History is going to be made this Saturday. For the first time in 36 years of survivor series, the WarGames match is going to take center stage. Two matches. Ten men and ten women will be locked inside a double cage and anything goes until a winner emerges.
If you’ve never seen a WarGames match before, you’re in for a real treat. Especially with the talent that has been chosen for both the men’s and women’s matches.
As of this writing, we still do not know all of the participants for the women’s match. Team Belair is set to announce their fifth competitor this Friday on SmackDownwith recent rumors making a returning Becky Lynch as the odds on favorite to round out the field.
Should The Man come back around in time for Survivor Seriesshe’d join a stacked team of the reigning Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, and Mia Yim.
Cageside Seats had a chance to catch up with Mia Yim ahead of Saturday’s big Premium Live Event. Yim, who just re-signed with WWE, was released by the company a year ago under the old regime and had been working with Impact Wrestling and other independent promotions before making her return to Monday Night Raw a few weeks ago.
As you probably expected, Triple H taking over as WWE’s Chief Content Officer played a huge role in her decision to come back.
“I’ve always loved working under Triple H at NXT. It was with all my friends. It was easy to talk to him. I wasn’t expecting much just because, you know, we (herself and Keith Lee) were recently married, just bought a house. So keeping busy in my real life, but also, still busy working and just trying to get my footing and get that light back under my butt. And it just kind of came out of nowhere. And with Triple H running everything, I couldn’t say no. Like he is someone I respect. He’s so smart and creative. With how things went in NXT, absolutely, absolutely. So it was an easy decision for me.”
Yim is one of more than a dozen Superstars to return to the company since Triple H took over the creative direction of WWE. It all started at SummerSlam when one of her opponents this Saturday and good friends off the screen, Dakota Kai, aligned herself with Bayley and IYO SKY.
“I’m best friends with Shayna [Baszler]Dakota [Kai] and Jay [Jessamyn] Duke,” Mia said. “We talk pretty much every day, every other day. And when Dakota came back, because I was streaming at the time, and then everybody on my stream was like, ‘Oh my God, Dakota!’ I was like, okay, what’s going on? Because now I’m scared. And so when I finally figured it out, I texted her, I was like, how is everything? Like, it’s awesome seeing on TV, but like, how is everything, really?”
The response she received from her friends within the company, made it all the easier to sign on the dotted line when the opportunity to come back to WWE was presented to her.
“They will tell me straight up. Whether, you know, there’s real changes or not. And it was enough for me to be like, you know what? Okay, yeah, I’m open to it, for sure.”
And since stepping back into the locker room herself, Yim says the experience has been very familiar. In a good way.
“Amazing. Very hectic and busy, but I like that. I like it. It’s awesome. It feels like NXT again.”
The last time we saw Mia Yim in WWE, it was under very different circumstances. She was brought up from NXT to be a part of the critically panned faction known as RETRIBUTION. Everything we knew and loved about Mia was stripped away, replaced with a new name and a mask.
Known as RECKONING at the time, Yim only wrestled in four matches on the main roster before the group was ultimately disbanded.
The main roster audience never really had a chance to get to know the real Mia Yim, which is how many of us were happy to see the Mia back on WWE TV. Or, is it Michin?
There’s definitely some confusion on this matter. This past Monday on Raw, commentary made it sound like Yim would be going by Michin from now on. Her profile on WWE’s website was changed to reflect that as well. Then, it was later changed back to Mia Yim.
Whether it’s a nickname or her actual in-ring name moving forward, the name Michin brings a bit of personal history for Mia to her on-screen persona.
“Michin is Korean for crazy, and I am half Korean, half African American. I always do what I can to represent both my heritage and Michin is something that my mom has called me since I was a kid. It holds something special to me because it’s something that I’m used to growing up.”
Mia says the name reminds her of the times she would watch wrestling with her family as a kid. She used to tell her Mom that she wanted to be a wrestler when she grew up, to which her Mom quickly responded by asking her if she was crazy.
“It’s a Korean thing, so if you’re not a part of the culture, if you don’t understand the culture, it’s not gonna make sense. So I get why a lot of people were confused or didn’t like it, but for me and my family, it’s something special.”
The nickname, on-screen anyway, was given to her by her brothers in The OC. Yim aligned herself with AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson on the Nov. 7 episodes of Monday Night Rawas the equalizer to the Judgment Day’s Rhea Ripley.
Mia told Cageside Seats that joining The OC, was the perfect way for her to make her return to WWE and to help showcase who she truly is to the WWE Universe.
“I just wanted to be me. I just wanted to come back and showcase what I’ve been doing for over a decade. And with The OC, we’ve never been close before, but we’ve always known each other. We’ve worked with each other in other companies. I was rooting for AJ in his UpUpDownDown Championship battle with [Tyler] Breeze. Like, we have history,” Yim said. “The OC, The Bullet Club, those are like monumental groups in wrestling. So to be a part of The OC, it’s such an honor, like just to be a part of that group. But the boys are so cool and so welcoming and they really do feel like brothers and I love them to pieces. This was probably the best way for me to come back because, as nervous as I was, being with them kept me calm, cool, and collected. Like, it really helps being with them.”
The OC will have a busy night at Survivor Series. AJ Styles will go one-on-one with Finn Balor in what is supposed to be the blow off match to this rivalry. But you can take it to the bank that the rest of the Judgment Day won’t be far behind, which means it could be a long night of fighting for Mia Yim and Rhea Ripley, depending on how the card is laid out.
At some point in the night though, Yim and Ripley will be locked inside the double cage with each other. And The Michin of The OC will face off with a very different Rhea Ripley than the last time they locked up in NXT. Yim says she’s been in awe of Ripley’s evolution as a performer these last few years.
“From when I first came to NXT to now, it’s night and day. Not even just like her character, but she is so freaking good in the ring. And when I was in NXT, we did more tag stuff. Like we worked together. So I kind of know her a little bit in what she’s thinking in the ring, but because she has changed so much for the better, I don’t know what to expect. But I’m very impressed with how she’s grown, how she’s handled things. But just like her, I’ve been through stuff too and now I’m different.”
This is not the first time that Rhea and Mia are supposed to be locked inside WarGames with each other. Back in 2019, Yim was slated to be a teammate of Rhea’s in the first ever Women’s War Games match in NXT. That was until she received the Kofi Kingston 2009 Elimination Chamber treatment.
She was attacked before the match began and ultimately replaced by Dakota Kai. Kai would then turn heel during the match and later be revealed as the person who attacked Mia backstage. Which makes it all the more poetic that Yim will also be squaring off against Kai this Saturday.
Now that she finally has her opportunity to compete in WarGames, the creative juices are running wild.
“This is why I’m crazy,” Mia said. “I love extreme matches. Like, oh man, gimme a kendo stick, gimme a trash can lid, let’s go. So even though I wasn’t a part of the first WarGames, it was cool to be there for it. And now being able to be a part of it, I’ve got so much planned for this. Just because this is where I strive and this is what I do. You can hit me with a bus, but I’m still gonna get up and try to get that 1, 2, 3.”
Mia Yim is coming into this match extremely motivated and is ready to make an impression on those members of the WWE Universe who aren’t as familiar with what she’s done over the last decade of her career.
“Wrestling, it’s a huge world. But the stuff that I’ve done, there’s only a certain percentage that knows who I am and knows what I can do. Where are the bigger casual fans, don’t know who I am. So this is gonna be like, not only do I have to take out Rhea and take out Dakota for taking me out from the last WarGames, but now I have to do things that I’ve been doing for years, but now I can show the people who don’t know who I am, what I can do. So I have a lot to prove.”
Check out our full conversation with Mia Yim in the video above and make sure to watch her in action this Saturday at Survivor Series: WarGames. Coverage starts at 8pm ET7pm CT on Peacock.
Rick Ucchino can be reached at Rick.Bleav@gmail.com. You can follow him on Twitter @RickUcchino and make sure to subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling YouTube Channel.