Before Mia Yim became a feature superstar in NXT, she was on the independent scene, working for companies such as SHINE, CZW, EVOLVE, and IMPACT Wrestling. During her time in the independents, Yim stepped in the ring with current NXT superstars Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, and more.
Speaking to LaToya Ferguson on Ronda Rousey's Official Website, Yim discussed competing in intergender matches.
"Intergender matches are probably some of my favorites, especially in the indies, because it’s just balls to the wall. It’s a style that is completely different than competing against another female, which some people are for it, others are against it. But it’s like your cup of tea: it either is or it isn’t. For me, I remember the first time I had an intergender match that was kind of viral, and that was my feud with Greg Excellent. Greg pushed me to the point where I knew that I can hang with the boys. I knew that I can be respected and [won’t] be looked at as just a pretty face. I am someone that can also go."
She continued, "My matches with Keith and Riddle were after I broke my leg, so I had low self-esteem, I had low confidence. So stepping in the ring with them and them pushing me to my limit or beyond what I thought was my limit really helped me mentally to get back into the mindset of, 'Yeah, I can still do to this. I haven’t lost a step. I can still go.' So, intergender matches to me, I feel like it’s a way for women to express themselves in the ring as athletes, if they’re willing to go that route. It’s my favorite."
Going back even further in her independent career, Yim first appeared on the scene in a major way as the manager for Adam Cole.
"It was awesome," Yim said of being Cole's manager. "I was nervous at first because I didn’t know if I was managing or being a valet or just being on the side. I didn’t have experience or training in that. So it was a whole new thing for me to learn—which, I love to learn all different parts of wrestling. And then Adam Cole has always been very helpful and sweet. And it’s cool because, when we were there, Drake [Wuertz]— the ref, Drake—was there at CZW. So, it’s cool to see the people that I grew up with, and we’re all in WWE together. But being Adam Cole’s manager was a lot of fun. A lot of fun. Much more fun than I thought it would ever be. Just being a heel on the side and it getting heat from the crowd, it was fun."
Yim is set to compete in the ladder match to determine the number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship on the Apr. 8 edition of NXT.