“Please sign Mia!” the crowd chanted over and over for what seemed like an eternity. This was the scene at the 2018 Mae Young Classic, a recurring WWE tournament that highlights the women of professional wrestling on the grandest stage.
Think of this tournament as an extended job interview: an opportunity to impress WWE executives and the WWE Universe alike. Mia excelled throughout the tournament, notching wins over Allisyn Kay and WWE alum Kaitlyn before losing to Toni Storm in the quarterfinals.
Impress, she did. Though she ultimately came up short, fans like myself were enamored with her. We all hoped she would end up in NXT, WWE’s third brand that rosters a number of former independent wrestlers, it was just a matter of time. Upon hearing the chants, NXT godfather Paul “Triple H” Levesque agreed and signed her on the spot.
Yim debuted in NXT not long after and proved her mettle against the likes of Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, and Candice LeRae. Though she never captured the NXT Women’s Championship during her run on the black and yellow brand, fans counted the minutes until she transitioned to Raw or Smackdown to (hopefully) feud with the likes of Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Becky Lynch, and others. Maybe, just maybe, Vince would see what we’ve seen in Mia for so long.
After 2 years on NXT, Yim made her main roster debut this summer repackaged as Reckoning, a masked member of the villainous faction Retribution led by Mustafa Ali. The reasoning behind the group’s formation was simple: a collective of superstars felt who overlooked, under-appreciated, and sought retribution (see what I did there?) against the company they feel wronged them.
On paper, it’s a great story. Mia Yim exploded on the scene and endeared herself to the WWE universe with her athleticism and pure grit. Fans chanting for her to be signed to NXT resulted in her signing with NXT. However, she was never given the opportunity to have a run with the NXT Women’s Championship. This oversight created all the justification needed to rebel and create chaos.
While appearing in scripted promos and supporting her cohorts at ringside, Reckoning did not have a meaningful feud of her own upon her transition to Raw, despite the depth of the roster. Yim has done her best to make the most of this character change, but WWE’s creative department deserves the blame for botching the main roster debut of a promising superstar in a women’s division loaded with talent.
The hits just kept coming. On the November 30 edition of Raw, Reckoning made her in-ring “re-debut” against Dana Brooke, a long-tenured superstar known for acting as an enhancement talent used to elevate newcomers. In a lackluster 3 minute affair, Yim’s mask came off mid-match in a moment that felt unscripted. To make matters worse, Brooke notched a shock victory.
Adding literal insult to injury, Ali berated Reckoning post-match, proclaiming, “there is no failure in Retribution!” To most watching at home, this felt like the beginning of a split between Reckoning and Retribution, mere months after the group’s main roster debut.
As if things couldn’t be worse, Reckoning followed up her debut with a series of losses in mixed tag-team action against the team of Ricochet and Dana Brooke. After a series of stinging defeats, Reckoning has yet to return to the ring.
I, for one, hope that we will soon see Reckoning repackaged as Mia Yim once more. Mia Yim is one of the most authentic characters WWE has at its disposal today. With Becky Lynch (maternity leave) and Charlotte Flair (personal hiatus) away from WWE for the foreseeable future, the time is right for the company to give precious screen time to women that would normally fight for camera time on a weekly basis. A wrestler with the pre-WWE resume that Mia Yim has is more than deserving of a piece of the spotlight.
A grizzled veteran, Mia Yim would make a fantastic challenger for Asuka’s Raw Women’s Championship. While Asuka is doing some of the best work of her career, an extended feud over Raw’s top prize would revitalize Yim and show that she can hang with the likes of Asuka, Shayna Baszler, and Nia Jax.
It’s not too late to salvage Mia Yim’s career on Raw. A series of vignettes explaining her reason for joining Retribution and the realization that she doesn’t need allies to fight her battles would help her reclaim her credibility. A high profile feud with the seldom-used Naomi would thrust both backs into the spotlight they deserve. Randy Orton could use a female ally to vanquish “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss, once and for all.
With the Royal Rumble around the corner, it’s an absolute must that WWE corrects their mistake and make Mia Yim a priority in 2021. All Elite Wrestling’s rise and the resurgence of Impact Wrestling means ample opportunity for wrestlers that are underutilized in WWE once contracts expire.
Please sign Mia? More like Please save Mia.