In September 2015, Athena signed a developmental contract with WWE, and wrestled on NXT as Adrien Reese.
In June 2016, WWE changed her name to Ember Moon and she went on to win the vacant NXT Women’s Championship in a Fatal 4-Way match later that year. The War Goddess cemented her legacy as the first Superstar to have held the NXT Women’s Title and NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles.
On the latest Talk Is Jericho podcast, Athena recalled losing weight in an “unhealthy way” for her FCW tryouts. The reigning ROH Women’s World Champion had a second private tryout with Lance Archer following her failure to earn a contract in her first attempt. She said,
“I was ‘in the system,’ and had the tryout with FCW and then six-seven months later, they called me backstage for a private tryout. It was me and Lance Hoyt [Lance Archer] because we were in Dallas. They were like, ‘We’re going to have you roll around with some of the Divas.’ It was Alicia Fox, Nattie [Natalya] was busy, I think they were doing the Santino angle with Beth (Phoenix), and she was like, ‘I can’t be there, I promise you’ll be fine.’ Rosa Mendes came in. Everyone was like, ‘She’s great.’ I remember being told, ‘I just don’t know if we should sign you or tell you to lose some more weight.’ ‘I can lose the weight, just sign me.’ I’m just this young kid, eager, ‘I can do whatever I need to do.’ ‘Alright, this is what we’re going to do since we’re a little packed at FCW.’ Long story short, ‘Call me when you lose the weight.’ I lose the weight, but it wasn’t in a healthy way because I wanted it so bad.”
“I had a cup of strawberries in the morning, I would run three miles, and I would have a cup of strawberries at night. That was the only thing I was ingesting. Yes, I was (dying). My first night at FCW, a bunch of us went to Outback, a bunch of my friends got signed from that first tryout. ‘Let’s go and celebrate.’ I remember going to Outback and having solid food other than strawberries and I bloated so much. At that time, I feel like the hiring process to get into WWE, especially if you are a woman, was so strict and hard, if you’re one pound off the scale, which did happen the next day, I was one pound over, they were like, ‘Hmm, huh, alright. Thickie McThickerson over here.’
“I had the tryout and it was me and Nigel McGuinness before he retired. I hadn’t seen him since Ring of Honor and everyone was like, ‘You’re going to nail this.’ I did a promo, Dusty (Rhodes) was there at the time and he was like, ‘it’s great, no critiques.’ The next week, there is a lovely young lady who we all know and love and she has a sister from another mister, she came for her tryout, and she could dunk a basketball and dance. I cannot dance. They sign her, ‘If you want the spot, you can have it.’ She got signed, I get the phone call, ‘We just found someone else that fit what we’re looking for a little better, keep trying.’ I thought, ‘I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do, I dropped my life for three years to do everything you told me to do. You know what, f**k you guys, I’m out.’”
On November 4, 2021, WWE released Athena from her contract. She signed with AEW just six months later.
Athena defeated Mercedes Martinez to win the ROH Women’s World Championship two weeks ago at ROH Final Battle.
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(h/t – Fightful)
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