After suffering an ankle injury on the main roster, Athena, then known as Ember Moon, returned to NXT, and it appeared as though she would be getting a serious in-ring relaunch. Even though her time on the main roster wasn’t without its moments, Athena’s biggest in-ring run in the broader WWE Universe occurred in 2018, when she won the NXT Women’s Championship under the guidance of Paul “Triple H” Levesque.

Unfortunately, that never happened. As Levesque was relieved of his duties and Vince McMahon’s team took over creative, then Athena returned to quickly resembled the main roster she left. Before long, veteran performers were being passed over in favor of younger, ascending talents who fit the WWE’s desired aesthetic rather than having the pre-existing in-ring skills, as she explained in a recent appearance on Talk is Jericho.

According to Athena (via Wrestling Inc.), “it was like you took everything that made ‘NXT’ amazing, for me personally, and it was all gone.” I distinctly recall going to Ross, purchasing a bag, and leaving it in the locker room. Every day when I arrived, I would inform my makeup artist that I was considering quitting. The situation persisted for two months.

Champion Athena

The Vince McMahon-led creative team actually had a chance to give Athena an original idea, but after losing matches and eventually turning heel, they decided against it. As a result, Athena was eventually dropped from television as WWE switched NXT to NXT 2.0, which ultimately resulted in her release in November 2021.

I genuinely ask myself, “What did I do wrong, man?” Athena kept talking. “He then says, “You didn’t do anything wrong. You’ve been flawless. I then ask, “So why do I feel like I’m being punished all the time? I comply with all requests. I exceed expectations. What have I done? In fact, I was just sitting there when I said, “You know what? I won’t be returning to Orlando until you give me anything,'” she said.

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Athena was released from NXT 2.0 one month after her final bout after losing to Mandy Rose, and things have been going well ever since. Sadly, or luckily, as you will soon find, that call never came.

Athena almost left wrestling after WWE fired before AEW.

Athena first considered hanging up her boots after being freed from the in-ring restrictions of working for a firm that wasn’t especially high up her upward mobility. However, she ultimately decided to get in touch with Tony Khan to explore what opportunities AEW might have for her.

As Athena remarked (via Fightful), “That was the one thing I wanted to do when I left WWE, I wanted to figure out a way to get to AEW.” “When I left that building, I wondered, “How the blue h*ll do I contact Tony Khan? ” We had kind of been in talks in December with the help of my rep and everything to see if there was interest. When I was unable to do anything for 90 days, I “well, just kind of chucked away the ideal job.” Do I still want to wrestle?”

Although Athena was initially passed over by Khan when her 90-day non-compete clause came up, instead bouncing around the independents, including a memorable stint in Warrior, the prospect of being a wanted performer actually came as a surprise to the veteran grappler, as AEW wasn’t the only major company who showed interest in her prospects as a long-term contracted talent.

“All of these requests—’ we want you to come to do our show, we want you at our show,’—came in from the Independents. This is new, Athena remarked. I distinctly recall having to rush to everyone else to secure a reservation. Hey, come work with us, said every one of the previous promotions I had the pleasure of working for. Come perform this. I have no idea, guy. At Warrior Wrestling,

I recall this promoter saying, “Whatever match you want, I’ll pay your fee, and you get to pick your opponent and who you want.” “Thunder Rosa” I mentioned a name because I had only recently met her and thought she was great. To determine if I still wanted to wrestle, I went down to Mission Pro and worked out. She provided me with some excellent women to hang out with. We spent 30 minutes on Broadway, which was a lot of fun.

I was overcome with grief thereafter since I had planned to toss everything away once more. It sparked the idea, so I said to my rep, “Let’s do it; if he wants me, let’s do it.” It developed into, IMPACT wanting me, AEW was interested, but Tony was always so busy that we couldn’t get in touch with him. Hey, hey girl, hey, IMPACT would say. Yes, yes, I am aware; please hang on. Girls, I heard you’re coming here, my buddies would say.

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We haven’t spoken to them. All we said was, “Hey, chat with you next week.” Where am I going now that it’s so strange? What shall I do? I received interest from two firms, and I said, “I think I want to go to AEW.” I have pals at IMPACT, but I’ve been eyeing AEW for so long that I want to do it. It happened so suddenly, and it was May. Let’s do it, Tony said when he phoned my rep. I was traveling to Las Vegas via plane the following week.

The rest, as they say, is history. Athena worked on a program with Jade Cargill that actually had a plot, turned on jobbers during Dark Elevation fights, and is now comfortably sitting as the Women’s Champion of the Ring of Honor. Everything eventually made sense and compared to the previous new moon, this one is far better for Athena.

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