Mia Yim is an established Superstar in NXT now, but it was quite a journey to reach this point. She was one of Adam Rose's Rosebuds back in the day but was rejected when it came to getting a WWE contract.
She talked about WWE originally saying "no" when she joined Lilian Garcia's podcast.
"Well, it's always the first no that is the hardest. My first tryout, I think I only had one tryout with several works and then the Mae Young Classic. I trained so hard for my first tryout. I went to The Dudley's School so they helped me make sure that my cardio was good for the drills that I was going to be doing, so I trained for three months straight just prepping for this tryout," said Yim. "I did the tryout for four days, and I felt really good about it. I felt that it was easy. This is great; I had it.
"About a month and a half later it wasn't a 'no' but it was a 'we don't have anything for you right now, maybe next time.' It was devastating. For a second, I thought about quitting, but this was also before - around 2014, I was just starting to go to Japan and going on international tours. When I got that 'no', I made different goals stating that I would go here and when I do this I would continue on the journey."
After being rejected by WWE, Yim went to TNA where she was known as Jade. There she won the Knockouts Championship but that didn't immediately lead her to joining WWE.
"Now I am in TNA, I was part of The Dollhouse [with Marti Belle]. Let me branch out and be my own character here. It was possible but I wasn't really confident about it. It's like, okay, let me become a champion here and then that happened, so I have done everything here in TNA so let me try and give WWE a shot," said Yim. "I left TNA, this was when The Mae Young Classic first started, so I got to do the first Mae Young and then I didn't hear anything back. I was like, okay, you know what, let me just travel the world."
After traveling for a bit, Yim experienced some unfortunate luck as she broke her leg during a show in Washington DC. She has family in the area and they usually attended her local shows, but she told them not to worry about this one due to the setup of the match.
"My family would always go to these shows just because it was close and at this point, they supported me with wrestling because I was able to pay my bills just working for independent wrestling. My family had seen me on TNA and stuff so they know it's not some pipe dream," stated Yim. "They would go as much as they can, but this particular show it was 5-on-5 elimination, I knew it would be a cluster. I told my family not to worry about coming. I would come to see you when I am done with the show, and this was the show that I broke my leg."
It was Yim's second Mae Young Classic appearance in 2018 that led to WWE signing her. She recalled the fan's chants of her name which helped influence WWE's decision on her.
"I got eliminated from The Mae Young Classic, but I was just honored to take part in it. Afterward, I got the chants when they were raising Toni Storm's hands and was very grateful to them for that, and I went to the back. Everything that happened with Tegan Nox and her knee happened. Tegan has been one of my friends since the indies so all of us is running around getting her stuff together making sure she doesn't have to worry about anything, so we are all scrambling making sure she is taken care of," Yim said of Nox who suffered a serious knee injury during the classic.
"I didn't know this but Triple H went out to the crowd to address the situation to kind of lift the mood so that is when the chants happened. I didn't hear anything. I was just running around doing stuff for Tegan and everything. All of this stuff happened and I didn't hear any of it and then Tegan Nox goes to the hospital so everything calms down, I am walking to the make-up room to get my stuff.
"When I did that, [Senior Director of Talent Relations] Canyon Ceman comes up to me and asks if he can speak with me, and I said, oh my God, I am in so much trouble and I didn't even know what I did yet. He pulled me aside and asks me if I was watching. I was worried. You never want to tell anybody that you weren't watching but I said not really. He told me that Triple H wanted to speak with me. I was like, oh my God, what did I do? At this point, I am about to burst in tears. I figured that I was blackballed. Let me just get my stuff right now and leave. I go to Triple H and he asked me if I watched it? I said, no, and he said that he went to the live crowd and the crowd was chanting, 'Sign Mia' and I told them okay. I was like, what? It was so unreal. I felt as though I was getting ribbed. It was such a rollercoaster that I didn't believe him. He said no, this is real, welcome to the family. I thought to myself, this is not real, but it was and now I am here."