Athena Discusses WWE’s Safety Standards for Female Superstars

World Wrestling Entertainment audiences said goodbye to Athena in November 2021. She wrestled there under the name Ember Moon, and after some time on WWE’s main roster she had seemingly found her home on its NXT brand. Known for her risk-taking, high-flying spots, the flyer made perfect sense as Shotzi’s tag team partner. The two reigned as NXT women’s tag team champions until Shotzi’s Friday Night SmackDown call up. Athena/Ember was shelved from television after that, and eventually let go.

She made her return to the independent pro wrestling scene in February 2021, battling Thunder Rosa at a Warrior Wrestling Event. She has since taken on another fellow NXT alumna, Taya Valkyrie. Their Prestige Wrestling match featured a spot wherein Athena superplexed Valkyrie through several chairs. The women taking such risks would have been, according to Athena, frowned upon at their old employer, WWE. Athena has been opening up about her time with WWE, and had this to say about their strenuous vigilance of female performers’ safety, speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Fightful quotes Athena:

“Sometimes, it’s too much safety, I feel like. He’s always looking out for our best interests, but when it comes to the men, they never do that. Doing crazy spots and jumping off of stuff, it’s not something the women get to do very often, or rarely. For me to be able to jump off the ladder and do the Eclipse, it was like, ‘Are they going to veto this again? Kevin (Owens) jumped off the tron two weeks ago, but I can’t jump off a ladder in a ladder match?’ It’s so weird, the things the guys can do. ‘It’s Kofi (Kingston), let him do it.’ Then the girls are like, ‘Okay, ladies, we have to have rehearsal so you don’t get hurt.’ Sometimes, it’s such a double standard.”

She was referring to her attempt to get clearance to do her finisher, Total Eclipse, during the Money in the Bank ladder match. Athena compared the treatment of women doing high risk spots on the main roster to NXT under the helm of former showrunner Triple H:

“NXT was different because Hunter is like, ‘you want to do that, go do it, go have fun, just don’t get hurt,’ but he trusted us to do it. That was the best part about Hunter’s NXT.”

Fun is a priority for Athena when it comes to her pro wrestling career. On the possibility of signing with WWE’s top competitor All Elite Wrestling, Athena said, “That’s up to them, technically. I’ve been very open and being like, ‘Whoever offers, let’s do it.’ I just want to wrestle and have fun.”

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