Mia poses before RCW (4/23/11)
photo by Marvin Atwell
David Falcon caught up with rising wrestling star Mia Yim after her epic match with Sara Del Rey last Saturday, April 23, at RCW. It's been eight months since David conducted his last Mia Yim interview (to mark her first year in indy wrestling). So much has happened in Mia's wrestling career since then including a high-profile feud with Mickie James, two invitations to Berwyn -- one with SPARKLE and this past March with SHIMMER, and being asked to join The Embassy in ROH as Princess Mia. You might say Mia is a hot commodity in the indy scene, her wrestling calendar is packed, and more exciting offers keep coming in. David asked Mia to reflect on all of this in a conversation this week.
DF: Twenty months ago, you stepped into the ring in an intergender tag match in North Carolina – small venue, provincial crowd, shaky ring, poor lighting – do you have any memories of that event?
MIA: I remember I brought my High School friend with me, had a fun ride down and back. I still remember everyone in the locker room was really nice. The match itself, I like to look back at it and notice how much I have changed since. I have learned so much since then; I laugh about how horrible I really was back then.
Mia's first match in North Carolina (8/7/09)
DF: Now, in the last four weeks you have been involved with two internationally renowned companies – SHIMMER and ROH – in two-day, marquee events either taped or broadcast live on iPPV. Have you given any thought to how far you have come in a short time?
MIA: I like to give credit to everyone who have helped me. I was given the honor of being put in the ring with the best such as Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze. I have expanded my training with CZW where I learned a lot more from The Blk Jeez (also my best friend in the business) along with training with Daizee Haze and Delirious at their ROH school. Those people have given me the chance to perfect my craft and they have assisted in my training; I give them a lot of credit.
Mia v Daizee haze at PWRespect
Photo by Scott Finkelstein
DF: On April 16 you had a big title match vs. Kacee Carlisle for the ACW belt. It seemed like a great match, but you were on the losing end. There are certainly women who have been around a shorter time and seem less accomplished in the ring, that have titles. Has it bothered you that you have not yet won a title belt?
MIA: Personally, I don’t really care about a belt. I am still new to the business, so I have no right to complain about not earning any belts. I am just honored to be wrestling and training right now at some of the best places. A belt will come eventually, I am in no rush.
DF: How do you feel about people who call you a “jobber”? Mid-card wrestlers do have to pay their dues, right?
MIA: Let them call me a jobber. If I can make my opponent look good, then I have done my job. Like I said before, I am still new, I am not on the level of Sara Del Rey or Mschif . . . yet.
DF: Most young wrestlers will say it’s not about the win-loss record as much as it is about the “body of work” in the ring. What about your ring work brings you the most pride and satisfaction?
MIA: The fact that I can get the crowd involved in the match, and keep them talking about my work. If they know who I am, then I am happy.
Mia at RCW in June 2010
photo by Wrestling Wally
DF: In hitching your train to Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze in Philly, you have sided with the best in the business. Certainly there has been local work with JAPW and RCW, etc. but there has also been that wider national and international audience because of Sara and Daizee’s association with SHIMMER and Ring of Honor. Talk about working with and learning from Daizee and Sara and why your star is on the rise in SHIMMER and ROH.
MIA: First off, let me say that Haze and SDR are tremendous workers and amazing people. They believed in me right from the start. They have both given me some of my best matches to date. I cannot thank them enough for their guidance. In training and in a match, I always learn something new with them. Those two are the biggest influences in my career.
SDR v Mia Yim at RCW
photo by Marvin Atwell
DF: Another young worker that is similarly connected to Daizee and Sara is Jamilia Craft. Tell us about your friendship and your working relationship in the ring.
MIA: Jamilia is so young, but so mature for her age. She is very down to earth and determined to continue training. She is definitely someone to watch out for. She is super sweet, and strong-hearted. I know for a fact that NOTHING can keep her down, she is truly a rising star. Jamilia and I trained with each other numerous times at the ROH school and I think we just have that chemistry in the ring. Beyond the ring, she is an awesome friend. I love being around her and traveling with her.
Mia and tag partner Jamilia Craft at SHIMMER
photo by David Falcon
DF: Share a story from the road. Why are wrestling road trips so memorable?
MIA: They are memorable because the people you ride with are memorable. I love riding in the ROH van because there are so many different personalities, you are guaranteed to be laughing the whole ride. I personally like to keep road stories to myself, let's just say it is always entertaining on the road ^.^
DF: Share a story from the SHIMMER locker room. Everyone seems in awe of the amazing talent at SHIMMER. Tell me something surprising or crazy that happens behind the curtain at SHIMMER.
MIA: What happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room. I did witness Christina Von Eerie get jumped by SDR at the last taping, that was frightening.
Mia and Christina von Eerie at SHIMMER
photo by David Falcon
DF: This past March you moved from the SPARKLE card to the SHIMMER roster. You and Jamilia had two tag matches, one against Regeneration X and one against Daizee and Tomoka. What do you remember about coming out for that first match against SHIMMER boss Allison Danger and fan-favorite Leva Bates?
MIA: Mama Danger and Leva were a real pleasure to work with. Leva has such terrific personality, it was like wrestling a cartoon! Being in the ring with Danger, I was worry free, I knew she would take care of us (Jamilia and I). She indeed is like the mother of the locker room. I hope to wrestle her more often, even if I lose them all ^.^
Mia tangles with Allison Danger at SHIMMER
photo by David Falcon
DF: On Sunday, March 27, you “popped your Joshi cherry” going up against one of the smartest, most talented and well-respected women in
, Tomoka Nakagawa, and your PWR mentor, Daizee Haze. If I’m not mistaken, it was your first time working in the ring against a current joshi great (Sumie Sakai notwithstanding).What do you remember about that match? What did you learn from being in the ring with Nakagawa? Japan
MIA: This is one of my favorite matches. I have always dreamed of being in the ring with a joshi girl and it has finally happened. Not only that, Nakagawa was tagging with my trainer Daizee Haze so I already knew this match was going to be exciting. I felt like this match was another highlight in my short career. Something I certainly will never forget.
Tomoka Nakagawa rolls up Mia at SHIMMER
photo by David Falcon
DF: This past Saturday (April 23) you were in the RCW ring with Sara Del Rey, The Queen of Wrestling. By my count you have had four singles matches, three tag matches, and a three-way match with SDR. There are few wrestlers that you have had a longer history with or know better in the ring, it could have been “ho-hum” but there was a huge buzz about this match that built as the match went on -- why was this match so special?
MIA: I think because SDR and I have wrestled each other so much, we just knew each other’s moves and tactics. We both brought out our best that night to give the crowd what they paid for. I mean with SDR, you kind of have to bring everything to the table to last in the ring with her. I feel as though I have worked SDR every quarter of my career. When I first started (third match into my career to be exact), 2010 in JAPW, and now 2011 at RCW so I feel as though the more I learn and improve, I have a chance at SDR to put my skills to the test. I like to consider this match as one of my favorites as well. I had an opportunity to put more holds on her powerful legs, break out the hurricanranas, and add more kick combos in this match. She overcame again, but I know it won't be the last I will see her in the ring. Much respect for her.
Sara Del Rey enters for match against Mia (RCW)
photo by Marvin Atwell
DF: Some wrestlers that amaze me are Hailey Hatred, Dark Angel (Sarita), Rain and Jennifer Blake, because they have spent many months, if not years, in either
Japan or working with wrestling promotions there. It’s a bit like Sumie Sakai and Ayako Hamada have done in the Mexico . When you finish college, could you see yourself living and working in Japan or Mexico, or do you prefer short trips (a la Serena) while spending most of your time in the States? USA
MIA: I would love to move to Japan to expand my training after I graduate, but I honestly think that I will do the short trips. I most likely will have an IT job in the States, so I’ll probably only be able to do short term trips.
Hailey Hatred slamming Basara in Japan
DF: How will you use the time this summer to further your wrestling career?
MIA: I will be going back to training at CZW and ROH four days a week all summer, along with doing more shows. Who knows, maybe I will go international…
Let’s play a free association game. I will throw out a name that you know and you give me your thoughts on that person or thing.
Diva Dirt . . . The best women’s wrestling news site EVER!!!!! Phenomenal crew as well, even Mel. Love those guys ^.^
Mia with Diva Dirt's Eric @ SHIMMER After party
photo by David Falcon
The BlkJeez . . . Love him. My best friend. My trainer. I can tell we will have a long lasting friendship even after wrestling. I like to think that if I was a guy, I would be him :p
Mia with best bud The BlkJeez
Azrieal . . . Hola Papi!!! (Inside joke) Azzy is awesome!!!! I only spent like two times in the ring with him, but just those two times, he would teach me something new. Hanging out with him is always a fun time, we can joke about anything. He's just a fun guy to be around.
Mommy and her boyfriends . . . You know, I want my mom to be happy. She deserves it. I usually don’t mind when she has a new boyfriend, unless he looks like a little tool who can't defend her. I won't be living at home forever, I need someone who can make sure the my mom is with someone who will keep her safe. I can't have a loser who looks like he can't beat me in a friggin' fight. She had some boyfriends that I liked, but there is always that one or two that are just…ugh..fuck that noise.
Mia and Mommy
Lee South . . . Lee South is truly a talented photographer. I love working with him. He spoiled me, I don’t even work with any other photographers except him. He is also very chill to hang out with. I consider him a friend. He always looks out for me and takes great care of me when I am in the area.
Photo by Lee South
Chipotle . . . Best food everrrr!!! I can eat chipotle everyday if I could, horrible that it's close by my house when I'm on a diet though
Shelton Benjamin (Shelty) . . . LOL! Shelty is a loser butt. Jkjk, he's a real cool guy, cool enough that we can insult each other and still be civil. I hate how he gets lucky every time we play a game on Xbox though. I do however love being able to joke with him when we do meet.
Mia, Shelty, and the Joshi girls at ROH (Atlanta)
Marti Belle . . . Marti is my girl. Definitely a true friend. She has helped me through some tough times and I have done the same for her. I know if there were any issues where I need to talk to someone or get advice, she is always there. She is probably one out of two or three people that knows just about everything about me. I love her as if she was my own sister. I wish I saw her more.
BFF: Mia and Marti
Beast mode . . . Beast mode is basically a code between The Blk Jeez and I meaning that we are ready to kill it at the gym. Go all out and go hard, spending a few hours at the gym. Yup…Beast mode :)
The BlkJeez and Mia getting into Beast mode
Southside Playaz Club (JAPW) . . . I love being a part of the SSPC at JAPW. From the ride up there, to the locker room, to the actual show, it is literally like a party. Those guys are a joy to be around, they already have the lovely ladies with them along with champagne (although I don’t drink). They just know how to have fun.
Mia with South Side Players Club
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. I appreciate the way you put yourself out there for your fans. They can contact you and you will respond to them – very cool! Thanks for all the work you have put in to becoming one of the most exciting reasons for us to watch women’s wrestling on the indy scene today. Hope to see a lot more of you in the months ahead!