Tuesday, June 25, 2024

How Mia Yim went from contemplating retirement after WWE release to a marquee match at Survivor Series

Mia Yim hit the ground running when returning to WWE in November. In less than 30 days, Yim has aligned with The O.C. in their ongoing feud with Judgement Day and linked up with Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair for Survivor Series WarGames.

It is a complete reversal of fortunes for Yim who, one year prior, was released by WWE. Yim had a promising run on the NXT developmental brand before graduating to the main roster as Reckoning in the terribly maligned Retribution stable. The group was an immediate dud, due in great part to a lack of direction and a silly presentation. Yim and her husband, current AEW star Keith Lee, were handed their walking papers on Nov. 4, 2021, as part of a larger round of releases.

“When I originally got released, I honestly knew it was coming so it wasn’t that much of a surprise,” Yim told CBS Sports ahead of Survivor Series. “I was more surprised with my husband getting released.

“We were getting ready to get married in a month or two. Real life outside of wrestling was really starting to pick up and the momentum was going. It was the first time in my life where it was a rearrangement of my priorities because wrestling has been my life since I turned 18 and started training.”

Check out the full interview with Mia Yim below.

For the first time in nearly 15 years, Yim questioned if her time in the sport was up. A concoction of new priorities, self-doubt and a dwindling passion tempted Yim down a different path.

“Wrestling took a backseat and it made me realize that wrestling isn’t everything, life still goes on and to focus on the people you love,” Yim said. “I really had to evaluate if I wanted to continue to wrestle because I wasn’t sure that I did.

“Not only was I not sure if I wanted to do it, but I felt like maybe my time was up. Maybe I’m not as good as I was five or 10 years ago, so maybe it was just time to hang it up. I just needed to find myself and see if I could still go with all these new talents.”

Motivated by her friends, Yim returned to her old stomping grounds of Impact Wrestling in May. She measured herself against up-and-comers and legends. She hadn’t lost a step. Yim got the call six months later to return to a very different WWE than she exited. A meandering role in the Retribution stable of Vince McMahon’s regime had been replaced with an invitation to The O.C. under Triple H’s creative lead.

“Coming back, it was like ‘Let’s go!'” Yim said. “I have such high respect for Triple H and what he’s done with NXT.

The O.C. is compromised of A.J. Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. It is a spiritual successor to Bullet Club, a faction that originated in New Japan Pro Wrestling and is arguably the most renowned stable since NWO took over the wrestling world in WCW in the ’90s.

“I never thought I’d be part of that group just because they are so notable and memorable and they mean so much in the wrestling world,” Yim said. “When I was invited, it was an honor for me. I’ve known the boys for a while.”

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