CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Mickie James is influenced as much by Shania Twain as she is "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
It's an odd dichotomy, sultry country singer and the wild professional wrestler, but for James, it's a perfect fit. She's leaving her mark in both worlds as a superstar wrestler and emerging country artist.
Pro wrestling fans can see her skills in the ring at 7:30 tonight at Appalachian Power Park. James, the current Total Nonstop Action Knockouts champion, is part of TNA Impact Wrestling's BaseBrawl tour along with other stars like Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and A.J. Styles. When she's not wrestling, she's promoting her second album, "Somebody's Gonna Pay," released last month.
James said balancing those two worlds isn't always easy.
"I'm still trying to figure that out," she said. "Fortunately, I have a great team in my corner on both sides of it, both my wrestling side and my music side. There is that trying to find that balance between the two, but still not sacrificing one for the other or slacking off on one in order to do the other. You want to go after both with as much determination as possible.
"It's a constant battle," she added. "It's a lot of hard work and not a lot of sleep."
For much of her professional career, that hard work was focused on professional wrestling, and she has become one of the most decorated women's professional wrestlers in the industry's history. She made her debut with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2005 and won five Women's Championships and one Divas Championship. She moved to TNA Entertainment in 2010 and has won three Knockouts titles since then.
But her love for performing couldn't be contained in the squared circle. She's always loved country music. The first concert she ever attended was a Billy Ray Cyrus show and, in five years of playing classical violin, she said the coolest song she learned was the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
James self-released her first album in 2010, "Strangers and Angels," and "Somebody's Gonna Pay" has gained some early buzz. That album debuted at No. 15 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and James performed last week at the CMA Music Festival.