Laurinaitis called Impact's Scott D'Amore to gauge James' interest in returning for the night. D'Amore then called her and she was "immediately excited" with no hard feelings about the fallout from being released and her belongings packaged up in a trash bag.
She said that since most fans bring that incident up when it comes to her WWE runs, it will be "great to have that not be the last thing" they think about.
"It's amazing what can happen in a year," she said.
James said her appearance in the Rumble was initially talked about as a surprise and that she was out shopping for a guitar on the Friday before her Hard to Kill match with Deonna Purrazzo when she found out.
She said Laurinaitis and WWE's camp wanted to get the word out there and make it part of the Friday Rumble announcement on Fox so it all worked out.
"The response from the announcement has blown my mind," she said, adding she had some apprehension that the timing would take away from the Purrazzo match the next night.
She is planning on walking out with the Knockouts title and to her current "Hardcore Country" entrance song for the match.
She kayfabed whether this is a one-off appearance, but said her dream would be to work with Charlotte Flair.
She has maintained a good relationship with WWE following the trash bag incident, saying she "personally wasn't as offended as the rest of the world was" and that her posting the picture was initially meant to be sarcastic. Some good came out of the situation as released talent's gear and belongings will no longer be sent in that fashion.
James said she never was reached out directly to by AEW following her release, but said that people knew she wanted to work with husband Nick Aldis in the NWA and to do the Empower pay-per-view. She said she didn't want to sign a multi-year deal because of all of her outside projects and family life.