If you are impressed with the work of Jade every week on TNA’s Impact Wrestling, she is successful for one simple reason.
She put the work in.
“I started training in 2007, but didn’t have my first match until 2009,” said Jade, who wrestles as Mia Yim on the independent scene. “I wanted to wait until I was ready before I debuted. A lot of people, and girls especially, just go out when they’re not ready. Once I had my first match, I just fell in love with it.”
The 26-year-old earned a volleyball scholarship in college at Virginia Union University
“I would drive an hour or two hours during the off-season to train as a wrestler,” said Jade. “My last year of college was when I focused fully on wrestling.”
She grew up infatuated with wrestling, and unlike her family and friends, never grew out of that phase. She remains in love with the business.
“When I was growing up in California, I watched wrestling with my father and my sister,” said Jade. “It used to be a family thing, but then they grew out of it, and I never did. When I saw Chyna and Lita wrestle with the guys, and I wanted to be just like them. That’s the little seed that got planted in my head.”
She still wrestles for all-female independent groups like Shimmer and Shine, and is honored to use her Korean heritage in her character.
“I don’t mind playing someone who is Korean,” said Jade, who is half-Korean. “My mom loves the fact I’m Mia Yim on the independents. She’ll say, ‘If you need help learning more Korean, just let me know.’ And it’s really cool to see more all-female feds out there showing that we can wrestle more than one match.”
Jade credits Sara Del Ray, who is now one of the lead trainers at WWE’s Performance Center, as one of her strongest influences.
“I wrestled Sara in my second match,” said Jade. “We wrestled together a lot after that, and she’d always give me critiques, tips and advice. She’s helped me so much, and it was really nice to pick her brain at the beginning of my career and see her on a regular basis. I wrestled with her, Daizee Haze, Mercedes Martinez–and all of them aren’t wrestling any more. I am honored to have wrestled these women and receive advice from them, and they’re a big part of the reason why I am where I am.”
Jade worked as an enhancement talent for NXT in October of 2014, losing to current Diva’s champion Charlotte Flair.
“That match really taught me camera angles, and making each move mean something,” said Jade. “Charlotte was so nice and sweet. TV wrestling is so much different compared to independent wrestling. It’s all about getting used to a different style and focusing more on character, facials and mannerisms. That’s been the hardest part for me to adapt, so I’ve spent the last year-and-a-half working to perfect my craft.”
Jade’s sights are now narrowly set on TNA Knockouts champion Gail Kim.
“I don’t know any other Korean wrestlers other than Gail,” admitted Jade. “She’s done so much and been in the business so long and paved the way for me. She’s Korean, she’s beautiful, she works out hard and she’s showed me that I can do what she does. She inspires me every day.”
Since Awesome Kong’s sudden dismissal from TNA, Jade has taken on the unofficial role of leader of the Doll House with Rebel and Marti Bell. She has also wrestled in her first Lethal Lockdown match.
“It’s really cool they put their trust and faith in me, but we’re all leaders in the Doll House,” said Jade. “I’m just getting to showcase what I can do.”
Jade continues to work full-time, as she captures for the deaf and hard of hearing. She is thankful for all of her success, but even more grateful for the support.
“I want to thank TNA for believing in me, as well as the both the male and female locker room,” said Jade. “I definitely want to be Knockouts champion in 2016. The people who believe in me are the reason I do what I do, so thank you for all of the support.”