RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Diva Diaries with Mia Yim" - Training in CZW and ROH, wrestling in Japan, feud with Excellent
Jan 6, 2014 - 5:12:58 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S DVD REVIEW SERIES
“DIVA DIARIES WITH MIA YIM”
RELEASED BY HIGHSPOTS IN 2013
BY SEAN RADICAN, TORCH COLUMNIST
“Diva Diaries with Mia Yim” is a 2 hour interview conducted by Highspots owner Michael Bochicchio with one of the most talented female wrestlers on the independent scene today. Knowing very little about Yim outside of her wrestling background, this was an interesting interview from start to finish. Bochicchio did a good job of guiding her through the major parts of her career and there’s a lot of interesting discussion with the main focus of the interview being on her start in CZW and her time in Japan.
Yim started training to wrestle while she was still in college, which was difficult for her to balance and it became more difficult once she began taking bookings outside of Virginia, which is where she was going to college. The fascinating part of Yim’s discussion about being able to break away from Virginia and take bookings in places such as New Jersey and Philadelphia was the focus of Yim’s commentary being on networking. Yim met a lot of key people in the early stages of her career that helped her out. One of her very first matches was against Sara Del Rey, who Yim says gave her a lot of advice.
Yim was someone who grew up not being very social growing up as she was into videogames and computers growing up as well as athletics, as she earned a scholarship to play volleyball at a division 2 school in college. One of the biggest changes wrestling brought about for Yim was that she became more social and broke out of her shell once she started wrestling. That became very important, as Yim began to network almost immediately after she finished her initial training in Virginia. In addition to meeting the right people at the right time, Yim discusses how the talent pool for female independent talent is so much smaller, so she got a lot of breaks early in her career in terms of getting in the ring with names like Sara Del Rey and Mickie James.
Yim met two key people while working dates for JAPW early in her career, as she met CZW owner D.J. Hyde and Daizee Haze. Yim ended up training at the CZW and ROH school at the same time making trips from Virginia to both schools during the week. Yim eventually began managing in both promotions, as she managed Adam Cole in CZW and was a part of The Embassy stable in ROH. It was interesting to listen to Yim talk about how she learned a different aspect of wrestling being a manager in terms of using facial expressions and body language outside of the ring. Yim credits Nana for helping her out tremendously in regards to managing while she was just getting started in ROH.
It’s clear from Yim’s discussion that the CZW and ROH wrestling schools were both very different. CZW had a more laid back approach to training and there really wasn’t a routine, but in ROH Delirious had a strict schedule for cardio and training that everyone followed. I’ve heard that Delirious is a fantastic training, so it was great to get some insight into how he runs the ROH training school given that he doesn’t break kayfabe in interviews.
Yim talked about taking sign language because she dated someone that was deaf and she took lessons in sign language and became proficient in it. She spent a lot of time at his college, which was a college for deaf people and she also played against the team from the college he went to and noticed how the team she was playing communicated. Yim said growing up she was a nerd and an ugly duckling. She said she was a tom boy, but she was never forward until she started wrestling. She said wrestling helped her break out of her shell. Yim said she was also a computer geek and still loves the social networking and she loves being social online because she doesn’t have to worry about anything.
Yim talked about going to train where Mickey James trained. She said she signed up and started training as the only girl in the class. She said she was treated as one of the boys. She said she started training right when college was ending. She said she would leave college and drive two hours to training and then drive back to school. She said she tried to keep it from her coaches, but they found out. She risked her scholarship by training. She said she always wanted to be a wrestler if that didn’t work out school was always number 1 to her. She went to school for computer security because that’s what her dad did for the government. She said she’s still working towards getting different certificates to get a job. She said she kept school a top priority because she has an eye on the future.
Yim gives a lot of insight into her time in CZW during the interview. She talks about being reluctant to go there because of the reputation the company has for hardcore wrestling. She finally realized that she could just say no if she didn’t want to do something in training. Yim talks about how when she trained at the CZW school, she always trained with male wrestlers. One of Yim’s strongpoints is that she is one of the few women on the independent scene that comes across as being totally credible when it comes to getting into the ring with another male wrestler. Yim said the main difference between her time in CZW and ROH was that Hyde gave her a chance to mix it up with the male wrestlers, but when she was in ROH, she mostly served as a manager.
Yim generated a lot of buzz in CZW when she began feuding with Greg Excellent in late 2011. Yim, who at the time was serving as Adam Cole’s manager, ended up getting in a feud with Excellent after she interfered liberally in a match between Cole and Excellent. Yim’s discussion of her feud with Excellent is fascinating and she talks about Hyde pushing their feud further once they realized they had something special going in what was originally supposed to be a one match feud. The entire series of matches in their feud is included in this release and Yim’s athleticism and toughness will blow your mind after watching these matches.
It was nice to hear Yim give Hyde and CZW credit for being a breeding ground for talent. A lot of wrestlers have gotten their start in CZW and Yim mentions that Sami Callihan and Adam Cole are known for their work in DGUSA and ROH respectively, but it was really CZW that broke them out. Yim talks about Hyde’s talent for booking long-term and his eye for talent. Yim also talks about the wrestlers that do death matches and mentions how uncomfortable she is with it because she considers the wrestlers her family and worries about the long-term ramifications of them doing death matches. Yim’s comments about CZW come across as very balanced and hopefully her talk about the talent, the different styles of wrestling, and Hyde’s creativity as a booker will help people see CZW in a different light.
Yim explains early in the interview that she originally she wanted to be in WWE because of wrestlers like Chyna and later Lita, who could hold their own with male talent, but eventually her goal became to wrestle in Japan. Yim eventually got an invitation to tour with the REINA promotion in Japan, which that turned into a one year contract once she got out of college. Yim, because of her background, was able to acclimate to the Japanese culture rather quickly. In the interview, Yim discusses growing up with her mother speaking Korean and cooking different kinds of food. She also mentions learning sign language to better communicate with her boyfriend in college. These experiences went a long way in helping her acclimate to a new culture.
Yim gives a ton of insight on what it’s like to wrestle in Japan. She said her look helped a great deal because she’s half Korean, tall, and has large breasts. Yim mentioned that there are no women wrestling in Japan with her physical attributes. The downside to that is that she experienced racism from people outside of wrestling in Japan because of her appearance. Yim talks about learning a variety of styles and how important that is to her, which training in Japan allowed her to do. REINA had a relationship with CMLL, so Yim also learned about the Lucha style of wrestling in addition to the Japanese style. One of the most interesting parts of the discussion about her time in Japan comes when Bochicchio asks her about the language barrier and whether or not that was difficult to overcome in the ring, but Yim explains that the wrestlers working together actually go over their matches the day before the show, which helps them overcome the language barrier once they get into the ring.
Yim comes across as mature and level-headed throughout the interview. It’s a pleasure to hear a wrestler say they have plans outside of wrestling and Yim frequently mentions that while she was in college, getting her degree to be a computer was always her number one priority. Yim talks about how a WWE opportunity would be great if it came along, especially now that she’s living in Florida, but she also discusses how she wants to be a wife and mother with a job as a computer technician by the time she is in her 30s, although she did say that she would wrestle from time to time if her body holds up.
Overall thoughts: (8.0) – This was a very good interview. Bochicchio does a good job of guiding Yim through her career throughout the interview and adds insight and asks good follow up questions when it’s called for. I’m glad they did a multi-camera shoot for this interview, as opposed to a static shot of Yim talking with the interviewer asking the questions from behind the camera, which feels archaic now. The production also nicely weaves in footage from Yim’s appearances in CZW and wrestling Mickie James to support the topics she’s discussing during the interview. Yim is a refreshing voice to listen to because she doesn’t have all of her eggs in the wrestling basket and has kept her focus on being able to get a job outside of wrestling if she isn’t able to get a WWE contract.
Yim has wrestled for less than five years, but she’s already become one of the most exciting female talents to watch because of her athleticism and her ability to be credible in the ring when facing male wrestlers. Yim has wrestled all over the place and gotten a lot of breaks, but her discussion about the independent scene is educational in terms of how important networking is and getting the right breaks, especially given that there are more opportunities for women compared to men in wrestling. Yim has seemingly worked the system well and gotten a lot of breaks because of her ability to network.
Yim doesn’t seem to have a deep desire to work in WWE. It would have been interesting to hear Yim’s reasons behind getting breast implants given the advantage it gives her in terms of having the look WWE finds favorable, but the topic doesn’t come up in the interview outside of Yim discussing how her enormous breasts make her stand out in Japan. Yim’s time in Shine and Shimmer aren’t discussed in-depth either, but it’s hardly a detriment to what is a well-rounded and interesting look at what it’s like to be an independent female wrestler.
You can purchase “Diva Diaries with Mia Yim” on DVD by clicking HERE or by visiting Highspots.com.
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