Do you have bootmii as boot2? You should see two flashes from the blue led drive light at boot with disk removed.
You can also try savemiifrii. Get a gc controller, generic is better, hold all four directionals down at the same time and boot the wii. If successful you should see a black screen with your system menu version in the lower right corner. If your controller is original Nintendo it will need to be disassembled and the pin below the directionals removed first.