Athena (the former Ember Moon of WWE) has addressed the criticisms levied at her over her new, hard-hitting in-ring style. Over the past month, Athena has adjusted her moveset to reflect a more aggressive, impactful style. This has effectively turned her heel in the process. Her match against Madison Rayne, and her attack on referee Aubrey Edwards, only solidified her character change.
When she was asked about her new style as a guest of Busted Open Radio, she responded, “Cause I feel like it.”
She continued, “Sometimes, nice guys finish last. Sometimes, you get frustrated and it’s hard because you’re trying to find an opportunity to not get lost in the shuffle because at AEW, there are so many talented women just across the board and it’s like, what can you do to stand out? You’re asking questions like, ‘why am I stuck in this position? Why is this happening to me? Am I not good?’ Finally, you have to just say ‘eff it.’ That’s basically what I’ve done. I’m going to do what I do best. For ten years, before I signed to WWE, I was probably one of the most notorious heels, I worked my entire indie career as the bad guy. I even got the nickname ‘The American Joshi’ because of my hard-hitting style. People forget about that. Through my entire TV career, it’s something I always wanted to get back to.”
Athena didn’t stop there. She believes that there is a double standard when it comes to hard-hitting matches for women versus the same style of match for the men. She continued, “The girls can hit just as hard as the guys. I have to sit there and see Jon Moxley and (Chris) Jericho and (Wheeler) Yuta, all of these guys hit the tar out of each other. I guarantee you, if I was a man, there wouldn’t be as much backlash or anything about that. It’s all these old, bloated farts that want to sit there and tell us we need to look pretty. They complain when it’s a dance, they complain when we hit hard. Get over it. We’re out here to be just as good as the guys. We give it our all and put in all this time and effort to hone our craft, and I feel we’re underappreciated when we do things like that.”
Athena also let her thoughts be known about people being more critical of the women’s division when the matches are stiff. She said, “I honestly don’t know. I’ve been doing this for almost 17 years and no matter how much we as women train or if we have the best match on the card, it’s always going to have that stigma of ‘they hit too hard, it’s too dancey.’ People are always critical of the girls because we’re still trying to fight for so much. Every time we step into the ring, we’re still trying to prove that we belong here, that we’re just as good as the guys, if not better. I don’t know if anyone else caught Full Gear, but Toni Storm and Jamie Hayter tore down the floor. So what, there was blood. Someone got hit in the face, oh well, it’s wrestling. We’re not babies. We’re not going to go home and cry about it. We’re going to continue the match and do what we do best, which is entertain people. Just because one person hits hard, one person is a high-flier, one person likes to do submissions; It’s all entertainment at the end of the day. That’s all we want to show you. We want to put our heart and art on the platter in the ring and be appreciated for every bump we take, every death-defying move, every time we get hit by a chair, go into a cage, come off the top with a stunner, we want to show you guys our heart and art every time we step into the ring and for some reason, it’s so overly criticized and I don’t know why, I don’t have an answer for that. Every step we take forward, it takes one comment on the internet, to set the entire women’s wrestling category back.”
Athena will challenge current Ring of Honor Women’s Champion Mercedes Martinez for the belt at ROH Final Battle this Saturday, December 10th at 4:00 PM EST.
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